City Hall E-News January 15th

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City Hall E-News January 15th, 2023

RSVP: Community Conversation: Love In The Time of Fentanyl

In partnership with Metro Cinema and Lost Time media, I'm excited to announce our follow-up screening and public education event, "Love in the Time of Fentanyl" (Thursday, February 16th). This event will include an naloxone training, harm-reduction reception, film screening, and presentations from medical and public health experts.


Seven Edmonton City Building Projects I'm excited for in 2023

As a disclaimer, this is very much a personal list of projects that from neighbourhood conversations that I feel have been overlooked or underrated. I didn't have a particular matrix or scorecard, but decided to profile these projects because I think they represent incremental improvements. Each in their own way will have a positive impact on our community, economic, climate, culture, or urban planning goals as we continue to build an Edmonton for everyone!

Read the list here:

Sole Source Agreements, Campaign Donations, and the need for a Lobbyist Registry

Next week, Edmonton City Council will be asked to approve a $26.5 Million Dollar sole source agreement for the Qualico Pedway. One of my campaign commitments was strengthening the public interest, and I’ve petitioned about our need to create a lobbyist registry for municipal politics. 

Prior to the sole-source contract debate next week, I want to raise a few general questions I’ve been receiving from constituents about transparency at city hall: campaign donations and lobbyist transparency.

Read here

Drink Local - Supporting Our Local Economy

Supporting our local craft beer scene is easy with so many fantastic opportunities and creative brewers. I recently had the opportunity to convene a table of local brewers alongside the Alberta Small Brewers Association to explore a few questions:

  • How can we support local brewers in expanding market opportunities, including city festivals and events?
  • How can we help grow opportunities for beer tourism, including inviting locals to be "tourists in their own backyard"

The more money we can keep circulating between friends and neighbours in our local economy, the more prosperous our city. Local brewers add to our local identity, they add creativity, and can be an attraction for other entrepreneurs to set up nearby.


FEEDBACK NEEDED: New standard could help shift Edmonton’s growth pattern

We must stop urban sprawl and the consumption of prime agricultural land. The city is developing a new measure called the substantial completion standard aimed at supporting the City Plan’s goal of encouraging a market shift from primarily greenfield development to infill. But representatives from the home building and development industries are fighting against it. Read more and share your feedback via Taproot Edmonton:

Provocations: A few items that made me think...

  • Why the Bike Plan matters. The Edmonton Journal ran an Op-Ed I wrote on the importance of the bike plan to our climate and affordability goals:

  • Mayor Sohi: 6 things you may not know about the municipal budget:
  • EV Webinar If you've been wondering how far a Ford Lightning can go on one charge, or how to recycle an EV battery, or what's going to happen to the electricity grid if everyone has an EV, then this is the webinar for you. So please join us online, Monday, Jan. 16, 2023 at 10:45 a.m. for Electric Vehicle Myth Busting, a 30 minute presentation followed by live Q&A.

  • PODCAST: (Rumneek Johal and Michael Janz | PressProgress | December 8) Exploring how cops are investing in public relations to expand their budgets, with Edmonton Councillor Michael Janz. However, Janz notes that in Edmonton, the growth in the police budget has far exceeded the pace of growth in funding for any other civic department. “Homelessness is not a crime problem. It’s a mental health problem. It’s an addiction problem. It’s a trauma problem,” he said. Janz , Edmonton City Councillor for Ward papastew, joins host Rumneek Johal to talk about Helpseeker Technologies social services reports, as well as the broader trends across Canada to expand the scope of policing and increase police budgets:

  • VIDEOAre high-rise towers bad? In this video we look at the livability of tall buildings from the perspective of people who actually prefer medium-density, ground-oriented housing styles like Montreal's multiplexes.

  • VIDEO Geothermal 101: Geothermal is the heating system of the future. With efficiencies of 400% and no emissions it's just the ticket for fighting climate change and oh, it's also 700% efficient at air conditioning, perfect for those 40 Celsius summer heat waves. This week on Green Energy Futures we talk to Devon Winczura and Steve Oslanski of Envirotech Geothermal who show us why geothermal heating and cooling is the wave of the future. Check out our blog and CKUA Podcast at

  • READ: Libraries are spending millions of dollars addressing the UCPs ideological aversion to building housing and shelters:

  • READ: Where are our retired friends and neighbours supposed to downsize? Do we have enough two or three bedroom units for when the single family detached home becomes just too much space? Retired folks and the Missing Middle. AARP, an interest group representing older Americans that claims 38 million members, has increasingly become involved in housing issues (including ongoing work with CNU on code reform). AARP has found time to release a useful primer on “Missing Middle Housing,” with architect and urban designer Dan Parolek of Opticos Design:

  • Play along: 2022 year ender… how much can you remember?

  • READ: The New York Times has a powerful and visual summary of the growing evidence for the the role of induced travel in erasing the promised travel benefits of freeway expansion projects. Across the country, in Los Angeles, New Jersey and Houston, freeway widening projects have utterly failed to reduce congestion  Writer Eden Weingart offers a simple explanation: When a congested road is widened, travel times go down — at first. But then people change their behaviors. After hearing a highway is less busy, commuters might switch from transit to driving or change the route they take to work. Some may even choose to move farther away. And this story is bolstered by an impressive and growing body of scientific evidence.

    “It’s a pretty basic economic principle that if you reduce the price of a good then people will consume more of it,” Susan Handy, a professor of environmental science and policy at the University of California, Davis, said. “That’s essentially what we’re doing when we expand freeways.” The article helpfully cites several of the research papers on the subject, and quotes Matt Turner, co-author of the definitive "fundamental law of road congestion," on the willful ignorance of those who still deny the reality of induced travel: “If you keep adding lanes because you want to reduce traffic congestion, you have to be really determined not to learn from history,” But state highway departments, flush with billions of dollars in federal infrastructure funds, are primed to squander them in another futile and counterproductive round of freeway construction. READ:

  • VOLUNTEER: The International Festival of  Winter Cinema (IFWC) celebrates local and international winter, alpine, and polar cinema on our giant snow screen! The International Festival of Winter Cinema,  world’s only free outdoor winter film festival, is happening next month from February 10 to 19. We are looking for volunteers to help build the snow screen, and help set up/operate/take down the snow theatre. Could you put out a call to your followers and community contacts for those who would be interested to volunteer? If interested, they can sign up at


Michael Janz

Latest posts

May 8th City Hall News


  • Monday May 13th - Summer streets opening party!

  • Wednesday May 15th - Minding the Gap: Police Accountability in Alberta 

  • Saturday May 25th - Harbinger showcase and live podcast recording

  • Youth Council Recruitment!



  • We Won! Protecting the public interest - public funds for public buildings

  • Ending Pay to play and bill 20: Halt big corporate money taking over City hall!

  • Naming Rights: What’s in a name? Stop the corporate rebrand of public facilities

  • The High Cost of Free Street Parking

May 2nd City Hall News


  • May 11th - Alberta Bike Swap
  • May 13th - Summer Streets launch party
  • Big Bin Events This Summer! 
  • Fire Hall open houses
  • May 25th - Harbinger Media Network Showcase
  • July 1st - Mill Creek Pool reopening

News & Views

  • Bill 20 is a disaster. Take action
  • Housing Crisis: What is the role of the University of Alberta?
  • What I'm hearing on the Old Strathcona Public Realm Strategy...
  • Understanding property tax increases
  • The Edmonton Police Commission is refusing to share its plans for auditing the local police department with city council. Councilor Keren Tang put forward a motion in December last year to have a look at the plan, which council approved. But now the EPC says it “owns the audit function” and does not “support sharing that responsibility with council.” 

  • Don't fall for privatization: Chicago doesn't own their own streets (Video)

Challenging the U of A: Leading with purpose in housing and land use planning

City Council recently approved a rezoning across the street from the U of A and it got me thinking about all the underutilized or unused space on the U of A main campus.

The expression I often hear at city hall is “highest and best use of city land” – in other words, land that brings benefit to the community (eg, a park or public space) or land that generates revenue for the city to offset taxes and pay for services (Industrial, commercial, residential in that order) 

But what if the University of Alberta could generate revenue and mitigate the housing and climate crisis? The university already has the vehicle: the U of A Properties Trust, an arms length development corporation that pays dividends back into the U of A through innovative developments and land leases.

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