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Thread: Condition of our public areas and boulevards

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    Default Condition of our public areas and boulevards

    I live the the north end and cannot believe the condition of our green spaces and boulevards this year. 153 ave has not been cut yet this year. We drove along Hermitgae Rd in Clairview today and it looks totally unkept. The dandelions and weeds ( we have no grass on the boulevards) are totally out of control. We also have a green belt running through our neighbourhood in Matt Berry that looking completely disgusting. I have contacted Aaron Pacquette’s office 3 times in the last week about this. Why does our city representatives seen to care so little about the condition of our city? I, for one, think it is disgraceful

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    Don’t expect things to improve.

    In many ways we’re pretty much a broke city in a broke province like we were in the 1980s & 1990s.


    An Edmonton City Council clash is coming on debt as other money dries up - Edmonton | Globalnews.ca

    “...
    “The city needs to start thinking about what it’s not going to do to prevent any more risk to our borrowing, our debt, our tax levels and so on,” Councillor Mike Nickel said.

    “We’ve reached the point of no return here. Our backs are broken, as far as I’m concerned, at our level of taxation.”

    “There’s a lot of warning lights flashing about telling us not to borrow,” Councillor Michael Walters said”...

    https://globalnews.ca/news/4427277/e...deliberations/
    Last edited by KC; 02-06-2019 at 02:44 PM.

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    Also drove along 98 ave and River Rd yesterday. Use to be one of my favourite drives in the summer, now it’s disgraceful.

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    the condition of our public areas is nothing short of embarassing.

    and anyone on council or in administration that isn't embarrassed bloody well should be.

    wtf does it take to send out a fleet of lawnmowers and the occasional watering truck? drove past the new aboriginal art park on the way home from calgary this afternoon and you can't see the art for the dandelions.

    the approaches to walterdale might as well never have been sodded/seeded and grierson hill is no better. neither are the parks or bike/pedestrian path edges/miniparks.

    one would think the city is trying to turn dandelions into a cash crop with the excuse being "this is a great hear for dandelions". it's just that's the excuse every damn year...
    "If you did not want much, there was plenty." Harper Lee

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    Edmonton's annual crop of Dandelion Whine...
    I am in no way entitled to your opinion...

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    Quote Originally Posted by kcantor View Post
    the condition of our public areas is nothing short of embarassing.

    and anyone on council or in administration that isn't embarrassed bloody well should be.

    wtf does it take to send out a fleet of lawnmowers and the occasional watering truck? drove past the new aboriginal art park on the way home from calgary this afternoon and you can't see the art for the dandelions.

    the approaches to walterdale might as well never have been sodded/seeded and grierson hill is no better. neither are the parks or bike/pedestrian path edges/miniparks.

    one would think the city is trying to turn dandelions into a cash crop with the excuse being "this is a great hear for dandelions". it's just that's the excuse every damn year...
    It's almost as if there is some sort of particular calendar day "kick off" to mowing and weed eating. Just like with street sweeping, we all know they can dam well start BEFORE the official press event at the South side yards, but they seem to wait until a particular day - who decides this/these day(s)? I am guessing once the "official" last day of street sweeping has been announced, the next day becomes the official day of mowing season? The small crew in Beaumont has been mowing for weeks and have run their city owned street sweeper at least 5 times down my street. Guess that's what higher taxes pay for.......

    Don't get me started on dead trees......90% of the trees planted South of Ellerslie on the East side of 50th St are DEAD. As well as most the trees on Ellerslie, East of 50th St by the "Hills" subdivision.

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    311
    /end thread
    “You have to dream big. If we want to be a little city, we dream small. If we want to be a big city, we dream big, and this is a big idea.” - Mayor Stephen Mandel, 02/22/2012

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    Quote Originally Posted by maclac View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by kcantor View Post
    the condition of our public areas is nothing short of embarassing.

    and anyone on council or in administration that isn't embarrassed bloody well should be.

    wtf does it take to send out a fleet of lawnmowers and the occasional watering truck? drove past the new aboriginal art park on the way home from calgary this afternoon and you can't see the art for the dandelions.

    the approaches to walterdale might as well never have been sodded/seeded and grierson hill is no better. neither are the parks or bike/pedestrian path edges/miniparks.

    one would think the city is trying to turn dandelions into a cash crop with the excuse being "this is a great hear for dandelions". it's just that's the excuse every damn year...
    It's almost as if there is some sort of particular calendar day "kick off" to mowing and weed eating. Just like with street sweeping, we all know they can dam well start BEFORE the official press event at the South side yards, but they seem to wait until a particular day - who decides this/these day(s)? I am guessing once the "official" last day of street sweeping has been announced, the next day becomes the official day of mowing season? The small crew in Beaumont has been mowing for weeks and have run their city owned street sweeper at least 5 times down my street. Guess that's what higher taxes pay for.......

    Don't get me started on dead trees......90% of the trees planted South of Ellerslie on the East side of 50th St are DEAD. As well as most the trees on Ellerslie, East of 50th St by the "Hills" subdivision.
    No, higher taxes = more money for the existing staff. It does not necessarily translate into more services. If you look at many of the union contracts with the city, they expressly forbid the outsourcing of the work ( I'm not even talking about jobs). If you read the by-laws closely enough you'll see that it's even forbidden for you to water trees or mow the boulevards.

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    End of the school year = start your mower day?

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    Quote Originally Posted by rupikhalon001 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by maclac View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by kcantor View Post
    the condition of our public areas is nothing short of embarassing.

    and anyone on council or in administration that isn't embarrassed bloody well should be.

    wtf does it take to send out a fleet of lawnmowers and the occasional watering truck? drove past the new aboriginal art park on the way home from calgary this afternoon and you can't see the art for the dandelions.

    the approaches to walterdale might as well never have been sodded/seeded and grierson hill is no better. neither are the parks or bike/pedestrian path edges/miniparks.

    one would think the city is trying to turn dandelions into a cash crop with the excuse being "this is a great hear for dandelions". it's just that's the excuse every damn year...
    It's almost as if there is some sort of particular calendar day "kick off" to mowing and weed eating. Just like with street sweeping, we all know they can dam well start BEFORE the official press event at the South side yards, but they seem to wait until a particular day - who decides this/these day(s)? I am guessing once the "official" last day of street sweeping has been announced, the next day becomes the official day of mowing season? The small crew in Beaumont has been mowing for weeks and have run their city owned street sweeper at least 5 times down my street. Guess that's what higher taxes pay for.......

    Don't get me started on dead trees......90% of the trees planted South of Ellerslie on the East side of 50th St are DEAD. As well as most the trees on Ellerslie, East of 50th St by the "Hills" subdivision.
    No, higher taxes = more money for the existing staff. It does not necessarily translate into more services. If you look at many of the union contracts with the city, they expressly forbid the outsourcing of the work ( I'm not even talking about jobs). If you read the by-laws closely enough you'll see that it's even forbidden for you to water trees or mow the boulevards.
    Link please.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sonic Death Monkey View Post
    311
    /end thread
    Why end thread? This is about how our city looks and the impression we leave visitors. Right now our public areas look atrocious. I take pride in how my property looks and I expect the city to do the same.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spudly View Post
    Edmonton's annual crop of Dandelion Whine...

    No this is about the lack of maintenance when it comes to public land. Dandelions, dead trees that were not planted properly, etc.....This is about the appearance of our city.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kcantor View Post
    the condition of our public areas is nothing short of embarassing.

    and anyone on council or in administration that isn't embarrassed bloody well should be.

    wtf does it take to send out a fleet of lawnmowers and the occasional watering truck? drove past the new aboriginal art park on the way home from calgary this afternoon and you can't see the art for the dandelions.

    the approaches to walterdale might as well never have been sodded/seeded and grierson hill is no better. neither are the parks or bike/pedestrian path edges/miniparks.

    one would think the city is trying to turn dandelions into a cash crop with the excuse being "this is a great hear for dandelions". it's just that's the excuse every damn year...
    Yes, the aboriginal park looked like a mess yesterday, totally disrespectful to those we are trying to honour.

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    I've spent roughly 4 hours pulling dandelions and have been mowing about once a week.
    I still have dandelions all over my lawn.

    So unless the COE starts using powerful herbicides again this is what happens.

    People here make it sound like the city isn't out mowing (which is now the only thing non sports fields get for weed control)...they are, but this city is huge, how often is the COE supposed to mow an area? If it isn't weekly than it's going to look rough during dandelion season and to mow weekly, well I believe they would have to 3x or more the resources.
    It's just not practical, no one wants to pay for that. No one really wants herbicide control all over. Somehow it's COE being terrible again? Is that really a fact, or is it just nearly impossible to keep dandelions under control?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by kcantor View Post
    the condition of our public areas is nothing short of embarassing.

    and anyone on council or in administration that isn't embarrassed bloody well should be.

    wtf does it take to send out a fleet of lawnmowers and the occasional watering truck? drove past the new aboriginal art park on the way home from calgary this afternoon and you can't see the art for the dandelions.

    the approaches to walterdale might as well never have been sodded/seeded and grierson hill is no better. neither are the parks or bike/pedestrian path edges/miniparks.

    one would think the city is trying to turn dandelions into a cash crop with the excuse being "this is a great hear for dandelions". it's just that's the excuse every damn year...
    Yes, the aboriginal park looked like a mess yesterday, totally disrespectful to those we are trying to honour.
    I bet it was mowed not long ago and it has nothing to do with disrespect and everything to do with just how fast and persistent the growth is.

    You want priority mowing of certain areas maybe? Which priorities; Sports fields? Boulevards? Parks? Medians? Major roads? Residential areas? Which one gets pushed down to even less frequent service levels to prioritize the others?

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    I think municipalities all over are refusing to use herbicides to kill dandelions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DanC View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Doug View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by kcantor View Post
    the condition of our public areas is nothing short of embarassing.

    and anyone on council or in administration that isn't embarrassed bloody well should be.

    wtf does it take to send out a fleet of lawnmowers and the occasional watering truck? drove past the new aboriginal art park on the way home from calgary this afternoon and you can't see the art for the dandelions.

    the approaches to walterdale might as well never have been sodded/seeded and grierson hill is no better. neither are the parks or bike/pedestrian path edges/miniparks.

    one would think the city is trying to turn dandelions into a cash crop with the excuse being "this is a great hear for dandelions". it's just that's the excuse every damn year...
    Yes, the aboriginal park looked like a mess yesterday, totally disrespectful to those we are trying to honour.
    I bet it was mowed not long ago and it has nothing to do with disrespect and everything to do with just how fast and persistent the growth is.

    You want priority mowing of certain areas maybe? Which priorities; Sports fields? Boulevards? Parks? Medians? Major roads? Residential areas? Which one gets pushed down to even less frequent service levels to prioritize the others?
    priority mowing?

    how "edmonton" - you can't have this unless you're prepared to give up that. you want this? how about making due with just half of it.

    i don't know anyone who only cuts 1/4 of their yard each week expecting it to look like anything other than crap all the time.
    "If you did not want much, there was plenty." Harper Lee

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    Quote Originally Posted by kcantor View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by DanC View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Doug View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by kcantor View Post
    the condition of our public areas is nothing short of embarassing.

    and anyone on council or in administration that isn't embarrassed bloody well should be.

    wtf does it take to send out a fleet of lawnmowers and the occasional watering truck? drove past the new aboriginal art park on the way home from calgary this afternoon and you can't see the art for the dandelions.

    the approaches to walterdale might as well never have been sodded/seeded and grierson hill is no better. neither are the parks or bike/pedestrian path edges/miniparks.

    one would think the city is trying to turn dandelions into a cash crop with the excuse being "this is a great hear for dandelions". it's just that's the excuse every damn year...
    Yes, the aboriginal park looked like a mess yesterday, totally disrespectful to those we are trying to honour.
    I bet it was mowed not long ago and it has nothing to do with disrespect and everything to do with just how fast and persistent the growth is.

    You want priority mowing of certain areas maybe? Which priorities; Sports fields? Boulevards? Parks? Medians? Major roads? Residential areas? Which one gets pushed down to even less frequent service levels to prioritize the others?
    priority mowing?

    how "edmonton" - you can't have this unless you're prepared to give up that. you want this? how about making due with just half of it.

    i don't know anyone who only cuts 1/4 of their yard each week expecting it to look like anything other than crap all the time.
    Bolded for emphasis, yes when there is a fixed budget to work with that is exactly how it works. I don't even understand how you can make such a comment, you are a developer and have to make trade-offs all the time or accept the costs associated with "having it all".
    The COE could provide everything to everyone all the time, but no one wants to pay for that.

    You should run for mayor, councilor or take a senior role at the COE and bring in your solutions, of which I haven't heard any in this thread, on how to do a lot more (4x) for the same or less.

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    While that is a rather simple mathematical way of looking at it, there is more than just linear math of puts and takes in this equation. There are costs and losses that make ignoring the area a geometric problem.

    The key is that the item in question is living. This is not painting a house, or revamping a boulevard...although those have a similar equation where deferred maintenance becomes an issue, it isn't as fast as grass.

    I have a 40-acre portion on the land I have now that is part of a 160-acre homestead. When the old homesteader retired, and we bought it, it was about 90 acres open, the rest trees. One bridge wash out over the NS River tributary and the land became inaccessible. It lay fallow for most of 30 years, and I have tried a few times to regain access with little success. We had a logging company go in about 20 years ago to harvest a select stand of timber...and their access crossing also washed out.

    I now have access that seems to be stable. However, in that 20 year period, the overgrowth is amazing. The harvested area now has trees 80' tall and you could harvest again. 50 acres of the field is completely overgrown. I spent the past 2+ years bashing out a parcel that, for some reason, didn't overgorw with trees. It is now ready for seeding into natural grasses for grazing. However, with the rain coming, I probably won't get back in. If that happens, the weeds can grow up in a mere week to where I have to cultivate and harrow again to get any take on the fescue, timothy, and clover.

    The point?

    The speed that nature works (and I am still blown away at how fast that spruce grew...that is unheard of rates)...is far faster than the deterioration of a boulevard. I have a 1/3 acre spot on the lawn that, due to being just busy, grew to 12" tall of fescue and clover. It took me the better part of the day yesterday to cut that down to keep the mosquitos at bay, and that was with a large flail mower. Now, expand that to a city, and then add the wild roses etc that get in the way, plus the summer students that bash and crash their way through this stuff as if it was just trimming an already mowed parcel...and you can easily see that it would cost you more in time and equipment alone. I normally can have blades that last a month...I had to sharpen after one day.

    So, if there is no herbicide to rid the thicker broadleaf weeds which are far harder to cut, or remove the wild roses, or other shrubs...then mowing is the only control. So, the real question is do we let areas simply go fallow, or absorb the cost of proper maintenance? Your trade-off is a little more complex than not if it is a more manicured look you are going for.

    Priority mowing sounds nice and arithmetic, but the actual costs are not linear.

    I am not complaining, just saying that natural areas have this tendency to go fallow and need care a lot faster than a building or a bridge...and cost exponentially more to recover.

    ...however, I remember some here absolutely going nuts over the "infrastructure deficit" as the former Klein administration paid off the debt by not investing in infrastructure...same fixed budget conversation.

    ...and just in case the "why don't you run" trope is pulled out on me...I was encouraged to apply and was even solicited for McKeen's ward...and also the Police Commission as a starting point. I said yes...until my mom passed and I bought the farm. I manage about the same amount of land as Blatchford. Unfortunately, it is not in Edmonton, so my aspirations were stopped.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DanC View Post
    when there is a fixed budget to work with ....
    Puleeze... Fixed budget? Edmonton, like most cities, have a reserve fund. There are years that CoE has had surplus funds. Those surplus funds go into a stabilization reserve for 'extraordinary circumstances or emergent financial issues'. Though the reserve acts like a risk management fund it can also be used for other programs and initiatives. Figure it out CoE! I've seen this neglect (for lack of a better word) as well throughout the city. Budget constraints don't give the City a free pass. Having said this I have no idea if or what the reserve fund looks like.
    Last edited by bpeters; 03-06-2019 at 08:58 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bpeters View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by DanC View Post
    when there is a fixed budget to work with ....
    Puleeze... Fixed budget? Edmonton, like most cities, have a reserve fund. There are years that CoE has had surplus funds. Those surplus funds go into a stabilization reserve for 'extraordinary circumstances or emergent financial issues'. Though the reserve acts like a risk management fund it can also be used for other programs and initiatives. Figure it out CoE! I've seen this neglect (for lack of a better word) as well throughout the city. Budget constraints don't give the City a free pass. Having said this I have no idea if or what the reserve fund looks like.
    The solution to dandelions, which in real terms are a nuisance and visual detraction only (and I'm not trying to say having a good, clean looking city isn't important) is to start emptying out the rainy day fund? That would not be a prudent move IMO.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RichardS View Post
    While that is a rather simple mathematical way of looking at it, there is more than just linear math of puts and takes in this equation. There are costs and losses that make ignoring the area a geometric problem.

    The key is that the item in question is living. This is not painting a house, or revamping a boulevard...although those have a similar equation where deferred maintenance becomes an issue, it isn't as fast as grass.

    I have a 40-acre portion on the land I have now that is part of a 160-acre homestead. When the old homesteader retired, and we bought it, it was about 90 acres open, the rest trees. One bridge wash out over the NS River tributary and the land became inaccessible. It lay fallow for most of 30 years, and I have tried a few times to regain access with little success. We had a logging company go in about 20 years ago to harvest a select stand of timber...and their access crossing also washed out.

    I now have access that seems to be stable. However, in that 20 year period, the overgrowth is amazing. The harvested area now has trees 80' tall and you could harvest again. 50 acres of the field is completely overgrown. I spent the past 2+ years bashing out a parcel that, for some reason, didn't overgorw with trees. It is now ready for seeding into natural grasses for grazing. However, with the rain coming, I probably won't get back in. If that happens, the weeds can grow up in a mere week to where I have to cultivate and harrow again to get any take on the fescue, timothy, and clover.

    The point?

    The speed that nature works (and I am still blown away at how fast that spruce grew...that is unheard of rates)...is far faster than the deterioration of a boulevard. I have a 1/3 acre spot on the lawn that, due to being just busy, grew to 12" tall of fescue and clover. It took me the better part of the day yesterday to cut that down to keep the mosquitos at bay, and that was with a large flail mower. Now, expand that to a city, and then add the wild roses etc that get in the way, plus the summer students that bash and crash their way through this stuff as if it was just trimming an already mowed parcel...and you can easily see that it would cost you more in time and equipment alone. I normally can have blades that last a month...I had to sharpen after one day.

    So, if there is no herbicide to rid the thicker broadleaf weeds which are far harder to cut, or remove the wild roses, or other shrubs...then mowing is the only control. So, the real question is do we let areas simply go fallow, or absorb the cost of proper maintenance? Your trade-off is a little more complex than not if it is a more manicured look you are going for.

    Priority mowing sounds nice and arithmetic, but the actual costs are not linear.

    I am not complaining, just saying that natural areas have this tendency to go fallow and need care a lot faster than a building or a bridge...and cost exponentially more to recover.

    ...however, I remember some here absolutely going nuts over the "infrastructure deficit" as the former Klein administration paid off the debt by not investing in infrastructure...same fixed budget conversation.

    ...and just in case the "why don't you run" trope is pulled out on me...I was encouraged to apply and was even solicited for McKeen's ward...and also the Police Commission as a starting point. I said yes...until my mom passed and I bought the farm. I manage about the same amount of land as Blatchford. Unfortunately, it is not in Edmonton, so my aspirations were stopped.
    I'm not sure I get the point other than the costs aren't linear. That I agree with, priority mowing would be even more expensive because you aren't working in the most efficient pattern of travel and a lot of the time for mowing is making sure you are not running all over the city with the mowing crews, it's keeping blades on grass as much of the time as possible.

    The only solution is to spend way more money mowing. Maybe 2x is enough but in my tiny world of a small amount of grass, if I don't mow 1x per week (which is something like 3x to 4x more than the COE currently does) it goes to pot.
    So who wants higher property taxes for higher service levels?

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    The point is that deferred maintenance on organics is a lot harder to recover from than physical buildings due to the sheer short amount of time it takes for nature to rebound. Mother Nature is a powerful force...

    The other solutions other than more mowing is to either go "au naturel", or concrete/gravel/remove nature. So, pick a solution. Priority mowing causes more problems than not. I assume from the rhetoric that Edmontonians like their green city...so the cost of doing the maintenance is X.

    We can talk puts and takes, but in the realm of nature, that is measured in days, not years...or we could be like the Laurence Decore Lookout...looking onto the weed/tree that is Trembling Aspen where a few years ago it was a view of the valley and the city...
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    Quote Originally Posted by RichardS View Post
    The point is that deferred maintenance on organics is a lot harder to recover from than physical buildings due to the sheer short amount of time it takes for nature to rebound. Mother Nature is a powerful force...

    The other solutions other than more mowing is to either go "au naturel", or concrete/gravel/remove nature. So, pick a solution. Priority mowing causes more problems than not. I assume from the rhetoric that Edmontonians like their green city...so the cost of doing the maintenance is X.

    We can talk puts and takes, but in the realm of nature, that is measured in days, not years...or we could be like the Laurence Decore Lookout...looking onto the weed/tree that is Trembling Aspen where a few years ago it was a view of the valley and the city...
    Okay, but there is no deferred maintenance on organics in this case. the COE has a program that mows every 3-4 weeks. At that rate there is no significant change (that I can see) in anything from mowing on a weekly to bi-weekly basis other than poor aesthetics, which is what is being complained about.
    There is a plan, it is followed, it's just not a robust enough resource assignment to mow everything down to where it looks pretty.

    I'm not sure what the Laurence Decore lookout has to do with mowing grass areas other than being peripherally related as it's "organics".
    Last edited by DanC; 03-06-2019 at 10:22 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RichardS View Post
    The point is that deferred maintenance on organics is a lot harder to recover from than physical buildings due to the sheer short amount of time it takes for nature to rebound. Mother Nature is a powerful force...

    The other solutions other than more mowing is to either go "au naturel", or concrete/gravel/remove nature. So, pick a solution. Priority mowing causes more problems than not. I assume from the rhetoric that Edmontonians like their green city...so the cost of doing the maintenance is X.

    We can talk puts and takes, but in the realm of nature, that is measured in days, not years...or we could be like the Laurence Decore Lookout...looking onto the weed/tree that is Trembling Aspen where a few years ago it was a view of the valley and the city...
    Once cleared, land takes decades and decades to return to a forested state. Once grasses and dandelions are established surrounding forest simply does not quickly overtake grassy areas.

    So here in the city we are stuck with the situation of having to mow vast areas of land for cosmetic, fire safety and other reasons. The City should just put the proper amount of money into the budget to do a proper job. It should also do all it can to plant trees and shrubs wherever possible, in order to create long term cost savings and a cleaner environment.
    Last edited by KC; 03-06-2019 at 10:24 AM.

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    Alex Decoteau is pretty dandelion free. But then again 1/3 of the grass is dead or dying, so it's a glass half full/half empty sort of thing.
    Giving less of a damn than ever… Can't laugh at the ignorant if you ignore them!

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    Isn’t aesthetics important? What if every piece of private property was maintained at the same level the public space is? It would not be a city I (or many other people) would choose to live in.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rupikhalon001 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by maclac View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by kcantor View Post
    the condition of our public areas is nothing short of embarassing.

    and anyone on council or in administration that isn't embarrassed bloody well should be.

    wtf does it take to send out a fleet of lawnmowers and the occasional watering truck? drove past the new aboriginal art park on the way home from calgary this afternoon and you can't see the art for the dandelions.

    the approaches to walterdale might as well never have been sodded/seeded and grierson hill is no better. neither are the parks or bike/pedestrian path edges/miniparks.

    one would think the city is trying to turn dandelions into a cash crop with the excuse being "this is a great hear for dandelions". it's just that's the excuse every damn year...
    It's almost as if there is some sort of particular calendar day "kick off" to mowing and weed eating. Just like with street sweeping, we all know they can dam well start BEFORE the official press event at the South side yards, but they seem to wait until a particular day - who decides this/these day(s)? I am guessing once the "official" last day of street sweeping has been announced, the next day becomes the official day of mowing season? The small crew in Beaumont has been mowing for weeks and have run their city owned street sweeper at least 5 times down my street. Guess that's what higher taxes pay for.......

    Don't get me started on dead trees......90% of the trees planted South of Ellerslie on the East side of 50th St are DEAD. As well as most the trees on Ellerslie, East of 50th St by the "Hills" subdivision.
    No, higher taxes = more money for the existing staff. It does not necessarily translate into more services. If you look at many of the union contracts with the city, they expressly forbid the outsourcing of the work ( I'm not even talking about jobs). If you read the by-laws closely enough you'll see that it's even forbidden for you to water trees or mow the boulevards.
    I have no idea what the truth is in this, but it does sound correct.

    Another thing to bear in mind is a fair portion of the park, grass, roads, etc maintenance is done by their seasonal workforce, most of whom start around early-mid May. If winter ends early, they end up playing a lot of catch-up in addition to doing training for new staff. Two friends of mine were just hired by the CoE as relief labourers (one of whom was hired in their mowing division or whatever it is called) in the last two weeks.

    Further, not to insult or throw shade, but we all know that there is a certain work cadence within the CoE. Things take awhile to happen.

    None of this is to excuse the state of the many green spaces in Edmonton, but to point out some of the underlying issues.
    I will beat the dead horse back to life.

  29. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by nickv View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by rupikhalon001 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by maclac View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by kcantor View Post
    the condition of our public areas is nothing short of embarassing.

    and anyone on council or in administration that isn't embarrassed bloody well should be.

    wtf does it take to send out a fleet of lawnmowers and the occasional watering truck? drove past the new aboriginal art park on the way home from calgary this afternoon and you can't see the art for the dandelions.

    the approaches to walterdale might as well never have been sodded/seeded and grierson hill is no better. neither are the parks or bike/pedestrian path edges/miniparks.

    one would think the city is trying to turn dandelions into a cash crop with the excuse being "this is a great hear for dandelions". it's just that's the excuse every damn year...
    It's almost as if there is some sort of particular calendar day "kick off" to mowing and weed eating. Just like with street sweeping, we all know they can dam well start BEFORE the official press event at the South side yards, but they seem to wait until a particular day - who decides this/these day(s)? I am guessing once the "official" last day of street sweeping has been announced, the next day becomes the official day of mowing season? The small crew in Beaumont has been mowing for weeks and have run their city owned street sweeper at least 5 times down my street. Guess that's what higher taxes pay for.......

    Don't get me started on dead trees......90% of the trees planted South of Ellerslie on the East side of 50th St are DEAD. As well as most the trees on Ellerslie, East of 50th St by the "Hills" subdivision.
    No, higher taxes = more money for the existing staff. It does not necessarily translate into more services. If you look at many of the union contracts with the city, they expressly forbid the outsourcing of the work ( I'm not even talking about jobs). If you read the by-laws closely enough you'll see that it's even forbidden for you to water trees or mow the boulevards.
    I have no idea what the truth is in this, but it does sound correct.

    Another thing to bear in mind is a fair portion of the park, grass, roads, etc maintenance is done by their seasonal workforce, most of whom start around early-mid May. If winter ends early, they end up playing a lot of catch-up in addition to doing training for new staff. Two friends of mine were just hired by the CoE as relief labourers (one of whom was hired in their mowing division or whatever it is called) in the last two weeks.

    Further, not to insult or throw shade, but we all know that there is a certain work cadence within the CoE. Things take awhile to happen.

    None of this is to excuse the state of the many green spaces in Edmonton, but to point out some of the underlying issues.
    If the system is failing, make changes.

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    Easier said than done

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    Tried to do my part this morning...


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  32. #32

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    Other cities perform great "adopt a block" neighbourhood programs where boulevard and traffic circle traffic calming elements are planted and maintained by local residents. I read about it all the time and mainly see the most widespread example in Vancovuer's West End where it's like rainforest quality
    Live and love... your neighbourhood.

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    Edmonton has too much that it can't possible maintain.... that's the root of the problem. Too much has been built without the long term funding considerations.

    https://www.strongtowns.org/curbside...sion-of-wealth

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    We also have that in Edmonton. There is a crescent in our neighbourhood that maintains the center Boulevard, cuts the grass and plants flowers, it looks great. I would be okay if the city left “neighbourhood spaces” like walkways and center boulevards in crescents entirely up to the neighbours. Overall I think they would be far better maintained.

    If the city cannot keep up with grass cutting on main boulevards why not plant wild grasses and just let them grow naturally?

  35. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by Medwards View Post
    Edmonton has too much that it can't possible maintain.... that's the root of the problem. Too much has been built without the long term funding considerations.

    https://www.strongtowns.org/curbside...sion-of-wealth
    Exactly. Nonetheless “suck it up and cope”. If someone chooses to go to an expensive restaurant or resort, they shouldn’t complain or try to weasel out of paying the bill.
    Last edited by KC; 03-06-2019 at 11:09 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DanC View Post
    ...
    Bolded for emphasis, yes when there is a fixed budget to work with that is exactly how it works. I don't even understand how you can make such a comment, you are a developer and have to make trade-offs all the time or accept the costs associated with "having it all".
    The COE could provide everything to everyone all the time, but no one wants to pay for that.

    You should run for mayor, councilor or take a senior role at the COE and bring in your solutions, of which I haven't heard any in this thread, on how to do a lot more (4x) for the same or less.
    I have no interest in running for mayor, councilor or taking a senior role at the coe (and, like RichardS have been asked numerous times in numerous jurisdictions) but that doesn't - nor should it - stop me from offering criticism and solutions in numerous forums including this one.

    yes, i am a developer and make trade-offs all the time when having it all is not affordable. the key isn't to having it all, the key is selecting those things that can't be compromised and doing them well, not doing everything poorly. it's a matter of priorities and choices as much as it is execution.

    we received an honourable mention in a city of edmonton architectural competition last week (the only one given) and we received an award from the alberta chapter of the american concrete institute last week as well. i have twice accepted boma building of the year honours and awards from the alberta masonry institute and granted an honouray membership of the alberta association of architects and delivered one of the earliest leed gold office buildings when only silver was required. i could go on (a 45 year career gets you that) but in none of those was it about me. it was about having and being part of good teams that made good choices. teams that understood we couldn't do everything but everything we did we chose to do well.

    i don't know about yours but my taxes seem to inexorably increase far in excess of any measure you want to realistically compare them too to determine whether there is value there or not. is that a complaint as well as just a statement? yes, but only to the extend that i am not getting value and good choices in return for those monies. it's the rationalizations as to why "we have to do this" and why "we can't do that" that drive me crazy (yes, i know, there is a contingent out there that will happily make the case that i've always been crazy, that's beside the point).

    don't tell me we can't manage to cut the damn grass so we can use those spaces for recreation and enjoyment (including just being able to enjoy looking at them) when we can find a quarter of billion here for another rec centre or two and a two thirds of a billion there for another lrt line or two and half a billion somewhere else to develop blatchford and exhibition lands and rossdale…

    Quote Originally Posted by DanC View Post
    ...

    The only solution is to spend way more money mowing. Maybe 2x is enough but in my tiny world of a small amount of grass, if I don't mow 1x per week (which is something like 3x to 4x more than the COE currently does) it goes to pot.
    So who wants higher property taxes for higher service levels?
    emphasis added because i don't think you're asking the right question.

    the real question is "who wants higher property taxes without higher service levels" and i dare say no-one including you would say yes to that one although that is what it appears we are being served.
    Last edited by kcantor; 03-06-2019 at 12:15 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by IanO View Post
    Tried to do my part this morning...


    @ianoyeg
    ftr these are annual geraniums. Planted for no reason, when annuals could suffice. Most homeowers with any sense develop beds primarily or exclusively with perennials that are hardy in this region. When you plant annuals borders all over the place you only succeed in spending money.
    "if god exists and he allowed that to happen, then its better that he doesn't exist"

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    Quote Originally Posted by kcantor View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by DanC View Post
    ...
    Bolded for emphasis, yes when there is a fixed budget to work with that is exactly how it works. I don't even understand how you can make such a comment, you are a developer and have to make trade-offs all the time or accept the costs associated with "having it all".
    The COE could provide everything to everyone all the time, but no one wants to pay for that.

    You should run for mayor, councilor or take a senior role at the COE and bring in your solutions, of which I haven't heard any in this thread, on how to do a lot more (4x) for the same or less.
    I have no interest in running for mayor, councilor or taking a senior role at the coe (and, like RichardS have been asked numerous times in numerous jurisdictions) but that doesn't - nor should it - stop me from offering criticism and solutions in numerous forums including this one.

    yes, i am a developer and make trade-offs all the time when having it all is not affordable. the key isn't to having it all, the key is selecting those things that can't be compromised and doing them well, not doing everything poorly. it's a matter of priorities and choices as much as it is execution.

    we received an honourable mention in a city of edmonton architectural competition last week (the only one given) and we received an award from the alberta chapter of the american concrete institute last week as well. i have twice accepted boma building of the year honours and awards from the alberta masonry institute and granted an honouray membership of the alberta association of architects and delivered one of the earliest leed gold office buildings when only silver was required. i could go on (a 45 year career gets you that) but in none of those was it about me. it was about having and being part of good teams that made good choices. teams that understood we couldn't do everything but everything we did we chose to do well.

    i don't know about yours but my taxes seem to inexorably increase far in excess of any measure you want to realistically compare them too to determine whether there is value there or not. is that a complaint as well as just a statement? yes, but only to the extend that i am not getting value and good choices in return for those monies. it's the rationalizations as to why "we have to do this" and why "we can't do that" that drive me crazy (yes, i know, there is a contingent out there that will happily make the case that i've always been crazy, that's beside the point).

    don't tell me we can't manage to cut the damn grass so we can use those spaces for recreation and enjoyment (including just being able to enjoy looking at them) when we can find a quarter of billion here for another rec centre or two and a two thirds of a billion there for another lrt line or two and half a billion somewhere else to develop blatchford and exhibition lands and rossdale…

    Quote Originally Posted by DanC View Post
    ...

    The only solution is to spend way more money mowing. Maybe 2x is enough but in my tiny world of a small amount of grass, if I don't mow 1x per week (which is something like 3x to 4x more than the COE currently does) it goes to pot.
    So who wants higher property taxes for higher service levels?
    emphasis added because i don't think you're asking the right question.

    the real question is "who wants higher property taxes without higher service levels" and i dare say no-one including you would say yes to that one although that is what it appears we are being served.
    Well Ken, people want those quarter billion dollar rec centers and billion dollar LRT lines. IMO you can say that about any part of the budget there is always money for this but not that, it's just a trade-off of different chunks of the whole. I'd rather have a new LRT line than have the grass in Strathearn mowed each week, but that is me.

    I take your opinion as; taxes are way up and services are worse or declining over time and that is somehow strictly a COE issue; well that in my opinion it's a lot broader, it is a product of when the cost of the resources expands at a great rate...wages and other resources (equipment) went up and up and up for well over a decade and only in the last couple of years has that stopped or tapered back, but the hardest thing to role back is the cost of labour. It almost never likes to role back, because it so happens people don't like making less money for the same work (weird, ha), especially when wage rates are locked in on 3-5 forward looking agreements in unionized or collective agreements.
    It's also compounded by the large backlog of infrastructure work left from times of austerity...in the 90s and early 2000s.
    It this particular instance it is again compounded by a very large change in how this specific problem was controlled with the suspension of the broad use of herbicides.

    I guess I remember what I thought of Edmonton in the 90s and early 2000s and IMO it is remarkably better today, with better services, better infrastructure, better maintenance that it had then. It's just been a very long, very expensive hole to dig out of that still isn't done and might again grow worse as it's looking like funding is again going to drop off a cliff.

    It's not as if I don't think there are times the COE could do better. I struggle with lots of their decisions and what feels like a piece meal approach to many issues but delivering quality services to a City that has one of the lowest densities, has some of the highest wage and equipment (resources) costs, that has a population that does not like paying taxes (every jurisdiction complains, but in the context of Canada, Edmonton by product of being Alberta is a low tax jurisdiction) is not an enviable job.

    I liked some of the solutions in here about re-naturalizing areas and handing areas over to neighborhoods (community leagues or what not), those to me sound more practical than increasing the rate of mowing for the specific issue that came up. More broadly, I'd personally like to see all sorts of other things happen that I think could help; like restricting new development lands, infilling big greenspaces that sit empty that were originally planned for services, intensifying zoning in mature areas, getting the industrial tax base into Edmonton from the counties, moving work to private sector where cost effective and appropriate, but those are much larger broader discussions on the COE and regional efficiencies (and lots of people are also against them).

  39. #39

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    I think the issue is: if you build it, maintain it.

    Don’t build it and then steal away proper and predictable maintenance funding in order to go and build something else.

    Maybe the City should create maintenance funds. Increase every home owner’s taxes by a percent or two and put the funds into dedicated sustainability funds. After 10-20 years the accumulated funds would then start to increasing pay out larger percentages of maintenance costs.

    The same for infrastructure replacement and say, plan to split the future capital cost 50/50 between the sinking fund and new debt financing.
    Last edited by KC; 03-06-2019 at 01:18 PM.

  40. #40

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    The other issue is: if you don't build it because you can't maintain it, people will still complain that it isn't being built, and they'll complain at the ballot box.
    I am in no way entitled to your opinion...

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    The motto should be, if you build it, you WILL maintain it. I believe this type of thinking would keep us all happy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KC View Post
    I think the issue is: if you build it, maintain it.

    Don’t build it and then steal away proper and predictable maintenance funding in order to go and build something else.

    Maybe the City should create maintenance funds. Increase every home owner’s taxes by a percent or two and put the funds into dedicated sustainability funds. After 10-20 years the accumulated funds would then start to increasing pay out larger percentages of maintenance costs.

    The same for infrastructure replacement and say, plan to split the future capital cost 50/50 between the sinking fund and new debt financing.
    This is exactly what the neighborhood revitalization levy does?

    All capital projects include budgeting for forward looking maintenance and a maintenance plan.

    The issue here is that people think it isn't be maintained ENOUGH by opinion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug View Post
    The motto should be, if you build it, you WILL maintain it. I believe this type of thinking would keep us all happy.
    What, exactly, isn't maintained?

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    Have a look at the street landscaping that is done by the city, very poorly maintained (dead trees, dead sod, overrun with sand and gravel). Most boulevards in the city and generally the outside of most of our facilities are not looked after. Inside, they are well maintained and beautiful, outside is a different story.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug View Post
    Have a look at the street landscaping that is done by the city, very poorly maintained (dead trees, dead sod, overrun with sand and gravel). Most boulevards in the city and generally the outside of most of our facilities are not looked after. Inside, they are well maintained and beautiful, outside is a different story.
    Maybe I'm lucky and see them work various areas around me throughout the year. For sure not everything is cleaned up by June 1, it gets done over the entire season.
    Do you have specific examples? Most COE buildings and facilities seem well kept to me. I wish streets would last longer here, curbs/gutters and the surface. Not sure if there is a good answer, but if there is someone should be selling it.
    Lots of areas were terrible before neighborhood revitalization, but through increased taxes those have been getting tackled and it makes a huge difference having just gone through it the last 2 years.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DanC View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by KC View Post
    I think the issue is: if you build it, maintain it.

    Don’t build it and then steal away proper and predictable maintenance funding in order to go and build something else.

    Maybe the City should create maintenance funds. Increase every home owner’s taxes by a percent or two and put the funds into dedicated sustainability funds. After 10-20 years the accumulated funds would then start to increasing pay out larger percentages of maintenance costs.

    The same for infrastructure replacement and say, plan to split the future capital cost 50/50 between the sinking fund and new debt financing.
    This is exactly what the neighborhood revitalization levy does?

    All capital projects include budgeting for forward looking maintenance and a maintenance plan.

    The issue here is that people think it isn't be maintained ENOUGH by opinion.
    DanC, is the issue here that "people think it isn't being maintained enough by opinion" or is the issue here that "people can pretty much look at it and see that it isn't being maintained enough"? while this discussion is primarily about medians and boulevards and parks and paths and community centres and sports facilities (grass areas), you could have a similar discussion about road surfaces, sidewalks, lamp standards, signs, barriers, structures and buildings, sewers, storm ponds, pedestrian crossings and lights...

    all capital projects include budgeting for "forward looking maintenance and a maintenance plan"? i think the problem with that as a response is two-fold. firstly i would be surprised if that policy has been in effect long enough to impact more than a very small part of the city's overall infrastructure and secondly i don't think those monies are actually set aside and dedicated for that purpose although i'm open to being corrected. if i'm not mistaken what that means is those monies simply go into the overall pot and are long spent by the time the project that provided them needs it.

    i also find it interesting that many of the areas that are the most obvious when it comes to poor landscape maintenance were and continue to be built by the private sector to standards and specs that the city has no intention of maintaining. examples in that regard include entry features and pocket parks and trails and boulevards and medians - simply the most obvious places to showcase what's not being done. if the city want's low to no maintenance xeriscapes, why does it insist on manicured grassy spaces that only look great for the two years prior to their being turned over to the city? and i'm not just talking about new subdivisions here - that would apply to the aboriginal art park and the approaches to the new walterdale bridge and to louise mckinney park and the proposed upgrades to dawson park...
    "If you did not want much, there was plenty." Harper Lee

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    Take a look at the Fort Rd near 66 st. Many of the trees and shrubs they have planted have died and the boulevards have lots of sand and gravel all year. Have a look at 98 av and River Rd. Much of the boulevards are a mess and much of the trees and shrubs have died. 97 st from 137- 153 ave is another great example. If we are going to invest money into these projects then they have to be maintained, if not, we are wasting our money.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kcantor View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by DanC View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by KC View Post
    I think the issue is: if you build it, maintain it.

    Don’t build it and then steal away proper and predictable maintenance funding in order to go and build something else.

    Maybe the City should create maintenance funds. Increase every home owner’s taxes by a percent or two and put the funds into dedicated sustainability funds. After 10-20 years the accumulated funds would then start to increasing pay out larger percentages of maintenance costs.

    The same for infrastructure replacement and say, plan to split the future capital cost 50/50 between the sinking fund and new debt financing.
    This is exactly what the neighborhood revitalization levy does?

    All capital projects include budgeting for forward looking maintenance and a maintenance plan.

    The issue here is that people think it isn't be maintained ENOUGH by opinion.
    DanC, is the issue here that "people think it isn't being maintained enough by opinion" or is the issue here that "people can pretty much look at it and see that it isn't being maintained enough"? while this discussion is primarily about medians and boulevards and parks and paths and community centres and sports facilities (grass areas), you could have a similar discussion about road surfaces, sidewalks, lamp standards, signs, barriers, structures and buildings, sewers, storm ponds, pedestrian crossings and lights...

    all capital projects include budgeting for "forward looking maintenance and a maintenance plan"? i think the problem with that as a response is two-fold. firstly i would be surprised if that policy has been in effect long enough to impact more than a very small part of the city's overall infrastructure and secondly i don't think those monies are actually set aside and dedicated for that purpose although i'm open to being corrected. if i'm not mistaken what that means is those monies simply go into the overall pot and are long spent by the time the project that provided them needs it.

    i also find it interesting that many of the areas that are the most obvious when it comes to poor landscape maintenance were and continue to be built by the private sector to standards and specs that the city has no intention of maintaining. examples in that regard include entry features and pocket parks and trails and boulevards and medians - simply the most obvious places to showcase what's not being done. if the city want's low to no maintenance xeriscapes, why does it insist on manicured grassy spaces that only look great for the two years prior to their being turned over to the city? and i'm not just talking about new subdivisions here - that would apply to the aboriginal art park and the approaches to the new walterdale bridge and to louise mckinney park and the proposed upgrades to dawson park...
    Yea, having the largest continuous park in North America adds to the resource load, since you brought up all those parks.
    Ken, I have a hard time believing the COE doesn't review opex as part of capital project budgeting. I guess for roads and parks maintenance you wouldn't handle it like that.

    COE needs more money to hire more resources, that is the real answer. Who wants to pay? I'd be willing to pay extra to a "make it beautiful fund" but I'm not sure the majority would. Maybe a City Council could sell that if it goes into a specific budget line item.
    Last edited by DanC; 03-06-2019 at 03:21 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DanC View Post
    ...
    Yea, having the largest continuous park in North America adds to the resource load, since you brought up all those parks.
    Ken, I have a hard time believing the COE doesn't review opex as part of capital project budgeting. I guess for roads and parks maintenance you wouldn't handle it like that.

    COE needs more money to hire more resources, that is the real answer. Who wants to pay? I'd be willing to pay extra to a "make it beautiful fund" but I'm not sure the majority would. Maybe a City Council could sell that if it goes into a specific budget line item.
    maybe we need someone to campaign with the same platform that the new governor of michigan first took to the polls?

    as one of only two states where cannabis is legal (california is the other) the campaign was based on a "fix the damn roads" slogan using state revenues from cannabis being dedicated to their maintenance.

    unfortunately, said the new governor after taking office and doing the math, after spending the amount of money that would have to be spent on cannabis in order to generate enough money to actually fix the roads, "...no one is going to care about the damn roads".

    except you and me.
    Last edited by kcantor; 03-06-2019 at 03:33 PM.
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  50. #50

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    Edmonton is a thinly populated city with lots of useless space between buildings and roads. Simply put, most of the open lawn we have isn't used for much.

    I know the province is responsible for maintaining Anthony Henday Drive but we don't need all this grass:
    https://www.google.com/maps/@53.5123...7i13312!8i6656

    The city did cut back on mowing certain areas like this, good job but there is still more cutbacks that need to be made:
    https://www.google.com/maps/@53.5036...7i13312!8i6656

    Such as this:
    https://www.google.com/maps/@53.5056...7i13312!8i6656

    Too much grass that nobody uses.
    https://www.google.com/maps/@53.5122...7i13312!8i6656

    Wasted space beside major roadways that should be developed:
    https://www.google.com/maps/@53.5510...7i13312!8i6656

    If we reduced the amount of lawn that needs maintaining to just the areas that are actually used we would have an easier time maintaining them. The excess lawn can be left to go wild, or be used to plant crops, trees, bushes etc. Doing this will go a long way to making Edmonton more environmentally friendly.
    Edmonton first, everything else second.

  51. #51
    C2E Hard Core Contributor
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    Sherwood park
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    2,705

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    it can take up to 80 years of an area to become naturalized.

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