Idling Bylaw: Thanks to those who provided feedback about the updates to the idling bylaw that was proposed last week - Your comments helped inform and solidify my decision. As many have heard, however, Council passed the first two readings of the bylaw by majority and third-reading being delayed because there wasn’t unanimous Council consent. Although a motion to delay further readings until consultation with school boards was defeated, Administration confirmed that delaying third reading would give us the opportunity to reach out to school boards for feedback. I have also reached out the the St. Albert Seniors Association because of their in-house transit service and Seniors Advocating for Seniors because of their advocacy work. When this bylaw comes back to Council in a few weeks, we also welcome public presentations on the matter.
Municipal Development Plan: I met with Urban Strategies to discuss my expectations for a new MDP, and about what I consider our greatest challenges. Expect public engagement sessions later this year.
AGLCC Liquor Distribution Centre tour: It was wild seeing the finished building in Campbell Park!
2018 State of the City Address: Thanks to the St. Albert Chamber of Commerce for hosting Mayor Heron’s address at The Enjoy Centre - It’s been a wonderful year, and it was great to connect with those who were able to make it to the sold-out event.
Homeland Housing board meeting: I was back out in Legal for our regular board meeting - It’s exciting seeing the passion for both seniors’ living and support accommodation, and affordable housing for those of all ages. HH is an impressive example of how provincially-mandated management boards can partner with municipalities to support quality of living for residents. Our new seniors housing units in Northridge are all open, with 0% vacancy!
Recreation & Parks Open House: Rec has moved into our new building in Campbell Park!
Borrowing Bylaw Advertising
At last week’s GPFC meeting, we recommended that Council change our bylaws to allow residents up to 60 days to submit a petition to force a plebiscite for long-term capital borrowing. This is the proposed updated policy.
As required by provincial legislation, we are starting our regular independent/external audit process. This is the plan submitted by our 2017-2021 auditors, KPMG. (Fun fact: St. Albert was recognized with the Canadian Award for Financial Reporting in 2017.)
Erin Ridge Traffic Calming Neighbourhood Consultation Task Force
I lived in Erin Ridge from 2012-2015… Traffic was rough then, before the two schools were built, and it’s become busier since I moved. The task force, which includes 10 Erin Ridge residents, was created in 2016 to help Admin & Council create strategies to deal with traffic concerns; This is their third report to Council. Recommendations include improving communication, having Admin create a 2019 traffic calming plan (2018 saw many recommendations implemented), that we move forward on projects to improve Neil Ross Road/Boudreau Road/Bellerose Drive/Ray Gibbon, and that we don’t make the same mistakes in new developments.
Of note: “Erin Ridge and Erin Ridge North are proposed to have a reduced neighbourhood speed limit of 40 km/hr.”
Stormwater Revised Rate Model ($30,000)
We have been looking into a new. stormwater utility rate model because it appears that residential customers with more permeable surfaces (grass!) on their properties are diverting water from stormwater systems, but are paying a disproportionately high portion of stormwater rates (91%) compared to properties with large impermeable surfaces (concrete!) that increase water going into the municipal stormwater system. “Analysis… indicates that about 73% of residential customers would pay less than they are now... Annual cost reductions max out at about $20 for detached and side-by- side dwellings. Residents in stacked housing (apartment style housing) will all pay less under the new system, ranging between a few dollars to about $30 less per year. Of the 25% of residential customers that will pay more, most pay less than an additional $40 annually.”
Administration is recommending that, starting in 2021 and over a 4-year period, we update stormwater rates to incorporate imperviousness and lot size using the following:
“Residential properties based on average imperviousness per planning zone with a gross area cap of 1,000 m2”
“Non-residential (commercial/Industrial) properties based on actual property imperviousness with a gross area cap of 25,000 m2 and;”
Admin is also recommending that $30,000 be used for communication of the new model, and that all changes be reviewed in the fall of 2020.
Gas Franchise Fees
The Alberta Utilities Commission has decreased natural gas rates by about 13%, so Administration is recommending that we recover a $360K 2018 budget shortfall ($218K in 2019) caused by the decrease by increasing gas franchise fees from 18.8% to 20.3%. Other options include moving the cost to ratepayers, and increasing taxes by .21%. “Among midsize municipalities, St. Albert’s current gas franchise fee of 18.8% is on the low end, with high franchise fees levied by Red Deer and Airdrie at 35% and 29.6%, respectively.” Edmonton’s rate is 32.90%.
Residential Solid Waste Management
As many residents are aware, due to changing market conditions, and increased pressures to offer economically viable and environmentally ethical solutions to waste management, we are facing changes to our recycling program.
This agenda item is for approval of an update the Residential Solid Waste Management Bylaw with the following changes:
“Organics” green bin now includes “paper towel, tissues, tissue paper”.
“Recyclable” blue bag items include only:
telephone or other soft cover books,
rigid plastic food and household bottles,
lids and containers, plastic milk jugs or waxed cardboard milk containers,
books with covers removed,
aluminum, steel and tin cans”
“Items no longer acceptable, please place in the Brown Garbage Cart:
Glass bottles and jars
Plastic packaging from toys, food and household items
Plastic clamshells from berries, salad, bakery items
Single serve plastic cups from yogurt, pudding, sauces
Single serve, “to-go” cups from coffee, fountain drinks, smoothies, Solo style cups
Spiral wound containers from chip cans, paper coffee cans, frozen juices and ready to bake pastries
Tetra Pak containers without a deposit from soup, broth, liquid eggs”
This is a brief high-level overview of highlights from our meeting agenda, 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.