Hicks on Biz: The good, the bad and the spending BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED EDMONTON SUN: FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 17, 2017
Keeping tabs on government spending around our fair city …
Bringing Mill Creek back to the surface is a wonderful idea. It now dips underground (between the Connors Road/Scona Road split) and flows into the North Saskatchewan as if it were a sewer outlet. But then the dreamers come in with lakes, parks, restaurants and sugar plums … “not over $100 million,” says one hopeful advocate.
Fort Edmonton Park needs $70 million worth of infrastructure upgrades just to keep the toilets flushing. So that’s a necessary expenditure.
The proposed $42 million Indigenous People’s Experiences Interpretive Centre at Fort Edmonton is a good investment too … if it truly brings international and national tourists to Edmonton who’d otherwise not come.
Mayor Don Iveson was suggesting a few months back that the soon-to-be-vacant old Provincial Museum building could be redeveloped into yet another Indigenous People’s showcase. What’s another $100 million to $200 million, as long as it’s another level of government shelling out the dough?
Alldritt Developments is pitching its proposed 80-story mixed-use tower off Jasper Avenue west of 96 Street in the downtown east Quarters District. I’m all for it — as long as the view of the river valley, from sidewalks and roads along the river valley lip, (i.e. much of Jasper Avenue) is still there for generations of Edmontonians to come.
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Edmonton does not need an ultra-expensive “intermodal transportation hub” as proposed by Councillor Andrew Knack.
Edmonton does need a clean, modern, authority-run downtown bus terminal from which all inter-city buses (Greyhound, Red Arrow etc.) would originate and terminate their routes, paid for on the International Airport model of passenger and bus user fees.
Right now the Greyhound bus terminal is stranded in the middle of nowhere in the VIA Rail station up by the Yellowhead Trail.
Red Arrow does its downtown pick-up and drop-off on the 104 Street sidewalk, outside the downtown Holiday Inn Express.
When it comes to intercity bus travel, Edmonton is Mickey Mouse.
Great idea: Some Edmonton maps now show the city as seven geographical areas: Downtown, Northeast, Northwest, West, Southwest, South Central and Southeast.
Given how the North Saskatchewan River carves up the city, seven districts make more sense than the usual Downtown, Northeast, Northwest, Southwest and Southeast.
City residents instinctively know which is which. The only further tweak would be to call “South Central” and “West” by their more common reference, i.e. the South Side and the West End.
Admit it Matilda, Alberta’s New Democrat government is actually doing a few good things for our province.
Fixing up our long-deteriorating provincial park system, for one — our provincial parks are an embarrassment compared to B.C.’s. The New Dems have committed $239 million over five years to bring many parks back up to standard.
The Alberta Dental Association and College has finally been pressured to deliver a Dental Fee Guide like every other province! Without such a guide, dental insurance has been all over the map, and dentists have been making like bandits. Ever tried to get competitive quotes for dental work?
P.S. How the heck can medical and professional associations be both regulators and advocates at the same time?
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Ever so slowly, Edmonton Transit creaks into the 21st Century. Google Maps, Transit App and ETS Live To Go are providing real-time bus and LRT train locations.
Passengers at LRT stations, at least on the Capital (Clareview to Century Park) Line now have wi-fi access through the city’s Open City wi-fi system.
After being broken for about a year, the time-of-next-train signage at LRT stations is again operational.
And, holy cow, the NAIT line trains can now travel faster than a bicycle!