Edmonton’s efforts to reduce traffic deaths and serious injuries is inching a little bit forward, as school zone speed reductions begin near junior high schools. These are in addition to school zones of 30 km/h around elementary schools. This is probably the direction things will keep going in, as more cities try to save lives, so let’s hope we see some real pushes this year to get the speed limits down to 40 km/h (or 30) in lots of neighbourhoods, regardless of schools. (more on a looming lack of schools below)
Sticking with getting around… Edmonton has some broken sidewalks and it takes too long to get them fixed. There currently aren’t any standards when it comes to permanent fixes.
Mill Creek’s pedestrian bridges need to be fixed up too. They’ll likely retain their heritage feel – some of them are re-purposed rail bridges. A lot of news coming out of Mill Creek these days, as the City tries to clean it up and considers reconnecting it to the North Saskatchewan River. (That last one, the “daylighting” of Mill Creek, has a survey if you’re interested.)
Preservation and progress
We mentioned schools disappearing a couple of paragraphs back, and here’s the latest. As the Edmonton Public School Board contends with dwindling attendance at too many schools it still has in mature neighbourhoods, consolidation looks like the best bet to keep schools in our older neighbourhoods. Yes, that means larger student populations, but since the City, school boards and provincial government will very rarely be on the same page when it comes to planning our neighbourhoods and better balancing where people could live, it’s probably the best plan.
One thing everyone tends to agree on is spending money on hospitals (except if you’re Ralph Klein). Edmonton’s Misericordia Hospital is going to be using increased money from the recent provincial budget to build a new emergency room for west Edmonton.
Meanwhile… we still don’t know what the provincial government is going to do with Edmonton’s old remand centre. It’s sitting empty four years after our new one opened. One of the pressures here might be the arena district’s handful of new office towers creating a vacuum on downtown properties, which is leaving buildings like the remand centre searching for a potential new lease on life.
We wax sarcastically (a lot) about how our city’s heritage is often torn down or shipped to Fort Edmonton Park, but it’s good to have a reminder every now and again that we aren’t the only place facing the challenge of preserving the past while time marches on.
Speaking of time marching on… Edmonton, like so many other urban centres, faces challenges when it expands its surburbs onto farmland. That farmland can’t be replaced very easily, if at all. One prime section of land could be saved thanks to its current owner’s preference to have it preserved instead of just cashing out. There’s even a crowdfunding effort to help. (I guess we’ll see if this survey was correct and Edmontonians would be willing to put a few dollars into saving local farmland.)
If you speak a language(s) other than English, you might be able to help out interpreting at the World Indigenous Games, hosted at the Enoch Cree Nation (to Edmonton’s west) this summer. The Games are looking for volunteers fluent in a number of languages, since participants will be coming from around the globe.
A trio of festivals will be moving out of Churchill Square, and the City will likely pay to offset moving costs, with one headed to Old Strathcona and the other two over to the 108 Street plaza by the Alberta Legislature. And we’ll all be allowed eat, dance and have fun at that plaza! Somehow these activities were previously banned. (I assume because the former PC government misunderstood Footloose.)
Thinking about running for city council or one of Edmonton’s school boards? All the information you need about how to file to run is now online. There’s also information on the new Edmonton Elections page about what you need to know as a voter, including maps of the ward you live in.
Candidates don’t have to have their official nominations in until September, but Dave Cournoyer’s got a good running tally of who’s already declared their intention to run for city council.
It doesn’t get anywhere near the attention our main school boards do, but the elections at Francophone schools will have some changes this year too.
There’s an open house in the Queen Alexandra neighbourhood about its Neighbourhood Renewal at Our Lady of Mount Carmel School, 6 – 9 p.m.*
*Jeff Samsonow has been a volunteer with Queen Alex neighbours on their renewal project. (He’ll actually be at the open house drinking free coffee.)
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