The votes are now all in — some unanimous — as 12 municipalities in the Metro Edmonton region have taken the big first step towards creating a regional transit commission.
Only Strathcona County voted no on Feb. 12.
“At this time, we cannot justify handing over decision-making authority for $100-million worth of flagship transit services and assets to a commission where we would only have one vote of 13 to influence transit service for our community and beyond,” Mayor Rod Frank said shortly after the rejection.
“They could revote,” Coun. Michael Walters said after Fort Saskatchewan wrapped up the initial process. “This is something that the transition team needs to discuss now that all of the votes are in.
“We’re going to be gathering on March 27 to see where we are, and certainly Strathcona County will come up in that conversation. They won’t be there at that point, but to what degree we invite them to participate we’ll determine then.”
“We have 12 municipalities that want to form a commission and we have to go to the province and now and say, ‘Let’s get this thing set up,'” Walters said during a break in Edmonton city council business on Wednesday.
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“And the Strathcona County question is a secondary question that is interesting, but I think we need to firstly take some pride and some action in the fact that everyone’s agreed, for the most part, to move forward.”
“It is thrilling to see so many municipalities offer their support for this monumental initiative that will bring our region together and change the way public transit services are offered to so many communities,” City of St. Albert councillor Wes Brodhead, chair of the Regional Transit Services Commission Transition Team, said in a news release.
Next steps are to revise the business case to reflect the smaller group. The participating municipalities will eventually develop a five-year capital plan and draft bylaws.
Then, by May 2020, those municipalities who have expressed their support will jointly submit an application to the Government of Alberta seeking approval to legally form the commission within legislation by the end of this year.
They’ll take a year — through 2021 — to find a CEO, develop a workforce transition plan and review contracts before things get rolling in 2022.
The dozen municipalities who voted yes to participating are:
City of Beaumont
Town of Devon
City of Edmonton
City of Fort Saskatchewan
City of Leduc
Town of Morinville
City of St. Albert
City of Spruce Grove
Town of Stony Plain
The business case was released to the public on Jan. 22.