View Full Version : Mandel's State of the City address

28-04-2006, 10:46 AM
I also posted this in the Regional Co-operation thread to talk about that issue embedded in the speech, but I did not want comments on the rest of this speech lost in that thread. So, if you want to talk about the co-operation aspect, go there please. :)

Mandel's 10-year plan
Attracting more industry, building public facilities key to booming city's future

Gordon Kent
The Edmonton Journal

Friday, April 28, 2006

CREDIT: Chris Schwarz, the Journal
Mayor Stephen Mandel presents his annual state-of-the-city address Thursday to a luncheon crowd in the Shaw Conference Centre's newly opened Hall D.

EDMONTON - Mayor Stephen Mandel outlined a long-term vision Thursday that includes attracting major new oil refineries or upgraders to Edmonton and spending up to $800 million improving community facilities.

In his annual state-of-the-city speech, Mandel told a sold-out crowd of 1,300 that despite Alberta's current boom it is crucial to keep planning for the future.

"City council understands ... that running a competitive, aggressive city means a lot more than it used to," he said to the crowd in the Shaw Conference Centre's new Hall D.

"Sometimes we have to be bold enough to take some risks."

Mandel wants to see a new industrial land strategy to "aggressively" market Edmonton as the location for $25-billion worth of refineries, oil upgraders and other projects being considered for the province.

In the past, such businesses have usually located in outlying parts of the capital region, but the mayor wants to help draw them to undeveloped areas throughout the city by building roads, power, water and sewer lines, and transit links.

While this will lead to competition for big projects, Mandel later insisted it won't lead to a "price war" with the city's neighbours.

"Because we're doing something proactive, people say we're getting in a fight with the region," he told the Journal's editorial board.

"On our part, we will do everything and anything to work with the region ... there's nothing we won't do, within reason, to find ways to build a strong region."

The mayor also discussed a program called Vision 2016, aimed at upgrading attractions such as the Valley Zoo, constructing new recreation centres, installing artificial grass at two or three stadiums, and putting up needed cultural centres and other facilities over at least 10 years.

"There's an awful lot of facilities that have not been built. I think the expectations are this will be a 1.5-million population (region) in the not-too-distant future." The work will cost an estimated $700 million to $800 million, he said.

Mandel said he has spoken with provincial officials three or four times about having the government help pay for the work through an Alberta-wide community infrastructure fund, similar to the $3.3-billion in transportation grants that began last year.

He would only say he's optimistic and the people with whom he discussed the idea were "very supportive."

Provincial government staff with information about the scheme couldn't be reached for comment.

The mayor is eyeing several other initiatives, including:

- Improved access to downtown from the south side by extending Gateway Boulevard to the North Saskatchewan River and replacing the aging Walterdale Bridge with a new four-lane structure; the idea is now being studied.

- A $70-million project to turn garbage headed to the Clover Bar landfill into gas that could be used to fuel an electrical plant; a pilot project on part of this process is expected to be completed by August.

- Creating a volunteer Edmonton ambassador to Yellowknife, who could be announced as early as next week, as part of attempts to reach out to the North.

- Setting up a $100-million venture capital fund using money from the city and other partners to provide seed money for fledgling companies, usually in the high-tech sector.

Edmonton Chamber of Commerce president Martin Salloum said he was impressed with Mandel's suggestions, saying Albertans have "a real hunger for vision.

"Now is the time to be spending money on a lot of this stuff, even though costs are high," Salloum said. "He's talking about the next 10 years. Generally speaking, city councillors tend to look at a three-year cycle at best."

[email protected]

© The Edmonton Journal 2006

Sonic Death Monkey
28-04-2006, 11:33 AM
The mayor also discussed a program called Vision 2016, aimed at upgrading attractions such as the Valley Zoo, constructing new recreation centres, installing artificial grass at two or three stadiums, and putting up needed cultural centres and other facilities over at least 10 years.Yes, the Zoo definitely needs an upgrade. It's just a chicken hut compared with other zoos.

- Improved access to downtown from the south side by extending Gateway Boulevard to the North Saskatchewan River and replacing the aging Walterdale Bridge with a new four-lane structure; the idea is now being studied.Ample proof that Stevie's been lurking here! :D

- Setting up a $100-million venture capital fund using money from the city and other partners to provide seed money for fledgling companies, usually in the high-tech sector.Oh yes. There's a friend of mine who started up a tiny but innovative hi-tech firm a few years ago, but has talked about packing up and leaving the province because of the lack of venture capital here.

28-04-2006, 12:25 PM
Ample proof that Stevie's been lurking here! :D


28-04-2006, 09:52 PM
Okay, first off I can't help but comment on the picture with the article in the Journal... the address was held in the infamous Hall D.

My first thought was: " We spent how many millions of dollars for this Hall that was sold on the idea of windows looking out on the fantastic River view, and here the first big thing I see held in it and they have black out curtains over the windows." :wink:

I don't agree with everything the mayor supports, but generally I real glad I followed my gut and voted for him. Reimer was a good manager, but was bland. Smith had vision ( well visions might be more accurate ;) ) but lacked, shall we say, organizational skills. Mandell has the skills and the vision. The last is attested to by the fact he is looking at 10 years or more in the future... and that the things he is looking at are not just "events" but infrastructure and institutions that will serve the community for many years after that.

And what I really like is that when he proposes something or supports something it is because it is something that will benefit Edmonton, or that Edmontonians want... not because it will make us "world class" or help us compete with Calgary. It very well might, but that isn't the point. The point is to give us the city and the community we want.

29-04-2006, 02:28 AM
Here is Mayor Stephen Mandel's speech:

State of the City Address CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY
Hall D – April 27, 2006
Words: 4,318
Thank you Greg.
Council Colleagues
Chamber of Commerce Members
My wife, Lynn
Special guests
Ladies and Gentlemen
It is a real pleasure to be able to be here today.
We’re in a room that provides a panoramic view and a great vantage point to our city and its future.
It’s rare to have such a clear view.
I am blessed to be leading this city at a time when there is so much good news and so much opportunity.
Today we are at a mid-point, half way through the current Council term.
And given the state of things, the growth and prosperity we face, some might think it would be easy to just sit back and keep a steady hand on the wheel.
But good fortune did not come to an idle City.
And it does not stay with those who take it for granted.
When I was elected in 2004, I promised to would work closely with my Council colleagues to ensure Edmonton acts, plans, and feels like a capital city again.
I promised we would be leaders.
This means having big goals and working to pull the whole community together.
It’s a path we have stayed firmly on.
[Council’s new role]
The first step was taken by Councillors. We are actively engaged in bringing forward new ideas and championing new programs.
And while 13 independent voices will never lose their individual character and passions, when it really counts, when it’s about standing up for Edmonton, we have one strong voice.
Council is transforming our city structure and affecting real change. Our initiatives reflect broader-thinking, a wider agenda and deeper resolve.
A progressive, responsive administration led by Al Maurer is providing the framework, resource and enthusiasm to make things happen.
And by stepping forward to meet new challenges head on, a record of achievement is starting to accumulate.
[Report card – check in on initiatives]
Managing a city is always about fundamentals.
Cities are literally where the rubber hits the road.
The City of Edmonton is the caretaker of more than $20 billion in hard assets.
Over the last 18 months, we’ve made some strong investments by leveraging New Deal and Provincial Infrastructure funds.
A $700 million commitment to fast-tracking the LRT south was the largest of these.
A $200 million commitment to accelerate neighbourhood revitalization projects across the city, is addressing long-standing frustration of our citizens.
We’ve undertaken specific projects in some of our oldest communities, Fort Road, Alberta Avenue and Downtown East, improving infrastructure and using smarter planning to breathe new life into these neighbourhoods.
I would like to particularly comment on Downtown East and the overwhelming positive response to this important project. This project will redefine and complete our downtown. I am so excited about it’s promise, and look forward to moving it forward this year.
We’ve also committed to our first major investment in community infrastructure in over 20 years, a new Southwest Recreation centre.
These brick and mortar commitments will help sustain our City.
But there are many other important challenges we face.
We need a more ambitious LRT plan, one that considers the next logical links in the system.
We need to deal effectively with bottlenecks, like 23rd Avenue, 97 Street, 178 Street and Ellerslie Road to ease pressure on fast growing corridors.
We need to a find another path across the river into downtown – one that does not intrude on the integrity of our river valley.
We need to complete our inner ring road.
And we need to be very effective planners in order to do these things at a time when a red-hot economy is driving prices higher and higher.
But it must be done. And it will be.
[Emergency Services and Police]
As a Council, we are also mindful of our role as service providers. As such we’ve stepped up ambulance funding, adding 22 additional staff to take pressure off our system.
Similar investments have been made to ensure fire and police systems can cover our growing City.
With our police service, we have turned a significant corner.
One year ago, this was an area of frustration. Public concern was high.
Today, Chief Michael Boyd’s leadership is proving to be the spark that will inspire our service, already a dedicated and innovative team to keep pace with the justifiably high expectations of our community.
Today we are also very mindful of our cities role as the Landforce Western Area Headquarters and the largest military base in Western Canada.
Our thoughts today are with the hundreds of Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan, and their families here at home.
There is enormous sacrifice in the duty that these men and women have assumed on our behalf.
We are enormously proud of their dedication and honour they bring to their role.
And our entire city shares the grief felt by the families who have lost a loved one in this most worthy action.
[New Roles for Cities]
Cities are about bricks and mortar, basic services and planning – but cities, especially big cities, are so much more.
Cities are economic engines. They are centres of culture and learning, innovation and ideas.
Cities provide care for citizens and support the character of communities. They become the focus of families, for generations.
Building a vibrant, sustainable city means more than just planning roads and sewer lines. It means anticipating and supporting the ambitions of an entire community.
And it means investing in our economy, our communities and our quality of life to match the dreams of our citizens.
[Council as investor]
City Council understands this. We understand that running a competitive aggressive city means a lot more than it used to.
Sometimes we have to be bold enough to take some risks.
By acting today we can cement the foundations of future industries.
This means diverse opportunities will be there for our young people when they are ready, and Edmonton will be the city of their futures.
Council is investing in areas that show promise over the long-term.
TEC Edmonton and the new Wetlab at the Biotechnology Business Development Centre aim investment dollars directly at early-stage innovations.
These investments literally help new innovators take their first steps.
TEC Edmonton’s move into the Bay not only brings our University downtown, but it plants new innovators right into our downtown to build their foundations into our corporate centre.
One of the ideas I want to bring forward is an Edmonton-based venture capital fund.
We severely lack venture capital funds. For all of the wealth and opportunity here, so many of our new enterprises need to look elsewhere for the funds that will allow them to grow.
We can change that by being early stage investors in a new fund, and by helping to bring other public and private partners to the table, and then by taking all politics and all politicians out of the process.
This is the sort of step the City can afford to take, when times are good. We can afford to take a small risk and adjust our position from a City that already invests substantially in public markets, into one that also invests in itself.
[Affordable Housing and Aboriginal Accord]
Our investments also focus on people.
People, young and old. Initiatives to get young people more involved and engaged in our city and initiatives that focus on the quality of life of our seniors.
Our Cornerstones Program aims to bring 2,500 affordable housing units on stream. We’ll invest wisely, leveraging funds from other orders of government, and making the private sector an active partner.
We’re opening our eyes to one of our most serious limitations - our relationship with our Aboriginal peoples.
Through our Urban Aboriginal Declaration, we’ve undertaken a process that reaches further than any other city in Canada to ensure our Aboriginal Community is a fully vested part of this community.
[arts and festivals]
We’re also investing in our quality of life.
Increased funding to the arts supports a sector that is such a large part of what we feel pride in as a city. It’s something we’ll celebrate again this year at the Mayor’s Evening for the Arts on May 29.
Our character, our creativity, an occasional irreverence, a stubborn individuality, these are all things that our arts community adds to Edmonton.
Our investment is rewarded with incredible community participation that grows every year. And it’s seen in a growing national and international profile.
We also continue to bring the world to Edmonton.
In 2005, a Royal Visit, the World Masters Games and Grand Prix racing added to our incredible menu of festivals, cultural and sports events.
They helped propel Edmonton, for the first time, to be Alberta’s number one urban tourist destination.
[strong partnerships]
Council also understands that our investment strategy requires working as a more active partner with the many flagship organizations in our City.
Edmonton’s Capital Health is the most capable and trusted health organization in Canada – it is making Edmonton the country’s health capital.
Our education institutions – led by the University of Alberta, Concordia, McEwan, NAIT and Norquest – are preparing our young people to join our workforce, to be our future leaders. They make Edmonton stand out as a national education centre.
Our health and academic sectors are a powerhouse team.
Half a billion in research funds come to Edmonton every year through their efforts, creating a significant research cluster and attracting top people from all over the world.
They help position Edmonton as a true “smart” city – one where the knowledge sector drives a substantial part of our growth, one where idea-generators are a driving part of our economy.
[Promoting our City]
We are working hard to pull our partners together.
We’re talking more, and thinking more, about ways to support each others goals.
We are starting to turn the tide in how we promote our city.
Last week, many of our partners took part in Edmonton Edge, a profile tour in Toronto.
In June, many of them will be part of Edmonton events in Washington D.C. at the Smithsonian’s Alberta show.
Together, we give Edmonton much more traction outside our borders.
And we all will gain from these efforts, by ensuring Edmonton matters to those who are looking for the best place to work, learn, live, or invest.
[Promoting Edmonton]
We have only just begun. We’ve empowered our communications staff to concentrate much more on outward efforts.
It will take a consistent effort to show success. And again, it means we’re going to have to spend money today – and put real weight behind this effort – in order to ensure it makes long-term impressions.
And our citizens, and everyone of you in this room, needs to play your part too.
We all help create the reputation of this City, in one-on-one encounters in airports, hotels and elevators around the world, and in the way we welcome visitors to our city.
We’re proud of this City, but sometimes we don’t show it.
We’re too quick to focus on what we lack.
It creates an impression that spreads.
I wish I could convince every Edmontonian to try something new.
When you get the chance to talk about Edmonton, mention that we have Canada’s fastest growing economy, or a wonderful arts community.
This year, it would even be safe to talk about our winter.
Believe in the power of your own personal pitch and trust it can bring something positive in return.
[external relationships]
How we feel about our community also plays an important role in how we deal with our most important relationships.
One weakness our City has been guilty of is taking for granted that we are the undisputed “gateway” to the North.
I hate the word “gateway” – it’s a little too one-sided.
We all know relationships don’t work that way.
Edmonton is a northern city. Our past, present and future is intrinsically tied to the north.
We’re working to re-invigorate our relationships.
Our northern Mayors group provides an excellent forum to gather perspective on issues northern communities have in common.
We’re initiating a new arts program, looking at ways to share cultural resources.
Our airport authority is working with our northern partners to understand their community requirements and align our position as a transportation hub to the best possible advantage of our partners.
A new Edmonton ambassador in Yellowknife will support consistent dialogue between our two communities.
We’re talking with Northern Hub Mayors from northeast Alberta about linking efforts on economic development, tourism, arts and cultural initiatives.
And in about 10 days, we’ll all have the chance to spend some time with our northern neighbours at our Meet the North Conference which will highlight common interests in transportation and infrastructure, labour and economic development. I encourage you all to participate if you can, and to make our guests feel at home.
Our Region is another big area of focus for our Council.
When former President Bill Clinton was here he spoke of the Canada-US relationship as a marriage – one that cannot ever end in divorce.
Our region is alot like that. We share everything. We work together. We shop in each others stores. We cheer for the same hockey team – our Oilers — what a game on Tuesday and just wait for tonight.
We enjoy the same festivals…visit each others communities countless times, often daily.
We are fully vested in each others fates, and to steal the former President’s statement: we cannot get a divorce.
But there are some tricky issues.
And I have to admit that I’ve been pushing our region. I am doing so, because it is needed.
Because today, cities need to speak on the world stage to be truly competitive, and reach a global audience.
We need to compete with the world, not each other.
[provincial and federal relationships]
It’s similar to the ways we push our Provincial and Federal partners.
Canada’s big cities are playing a much broader role in areas like affordable housing and aboriginal affairs, public safety and immigration – all of these issues are vital to our cities, but jurisdictional boundaries keep cities on the sidelines.
We have to get into the game, to work with our partners more effectively.
Through the Big City Mayors and through the Provincial Council on Municipal Sustainability we are helping to move this discussion forward.
And I’ll be frank – a lot of what we have to talk about is money.
Because even though – the most basic services that our citizens expect are delivered at the city level, only six cents from every tax dollar stays in the Cities.
We need a rebalancing of the tax system to have dollars flow to where the services are actually delivered.
And we need cities to be full partners in finding solutions to the issues we face.
[A New Alberta Vision]
There is one more area where I’d like to push our provincial partner.
It’s the need to elaborate on a provincial vision for Alberta’s two big cities.
I actually think the upcoming leadership process gives an opportunity for us to challenge potential leaders.
Edmonton and Calgary are both great cities – but they are not the same cities.
Calgary is the corporate centre of Alberta – it increasingly has financial clout to rival Toronto. It deserves support for its vision.
Our vision is different.
Edmonton is Western Canada’s health, education and research centre. We are the manufacturing, transportation and logistics base that is most tightly integrated with the economic activity of this province.
We are the seat of Government and Alberta’s true cultural capital.
Our province tries hard to keep things fair and balanced. And we are quick to hold up the tape measure when they don’t.
What we need is to build true Alberta Centres of Excellence and to recognize that all of Alberta benefits when one part of Alberta succeeds.
[City Beauty]
Last year, I talked about one area where I thought we could do better - the physical appearance of our city. I uttered a 4-letter word and touched off a discussion that has lingered ever since and I have no regrets.
As a response, a new Urban Design Review panel has been formed, and given some teeth to impact this issue.
But most of the impact is community-driven.
It’s an issue Edmonton really cares about.
And promising new projects are taking shape.
The magnificent new Art Gallery of Alberta will open in 2008.
The new 31 storey ICON Towers on 104 street and Century Park – will set new standards for residential construction and a benchmark all others will follow.
The new OEM Industrial plant proves that even factories can be attractive.
But a beautiful city is about more than the structures we build.
Our Capital City Clean up program has expanded city-wide and many communities are getting involved to ensure we put our best face forward.
We are investing more in public art.
We need to invest further, in flowers and colour to enhance the appeal of our streetscapes, boulevards and the city entrances.
And we need to dream a little too.
Think about the potential of Downtown East and how a vibrant new community can link to Louise McKinney Park, and how that park will be just a little downstream from revitalized Legislature Grounds, which will be just a little downstream from the new Royal Alberta Museum.
Think about how all this could inspire new life on our river with water taxis and some carefully placed boat docks.
Think about making that picturesque lake at Hawrelak Park into a new urban beach. Think about doing the same at Rundle Park.
And think about people, everywhere, enjoying our river valley, and our parks, and reflecting the vibrancy of this city.
It is a beautiful vision.
It’s the kind of vision we have to have when times are good and when our community can afford to stretch a little further.
Now is the time to stretch our thinking and our investing in order to build the kind of City that we all know Edmonton can be.
[What else is there to do]
Council has a very broad agenda.
At the mid-point of our mandate, it might seem easy to just stay the course.
That’s not what we’re doing. Indeed everything we have done to date is really only the starting point for what’s ahead.
And I want to use my remaining time to talk about that.
About what it will take to move our agenda and stretch even further.
A vision for our administration is one of those.
Many talented young people will be attracted to Edmonton in the coming years. City Hall should be a destination for many of them.
Think about the potential for our civil service to really impact our city, to sustain it through a period of incredible growth, to renew communities and support economic development.
We need to ensure a dynamic city structure.
We have a great organization – but great organizations always strive to do better.
I want us to work more directly with our universities and colleges and NAIT – to draw on the creative energy of our student base, and integrate more young people into our City, right out of school.
Young people bring their energy and ideas, and they bring a certain self-assured impertinence that can challenge and change an organization.
They can learn from today’s leaders and prepare to lead tomorrow.
They can help us to renew ourselves.
[labour strategy]
The need for renewal is something we share with so many organizations across our City. It’s true that signs of opportunity are everywhere – unfortunately, too many of them say, “help wanted”.
One of the greatest threats to future prosperity is a weak labour force. Our education institutions do a great job of training our young people, but the growing issue is attracting new people to our City.
We need to be better at this, much, much better at keeping and involving the people we do attract.
EEDC has launched a major labour attraction strategy, in cooperation with business, industry, government and community stakeholders. They aim to attract, train and maintain a workforce that can sustain our economy.
Our Council has passed its own immigration strategy – focused on how we get people here and what it takes to keep them here.
These efforts will have to be sustained over the next many years as we will be constantly challenged to compete and win in this area.
[vision 2016 – what it is and what it means]
And as any business knows, recruiting isn’t as simple as posting a sign. A city’s quality of life is an essential recruitment tool.
Edmonton has a deficit in community infrastructure: I’m working with Council to develop a new Vision 2016 program to address the issue.
Vision 2016 outlines a ten-year strategy to catch-up on community facilities through a strategic partnership with the province and our communities.
It means making a significant, long-term investment in order to fast-track the development of recreational facilities in all parts of our city, and to boost important assets like our zoo and Fort Edmonton Park.
It’s an Edmonton-based strategy that has merit for our entire province, so I plan to lobby our Province to take this next major step in infrastructure support.
Edmontonians are justifiably proud of their environmental record.
We have built a green city. But we can do much more.
$70 million is required to build a new pelletization facility at our waste management centre of excellence. This facility would decrease the amount of waste we currently send to landfill by up to 90%.
Our involvement in the energy industry brings some important environmental opportunities and obligations. We need to work with government partners and industry in the areas like clean coal and CO-2 sequestration.
These efforts can make CO-2 emissions into a business tool, by pumping CO-2 gas into the ground in order to boost yields from existing well sites. In turn, emissions are reduced. We save valuable water resources for the future.
These are the next environmental opportunities for us to seize. Doing so, will ensure Edmonton is also North America’s leading environmental city. It makes sense for Edmonton to take these steps because our commitment to maintaining our environment has been exceptional. The challenges of Alberta’s growth make this commitment even more important. This is why I am so pleased to be working with Minister Boutillier on a major CO-2 conference in Edmonton – one that will help us transform ideas into action.
[link to energy industry]
Edmonton’s position within the energy industry as a research, transportation, manufacturing and logistics hub has put us in line for close to $25 billion in new upgraders and refineries.
$25 billion in projects will almost double our current industrial base.
Think about what it means for growth. Realize how soon a region that just passed one million people, will reach the 1.5 million mark.
Understand that we need to plan ahead for that kind of growth.
[Industrial Land Strategy]
We are challenging our administration to bring forth new ideas about how to best position our city for what’s ahead.
One of the first major initiatives is a new Industrial Land Strategy, which will impact lands across our City.
We will actively and aggressively market Edmonton as a location for those companies planning to build major upgraders, and for all industrial development related to this growth and to the growth that will come from expansion of the Prince Rupert port.
We will act in a manner that ensures our citizens benefit directly from these opportunities.
In undeveloped areas, we will put in place the roads, transit, power, water and drainage projects to create some of the most desirable industrial developments anywhere in the province.
We will ensure our citizens fully understand the benefits that come from this new approach.
We will work closely with industry and the Province, linking it even further with our existing manufacturing and research sectors, looking for more value-added opportunity.
By taking this path, we will create a more competitive business atmosphere for our city, clearly claiming our position among the world’s most significant energy players.
All of this activity is about planning ahead and making the most of the opportunities before us.
Action today is essential to ensuring a sustainable tomorrow.
Action is what we should expect from our city, a willingness to set a broad goal and pull everyone together.
It’s about reaching our potential, being leaders, never waiting for someone else to seal our fate, but setting goals for ourselves and then running flat-out to meet them.
It’s about being bold and taking some risks and believing in ourselves.
I see Edmonton that way.
.....A city that understands its strengths and how to build from its foundation.
.....A city that does not limit its dreams.
I see a city that chases its goals with focus and energy, passion and excitement.
.....A city that cannot stretch too far.
…..A city with guts.
I see a City that will not underestimate its future.
It is a smart city, a confident capital, a creative and caring city, and a place of unlimited ambition.
It is our home, it is where we will watch our children grow, and learn and benefit from the commitments we make today.
It is a great city and it is our job to sustain it.
Thank you all for being here today.

30-04-2006, 01:51 PM
FYI - I split out the tangent on previous mayors into another thread in the Politics section.

Just to keep this thread on track - the state of the city today. I am guilty as anyone for follwing the tangent - so I may as well correct it. :)

The split thread...


03-05-2006, 09:30 AM
10-year plan bodes well for city
Proposed new bridge, LRT expansion are just what we need
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Font: * * * * The Edmonton Journal
Published: Wednesday, May 03, 2006
Re: "Mandel's 10-year plan: Attracting more industry, building public facilities key to booming city's future," The Journal, April 28.

I am very impressed with Mayor Stephen Mandel's plan. Over the last number of years, I have been frustrated by the slow progress in meeting the needs of the city.

I am very impressed with the proposal to connect the city's north and south with a new bridge. I suggest that a six-lane bridge (three lanes for each direction) be built across the river valley rather than modifying existing structures.

I saw the Millennium bridge across the Panama Canal last November. It is a simple but functional structure joining North and South Americas without interfering with the cruise ship corridor.

With enough innovation, Edmonton's new bridge would be functional and beautiful.

I would also like to see 103rd Street south of the river be connected to 97th Street north of the river and 97th Street made one-way northbound to 111th Avenue or 118th Avenue. Similarly, I'd like to see 104th Street on both sides of the river linked as a one-way south-bound road.

I have been dreaming about this for many years.

I am sure this can become a reality, even though I might not be around to see its final completion.

I also like plans to expand the LRT. Compared with other cities that started LRT around the same time as we did, we are far behind.

Bill Fung,