The new program will reach every household in Edmonton in September and has had some hiccups, primarily missed collection of bins which is frustrating for people who then have waste pile up.
The new program is much needed as we seek to lower our carbon and waste footprint, which better separation will allow us to do. The fundamentals of this program are already well established in other big cities across North America. The idea is right but the execution is lacking right now.
I’m optimistic about the future of this program and I know that Edmontonians want to see the City get this right. That being said, we need to make sure that if we keep running into the same problems we actually do something about it. People need to keep calling 311 if they have an issue with their carts or waste collection and if problems continue we absolutely need to adjust the program.
We need to get waste right and we can’t go back to the old system where food waste and scraps are mixed together with general garbage. A better way is possible and I am committed to getting it done well.
The City has to deliver on the goal of building an innovative and sustainable development that it committed to in its Blatchford vision. This is a signature development project and the current pace of development is hurting our reputation as a city, slowing the achievement of climate change goals, causing us to miss out on our infill goals, and putting unnecessary financial risk on citizens.
Smart leaders admit when something isn’t working and they change course to put things back on track. It’s time to admit that the promise of Blatchford will only be realized if the City steps back.
If I’m elected, I will accelerate the development of Blatchford by opening it up to the private sector. With my plan, the City will maintain the existing environmental regulations and objectives and will benefit financially from any sale of it. We will also benefit from an expanded tax base by developing it sooner. Currently, the 600 hectares are producing zero property tax, and we are all paying for that.
The City-run project has stalled, spending over $200 million dollars over more than a decade, while only two dozen townhouses have been built and at above-market rates. Opening development up to the private sector will reduce the financial risk for the City which costs taxpayers more and more each day. If we want to get Blatchford built- and in a reasonable timeframe -we need to let the private sector step in.
As of August 6th, the speed limit in Edmonton’s residential areas dropped to 40km/h. The move is the result of a push to increase safety in residential areas where kids play and people ride their bikes or go for walks. While some people are understandably frustrated with the confusion caused by the shift, I think it’s the right move in general. Although, where adjustments are proven to be needed, we need to make them.
The pedestrian survival rate in a collision with a car is double at 40km/h than it is at 50km/h, a huge increase in safety for a small decrease in speed. This will make neighbourhoods, where people should be driving slower already, safer. It will also keep major roadways, which make up much more of people’s commutes, at their current speed.
We’ve invested a lot of time and money in this shift and I believe we need to give it some time before making any additional changes which will just pile on confusion and wasted dollars. I understand that 40km/h may not make sense in every community and we should change the speed limit in such communities, according to each community’s need. First though, we need to give 40km/h a chance.
Today the City is holding a Public Hearing at which Council will be discussing the Clean Energy Improvement Pilot Program Tax Bylaw. As individuals, we can purchase or rent solar panels or other clean energy sources for our homes, but this is often challenging or impossible for people to afford upfront. The same goes for energy efficiency retrofits.
The Clean Energy Improvement Program (CEIP) is a financing tool that will help residential and commercial property owners install clean energy and/or retrofit their buildings to be more energy-efficient. Building owners who take part in the program are able to repay the costs over time through their property tax bills and save more in the long run with lower energy costs.
This program is an excellent way for us to lower our collective greenhouse gas emissions while also benefiting homeowners with lower upfront costs in the short term and lower energy costs in the long term. Incentivizing retrofits and the installation of clean energy sources is one of the single best ways cities can meet their climate commitments. We need more bold yet practical thinking like this.
The City has been talking about doing something like this for years and it’s past time we got it done. My climate policy plan, to be released in September, will commit to making the current CEIP pilot permanent and significantly expanding it. My plan will also create similar incentives to make green retrofits and clean energy investments the easy choice. As Mayor, I would expand the program to target commercial and industrial buildings as well, which have a huge demand for energy.
While much of the fight against climate change requires collaboration with and action from other orders of government, this is one of the clearest ways that we, as a city, can do our part.
This approach allows everyone to participate in reducing real emissions. It’s time for us to take climate change seriously, not just talk about taking it seriously. I will always focus on practical and widely inclusive solutions like CEIP.
I believe that universal access to sports, recreation, and arts programming for young people is the most important investment in the mental and physical well-being of our next generation. This is a tangible way to combat poverty with existing resources and it is a mandate the City of Edmonton already has. We can start making a difference with some immediate action. That’s why I developed my Free Play for All plan in partnership with Tim Adams of Free Play for Kids.
My Free Play for All plan will provide free access to City recreation for all Edmontonians aged 18 and below. The plan will also provide free after-school transportation to recreation centres from the 100 highest-need schools in the city. My plan will provide excellent programming for kids while also doubling as free after-school care for those who need it.
We can make life better immediately for kids and families by reallocating and redirecting City resources to this program. Doing so will provide the proof of concept, and a made-in-Edmonton solution that will be ready-made for the Province and Ottawa to step up and support. We’ll be ready for them to bring partners and resources to the table through the national child care program as it comes on stream.