Mayor vows to tackle host of problems
Mayor Stephen Mandel has unveiled a 90-day "to-do" list for city council that will address homelessness, fast track a needed LRT extension and prioritize vital infrastructure projects.
During a speech in front of hundreds of business leaders at an Edmonton Chamber of Commerce luncheon yesterday, Mandel said council will also decide on a new strategy for the new Southwest Recreation Centre.
Soaring construction costs have almost doubled for the planned centre, from $65 million to $120 million during the three-year-delay since its approval from council, said Mandel.
The mayor says city cash for the centre was needed for other vital projects elsewhere during the last term.
"The costs of delays are much too high and this has to change," said Mandel of the centre.
"So we’re going to get to work, and turn this around quickly. There is no reason why we can’t see a proposed outline for a new strategy within the next 90 days."
Mandel says council will be planning a new design for an LRT extension to NAIT and will decide on a proposal for a new bridge crossing the North Saskatchewan River from downtown.
"This bridge is a new piece of infrastructure that is gaining urgency," said Mandel.
Mandel says council will also look at ways to spend money wiser by establishing new financing strategies and by establishing a new public consultation process.
"Our current process is way too bogged down," said Mandel.
"It provides little incentives for people to get and stay involved and because it’s so bogged down, we don’t get the best information."
Three reports will also be released in the next three months, including a study for a new downtown arena and a review to make local research and biotech industries more competitive across Canada.
"A lot of this is lighting a fire," said Coun. Ben Henderson. "This will encourage us to not sit back."