September was a big month in the development of Blatchford as the Blatchford Renewable Energy Utility was officially completed and the first Energy Centre opened! The utility includes a 570 borehole geoexchange field and the Energy Centre, which holds the mechanical equipment for the District Energy Sharing System. Part of Council’s vision for this community …
School is officially out which means that children and teens have a lot of time on their hands. Wondering what you can do in our City? There are many affordable or free activities for families to participate in over the summer.
Downtown has been growing steadily over the past few years and it continues to offer wonderful experiences for families. Part of the experience can be taking the bus or LRT downtown, which is free for children under 12, I know my grandchildren love riding the train! The LRT has a stop that is very close to the Edmonton Street Car where you can enjoy riding a restored streetcar over the High-Level Bridge, an activity that is sure to satisfy all ages.
Head down to the Art Gallery of Alberta which is free for individuals under 17. If you attend the AGA with some friends and their children, consider registering for an education program for a more hands-on gallery experience. Visit youraga.ca for more information.
Just down the street is the new Royal Alberta Museum. It’s a great way to spend time exploring over a few days. Children 6 and under are free and the annual family pass is only $70. Right now the museum is featuring Vikings: Beyond the Legend, which is the largest touring exhibition of Viking artifacts in the world.
On your way to the museum check out a free tour at City Hall. Free public tours take place every Friday in July and August beginning at 12:30 pm and last about an hour, no need to register, just drop in.
Maybe your kids loved looking at the prehistoric animals at the museum but they would like to experience some amazing animals live and in person. The Valley Zoo recently opened Nature’s Wild Backyard which includes habitat for red pandas, a new urban farm where children can pet some animals, and play equipment that encourages children to use their imagination.
For something closer to home cool down in any of Edmonton’s outdoor pools for free again this summer! Afterwards, head to the Aviation Museum on the last Thursday of every month from 5 to 8 pm for free family access.
These are only a few of the wonderful options our City has to offer, there are festivals every weekend, markets all around the City and great community events. For more ideas check out exploreedmonton.com
This September we are putting another community fun day together, it’s on September 7th from 11-2 pm at Grand Trunk Field, I would love to see you there. It’s a free family event, everyone is welcome!
There has been all kinds of discussion surrounding what to do with residential speed limits, its coming back to Council on May 14th. Making our City safe is a priority, but I recognize and have heard from many that whatever we do it needs to be simple, consistent, cost effective and that we need to …
Edmonton was privileged to host two international traffic safety conferences this past week. The International Council on Alcohol, Drugs and Traffic Safety (ICADTS) Conference happens
once every three years and, in its 65-year history, this is only the fourth time it has been in Canada. More than 200 people attended from 33 countries to learn about the latest research on impairment and traffic safety. The second conference was the 11th Annual International Conference on Urban Traffic Safety. Sessions covered many areas of traffic safety from infrastructure to enforcement.
These conferences brought together delegates from the areas of municipal government, traffic and transport psychology, public health, medicine, economics, law and law enforcement, public policy, education, pharmacology, toxicology, forensic science, human factors, and alcohol intervention and rehabilitation.
Traffic safety conferences are important because people with a passion for saving lives and preventing injuries get together to share research and successes. They develop networks of people they can reach out to when they are looking for ways to tackle the complex issue of traffic safety.
I am delighted that the success of Vision Zero in Edmonton at reducing fatalities and serious injuries has caught the attention of people around the world. Our own traffic-safety experts shared what Edmonton is doing and learned what is working in other places. No traffic fatality is acceptable, and we have a long way to go, but Edmontonians are on a path to zero fatalities and serious injuries.
My thanks goes to the people who organized these traffic safety conferences and to the many people who work to make our roads safer for everyone.
Every summer, construction projects around the City get going with new and renewed infrastructure. Some of the biggest projects are well on their way within Ward 2, including the Yellowhead Freeway conversion, Blatchford, Northwest LRT, and neighbourhood renewal. It’s fair to say we have a lot to be excited about.
Crews are working hard to prepare the roads surrounding Yellowhead for its freeway conversion. To safely accommodate traffic through the construction area much of 128 Avenue and 125A Avenue has been reduced to westbound traffic. This will allow the City to reconfigure the roads and remove traffic signals along the Yellowhead with the first light removal being at 89 Street. None of the projects this summer should affect your daily commute on the Yellowhead as they are projects that will help to better accommodate any displaced traffic as a result of temporary or permanent road changes. Public engagement for the 97 Street to St Albert Trail section will begin later this year. If you would like up to date information, be sure to sign up at edmonton.ca/yellowhead.
Exciting things are also happening in Blatchford. Four builders were selected to construct the first homes: Carbon Busters, Encore Master Builder, Mutti Homes and Ocheller by RedBrick. The roads are already complete and construction will start very soon on the first homes, which will be townhouses. While the houses are being sold and built, construction crews are completing the first linear park and all of its features. This linear park runs the length of the first stage of development and will feature heritage art pieces, play areas, community gardens, an event area, and more amenities that will make Blatchford an amazing place to raise a family. See Blatchford edmonton.ca for details.
Construction on the first phase of the District Energy Sharing System is almost complete with crews putting the finishing touches on the first Energy Centre, which will house the system’s key equipment and connect to one of Canada’s largest geoexchange fields found under the pond.
The City recently released the preliminary design for the NW LRT extension into Blatchford. It includes two LRT stops right within the heart of the community. Custom-designed wider sidewalks with pedestrian-scale lighting and street furniture, separated bike lanes, and pedestrian-only streets are some of the amenities residents will enjoy. These will help connect people to the LRT and make commutes around the City easy and enjoyable. To see a flyover of the preliminary design and learn more about the NW LRT visit www.edmonton.ca/nwlrt.
It’s an exciting time in Ward 2 and in our City. I know construction delays can be a nuisance, but please give construction crews and other workers lots of room to work when you are driving around them.
Every few months I put out a newsletter to keep residents in Ward 2 updated on what’s happening. If you would like to subscribe, sign up on the right side of my page, and to see the last issue click here!
One of my favourite times of year is spring, it brings everyone out of their houses after a long winter. Neighbourhoods come alive again with outdoor events, children playing and neighbours chatting together. For some, it may be their first summer in Edmonton, something that we have all come to love, for others, it might be the first time spending summer in their new neighbourhood, but for everyone, it’s a time that we can celebrate community. Just as people come out of their houses, so plants begin to make their way out of the soil. In Edmonton, we are fortunate to have many wonderful community gardens that bring people together with a common goal of growing food and meeting others.
Community gardens and urban agriculture can provide many benefits, including family-friendly recreation opportunities, beautification of neighbourhoods, increased availability of healthy food, and community/relationship building. These connections help neighbours get to know one another, which increases the safety and wellbeing of the community by increasing awareness of your neighbourhood. And the reality is that gardening can be a fun activity that is family friendly and can help teach children the benefit of growing healthy and delicious food.
Community gardens are one way to help residents reduce the impact of neighbourhoods that have little-to-no access to stores and restaurants that provide healthy and affordable food options.
In Edmonton, we currently have 80 community garden sites that are led and operated by community groups and leagues. Some great Ward 2 options include:
I recognize that some neighbourhoods may not have an established community garden. Thankfully Sustainable Food Edmonton, a local non-profit, and the City of Edmonton, has resources for individuals and leagues to start their own garden.
As you plant your garden remember, the more you sow into your community the more you will reap the reward of friendships with neighbours that will last many seasons.
A few years ago we realized as a City that we needed to take action to ensure that no matter which way that individuals and families use the road, or interact with it, they know that they will be safe. We unanimously decided as a Council to implement Vision Zero. The Vision Zero program involves many areas working together to achieve the goal of zero traffic fatalities by 2032.
In 2018, the City installed pedestrian scrambles at busy intersections on Jasper Avenue, on Whyte Avenue, and around Ice District. We added 65 feedback signs informing drivers to stay within the speed limit, which now totals 215 across Edmonton. We invested in rapid flashing beacons, zebra crosswalks, reflective pole wraps, and no-left-turn signs for 27 schools areas. We improved signals at 19 pedestrians crossings and made existing traffic signals easier to see at 12 other intersections.
By The Numbers
Collision data over a three-year period, from 2015 before Vision Zero was launched to 2018, showed a 41% decline in traffic fatalities and a 17% decline in serious injuries, even though the number of vehicles on the road has increased. As well, we saw collisions involving vulnerable road users including pedestrians decline by 21%, cyclists by 27%, and motorcycles by 31%.
But Vision Zero is more than just flashing amber lights and speed limit signs. It is an attitude and a value system that guides the way we live in Edmonton. It is the belief that life and health should never be exchanged for convenience, that we need to put safety first. It is the belief that everyone deserves to leave and come home safely every day. It is belief every single Edmontonian can adapt and contribute. When you slow down at a playground zone, stop at the pedestrian crossing, encourage your peers to drive to conditions, ensure the road is safe before crossing, you contribute to Vision Zero.
Let’s continue succeeding together.
Do you ever think of waste? As individuals it’s important that we do all that we can to reduce the waste that we create, and as a municipality it’s important that we keep pushing for a better waste management system. This is why we are rethinking the way we approach how household waste is sorted and managed. Since January of 2018 the City has been hosting public engagement throughout the City and what we have heard time and again is that people want to do their part in reducing waste. Many feel that participation is the right thing to do to bring change however, we have also heard that the less complicated the system, the better.
We are heading into our next round of engagement and we would like to have your thoughts and perspectives on specific topics such as cart sizes, recycling, waste reduction and more, even if this is your first time participating in discussions. For in person engagement head to the Telus World of Science on April 6 11am-2pm, or go to edmonton.ca/futureofwaste to fill out the survey online and to get more information.
Part of our goal as a City is to try things out on a smaller scale to work out kinks before making final decisions on big changes. That’s why on April 15, 8,000 homes across 13 neighbourhoods will begin testing out various garbage cart options as a pilot program. In Ward 2 Kensington has been selected as the pilot community.
The Edmonton Cart Rollout will help inform the 25-year waste strategy for Edmonton and ensure that we get user feedback so that the system can be refined and implemented well. If you live in Kensington or are interested in how the pilot will work there will be a drop in session hosted on April 4 from 4-7pm at Kensington Community Hall.
If you’re looking for a way that you can help reduce waste before we switch to a new system, composting is a great option. Composting is the most effective way the average household can reduce their waste. It is a great soil conditioner that can help your gardens, grass and trees grow. If you’re not sure where to start the City puts on some workshops throughout the summer called Compost ‘S cool, you can register here.