Tag Archives: Council

12 Councillors, 12 Wards: More Than A Dozen Reasons Why…

Edmonton City Council has passed in first reading the approval of the 12 ward system. The proposal will be coming to Council for a second and third reading on July 22nd. Edmonton will potentially join many other cities in establishing a more accountable and more democratic system of representation. It is expected to pass, but it never hurts to send a note to your councillors@edmonton.ca letting them know that you support this decision.


Philosophically, it is the right thing to do.


Under the old 6 Ward system, the constituent populations had gotten to an unmanageable level. Campaigning required trying to connect with ward populations of over 100 000 constituents- an almost impossible task. Such large wards naturally favored the incumbents during campaigns based on name recognition– no campaign team could knock on every door. 

The increased cost of campaigning over such a vast region left many candidates more dependent on large donations and saddled with the real-or-perceived political baggage that came with them. More ordinary Edmontonians will now be able to throw their hat into the race, leading to a more accessible, competitive, and engaged democratic debate. 

A 12 Ward system will make for more equitable campaigns, but it will also make for more effective representation. Councillors constantly had to check for duplication of efforts and often the higher-profile Councillor ended up getting the lion’s share of the phone calls and constituent calls. Now there is a clear line of accountability between the Councillor, their constituents, and their concerns. A citizen is always welcome to contact the Mayor, or any Councillor for that matter, with a problem, especially if they do not feel that their elected representative is being effective. However, Councillors will likely have more time to be effective representatives now that they have a smaller constituency base to attend to. 

The concern that Councillors may become too focused on just their ward is mistaken; they are elected to attend to the interests of the city as a whole and judging by how many issues are multi-jurisdictional, it is likely this cooperation will continue.


The map is sound. 


Though it is unfortunate that the Municipal Government Act (MGA) has Councillors drawing up their own constituencies, the wards are well-justified:

– It effectively follows natural geographic boundaries (the river, calgary trail, etc

– It respects community league boundaries, with a couple of minor changes– quite impressive considering that there are 150 leagues.

– It takes into account population variance (61, 276 to 70,840 (-6.1% to +8.6%)) and elector variance (48,529 to 62,152 (-8.0% to +17.9%))

– It takes into account the potential for future growth.


For future consideration:

– Council should not be left to draw up their own boundaries, but they should be established by a non-partisan electoral body.

– The MGA should allow for preferential balloting in elections. This would allow candidates to be ranked according to voter preference. It can easily be done with electronic voting.

– Tax credits should be allowed for municipal campaign contributions.


bettProposed 12 Ward Map


Dear Edmonton City Council:

Dear Councillors,

Thank you for your debate, discussion and leadership demonstrated yesterday. Closing the Municipal Airport was a very controversial decision that will have many ramifications. As an Edmontonian who wrote you and expressed my views, I wanted to take the time to thank you for your decision.

I believe this decision is a step in the right direction and is moving our city forward in a sustainable way. This decision was not just about closing the municipal airport, but was a discussion about how our city should grow in the next fifty years. Let us not lose this chance to move forward and create further density with mixed-use communities in our core.

The potential for the further expansion and centralization of NAIT, and the potential for pedestrian oriented, transit oriented and green oriented developments will pay dividends to future generations of Edmontonians. The recent ICLEI conference showed some amazing examples of high-to-medium density walkable, green communities that we could develop right here in our city. Many Edmontonians are envious of Garrison Woods in Calgary and we now have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to make our airport lands into just as desirable.

As I mentioned in my last letter (Jun 19, 2009), I would ask that we attempt to support general aviation outside of the city at other local airfields. Please do what you can to aid the small businesses that will be left out in the cold by this decision– would it be possible to provide some sort of financial assistance as they transition to new locations? In the interest of fast, efficient transportation for business executives and government leaders, and in light of the recent provincial report we should re-open discussions with the province on a high-speed rail link to the airport.

Thank you. You have moved the sustainability and livability of our city forward.

Not My Airport






Not My Airport.

I too watched the webcast of the council speakers and came to the same conclusion as Mack. As much as the Alberta Enterprise Group is trying to brand the city centre airport as your airport, the fact is most Edmontonians are dependent upon the International- that is our airport.

I can’t buy a billboard on 109th street, and I may not have been able to take off time to come and speak at the hearings, but I can vote with my keystrokes. Mack has provided a form letter online, but I would encourage everyone to add on their personal comments. Form letters garner form responses…  councillors@edmonton.ca

Go democracy 2.0

Dear Councillors,

 I am writing as a resident of our city and not in any work capacity.

Please close the City Centre Airport. I believe that this facility has served Edmonton well in the past but it is now limiting Edmonton’s potential. 

I am concerned that the ECCA is a poor use of real estate, close to the core of our city, that could be re-purposed into something more fitting with our vision for the city. I am concerned by the building height limits imposed and that the airport will stunt our future opportunities for a revitalization of downtown. Closing the airport will help keep my residential property taxes (which I pay through increased rents to my landlord) down.

I am inspired by the potential that our city has with this site and believe it is time to make the tough decision. In the long-term interest of our city, it is the right thing to do.

I would ask that we attempt to support general aviation outside of the city at other local airfields. Please do what you can to aid the small businesses that will be left out in the cold by this decision– would it be possible to provide some sort of financial assistance as they transition to new locations? In the interest of fast, efficient transportation for business executives and government leaders, we should re-open discussions with the province on a high-speed rail link to the airport.

Thank you in advance,


But let us not forget that this is not just about the closing of the #ecca. It is about ensuring that the site is home to Smart Growth TOD, POD, and GOD : Pedestrian Oriented Developments, Transit Oriented Developments, and Green Oriented Developments only apply. Pro-closure advocates must be ready to shift-gears if council closes the muni to ensure that all of the visions we have for a high to medium-density development adjacent to our core. This is an amazing chance to re-develop a section of our city that is a rare, and special opportunity. 

Garrison Woods in Calgary anyone?

Edmonton City Councillor Agrees on Airport issue…

We agree. It is time for the city centre airport to depart:

“In sum, I believe the risks to Medevac patient outcomes and business relationships from eventual closure are low. Intensification of the airport land into a transit-oriented green community for tens of thousands, the end of the height-limiting Airport Protection Overlay over Downtown, plus the unique opportunity to facilitate NAIT expansion combine into a strong case for seizing a once-in-a-generation opportunity for city building.

If there’s one thing everyone agrees on, the historical city-building significance of the site and its heroes ought to be recognized and celebrated.

Council will debate the matter, and may make some decisions on the 8th of July.”

via Don Iveson :: Edmonton City Councillor, Ward 5.

Airport debate fractures community

From The Edmonton Jounal:

The “never-ending debate” over the City Centre Airport is dividing the community and must be resolved so officials can focus on the region’s future, the head of Edmonton Airports says.

All the airplane traffic at the facility, including about 4,000 medevac flights a year, can be shifted to the International Airport, authority president Reg Milley said Wednesday.

“If our community continues to avoid a decision, you are telling us to continue spending our time on a never-ending debate, one which fractures our community and pits us against each other instead of aligning us to a broader, far-reaching vision,” he told city council’s executive committee.

“We should be focused on issues like developing Port Alberta to truly set the Edmonton region apart, and the continued expansion of air service, while continuing to focus on improving passenger experience.”

Milley made his comments at the start of a scheduled three-day public hearing into whether the airport should be closed and developed into a transit-oriented neighbourhood that could house 24,300 people, including residences for 2,000 NAIT students.

At least 70 speakers are scheduled to make presentations in one of the largest city hearings in years.

Redeveloping the 217-hectare site is projected to generate $91 million to $335 million for the city over 25 years if the airport closes in 2016, providing a medevac heliport, commercial and retail space, and room for a northwest LRT line.

Along with cutting average property taxes by 2.4 per cent annually, such a project would reduce urban sprawl and eliminate airport-related height restrictions on downtown buildings.

But Coun. Ron Hayter argued the so-called Muni should stay, lifting the 10-passenger cap on scheduled flights and working to attract more businesses.

“If that airport was being used properly as a small airport serving the North, and not in opposition to the major airport…it would probably be a bonus to the citizens of Edmonton.”

While city lawyers have indicated the city’s lease with Edmonton Airports makes it impossible to remove the passenger cap, Hayter said council could negotiate changes if it wanted.

But Milley said the authority’s board reaffirmed its support for the restrictions last weekend.

“The plain and simple reason for not expanding scheduled service is that two airports with scheduled service in a region with a population base the size of the Edmonton region is not only impractical, it will ensure that Edmonton receives only the lowest level of air service possible,” he said.

“For those who say we’ve strangled City Centre Airport, nothing could be further from the truth.”

Airport supporters say city reports don’t take into account the value of the facility as an aviation centre. Another key concern is the risk to roughly 400 critical medevac patients taken downtown by airplane each year if these flights are shifted to the International.

Coun. Linda Sloan said a consultant’s report understates medevac trips from Yellowknife.

Several northern leaders feared their citizens could suffer due to longer transfer times to Edmonton hospitals.

“In the case of medevac, a wrong decision can, and we feel will, affect our lives,” Peace River town Coun. Don Good said. “The airport is to some extent ours.”

Since Edmonton is the provincial capital, he said, “our interests must be listened to and not dismissed.”

Air Mikisew spokesman Dale Monaghan said several First Nations in northern Alberta have a treaty right to proper medical care, and would be willing to fight in court if this is threatened.

But Mayor Stephen Mandel later told reporters health care is a provincial, not municipal, role.

“It seems to be lost in this whole process that we aren’t responsible for providing medical services. Medevac is not ours, it’s theirs…We want to help, but it’s not our citizens’ responsibility to provide 600 acres for medevacs.”


As much as I feel for the business leaders in the area, the time has come for Edmonton to take a step forward and close the airport.

Follow the debate on search.twitter.com: #ecca

City Centre Airport Lands review…

City of Edmonton :: Executive Committee Agendas.


The City Centre Airport Lands review of possibilities and challenges is in its final stages.


On June 24th, 25th and 26th, Executive Committee of City Council will receive reports, non-statutory public delegations and deliberate on next steps.

You can review the reports being considered here: