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December 10, 2017
June 6, 2017

Edmonton Headlines: Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Which way does the LRT go next?

Written by Jeff Samsonow

There’s a potential LRT fight brewing between north and south Edmonton (councillors). After the LRT is expanded from downtown to Mill Woods, in the southeast, and out to Lewis Estates, in the west, the next expansion was likely to be through the new Blatchford neighbourhood and onward to St. Albert. But! The southwest is Edmonton’s fastest-growing area, and with the provincial government announcing a new hospital on land it owns south of Ellerslie Road, there’s a push to consider that our next expansion. That’s caught some north Edmonton city councillors off guard, hoping they don’t find their neighbourhoods bumped off the priority list.

We probably won’t hear back from the city staff on LRT priorities until after the fall election, though this may now find itself as part of the campaign. It’s possible a north-side challenger presents themselves as a better fighter for LRT investment than the incumbent.

That all said, councillors Bev Essingler and Dave Loken are quoted as saying bus rapid transit (BRT) could be considered sooner rather than later through the northwest, and definitely if LRT expansion shifts to the south. BRT might not be a bad idea to consider in general. Done right, the dedicated bus corridors could be an efficient way to move people across big chunks of the city as fast as low-floor LRT but at a lower cost.

Speaking of buses…

Smart fares are coming… in just three short years!

This story on the Indigenous art and influence that will cover Tawatina Bridge, when the LRT crosses the North Saskatchewan River from downtown to Cloverdale, is full of great details on what we can expect to see on our river’s newest bridge.

At an existing LRT station…

Hey, look! They’re moving dirt around at Century Park. And this time the planned development is going to be finished. Probably. We definitely need more “sunset clauses” on developments (and redeveloped properties too) to ensure we don’t get stuck with piles of dirt for years. Even if those piles of dirt are spectacular to behold.

One more transportation story!

If you bike on a regular basis you might just consider your bike as your best friend. (BTW, the grad student in that story does regular bike traffic reports on CJSR’s Thursday morning show. Way better than all those boring car traffic reports!)


School news

Ah, yes, it has been a few days since a Catholic school board embarrassed itself in Alberta. And at least a couple of weeks since the Edmonton Catholic School District has created outrage. Of course something was going to happen during Edmonton’s Pride Week. In this case, it’s students being told to remove decorations and Pride flags because of the “political statement” they make.

Good for students for rallying for their rights!

I know the provincial government hasn’t made any moves to consider scrapping our Catholic school boards, but at some point the outdated mentality and lack of compassion (in the name of Jesus, no less) is going to force some hands. (But let’s de-fund private schools first.)

Two schools in north Edmonton will close when a new one is ready to take students from Edmonton’s Highlands and Montrose neighbourhoods.

Edmonton public schools are following in City Hall’s footsteps and will fly the Metis Nation and Treaty 6 flags alongside Canadian flags.

You know, with the City considering getting rid of grass on sports fields, that could just be the answer to the mud pits at some new schools. Plus, if we just get rid of all the grass we solve that dandelion problem so many people complain about.


Alberta Legislature dome

Provincial news

The spring legislative session has wrapped up. There are a couple of good roundups from CBC and the Edmonton Journal. At least now the opposition Wildrose and the Conservatives can focus on their amalgamation plans without all that boring work getting in the way!

Some important legislation passed this session, including a budget full of infrastructure spending (roads! hospitals! schools!), new rules allowing victims of sexual assault time to consider their legal options, new laws to protect victims of sexting and revenge pornupdated labour laws giving people more time away for life events without risk of losing their jobs and reduced school fees.

Speaking of infrastructure spending… it’s getting a big thumbs up from a former governor of the Bank of Canada. But he’s got some questions about our lack of a sales tax


Public engagement

The Urban Planning Committee meets today, beginning at 9:30 a.m. You can see the agenda online. The meeting will stream live from the River Valley Room.

There’s a public information session tonight for the Tweddle Place Storm and Sanitary Sewer Upgrades, 7-9 p.m, at the Leefield Community Hall.

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