Here’s the latest entry in my Edmonton Etcetera series, in which I share some thoughts on a few topical items in one post. Less than I’d write in a full post on each, but more than I’d include in Edmonton Notes. Have feedback? Let me know!
Public Engagement Update
As previously mentioned, I’m a member of the Vision, Policy, and Framework Working Group under the Council Initiative on Public Engagement. I am really enjoying working with my team and I think we’ve made really good progress on our action plan so far. I’m also happy to have been named the Community Co-Chair of our working group recently!
City Council will receive its annual status update next week on all Council Initiatives. That includes the Public Engagement initiative:
“An Advisory Committee that includes five branch managers, five community members, and three Councillors (as Council liaisons) has been established and is actively overseeing the work of the Initiative. Five Working Groups, made up of City staff and community members (approx. 60 people), have developed Action Plans and are working to complete them by spring 2017.”
So far my group has developed and tested the definition, vision, guiding principles, and a new continuum. We’re also working on outcomes, an updated policy, and a new framework. It’s a lot of work but I think we’re really going to have an impact on public engagement in our city. The other working groups are Learning and Training; Tools, Techniques, and Practices; Evaluation, Reporting, and Recognition; and Community Leadership.
In addition to the annual status update the initiative has been posting progress updates on its website. I was one of the featured working group members in the last update:
“Don’t let this sweet smile fool you, Mack Male has been one of the leading critical voices in the evolution of the Council Initiative on Public Engagement. Lover of the Oxford comma, unwavered by hierarchy or social norms, Mack speaks his truth from real experience of building online communities to engage with City Hall on controversial issues like the closure of the Municipal Airport.”
That’s me, always talking about whether we need a comma or not!
New Edmonton Heritage Council Board
The 2016 Edmonton Heritage Council AGM was held on May 11 at City Hall to “provide an update on EHC initiatives and organizational work, feature a few of the many dynamic projects underway in the city and, importantly, current EHC members will vote for 2016 Board of Directors.”
I have long been a fan of the work that EHC does, including projects like Edmonton Maps Heritage and the Edmonton City as Museum Project. So I decided to run for the board and am thrilled to have been elected as one of the new board members! From the EHC Newsletter:
“We are pleased to announce new EHC Directors Darrel Babuk, Wendy Birch, Martin Kennedy, Jeanne Lehman, Mack Male, Alexis Miller, Arundeep Singh Sandhu, Sally Scott, and Eric Strikwerda. We’re excited to begin another year with new perspectives around the table!”
At our first meeting last week we chose our new executive: Chair Gregory Bounds, Vice Chair Beth Sanders, Treasurer Alex Abboud, Secretary Candas Jane Dorsey, and Past-Chair Satya Brata Das. I’m really looking forward to working with everyone!
Community Development Corporation
One of the actions included in the recently approved EndPoverty Edmonton Implementation Road Map (2017-2021) is to establish a Community Development Corporation “to invest in affordable housing and community economic development.” Council has already been exploring this idea and last October asked Administration to come back with a report on how to establish such an organization.
So, what is a Community Development Corporation?
“A Community Development Corporation is a non-profit company that creates and expands economic opportunity for low to moderate income people. Community Development Corporations target high-needs neighbourhoods experiencing significant social and economic challenges such as high rates of poverty, unemployment and crime, as well as a lack of social support, affordable housing and economic opportunity. In doing so, Community Development Corporations create economic opportunities that improve social conditions for individuals and families living in poverty.”
You can read much more in the report here. Executive Committee has accepted Administration’s recommendation to go ahead and form a CDC, and I expect Council will approve the idea on Tuesday. Here are the details of the recommendation:
- “That $100,000 from 2016 Council Contingency be granted on a one time basis to the Edmonton Community Foundation to fund work to prepare a business case based upon the model proposed, conduct key stakeholder engagement, and perform other preliminary work required for the establishment of the Edmonton Community Development Corporation.”
- “That Administration and the Edmonton Community Foundation return to City Council, through Executive Committee, in the fall of 2016 to provide a business case containing an analysis of the business model, proposed capital and operating budgets for the first three years of operation, funding sources (loans, borrowing, guarantees), and a list of City owned lands that the Edmonton Community Development Corporation could acquire from the City in order to achieve the outcomes outlined.”
- “That Administration prepare unfunded service packages for City Council’s consideration as part of the 2016 Fall Supplementary Operating and Capital Budget Adjustments for the costs to incorporate and establish the Edmonton Community Development Corporation and funding for its initial operating and capital funding expenditures.”
The proposed CDC would “likely” be established as a not-for-profit Part IX company “incubated” by the Edmonton Community Foundation. The idea is to create an arms-length organization:
“Under the proposed concept, the City of Edmonton will play a catalytic role in founding the Edmonton Community Development Corporation, by contributing cash and in-kind contributions towards its start-up, but will not participate as an owner. This approach will allow the Edmonton Community Development Corporation to be fully embedded in the community, and potentially qualify for outside sources of funding.”
Additional funding beyond the $100,000 mentioned above is expected to include operational funding of $1.4 million, capital expenses of $500,000, and $10 million of in-kind resources in City-owned land. Combined with contributions from the Edmonton Community Foundation, Homeward Trust, and the United Way Alberta Capital Region, the total investment for startup and the first five years of operation will come to just over $23 million.