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qualityresults
27-07-2007, 04:53 PM
Council decides not to

The Edmonton Journal

Friday, July 27, 2007

What exactly are city councillors paid to do if not make decisions?

It's a reasonable question that every resident of Edmonton should be asking themselves during these days of deferral by the city's 13 council members. Delayed or pushed aside are a host of contentious issues, including west-end Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and at least three major high-density building projects.

In no particular order, they are: Strathearn Heights Village, a four highrise tower condo project that would create 1,750 new homes in the southeast; a Habitat for Humanity project for 23 new townhouses in the Bergman-Beacon Heights area of east Edmonton; and the five-tower-plus-townhouses Vision for the Corner project at the intersection of 142 Street and 102 Avenue. And lest we forget, there's the 23rd Avenue interchange that has already more than doubled in cost because of inaction.

The official explanation is that there isn't sufficient time to deal with the issues before the elections in October. What they really should have said is there isn't time to deal with all of them, and since some councillors might lose their jobs in the affected areas, it's fairer not to open any of the cans of worms until they are all safely re-elected.

Council still has three months until the election, fully eight per cent of the term of office. Do typical employees quit work 3.2 hours early on Friday simply because they can't get all work finished before the weekend?

Edmonton is not some tiny hamlet where officials convene once a month. The mayor and councillors are supposed to be full-time. Paralyzing the decision-making process using the rationale that they don't want to start what they can't finish is absurd. In the day of Britain's navy of timber and sail, captains went on half-pay in down times. If those sailing our ship of civic state were to forfeit half of their pay between now and October, a lot of streets could have their potholes filled.

The problem of chronic indecision is ubiquitous, particularly in North America where the not-in-my-backyard mentality is most ingrained. But it is also rewarded by re-election, and, over the years, it has led to a host of urban problems, not the least of which is urban sprawl. It's much easier to give zoning approval to dig up some farmer's field than to dare to venture into established-neighbourhood politics.

Councillors must accept that they were hired to make decisions, and to make sure they are implemented effectively and efficiently. Since they have chosen to delay action on these key projects, it is only fair for voters in the affected areas and across the city to turn them into hot-button election issues.
The Edmonton Journal 2007
http://www.canada.com/edmontonjournal/news/opinion/story.html?id=14e00b98-66af-427b-8443-0222ad4ffb9d

Jeff
27-07-2007, 05:57 PM
Well, as stated:

Ronald Palmer
Candidate for Council
Edmonton Ward 6

In your post without added comment, what say ye about this lack of decision making - and what are your platform positions on each of the highlighted points of indecision - how would you decide? :-D

The_Cat
28-07-2007, 01:23 AM
I think that these issues have to be dealt with. Were they deferred because of the lack of time, or are politicians trying to dodge some of these issues?

I hope that voters remember this and vote in councillors that will show real leadership. I am sure that some of the incumbent councillors must feel complacent that they'll win easily next term. If that's the case, then let's make a change.

I think that Edmonton City Council can get away with this because of the general voter apathy in this city. Edmonton does not want to take the risk and make the tough decisions. Edmonton voters, please prove me wrong.

dwells
28-07-2007, 08:37 AM
I have lost all confidence in this council. The only councilor I might consider supporting is not in my ward and my support for the mayor is marginal. I will be looking hard for new blood in the chambers.

Sonic Death Monkey
28-07-2007, 12:22 PM
Half of them are not running again, so they are lame duck councillors.

Dakine
28-07-2007, 05:41 PM
maybe these buildings are a hazzard like the condo's that went up in flames, i say we Put a hold on these projects till we have a better understanding in there construction.

bornandraised
30-07-2007, 01:11 AM
Half of them are not running again, so they are lame duck councillors.

Do you know something the rest of us don't? From what I've heard, only 3 aren't running again -- Melnychuk in Ward 3, Phair in Ward 4, and Cavanagh in Ward 6.

If you've got gossip, do share. :-)

travis
30-07-2007, 01:18 AM
maybe these buildings are a hazzard like the condo's that went up in flames, i say we Put a hold on these projects till we have a better understanding in there construction.

sarcasm?

Dakine
30-07-2007, 07:22 AM
maybe these buildings are a hazzard like the condo's that went up in flames, i say we Put a hold on these projects till we have a better understanding in there construction.

sarcasm?

i am serious, i would put a stop to all developments before somebody gets killed over a frikn dollar.

Alberta has always beena leading profesional in construction, as a tradesman my ticket has been recognized throught the world as our codes were the most stricked and our training was stellar.

over the latest boom our developers, contractors, and tradesman have gone from the best to the worst. It makes me sick to my stomache thinking about what greed and money has done to my home. Alberta couldnt build a popsicle house right if they tried let alone a real construction project.

MylesC
30-07-2007, 10:13 AM
The other side of this argument could easily be made.

If council were to approve these developments, no doubt the communities would cry out at a lame duck council pulling this so close to an election.

kcantor
30-07-2007, 10:15 AM
maybe these buildings are a hazzard like the condo's that went up in flames, i say we Put a hold on these projects till we have a better understanding in there construction.

sarcasm?

i am serious, i would put a stop to all developments before somebody gets killed over a frikn dollar.

Alberta has always beena leading profesional in construction, as a tradesman my ticket has been recognized throught the world as our codes were the most stricked and our training was stellar.

over the latest boom our developers, contractors, and tradesman have gone from the best to the worst. It makes me sick to my stomache thinking about what greed and money has done to my home. Alberta couldnt build a popsicle house right if they tried let alone a real construction project.
Except that the projects you approve of having been put on hold were mid-rise, poured in place concrete, non-combustible construction while the communities are holding out for what would be stick frame so don't blame the developers for that one...

My weekend travels happened to have taken me past the new diabetes research facility being built at the U of A and hospital additions to the U of A and the Royal Alexandria and the Robbins Health Centre downtown and the Bay renovation and the upcoming Art Gallery and - despite what some of us think about how it looks from Jasper - Hall D, the new Henday/Calgary trail interchange, some deep sewer and water work in the west end and some of the of refineries and plants between here and Mundare and probably countless others among the seasonal and non-seasonal roadwork and bridgework going on everywhere. Do you really have such a low opinion of the contractors and tradesman completing this work and countless other projects along with the architects and engineers and other consultants not to mention the companies and individuals that the pay the bills for all of it including the ones that end up covering your paycheque?

if you have a particular point you want to make, try and do it without casting unwarranted aspersions on thousands and thousands of your fellow citizens who are working as hard as you are bto deliver the best job they can, jobs than in many cases are as good or better than what is being done anywhere else in the world.

Dakine
30-07-2007, 07:42 PM
welcome back kcantor.

all i am saying what is happening on most commercial projects in Edmonton every corner is being cut and everything is being built on the cheap. maybe allot of these engineers, inspectors etc are a bit overwhelmed so they allow for all this shody work but something should be done, maybe a cooldown or somethig so we can get back on track.

I have carpenter, electrician , plummer friends that tell me all the same thing "they cannot believe how things are being built". "And people are dumb eouph to actually pay these huge bucks for these shody houses.

prime example the 100 homes that just burnt down same thing happend near the north side lrt a few years ago. Thats crap dude. people can now start worrying if there neighbor falls asleep with a cigarette in his hand the whole block can now burn down.

there are some good contractors out there and good employees also., but maybe sometimes an example needs to be set. ever heard of how 1 person can wreck it for all. you crack that whip, they all will jump they know you mean business. construction is no place to be frikn around.

kcantor
30-07-2007, 08:56 PM
welcome back kcantor...
and a pleasure it is to be back Dakine, thanks

qualityresults
01-08-2007, 02:29 AM
There were a number of projects in the mix that now because of the inability of council to want to squander a vote, they have decided to let them sit on the back burner, and then once they have been elected vote they way they wanted to in the first place.

In my opinion the work of council must continue whether there is an upcoming election or not.

Many of these projects still require hearings these could have been kept, as hearings are just that it is part of the process, and is not a fait a compli, but rather a chance to receive the proposal and hear rebuttals on those proposals.

One project although controversial is the Habitat for Humanity project. Whether or not it goes forward as is or must be revised, it now must wait at least 3-4 months for anything to even move on it or for them to find out it must be revised, that is another 3-4 months before those affordable housing units become available, and they still have to be built so at least 6 months to another year before the new residents can move in.

City Council must continue to move forward otherwise we may as well just shut down the city and stop until the elections have occurred. These are major projects and Council has consistantly moved these projects to the point where the 23rd ave exchange has tripled in cost. The Bus rapid transit lane is one that must be revisited as this in my initial review does not appear to be the best planned but again now we wait to see how the council will vote, I have heard numerous alternatives and again I am not convinced any will derive the best results.

I can tell you this much, I will be bringing these forth as issues and ask that everyone bring forth these as issues, because Council should have to answer for the delays, and costs incurred as a result.

How would I vote, the BRT does not appear to achieve the results that it is intended to, and therefor I would vote against the BRT in it's present form, there are better solutions and they have to be investigated before we just jump feet first into the pool.

As for the Habitat Project, I again would need to see a little more of the planning that has occurred to this point which would occur prior to a vote but based on the information that has been provided, and my extensive knowledge of Habitat for Humanity, I would have to declare a conflict of interest possibility before voting. How would I vote otherwise I would say yes with concerns. I understand the residents in the area are against having "those types of People" but to me that is not a good enough reason, there must be a reasonable rationale behind the argument for it to be considered. See my comments in the Habitat for Humanity section.

The Strathean Heights Project I have some concerns on the density of this project, 4 buildings 1750 units I would be concerned with the Buildings and their heights, 23, 21, 19 and 19 stories plus 9 buildings (podiums) between 5 and 8 Stories and 44 buildings between 2 and 3 stories and 4 pods between 4 and 5 stories. Having read their proposal I have concerns on one hand they are quoting the cities affordable housing policy yet on the other hand they state " It is the developer's intention to have 200 to 300 units maintained as rental accommodation." No where does it say these are affordable housing units just that they are rentals and would not create any new units.
The Reason is stated directly from their site "To make the move from the current apartments to the new development as smooth as possible for existing tenants, the owner of the Strathearn Heights Apartments has committed the following:

* tenants will be given six-month leases until the specific phasing of the redevelopment is determined;
*the tenants would be moved, at the owners' expense, to the last phase of the development when their rental units are redeveloped. Th e schedule would be based upon seniority of tenancy and availability."

But again this is just at the hearing stage, originally this site was only approved for 904 units. All quoted information available at http://www.strathearnrejuvenation.ca/

Vision for the corner came out of Committee with come concerns Support with conditions
Concern with access, traffic and parking numbers
Commitment to upgrade transit facility on SE corner. Generally more transit supportive development
Strategy for public art for the entire development
Strategy for sustainability for entire development

Based on the location and I have not been able to see the full plan for this location but Traffic congestion would be a problem especially if the BRT in its Present form goes ahead. This one although at First glance may be feasible, it does not appear to be the best solution for this area, but I hold my vote on this until I am able to see the whole plan and Of course the BRt will definitely have an effect on it.

The Dreaded 23rd ave Interchange, No matter how any present councilor puts it there is no good answer they can give, this project should have been done so that it would be completed this year, now does it have to be in the form that is presently before council, had this been 3 years ago I would say no to its present form, but with skyrocketing costs and no end in sight with the continuous delays this must be revisited with alternative solutions ready and presented, otherwise we have to move forward as quickly as possible to complete the project with minimum result on traffic, during construction. Any further delays will only cost more money and we don't have that kind of money to keep wasting. Now I have heard that there is an idea for left turn overpass from the right that would alleviate some of the problems that are occurring although I have not seen the proposal. But again time is of the essence and unless it can be done faster and cheaper then we must move forward and complete the interchange.

I know there is some indecisiveness in some of my statements because, without all of the information I can not make a sound decision that I can give my reason for the decision. But I will state again the office of City Council should not stop business because there may be an election coming up soon.

But I can say this I would be making devisions on all of these, even to just move them to the next stage of the process if that is the decision to be made but I would vote against putting these off as they are important and should be dealt with like all other business.

Just my 2 cents