With the provincial election and other things on the go, I haven’t posted a Council update in a couple weeks! Below I’ll cover what’s coming up next week, plus a few notes about what Council has been up to over the last couple of weeks. You can find my previous roundups here.
May 4-8, 2015
Council started the week with a Community Services Committee meeting. Here are the highlights:
- An update on the Central McDougall/Queen Mary Park Revitalization Strategy was received.
- The committee recommended that Council approve the Arts Operating Grant Recommendations.
- The committee recommended that Council approve amendments to City Policy C575 on Agencies, Boards, Committeess, and Commissions.
- Administration was directed to work with stakeholders to “replace signage in all City of Edmonton buildings and facilities to ensure gender neutrality.”
- Administration was directed to return in August with recommendations on the Victory Christian Center Business Plan.
On Tuesday they held an Executive Committee meeting. Here are the highlights:
- Administration was directed to provide a report on discussions with other municipalities and property owners affected by Improved Development Standards Along Major Roadways in Maple Ridge and Winterburn Industrial Areas.
- The Edmonton Design Committee’s 2014 Annual Report was received for information.
- A report on IT Composite Profiles was received for information.
- The 2016-2018 Business Plan for Financial Services and Utilities was received for information.
- The 2014 Investment Committee Annual Report was received for information.
- Administration was directed to consider a number of points before bringing the Jasper Place ARP Bylaw to a Public Hearing. They were also asked to provide information on a pilot in West Jasper Place using a contextual-based zoning approach.
- The committee approved the sale of land in Rossdale.
- The committee recommended that Council give the Naming Committee Bylaw 17138 three readings and that City Policy C509A be replaced with City Policy C509B (Naming Development Areas, Parks, Municipal Facilities, Roads, and Honorary Roads).
And finally on Wednesday they held a Transportation Committee meeting. Here are the highlights:
- A report on the Bike Lane Infrastructure Engagement Plan was received for information.
- Bylaw 17180, the closure of vehicle access on 103 Avenue NW between 102 Street NW and 101 Street NW, be given first reading.
- Administration was directed to develop parking management strategies for the Central McDougall, Oliver, and Queen Mary Park neighbourhoods.
May 11-15, 2015
This was a fairly light week in terms of meetings. There was an LRT Governance Board meeting on Monday which focused on private updates for the Valley Line LRT project. And on Wednesday there was an Executive Committee meeting that focused on two 2016-2018 business plans: Office of the City Manager, and Sustainable Development.
Wednesday May 18, 2015
With Monday, May 18 being Victoria Day and thus a long weekend, Council has an abbreviated week coming up with just two meetings, both scheduled for Wednesday. Council will start with a special Community Services meeting in the morning, followed by a City Council meeting in the afternoon. The agendas are both short, with just three items total.
This draft business plan is another step on the way to finalizing the 2016-2018 Operating Budget. The City says it serves three objectives:
- It is a decision-making tool designed to assist the Edmonton Police Commission and City Council with the 2016-2018 Operating Budget.
- It is a high level business planning tool for the Edmonton Police Service to focus on future critical resource planning and allocation.
- This plan sets out for each Bureau the major activities planned, their alignment to the strategic goals of the Edmonton Police Service and the expected performance measures.
The document is 92 pages long and outlines goals, measures, risks, and financial impacts for the entire service and for each of its bureaus. Here is what the organizational structure looks like:
Here are some of the performance measures identified:
- Reduce Edmonton’s Crime Severity Index (CSI) by 2.0 points annually from a benchmark of 93.34 in 2013.
- Achieve annual reductions in the four violent crime indicators (homicide, sexual assault, assault, robbery).
- Achieve annual reductions in social disorder incidents, which are composed of 17 specific disorder-type events like mischief or prostitution.
- Achieve 5% annual increase in Domestic Offender Management Checks from 2014 levels.
- Achieve 2% annual increase in Domestic Violence Victim Interventions from 2014 levels.
- Achieve annual reductions in the four property crime indicators (break & enter, theft from vehicle, theft of vehicle, theft over $5,000).
- Achieve 2% annual decrease in traffic corridor/intersection collisions.
- Achieve annual increases in gang disruptions from 2015 levels.
- Achieve 43% weighted clearance rate or greater.
- Respond to 80% or more of priority 1 events within 7 minutes.
- Dedicate 25% or more of patrol shift work to prevention, intervention, or suppression based activities.
- Conclude 75% or more of public complaints investigations within 6 months.
For the 2016-2018 period, EPS has identified the following major challenges:
- Violence Reduction – “As detailed in the Violence Reduction Strategy, this goal is directly related to reducing crime and victimization and promoting investigative excellence through prevention, intervention or suppression activities.”
- General Growth of Edmonton – “Continuing growth in all areas of the city is expected with the approval of three new area structure plans (Horse Hill, Riverview and Decoteau), the development of other new neighbourhoods and mature neighbourhood redevelopment.”
- Revitalization of Downtown Edmonton – “Significant projects in the Downtown area are attracting people to live, work and play downtown. A safe, secure place for the public to interact and enjoy these new amenities is important.”
- Potential Annexation – “The EPS will take on significant new responsibilities and challenges including policing highways 2 and 19 and the international airport. To police these adequately, the EPS will need to increase overall sworn member strength and begin recruitment approximately 20 months prior to annexation. Information provided to the EPS from City Administration is that annexation is now anticipated to occur as early as 2018. An initial ask for 60 sworn resources is therefore anticipated for 2018.”
While the business plan does highlight that “the current fiscal situation of the Province of Alberta is sub-optimal” it doesn’t say enough about the downloading of responsibilities from other orders of government onto EPS, in my opinion. Aside from a few bullet points, there’s just this:
“Decisions made by other orders of government on social policy and funding social programs have a direct and measurable effect on police resources. Of note are program changes or cuts related to mental illness, addictions, homelessness and other vulnerable populations.”
I wish they would have quantified that to some degree. It’s often mentioned by Council as a challenge, but there’s rarely any data presented to back it up.
In terms of financials, EPS anticipates growing from 2419.5 FTEs in 2015 to 2517.0 FTEs in 2018. The net operating requirement is expected to grow from about $280 million in 2015 to $302.6 million in 2018.
This item is a private report, so there’s nothing I can point you to for further reading. That said, we know that city charters will be a big topic of discussion for our new provincial NDP government. They committed to incorporating charters as an option in the MGA by the end of 2016. “Alberta’s NDP will support charters as a new legislative framework within the Municipal Government Act to provide greater responsibilities for those municipalities wishing to choose such responsibilities for themselves and their citizens.”
Mayor Iveson said last week that having Rachel Notley and the NDP leading the Province provides “a great opportunity to move ahead” with initiatives like the city charter.
I’m not sure exactly what this update is about, but I suspect it’s related to the recent news that the Northlands Board of Directors has accepted the recommendations of the Northlands Arena Strategy Committee (NASC). City Council will need to be involved and supportive of whatever plan the Northlands management team ultimately puts in place before September 2016, and with the acceptance of the NASC report, Council will now have clarity about what’s on the table.
You can keep track of City Council on Twitter using the #yegcc hashtag, and you can listen to or watch any Council meeting live online. You can read my previous coverage of the 2013-2017 City Council here.