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Thread: Edmonton's anti-business attitude

  1. #1
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    Default Edmonton's anti-business attitude

    Heard a rumor yesterday that another major Edmonton and area event may not happen because of the anti-business attitude and poor customer service experience with the City and EEDC.

    The event in question is being actively courted by another Alberta region - NOT Calgary!

    That's not good.

    That's not world class.

    It reminds me of the guy up the Fort Road who bought a garage to fix peoples cars and the city held up the opening of his business by 18 months while the 'crats tried to change the land use zoning before a business licence could be issued. Apparently the garage wasn't zone properly. I don't know how you can have a used garage that is not zoned properly.

    It reminds me of the new owner of the River Queen, unable to sail the North Saskatchewan in 2017 because the city could not fathom how to give him a permit.

    This stuff holds up the economy and costs people money in what they owe to the banks in principle and interest. It comes out of pocket because they are not earning.

    Edmonton can have all the re-branding exercises and cool slogans all we want, but when people actually want to "Make Something Edmonton" the city, EEDC, and others don't return calls, issue permits in a timely fashion, or takes months on end to jump through hoops for a road closure, police, or special ETS support.

    Do you have any more anti-business horror stories coming out of City Hall?

  2. #2

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    What sort of anti-business event?

    Something that generates net investment in the city or something that encourages spending by Edmontonians?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by KC View Post
    What sort of anti-business event?

    Something that generates net investment in the city or something that encourages spending by Edmontonians?

    I think you miss read.

    It is an event.

    But the city and region is being anti-business, taking their good sweet time getting back to the owner and being non-committal.

    Said event generates investment AND encourages spending.

    If the city and region does not want the money, jobs, taxes, there is somewhere else in Alberta that wants it.

  4. #4

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    Having rules isn't exactly anti-business.
    Live and love... your neighbourhood.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by GenWhy? View Post
    Having rules isn't exactly anti-business.
    No, but having rules that are vague, overly onerous, unclear, applied or enforced in an inconsistent or arbitrary manner is.

    Some places might take such comments from people constructively, realizing that it is not easy for citizens to navigate the bureaucracy, try to be helpful, pleasant and where possible less rigid.

    I don't know what has led the city to where it is at, but I get the sense there is a culture now where people who are not the brightest, often execute things not very well and become very defensive and condescending whenever called out or questioned about it. It might be normal at the City of Edmonton, but it is not in other places.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by GenWhy? View Post
    Having rules isn't exactly anti-business.
    But it looks like folks aren't following the rules:

    http://edmontonjournal.com/opinion/e...ty-loses-trust


    Editorial: City loses trust

    Edmonton Journal Editorial Board


    Published on: April 13, 2018 | Last Updated: April 13, 2018 6:00 AM MDT

    Councillor Mike Nickel at the audit committee meeting at city hall in Edmonton, April 11, 2018. Ed Kaiser Ed Kaiser / Ed Kaiser/Postmedia
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    In what has become an all-too familiar scenario, Edmonton councillors fumed Wednesday when they learned, belatedly, of a major case of mismanagement at city hall.
    In this latest instance, city auditor David Wiun revealed that officials had been treating the city’s current planning reserve like a slush fund. In simple terms, tens of millions of dollars paid by developers and homeowners for the costs of processing their permits was instead diverted to inappropriate uses without proper documentation and oversight. Millions went to pay salaries in other city departments for some unaccountable reason while up to $8.5 million was wasted on a failed attempt to move applications online.
    As serious as that misspending of public money sounds, it only gets worse; officials trying to scrap the eServices project uncovered a potential conflict of interest. But inexplicably, nobody reported those allegations to the city auditor for three years.
    Throughout this troubling affair, no one has been held to account by getting fired or even reprimanded.
    But most vexing for Edmontonians is that this episode can’t be brushed off as an isolated outlier, a series of missteps that happens but rarely in a large organization. This affair isn’t a one-off but part of a lengthy pattern of mismanagement.
    It includes: a Metro LRT plagued from the start with technical issues and long delays in getting up to speed; a sloppily managed road-sand recycling program that did not deliver promised savings and involved a contractor who was a former employee; a once heralded waste-management program now falling far short of targets to keep waste out of the landfill; a work culture of bullying and harassment; and significant delays in the new Walterdale Bridge and other major projects.
    The multi-million dollar misuse of money cited in the slush-fund affair is particularly galling coming from a municipality that constantly cries poor to other levels of government and to taxpayers.
    Why, for example, should the provincial government hand over millions more for enforcement and administration costs related to cannabis when the city’s track record in project- and money-management is so shambolic? For that matter, citizens ponying up for this year’s 3.5-per-cent property tax hike will be understandably skeptical that they will get full value for the money.
    Edmontonians must also wonder where their elected representatives were when these failures were unfolding. Are they asking the right tough questions?
    “You’ve lost my trust,” Coun. Mike Nickel told city staff.
    It’s safe to say many Edmontonians are saying the same thing.
    Local editorials are the consensus opinion of the Journal’s editorial board, comprising Mark Iype, Dave Breakenridge, Sarah O’Donnell and Bill Mah.


  7. #7
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    Paula Simons ways in

    http://edmontonjournal.com/news/loca...accountability

    Paula Simons: 'Unacceptable': Latest city audit exposes a culture without accountability

    There was no one providing oversight when things went off the rails. And off the rails they went

    Paula Simons, Edmonton Journal


    Published on: April 13, 2018 | Last Updated: April 13, 2018 7:41 PM MDT

    New homes in Manning Village. The city's current planning reserve was supposed to stabilize funding for the planning department, and improve service for developers. It didn't work out that way. Ian Kucerak / Ian Kucerak/Postmedia
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    The road to hell is paved with the 20/20 hindsight of the best laid plans gone awry.
    Or something like that.
    Which may explain how an innovative plan to help the City of Edmonton’s planning department weather the ups and downs of a boom economy ended up creating an unaccountable cash pot, one that city bureaucrats repeatedly starved and raided to cover off (and cover up) a wide range of inappropriate expenses.
    A damning report by city auditor David Wiun, presented to city council’s audit committee this Wednesday, makes for some grim reading.
    The current planning branch of the city makes money by issuing development permits. In good times, when builders are building, revenues soar. In fallow years, when the economy constricts, building permits taper off and not as much money flows in.
    So in 2010, the city decided to set up a “current planning reserve” fund. The idea was to put surplus funds from good years into the reserve pot — and then draw funds out of the account in lean years, to make up deficits. The money isn’t property tax revenue. It comes from fees paid by developers — and it was supposed to be used to improve service, to make it faster to get development permits.
    By 2012, there was $26 million in the reserve. The fund was exactly on target. The goal for 2017 was to have a nest egg of $46.2 million in the reserve fund.
    Instead, there’s just $5 million in the pot. And there’s been no improvement in the speed at which developers get their paperwork handled.
    The lack of cash in the kitty can be attributed, in part, to the economic slowdown of the last couple of years.
    But that’s not the whole problem. During the boom years, city administrators diverted funds that should have gone into the surplus saving account for all kinds of other expenses.
    At the audit committee meeting this week, Coun. Bev Esslinger called the whole model a slush fund. That may be harsh. There’s nothing in Wiun’s report to suggest the money was used for speed boats or parties.

    And council itself certainly isn’t blameless.
    In one case, city council explicitly authorized and directed robbing the piggy bank, passing a motion to divert $2.5 million a year from developers to another government branch.
    “Previous councils didn’t want to pay for things,” Mayor Don Iveson concedes. “They’d loot the stability reserve to try to shave a decimal point off the tax levy. A lot of games got played with budget optics, and we’ve put an end to that.”
    Meantime, there were no clear lines of accountability or responsibility. With millions of boom dollars pouring in, there was no one providing oversight when things went off the rails.
    And off the rails they went. The most egregious situation in Wiun’s report involves $8.5 million spent in 2015 on a failed information technology project, one that was kiboshed because the contractors didn’t deliver on time — and because there was a “perceived conflict of interest” in the awarding of the contracts.
    All the contracts were cancelled. And then, the department spent another $5.3 million — and counting — to have the job done properly.
    And with accountability so loose and slushy, the $8.5 million boondoggle, and the allegations of conflict of interest, were hushed up.
    It wasn’t until late February, almost three years after the fact, that Leanne McCarthy, the deputy city manager, discovered the allegations and reported them to the auditor. A separate audit, and an investigation by corporate security, are now underway. The Edmonton Police Service is also involved.
    No one has been fired or reprimanded. And McCarthy stresses the conflict of interest was only “perceived” — not proven.
    Mayor Don Iveson at a meeting of city councillors and staff in City Hall. Ian Kucerak / Postmedia, file
    Iveson calls the whole thing “unacceptable.”
    “If there are allegations of conflict of interest or fraud or worse, they should have been investigated three years ago, not after the fact,” he said.
    For years now, the city has been conveniently blaming its various management screw-ups on Simon Farbrother, the city manager who was let go in 2015. But that excuse is wearing thin. Iveson said the problem is a corporate culture that predated Farbrother, one that’s proven hard to change.
    “We’ve had a culture of people not being held accountable,” he said. “It’s incredibly frustrating for me to see how slow progress has been. I didn’t realize how bad it was four years ago when I became mayor. But audit after audit has shown how deep the problem is.”
    But Iveson isn’t the only one who’s frustrated with the managerial missteps, the ethical blind spots. And with each audit, Edmontonians grow more cynical about the people who are supposed to be running this city for the common good. Corruption? Incompetence? As citizens, we shouldn’t accept either from our public servants.


  8. #8
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    Default

    This topic looks to be too hot to handle. Very few want to weigh in.

    What anti-business issues have others had in this city?
    How can they be fixed?

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by David Jackson View Post
    This topic looks to be too hot to handle. Very few want to weigh in.

    What anti-business issues have others had in this city?
    How can they be fixed?
    take a project your $100 million short on . Already scraped the LRT cash , RAM cash for an arena ! you gotta fix the books ! And Daryl Katz gets his gravel parking lot by Sunday

  10. #10

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    How about the fact that non-residential property taxes are increasing 4x as fast as CPI?

    http://www.edmontoncommercial.com/ed...n-inflation-2/

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