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Third set of responses from Mayor Mandel

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  • Third set of responses from Mayor Mandel

    MoahunterQ: 1. It seems inevitable to me that eventually there will be some form of amalgamation in the capital region into one city / body. Do you agree this is likely, and if it is, what form would you like to see it ultimately take? For example, is it better that Edmonton simply grows and consumes the bordering Cities, or would it be preferable to have more of a decentralized union (perhaps something like the GTA

    The new capital region board is framing a new structure that will begin to accomplish what we most need, and that’s a more cooperative structure and an empowered board that must work together – on planning, infrastructure, housing, transit and other items, in order to do what is best for our entire region. We are obligated to bring a plan forward by March 31 and our Premier has been clear that he intends to see this process succeed.

    As Mayor, I and my regional colleagues, have to finish the job we’ve been given and for my part, I intend do everything possible to ensure we deliver on the mandate the Premier has given us.

    2. the 30 year plan proposes extending Edmonton's borders even further to provide for more residential suburbs, there is a growing awareness of the need to preserve local farmland to enhance sustainable lifestyles. When do you think Edmonton Council will have the courage to say "no", to such expansion, such that the current distorted economics that promote the conversion of low price farmland to sprawl is not longer subsidised by Edmonton taxpayers?

    Edmonton is doing a much better job on “sprawl” issues. I think the regional plan must do its part. There is no perfect balance, but we have been very firm that the preservation of agricultural lands must be a priority for the entire region.

    Sonic Death Monkey Q2: 1. One popular topic on this forum is Gateway Boulevard and the impression it leaves with visitors as they travel from the airport to downtown. To put it bluntly, it is not a good impression because of its plethora of traffic lights, strip malls, hubcap stores and dilapidated industrial outlets. Has there been any discussion at City Hall on improving the esthetics, business zoning and traffic flow of this important route?

    Yes, we need to design a better entrance and building standards along all of our access roads – we can no longer accept the minimum.

    2. When can we expect public transit service to the InternationalAirport?

    I think transit service should be achievable under the new regional framework in the short term. The broader issue of LRT to the airport will be a longer term issue due to capital costs and the fact that we have listed other routes as a more immediate priority, such as our NAIT line

    3. Much attention was to Calgary's spitting bylaw because it helped catch a local criminal. Would a similar spitting bylaw be considered for Edmonton

    We have a community standards bylaw that established various bylaws for our City. We have just added the issue of panhandling to the C.S. Bylaw. I’m not sure of any plans to add “spitting”.

    Red FoxxQ: Why are we wasting time on the downtown airport when there are 2 referendums that could be enforced? Why don't we just draw a line in the sand and enforce consolidating all scheduled services? Why don't we demand that this next round of talks and designs start from this point and stop pandering to special interests? When is the city going to get a spine in this issue

    The referendum of 1995 is partially being enforced and as I noted to MAurelius earlier, Council will be receiving some reports in March and a final decision will be made before the summer break. We will need to have a much more extensive discussion with our citizens about whether we should maintain the status quo at this airport, or use the land differently but I agree, we need to make a decision and move on

    Why are you against the LRT to the International when it would help the access issues to the airport and possibly kill the downtown airport debate?

    I think public transit to the International Airport is very important but I am very realistic about the costs. We have to be realistic about the cost and time requirements – LRT is a desirable solution but it’s by no means a cheap or easy solution. It’s also one that will require more discussion at the regional table. Citizens of Edmonton would first like to see the LRT/BRT to their areas so that they can use transit – that’s our first priority

    I appreciate your stance on beautifying Edmonton. What can be done to increase public art in the city?

    Public Art does add a lot to the beauty of our city and through our Edmonton Arts Council we have a number of initiatives aimed at increasing the public art in the City. We have “Master Plan for Public Art”, we also have in place a 1 per cent for art program, which calls for 1 per cent of our capital construction costs to be allocated to public art on any new site. We can continue to ensure these programs are supported. We also need to do a better job of taking care of some of the public art assets we already have

    Smoking. I see cigarette butts everywhere. Why can't the bylaw folks go on a "no butts about it" campaign and fine every cigarette litterer they see?

    We need to do a better job of creating a safe and clean Edmonton. We need to ensure we’ve provided enough adequate receptacles for smokers to use, and then to enforce the requirement that they are used. We need to encourage businesses and office buildings to be more diligent in their clean up. Once we do those things, we can consider other options in terms of bylaw enforcement.

    It’ our job to educate and encouraged Edmontonians to take an active role in keeping our streets free of all litter and will be more conscious of the role they play in our City's image.

    1. What is being done to hold developers to account when they build traffic monsters like South Edmonton Common and then demand special overpasses? Shouldn't they pay for this access?

    It’s the City of Edmonton’s responsibility to ensure that we have adequate infrastructure and that our citizens have the proper access to facilities. The requirements of developer contributions to projects are set out in the development agreement. We need to ensure that issues like you mentioned and many others are included. We do it now, but in the past we were not as effective

    FrozenOrcaQ: I am new to Edmonton and I take a lot of ribbing from back home for moving here. I like Edmonton now that I am here but I can say that before I came I knew nothing about the city except it was cold and boring. Can you tell me what you plan is to get this city the recognition it deserves within Canada?

    Well one of the best ways to tell anything is word of mouth. You are here. You like it – tell someone.

    But of course we need to do more to market our city – especially to young people. Last year, the City ran a marketing and awareness campaign that targeted post-secondary students in Toronto. The results showed a significant improvement in raising awareness of Edmonton as a place to live and work. We are now developing a longer term strategy based on what was learned.

    We are also pursuing a number of international events like the 2017 World’s Fair and the Universiade Games, in addition to our many festivals and the Rexall Edmonton Indy, which are all events that boost Edmonton’s international exposure. In the end, though, we need to do a better job.

    DebraWQ #2: If money (and time and other pesky little details) were not an obstacle what is a project or initiative that you would like to see accomplished in Edmonton?

    If money were no object, I would invest in our downtown infrastructure to bring downtown alive. And I would initiate a marketing campaign that would show Canada that this is the best City to live, work and play in.