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August 18, 2017
April 4, 2017

Edmonton Headlines: Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Getting more people involved

Written by Jeff Samsonow

 

The City of Edmonton is trying to get better at public engagement. No, really.

The City’s already got a public engagement strategy and is looking at ways to revamp that in the next few years. Among the ideas is bringing more community groups into the conversation and, alright this is one that makes the point about how important this is, making sure people know what they can actually give feedback on at various open houses and project planning meetings. You’d think that one should be an obvious step on engaging the public.

The real key here, of course, is to not only hear the lived experiences of people to help inform public policy, but ensure more voices are included at all levels of planing and programs. As councillor Michael Walters puts it “Edmonton isn’t just your white, middle-class city anymore.

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We’ve been including meetings of Edmonton City Council, and our two city school boards at the end of our Headlines posts. They also include some of those various public meetings all of this kind of engagement is about.

If you’re not sure how to get involved or when the next public meeting in your neighbourhood is, there are a couple of ways to dip your toes into engagement. You can join the City’s “Insight” community, which is basically just filling out surveys. See, public engagement can be easy!

You can also check the City’s public engagement calendar for what’s going on and where your valuable thoughts and opinions could be needed.

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The City is also taking steps to think about women, people from minority groups and those with disabilities at every step of policy, by asking staff to check how a new rule or program affects some or all of those groups of people. Again, Edmonton’s not just a bunch of white, middle-class guys and gender-based analysis* is a step in the right direction.

*We had called this gender-based budgeting but it’s not just focused on the City’s budget, so analysis is more accurate.


More housing needed

As Edmonton tries to feverishly solve homelessness in just two more years, we do have a new supportive housing building going up in The Quarters, east of the downtown.

Housing the homeless, outside of Edmonton and Alberta’s larger cities, is equally important. It may even pose more of a challenge to figure out how much of a problem there is.


Animal stories

Even though we live in cities, we are in constant contact with nature. St. Albert had a reminder of that this week after a Fish and Wildlife officer killed a moose, under circumstances now being questioned.

Edmonton’s airport has lead the way for others in Canada when it comes to pet therapy dogs.


The other kind of breaking news

When journalists aren’t racing around to house fires and crime scenes, when they aren’t all sitting in the same meetings covering the same agenda items, they can really dig into issues that can matter. We’ve got a couple of good examples this week in Edmonton.

The longread of the day is from CBC Edmonton’s investigative team of Charles Rusnell and Jennie Russell. “I think whenever you are conducting an experiment on human subjects, ethical oversight and review is required.

And over at the Edmonton Journal, Elise Stolte is beginning election coverage early, with a look at Terwillegar’s long, long-running traffic problems. There are two more parts of this story to come, which we’ll surely link you to in our Headlines as they’re published.


Public engagement

The Urban Planning Committee meets today, at 9:30 a.m. You can see the agenda online. You can watch or listen to the meeting live too.

In Spruce Avenue tonight, there’s an open house about upcoming Neighbourhood Renewal. It’s at Spruce Avenue School, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

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