A few of us were able to join the St. Albert Youth Committee to give our thanks for their work over the past year. We'll be recruiting again this fall for all our committees, so please spread the word!
Governance, Priorities, Finance Committee agenda highlights:
Smoking Bylaw ($15,000)
Last spring, we directed Admin to bring back the smoking bylaw for consideration that matches cannabis smoking restrictions. They have brought back a bylaw that bans all public smoking except traditional pipe ceremonies, to match the cannabis restrictions, but are recommending that we take a step back and formally consult the public before making changes. The proposed cost of public consultation is $15,000. Admin has also provided options to restrict smoking/vaping in line with the initial draft of the cannabis bylaw, which would prohibit smoking in parks and on trails, and around various types of public buildings.
Ray Gibbon Drive and Arterials (Q3 report)
Back in January, we directed Admin to "undertake conceptual design options for short, medium and long term improvements to the St. Albert Transportation Network that directly or indirectly impact Ray Gibbon Drive... <and> present recommendations for improvements to the St. Albert Transportation Network..." We provided $125,000 to fund the design work. The report from the consultant shows the 15 top potential projects, with price tags ranging from $800,000(+/- 35%) to reconfigure the intersection at Campbell and Boudreau, to $36M(+/- 35%) to develop the first 2 lanes of Fowler Way. The top priorities listed are:
Expand Ray Gibbon Drive between 137 Avenue and LeClair Way to 4 lanes of divided arterial road... <and> upgrade LeClair Way intersection." ($5.3M)
"Reconfigure LeClair Way at Riel Drive." ($300,000)
Widen St. Albert Trail between Boudreau Road and Coal Mine Road. ($8.6M)
The full consultant's report is over 400 pages and includes evaluation criteria used, impacts of the different options, and supporting information. Admin is also presenting, with a slightly different priority list.
Intelligent Transportation Systems Strategy
In 2018, we spent about $300,000 on technology that will help us track and move traffic through the city. On Monday, Admin is reporting on what we've done, and what we're planning over the next ten years. Over the next year, we will be analyzing the data from the systems installed, and further refining the plans based on that information. From there, we could use adaptive signal controls to better manage traffic flow or use detection systems to move more quickly to clear up traffic incidents. Other projects include potentially offering on-demand transit that would help serve those in areas with limited transit option or who have limited mobility.
Some of the questions I have about the report include clarifying benefits of designing technology that connects real-time traffic information with route suggestions for all the modes of transportation. I already have an app that does this using real-time traffic information, with route options for walking, biking, transit, and Uber, so I'm unsure about what our app/website would do that isn't already offered. There is also a potential weather-sensing system that could advise about conditions like black ice, and another system that would warn drivers that they're speeding that I'm curious about. This section of the agenda package is over 300 pages, so I have a few more questions... For a breakdown of the projects we're considering and associated timelines, the tables on pages 686-708 of the agenda package are the easiest way to get an overview of what we have planned.
Changes to Recycling Processing
Last spring, the company that processes our recycling requested changes to our blue bag program because of international decisions regarding accepting dirty/mixed waste. Admin will be reporting on the required changes, which include the following items that will no longer be accepted in blue bags/must be placed in the garbage:
- 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
Other items still not accepted in blue bags:
- Bottle caps, pumps and small lids
- Coffee pods
- Plastic bags and wrappers such as grocery bags, food packaging, protective wraps about household products
- Plastic cutlery and straws
- Plastic toys and household items
- Plant containers, pots and trays
- Styrofoam blocks, cups, packing peanuts and trays
- Shredded pape Paper towels (place in green organics bin)
- napkins and tissues (place in green organics bin)
Related: This is a documentary that has been circulating that explains some of the logistical and ethical issues around recycling that we're dealing with in first-world countries:
Public Art Policy
Last spring, we directed Admin to update the public art policy to improve clarity for funding sources and reduce time spent determining where funding is eligible. This is the first draft of the updated bylaw that will change funding from a percentage of set "eligible" capital projects to a percentage of all projects, with a cap of $220,000/year. This is in line with funding from the last three years.
We're also looking at housekeeping changes to the borrowing bylaw, city manager delegation bylaw, policing bylaw (time-extension request).
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.