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Thread: Edmonton City Hall

  1. #1
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    Default Edmonton City Hall

    Dear Mayor and Councillors,

    “Take a risk. It’s the most Edmonton thing you can do”. That’s supposed to be Edmonton’s slogan/catchphrase. It’s even painted on the side of an Edmonton downtown office building courtesy of an Edmonton business that knows how to successfully take a risk and what the rewards are.

    Too bad it’s not true. It seems that if you’re the City of Edmonton the most Edmonton thing you can do is identify those things that are uniquely successful and figure out some way and some reason – any way and any reason? – to stop doing them and never do them again.

    Edmonton’s City Hall inside and out is one of the few things in Edmonton that is truly spectacular, truly world class, and truly egalitarian. It is accessible and open and possibly the most egalitarian amenity we have. It is enjoyed equally by visitors staying in four-star hotels and new immigrants alike. It has fulfilled that role virtually every day for a quarter of a century.

    But, like too many other successful Edmonton ventures, we seem to have a municipal culture that seems to think they can somehow reinvent the wheel and do things better any chance they get with little or no consideration for historical or daily significance for Edmontonians.

    Paving stones that are unique to City Hall and both whimsically mirror and anchor theTyndall stone structure it surrounds? That will never do – replace them with the same granite surfaces you can find anywhere else in the world.

    Trees that are some of the tallest, broadest and healthiest in the downtown core? Take them out and replace them further away from the chlorinated water that has been so hard on them so the replacements offer no shade for those in the pool or those watching those in the pool.

    And then there’s the pool. One of the most used and most loved amenities in the entire city. Instead of figuring out some way to make it a “signature Edmonton element” and duplicating it in neighborhoods throughout the city, we’ll figure out some way and some reason to make it so generic and so plain that instead of coming from throughout the city to play in it and spend time around it, it won’t be worth walking a few blocks out of your way for.

    We all talk about how much we miss the Tegler Building and the Carnegie Library and the old Courthouse and how much poorer our city is for their loss. It will be too bad if we start talking about those things that make City Hall special the same way once they’re gone.

    There has been some public discussion of late in regard to the proposed depth of the wading pool at City Hall. That same discussion and critical oversight needs to take place in regard to all of the elements being proposed, not just the depth of the pool. Done correctly with the correct results, perhaps we can pay for the pool water by not paying to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    Regards,

    Ken
    Last edited by kcantor; 30-01-2018 at 05:41 PM.
    "If you did not want much, there was plenty." Harper Lee

  2. #2

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    ^Well Ken, I think you are laying the description of City Hall on a bit thick. I for one don't think it is necessarily that fabulous a building. It takes up a large and expensive footprint downtown and it is the working place of the cities mayor and councillors and their support staff. Cavernous spaces to heat such few people that work there. It is probably the least 'green' building in the downtown core. Airport hangers are easier to heat. Whom ever signed off on the design definitely had visions of grandeur for the very few that grace it's halls.
    Having said that. I agree, if they are going to keep the pool they should go out of their way to make it as esthetically pleasing as possible. Now I'm not saying they should be bringing camels in to match the ambiance of the city hall pyramid theme but add some greenery for shade, planters what people can sit on etc. Maybe build a moat around it and have boats build of papyrus reeds sail around it.
    Gone............................and very quickly forgotten may I add.

  3. #3
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    ^

    some might classify this as “little stuff” but it’s the little stuff as much as - or even more than -the big stuff that has such an impact on our lives and on our perception - and the perception of others - of our city. when it comes to reputation and self-worth, it’s all about what we do and how we do it, not about what we say.
    "If you did not want much, there was plenty." Harper Lee

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by kcantor View Post
    ^

    some might classify this as “little stuff” but it’s the little stuff as much as - or even more than -the big stuff that has such an impact on our lives and on our perception - and the perception of others - of our city. when it comes to reputation and self-worth, it’s all about what we do and how we do it, not about what we say.

    Anyone remember Gene Dub's proposed glow in the dark giant icycles he wanted greeting visitors as they arrived in Edmonton?

    Someone how, I think, some of these would work wonders around that pool area providing spray and showers in the summer with night glow in the winter while skating.

  5. #5
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    I agree wholeheartedly with Kens description of city hall and its function for city government. Sure it’s valuable real estate but so is the land where the Alberta Legislature and grounds sit. They serve the same function yet city hall, as ken describes it (open and accessible for all), is really beautiful and extra special for the reasons he mentions. Thank you ken for giving us the letter to read as its a great description of our civic governments home.

  6. #6
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    Thanks Ken, think I need to write my own letter.

    Our City Hall is one of my favourite buildings anywhere - and I've been, umm, you know, around.

    I knew about the reflecting / wading pool, but not about the trees and the tiles. Rubish plans. City Hall and the plaza in front are as close to perfect as anything gets.

    So CoE beaurocrat - HANDS OFF!
    ... gobsmacked

  7. #7

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    Edmonton's City Hall is a vanity building. It was not build for practicalities, if it was there would be a lot more going on inside the building. In that sense I mean it would house more city departments and workers. As it stands now it houses a fraction of the cities work force and yet it takes up so much space. In hindsight a civic complex should have been built where civic departments are in one spot and the complex should have land beside it for when the city grows. For better or worse we have this faux Egyptian monolithic/pyramid structure with no C of E departments in it. Seems like it was built just for the mayor and councillors. If people have no purpose to go inside then I think the outside should be just for them.
    Gone............................and very quickly forgotten may I add.

  8. #8
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    And my letter to Scott McKeen, just now emailed:

    Hi Scott,

    It’s your downtown adjutant (agitator?) again with some random thoughts:

    1) West LRT. D blah, blah, blah - posted in the West LRT thread ...

    2) City Hall. How is it the Alberta Government can have a huge reflecting pool and smaller pools at the Legislature that don’t have to be fenced off? How are other centres getting away with it? Administration’s so-called research into the City Hall reflective pool has been either sorely – or at worst willfully – lacking.

    What’s with granite re-surfacing of the City Hall Plaza? If true, that’s just plain stupid. Sorry, but do you think maybe Gene Dub chose the present tiling because it maybe accented the finish on the city hall structure itself? That’s my guess.

    Move trees? What? Why?

    Leave the whole thing alone. If you must do anything, find a way to remove or replace that gawd awful flashing yellow pole/post obstructing the view from Churchill Square of the beautiful Art Gallery of Alberta. We’ve found a way to do that at pedestrian crossings, surely something similar can be done at that intersection.

    Thanks for reading and hoping that I’ve scored a point or two.
    ... gobsmacked

  9. #9

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    ^They don't want people to be around city hall. It's there pride and joy. Look at it but don't come near. We will try to make it look pleasant to look at but not to pleasant that you want to actually get close to it. It's going to always look like a Better Homes and Gardens picture but don't trot around it with your dirty boots on.
    Gone............................and very quickly forgotten may I add.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by McBoo View Post
    And my letter to Scott McKeen, just now emailed:

    Hi Scott,

    It’s your downtown adjutant (agitator?) again with some random thoughts:

    1) West LRT. D blah, blah, blah - posted in the West LRT thread ...

    2) City Hall. How is it the Alberta Government can have a huge reflecting pool and smaller pools at the Legislature that don’t have to be fenced off? How are other centres getting away with it? Administration’s so-called research into the City Hall reflective pool has been either sorely – or at worst willfully – lacking.

    What’s with granite re-surfacing of the City Hall Plaza? If true, that’s just plain stupid. Sorry, but do you think maybe Gene Dub chose the present tiling because it maybe accented the finish on the city hall structure itself? That’s my guess.

    Move trees? What? Why?

    Leave the whole thing alone. If you must do anything, find a way to remove or replace that gawd awful flashing yellow pole/post obstructing the view from Churchill Square of the beautiful Art Gallery of Alberta. We’ve found a way to do that at pedestrian crossings, surely something similar can be done at that intersection.

    Thanks for reading and hoping that I’ve scored a point or two.
    They say the surface tiling around city hall has reached end of life, is deteriorating, and needs to be replaced. With respect to the pool here's what the report sent to executive committee on Monday has to say:

    As the Fountain includes standing water, regardless of depth, it must meet the same requirements and standards as any outdoor pool in the Province of Alberta. The Government of Alberta legislation Pool Standards include:
    ● Anti-entrapment- this relates to the flow rates at the drains within the pool that place a swimmer at risk of being trapped. The current design flow rate exceeds this requirement by approximately 10 times. Alberta Health Services has been working collaboratively with the City to update all pool facilities and has provided a deadline to have all facilities compliant by November 2019. It is Administration’s understanding that no exceptions to this standard or deadline will be considered.
    ● Filtration - the complete turnover of the volume of water for the pool needs to occur every two hours. Currently turnover occurs approximately every three hours. Alberta Health Services has advised that supplemental mitigations could be evaluated under a variance (such as additional treatment options to improve water quality).

    To address the anti-entrapment and turnover rate requirements along with the lifecycle repairs identified, the project must also consider the current Alberta Building Code requirements for pools. These include:
    ● Fencing - all swimming pools must be secured by a permanent two-meter high fence to prevent access by unauthorized persons. A variance may be considered for alternative solutions, such as draining the pool every night or providing 24-hour on-site security.
    ● White Surface - the sides and bottom of the pool must be white in colour. This is intended to provide contrast to support active monitoring for safety. A variance may be considered to this requirement if the water depth were reduced from 400 mm to 150 mm.
    ● Sanitary Facilities - there are updated requirements for dressing and sanitary facilities, which would require expanding the current facilities or building new washrooms and change rooms. A variance may be considered to allow the City to continue operating a wading pool without meeting the updated requirements if there is no increase in size and additional treatment options to improve water quality.
    Source: http://webdocs.edmonton.ca/siredocs/...126/704222.pdf

  11. #11
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    Tiling - possibly, but then replace with similar tiles.

    Pool - that's the Alberta Building Code as it relates to swimming pools. This isn't a swimming pool. It's a wading pool (at best)

    Sanitary facilities? In City Hall, yes and Churchill Square.

    Change rooms - folks maybe roll up their pant legs - no one gets changed or wants to.
    ... gobsmacked

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