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Council Roundup, September 14, 2011

September 15, 2011

City continues to seek best option on snow removal

Parking and snow removalCouncil has been looking at the City's snow clearing policy and trying to determine the optimum level of service. This includes looking at how to balance the need to get snow clearing equipment onto roads quickly after a snowfall with the demand to park on those roads when snow doesn’t need to be cleared.

The Transportation and Infrastructure Committee had reviewed the proposed amendments to the snow clearing policy on September 6 and recommended to Council that residential streets, as well as main roads like arterial and collector roads, be cleared to bare pavement within five days, and that parking bans be implemented as needed, rather than for an entire season. They also recommended that the policy be reviewed after one year and that enhanced communications around parking bans be put in place.

Council asked Administration to evaluate the cost, time and resource implications of these options and return that information to the September 27 Council meeting.

New developments

Council approved the development of three residential towers, row housing units, and limited commercial space at 10123-10156 Clifton Place NW in Westmount – Groat Estates.

The proposed development also includes a quasi-public park development, a public viewing platform along the top-of-bank trail, an affordable housing commitment and public art.

This development is in line with policies in the Way We Grow, including:

  • Encouraging a greater portion of housing growth to locate in mature neighbourhoods where infrastructure capacity and services support redevelopment to help achieve sustainability goals.
  • Supporting redevelopment and residential infill that contributes to the livability and adaptability of established neighbourhoods.

Historic buildings designated

Council designated the 80-year old William Brown Residence and the 100-year old Strathcona Fire Hall No. 1 as municipal historic resources.

Strathcona Fire Hall No. 1 (10318-83 Avenue) is a two-storey red brick building situated in Edmonton's historic Old Strathcona district next to the farmer’s market. The former fire hall was built between 1909 and 1910. It is the oldest major fire hall in Alberta and one of the earliest, still surviving, public buildings in the Strathcona district.

The building is now home to the Walterdale Theatre. The Theatre will be paid up to $100,000 as a rehabilitation incentive from the City’s Heritage Reserve Fund. It is estimated that the restoration work will cost $203,500 and overall improvements and upgrades to the building will cost $447,000.

The William Brown residence (11108-64 Street) is significant because of its association with William Brown, who began building the house in 1927. He developed at least nine properties in the Highlands area and was heavily involved in the construction of the Highlands United Church and the Highlands Golf Course, for which he convinced the City to donate the land.

The Residence is also valuable because of the use of an unusual home-building material – clinker brick – on the exterior, and for its distinctive full open width veranda.

The owner will be paid up to $32,000 as a rehabilitation incentive from the City’s Heritage Reserve Fund. It is estimated that the restoration work will cost $71,500.

With these two new additions, there are now 96 properties designated as municipal historic resources in the city of Edmonton.

Inventory and Register of Historic Resources 

Edmonton Book Prize named in honour of Robert Kroetsch

Based on the recommendation of the Edmonton Arts Council, City Council renamed the City of Edmonton Book Prize the Robert Kroetsch City of Edmonton Book Prize.

Robert Kroetsch was closely connected with Edmonton. He was recognized internationally for his writings and was an important teacher and mentor for many Edmonton and Alberta writers. His 1969 novel, the Studhorse Man, which was set in Edmonton won the Governor General’s Award for Literary Merit. His death in a traffic accident in June 2011, was widely mourned by the people of Edmonton and the capital region.

Since his death, the Edmonton Arts Council received many calls from members of Edmonton’s writing community who expressed their desire to see the City of Edmonton Book Prize named the Robert Kroetsch City of Edmonton Book Prize.

The winner is announced at the annual Mayor’s Celebration for the Arts and the winner receives a cash prize of $10,000.

Paying for fire hydrants

City Council decided 7-6 in favour of continuing to pay EPCOR for installing and maintaining fire hydrants and the water lines to fire hydrants through property taxes.
 
Council reviewed an option to pay for the EPCOR-owned infrastructure through water bills instead of taxes, with a $29 charge per year that would have been charged to all users. But Council decided against the option, because homeowners would have paid about $8 more per year on average. The City will continue pay for the infrastructure cost through property taxes that will range from about $17 to $21 per year for households. The amount will depend on the value of the property.
 
“Fire hydrants are a public good and should be shared by all taxpayers,” said Councillor Ben Henderson, who moved to retain the current system for paying costs for the emergency water distribution system.

Proposed Downtown Arena

Council approved the provision of additional funding for external consultants to protect the public’s interest in the proposed downtown arena project update. Council is scheduled to hear on the status of an arena project update at a special meeting on September 23.