City Council Meeting - 01/21/19
Last Monday, City Council held its 3rd meeting of the new term. Two items on the agenda were of particular importance. The first was a status report on our active transportation plan. Active transportation includes walking, cycling, and transit as a primary mode of travelling. We will receive a final report later this year but the status report was hopeful as it set out the goals and benchmarks of our active transportation. One goal was to increase city-wide active transportation to 25% (currently hovering around 10% or so) by 2041. To achieve this ideal, the plan called for a breakdown of active transportation between neighbourhoods in our City. In the inner city, active transportation would go up to 45%, whereas in the newer developed neighbourhoods, active transportation would go up to only 13%. The reason? Inner city neighbourhoods (west-end, downtown, etc.) are better built to allow for active transportation infrastructure. It begs the question, why are we not building our new neighbourhoods this way?
In any event, could you imagine a west end community where 45% of people who lived and worked there were travelling primarily by foot, cycling, and transit? Could you further imagine a collection of neighbourhoods across the city that are walkable and connected by great transit? The thought of it alone is exciting!
The second issue discussed was cannabis retail. Council voted 8-3 in favour of opting in. This was a tough issue as it involved several layers that needed to be assessed and weighed.
The first layer included funding that the City would receive only if it opted in. The second layer included economic diversification and the jobs that would be created. The third layer included the City's ability to zone (or lack thereof) locally. The fourth layer included the implications of the black market if we opt in, or more importantly, if we do not. And the fifth layer was the public's input. Between the surveys and people I've talked to, the great majority were in favour of opting in.
Based on all of the above, I was persuaded on balance that opting in would be best. There is a likelihood we will not see a single store this year, but I firmly believe that opting in better positions us for the future.
As always, please get in touch if you have any questions or concerns.