My family celebrated the new year by watching the fireworks from St. Albert Place with a handful of others who braved the cold!
Each councillor met with the strategic planning session facilitator the week before our two-day session in Westlock to address our goals. I'm writing this blog post halfway through the session, so I'll say more about my impression of the process next week.
Council agenda overview:
Environmental Advisory Committee Annual Report & Recommendations
Recommendations include adding an "Environmental Leadership" category to the Community Recognition Program. Currently, recognition for environmental leadership is addressed through a "Citizenship" category of the program.
Proposed 2018 priorities include providing recommendations for the 2018 Environmental Initiative Grants, advice on the Idle-Free Bylaw and Residential Solid Waste Management Bylaw, and advice on the update of the Implementation Plan for the Local Action Plan for Energy Conservation and Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions.
Smart Cities Challenge
In December, council discussed this contest/grant and the opportunities it may provide. On Monday, we will debate the following motions:
That Administration prepare an application to the Government of Canada’s Smart Cities Challenge for approval by Council prior to the April 24, 2018 application deadline.
That the Smart Cities Challenge application be based upon Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) and related technologies.
Council Procedures Bylaw
I expect this one will have everyone on the edges of their seats!
Shortly after the election, Council reviewed the procedure bylaw and made a long list of recommendations for changes to streamline our meeting processes. We'll vote on the changes. These are a few highlights:
Notice of Motion: To give Administration more time to assemble background reports, the timeframe for bringing a motion to the floor from the time of notice is extended from 13 to 27 days.
Unregistered speakers who wish to address Council can only speak to agenda items for that day. (Up to now, speakers have been able to address any topic unannounced.)
"Members of the public who wish to address Council on a new topic not scheduled for an upcoming meeting must register 10 business days prior to the Council meeting they wish to attend and must provide their name, contact information and any presentation material such as handouts or PowerPoint presentations. The presentation material will be included in the agenda package. Agenda Committee will determine whether that topic will be scheduled for the requested Council meeting or if it should be scheduled for a later Council meeting." (I suspect there will be some debate to discuss this significant procedural change.)
Motion - Land Use Bylaw Amendment - Sheds in Side Yards
"That when the LUB is updated, that it includes an amendment that the setback for sheds located in side or back yards is reduced to 0 cm from the principal building."
Administration is recommending against this change (see backgrounder with comments from Fire Services & Inspection department).
Motion - Single-use bags & utensils
I've asked for council's support to ask administration to provide more information "detailing the environmental, economic, and lifestyle impact, benefits, and risks of enacting a bylaw banning disposable single-use bags, straws, and cutlery, including potential recommendations for exemptions."
The backgrounder shows there are options to ask for recommendations from the Environmental Advisory Committee regarding this issue and possible regional collaboration through the Edmonton Region Waste Minimization Committee.
Motion - Land Use Bylaw Amendments
"That Administration draft proposals to amend the Land Use Bylaw such that the minimum frontage for RXL be decreased from the proposed 6.1 meters in the Land Use Bylaw Amendments being considered on February 5, 2018, to 5.5 meters. "
"That Administration draft proposals to increase lot coverages 5-10% for semi-detached and row housing units in the Land Use Bylaw Amendments, to be considered on February 5, 2018. "
(To debate these, we'll also have to waive the 13-day notice period.)
This is a brief high-level overview of our meetings, with my personal comments sprinkled in - In no way are my opinions representative of the official direction of council or the City of St. Albert. Please let me know of any typos or errors. As always, I also encourage everyone who is able to tune in the the live-stream of the meeting (3pm here) or attend in-person (3rd floor of St. Albert Place, hang a right getting out of the elevator). You can also register to speak if you have information to present to council. Full agenda packages can be found on the stalbert.ca website.