Last week + Regular Council Meeting June 24, 2019
Last week highlights:
Creative Mornings Edmonton: This speaker series continues to be excellent. Jenna C. Hoff was this month's speaker, and was exceptional. She is a local freelance editor & writer who spoke of the importance of finding the magic in the everyday, and of giving out the kind of energy you want to see reflected back. Prior to the talk, we also had a great chat about accessibility (an accident and subsequent injury have left her reliant on a wheelchair to move and digital aids to communicate), urban design, and how wild our kids are. The venue, Paul Kane Park in Edmonton, also gave me pause - the design of the park is exceptional (accessible, beautiful, useful), but seems to include “defensive architecture” features that are disappointing
Joint Opportunities Task Force: St. Albert JOTF members (Counsellors Hansen, Hughes, and myself) met with our counterparts from Sturgeon County to discuss shared interests.
Pride Flag Raising: I attended the Pride flag raising with Mayor Heron where Outloud members, teachers, both our MLAs, and community members joined in celebrating diversity & inclusion. Outloud has done an amazing job of organizing and hosting a week’s worth of Pride activities this year!
Business After-hours at Endeavour Brewing: The St. Albert Chamber of Commerce hosted a networking event for member businesses at a new-ish craft brew pub in Campbell Business Park. It was great chatting with a few owners of local businesses about their challenges and successes. In chatting with the owner of Endeavour, it was interesting to learn that they host events in addition to selling their craft beers - It’s a beautiful space that I didn’t know was available until this event.
Lacombe Dog Park Setback ($9,000)
We’re considering a recommendation that we reimburse residents for the cost of planting trees in their private yards that back on to the Lacombe Park dog park. This is to address the issue with dogs going along the fences and peeing.
I don’t think planting trees within their yards will alleviate any issues with dogs peeing on their fences, so I’m a bit miffed at this recommendation. I’m also concerned that “stakeholder engagement” regarding this proposal doesn’t seem to have included affected residents. I’m sure Council will have a few questions about this item and the potential for setting a precedent for other homes that build next to parks.
Stray cats ($0-$400,000)
Last year, Council directed Admin to look into concerns with outdoor cats and options to write them into our bylaws.
“Anecdotally, Administration does not believe St. Albert has a feral (wild/homeless) cat problem… Administration is recommending increasing responsible cat ownership education and awareness through social media. Although this recommendation has a low likelihood of success on addressing all residents’ concerns related to roaming cats, it can be done without a corresponding increase to expenses/taxes.”
Other options being presented include a Licence Program Only (No Prohibition for roaming) at a cost of $10,000-$30,000/year, prohibiting cats roaming on private property at a cost of $150,000-$300,000/year, and prohibiting cats roaming anywhere (like the dog bylaw) at a cost of $150,000-$400,000/year.
If we chose one of the no-roaming options, “administration… anticipates that the rate of cat euthanasia in the community will increase… <because> there are a number of factors that influence a negative cat ownership culture that will often end in impounded cats not being claimed. These factors include the relatively low cost to purchase a new cat, the relatively high cost to claim a cat (fines and fees), and the unfortunate view by some that cats are disposable pets. As a result, humane societies and re-homing organizations in the region are often at or over capacity. The inevitable reality is that the municipality will be required to euthanize many unclaimed impounded cats. Based on other municipalities experiences it is estimated that approximately 200 - 300 cats would be impounded in a given year.”
Q1 Corporate Quarterly Report
This is an update on the state of the city from the first quarter of 2019.
This is a brief 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.