The 2023-2026 Budget Needs You!
For a real and meaningful commitment to climate action!
The City of Edmonton has released the budgets for 2023-2026, and the numbers just don’t add up.
Most of our city councillors ran for election just one year ago with platforms centering climate, housing, and transit. And they all paid lip service to the Safer for All Report’s calls to reduce police funding. Why did none of those priorities make it into the City’s 2023-2026 budget proposals while money keeps falling into the pockets of EPS?
Council says the right things on issues like bridge housing and the bike network when there’s no money at stake, but that hasn’t translated to the budget planning process. We must continue to push to make sure that we get active and public transport, housing, transit, green building, and reconciliation projects fully funded for the next 4 years.
When given the choice between funding additional lanes on the Yellowhead or taking city-wide action to support public transit and a decarbonized transportation system, Council should have no doubt about which to pick.
This is the first year that the City of Edmonton will have a carbon budget, and we are deep in the red. The City is already lagging on achieving the City’s goal of a 50% reduction in GHGs, and the carbon budget is setting us up for another 4 years of failure. In addition to ignoring the limits set in the carbon budget, major projects to prepare Edmonton for the climate crisis are also unfunded. Council needs to vote decisively to implement a budget that builds a carbon conscious, resilient city for regular Edmontonians, instead of a casino for developers and corporate landlords.
Will you join us in telling Edmonton City Council to make the 2023-26 Budget a climate budget? When you show up to speak, City Council listens! And we have three, count ‘em 3 ways you can get your voice heard! First, you can register to speak in the public meetings about the budget on November 28th and 29th. If you can’t make it, let’s flood their voicemails! We’ll be joining our friends at Paths for People on Nov 23 and Nov 30 at 5:30pm to conduct phone zaps of City Councillors, demanding a multimodal transport and a climate resilient city. We’ll have talking points you can share, and friends to phone zap with!
If none of those work for you, find your Councillor and let them know the climate won’t wait! Below the break is a letter template you can use. Add your own flair, especially to the first line, so they don’t think it’s just another mass email!
Thanks for joining us!
Dear [Your Councillor Here],
Cities are on the frontlines of the fight against climate change. As municipal leaders, youhave a responsibility to the Edmontonians who will disproportionately bear the effects of climate disaster: people living in poverty, the precariously housed, working-class families, and racialized Edmontonians. This Budget needs to be focused on preventing and addressing the economic and social struggles Edmontonians will face due to climate change. Council has already identified these as priorities but hasn’t committed to funding them. Here is a reminder of what you know the City needs:
More than 50,000 Edmontonians are on the waitlist for affordable housing. With fossil fuel companies laying off workers, skyrocketing energy prices, and climate change intensifying weather events, investing in high-quality and stable housing is essential for an equitable, green future.
Ask: Fully fund the Affordable Housing Investment Plan and continue to provide incentives for building affordable housing.
Good public transit gives everyone an opportunity to get around our city without spending thousands of dollars on a personal-convenience pollution machine, and blighting the urban landscape with street and surface parking. We know that cities that fund public and active transportation options make big reductions in their carbon footprint. In Edmonton, transportation accounts for 30% of our greenhouse gas emissions and 42% of energy used. With the City’s goal of shifting 50% of trips to be done via active transportation options, we need good transit now.
Ask: Fund the proposed Bike Plan and invest in the Bus Network Expansion and other public transportation projects.
Our cold climate and aging building stock means that buildings in Edmonton create a huge amount of GHG emissions and cost too much to heat and cool. Building retrofit and climate upgrade pilot projects are highly subscribed, with long waitlists. It is clear that Edmontonians want to invest in upgrades to climate-proof their homes and commercial buildings. Retrofits and green buildings also provide good, local green jobs.
Ask: Fully fund Climate Resilience upgrades for publicly-owned buildings and assets. Expand retrofit accelerator programs and energy upgrading grant programs and ensure they are permanently funded. Create opportunities for renters to get direct support for energy retrofits and climate action.
The Black Lives Matter protests in 2020 mobilized more Edmontonians than any other causes in recent history. The 2020 committee meeting to discuss police funding drew more speakers than any committee meeting before or since. Speakers identified that the Edmonton Police Service is not accountable to Edmontonians or to Council, that funding for the police comes at the expense of genuine community safety, and that they are an oppressive force in the City.
Edmontonians overwhelmingly demanded that Council reprioritize spending towards community and away from the police. The budget must fund the recommendations in the Safer For All report, commissioned by Council.
Ask: Redirect EPS funding to support Indigenous-led projects and programs, fully allocate Anti-Racism Grants, and expand social programs and the above priorities with a focus on the needs of marginalized communities. Implement the recommendations in the Safer For All report.