Edmonton to 'Reimagine' city services to help with pandemic recovery
EDMONTON -- The City of Edmonton is exploring new ways to draw in revenue and cut costs to help the city recover from the challenges of the pandemic and an economic recession.
This initiative is part of the city’s big picture Reimagine Services project. A multi-dimensional action plan that’s been in the works now for nine months.
According to a release from the city on Monday, there are five areas under review:
- Fire Rescue
- Fleet Management and Maintenance
- Facility Management and Maintenance
- Park and Open Space Access
- Recreational and Sport Facility Access/Recreation and Cultural Programming
“The reviews aim to examine our services from the perspective of relevance, efficiency and effectiveness,” Andre Corbould, city manager, said.
However, there is a shortlist of 16 areas scheduled for further study. According to the city, there’s the possibility of privatizing some recreations and ushering in parking fees.
Larger parks, open spaces and city amenities could possibly see parking fees implemented. One option that’s being discussed is making the first two hours of parking free before a fee kicks in.
“We have a responsibility to Edmontonians to continually examine the way we deliver programs and services to ensure tax dollar value,” Corbould said.
As a way to better represent demand, the city will also look at reducing recreational programming.
Prior to 2020, registration was only two thirds capacity, According to Corbould. Attendance overall has reportedly dropped 20 per cent since 2015, and one option could be contracting third-party groups to deliver these services.
“It’s about being transparent,” Corbould said.
“We wanted to talk about the business cases that we are looking at and start to get the dialogue going on this, so I’m not concerned. I want to hear what Edmontonians think, and it’s one of the reasons we’re talking about this today.”
Edmonton’s three public golf courses are also up for review, the city said revenues there have seen a consistent decline in the past five years.
Lastly, deployment for fire crews could also be adjusted. The city noted they respond to more medical calls every year and up to a quarter of those calls are not within Edmonton Fire Rescue’s scope of work.
According to Corbould no final decisions have been made, adding it’s still very much a review process.
When there is a decision to be made it will go before city council. Results should be ready to present in June.
With files from CTV Edmonton’s Carlyle Fiset