Mayor asks for review of Edmonton’s back alley improvement plan

The city's Transportation Committee voted in favour of rolling the cost of back alley repairs into the neighbourhood renewal program. Global News

A change has been proposed at city hall to alter how Edmonton’s back alleys are spruced up. The mayor is trying to make sure businesses move closer to the front of the line.

“The alleys are in a real shambles,” Don Iveson told reporters, which is why city council embarked on a long-term improvement plan in the last budget.

READ MORE: Edmonton will take more aggressive approach to fix crumbling alleyways

“So I asked today to look at prioritizing the alleys in our business districts for attention as part of our overall alley program,” Iveson said.

“Everyone’s alley is still going to get done but I want to push our business district alleys further up the agenda.”

Over the next four years, a dedicated line item will be on your property tax bill — worth 0.3 per cent a year — to fund the alley improvement program. Iveson said the business share of that tax bill is two-and-a-half times that of a homeowner.

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“If it’s going to be a 20-year fix to improve all of our alleys, I don’t want our business districts waiting 15 or 20 years. I think they really should be in the first five or 10.”

READ MORE: Edmonton City Council building consensus on ways to hold down tax increase

“The lanes in our business districts see high traffic from delivery vehicles, people coming and going from businesses, and from people on foot as well,” he said.

“They’re in a pretty sorry state and so I’d like to see them prioritized because they get so much use,” the mayor said.

“They should benefit sooner because it’s going to be good for business and that feeds back into the machine.”

The overall cost of the alley renewal program is $22.3 million. City council last November voted for the 25-year program that will see improvements to surface drainage and in some cases, back lanes will be widened to four metres, and lighting will be upgraded.

A response to Iveson’s suggestion will be back before city council later this year.

Watch below (April 28, 2016): It doesn’t matter where you live in Edmonton, you’ll still be on the hook for back alley repairs thanks to a decision made at City Hall on Wednesday. Shallima Maharaj reports.

Click to play video: 'New funding scheme for back alley repairs in Edmonton'
New funding scheme for back alley repairs in Edmonton

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