Can Edmonton Be, Canada's Family Friendly City?

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Last night I attended a gathering at the Popular Bakery to hear Don Iveson discuss his new initiative on ways of making Edmonton, Canada's most family friendly city. He brought up some good points on what he would like to see and why this is important to him and to Sarah as parents and as community members. Read thru his initiative, and let us know your thoughts, what for you makes Edmonton family friendly? What would make Edmonton more family friendly? Is there something you've noticed or seen that is a thumbs up in improving family life here for you? Is there a lack of something, resource.. where can the city improve?  

Here's the condensed version for YEG Families: 

  1. Providing free transit to anyone 12 and under –  in an effort to make it easier for children to get to school but also enable families to move around our city, reducing isolation and building community.

    When Don brought up this point, he talked about how many families, struggle in paying additional fees. For example when families want to attend events as a whole but have to invest additional funds that may place a strain on already tight family budgets, paying for their children to ride the bus to local events or school, adds up. 

    2. Improve coordination with school boards – Iveson committed to redoubling efforts to find better ways of working with school boards on community planning decisions, especially when it comes to new school planning and school closures/consolidations. He stated the at governments, school boards and local partners should be getting better results by working together to think of schools as "community hubs" that include more community amenities.
    At the meeting, it was discussed, that having public libraries within the schools, would make it more of a community building, as well as having daycare, after school care programs. While some of these are implemented, there can be a struggle with permits.

    3. Lower speed limits on local roads –  Iveson stressed the importance of looking at reducing speed limits in areas where pedestrians will be clustered, enhancing crosswalks and extending crossing times so that seniors, new parents and those with mobility challenges can cross safely. 

    Don gave an example, lowering speed limits will save 29seconds, paraphrased, "Consider this, if you can travel down your road at 50 km vs 30 km.. you lost 29 seconds of travel time. What's 29 seconds for people to drive a little slower and look out for kids at play on our neighbourhood streets." 

    4. Work to expand affordable early learning and care (child care) spaces – Iveson stated that the City should assist in finding new locations for these services, ease regulatory restrictions like parking , and include physical space for affordable, high quality child care in more schools and city buildings like rec centres, and affordable housing developments.
     

    5.Address barriers to success for families experiencing poverty and/or discrimination – Iveson committed to continue the work of End Poverty Edmonton to ensure all our City's children have everything they need to thrive. "I will put special emphasis on countering racism, Islamophobia and other forms of discrimination found in our city with a a Mayor's Task Force on Racism and Discrimination, which will also help sustain our commitment to Truth and Reconciliation with Indigenous Canadians," stated Iveson.


    Several questions were also brought up by attendees: 
    1.  Chemical spraying for mosquitoes and chemical spraying in parks and river valley so family and pet owners can know what's being sprayed and make the choice on whether to enter an area that has been sprayed. 
      Also asked, why certain chemicals were still in use for mosquito/west nile control
      Answer: Don will look into what is currently being used, why it's being and follow up. 

      2. Housing for Youth. At the cost of moving out, is there anything in place for young low income earners that don't attend University/College to assist them in affordable living options. Answer: There is some discussion on micro suites on accessible LRT routes. 

      3. Local Blogger, Rachel Jones, talked about the high cost of daycares in the downtown core and lack of available daycare choices within the downtown regions. As more families are living within the downtown sector, many families have to drive out of the core for reasonable daycare options and then drive back into the downtown core for work. 

      4. Mixed Use spaces, with apartments above for families.  

      What else would you love to see? How else can we help to keep the conversation going, not just during an election but after? 

      To read more on the initiative, you can head to Don Iveson's campaign blog HERE