“These are all elements of climate action and, right now, they are all left unfunded,” she said.
A shared-use pathway downtown, alongside 105 Avenue, is left unfunded, as are bike network improvements along Saskatchewan Drive between 99th Street and 104th Street. On top of that, $31.1 million worth of proposed improvements to the Active Transportation Network throughout the city is on the “can’t afford it” list. (That’s page 653 of the capital budget, if you really want to see.)
Salvador said addressing climate change is good business for the city. She said it doesn’t only attract green businesses, but brings in a variety of corporations looking to improve their green credentials. It’s also about talent attraction and retention.
“At this point, taking climate action seriously has become table stakes for a globally competitive city. If we’re looking to get those firms in the City of Edmonton and the Edmonton region, we can’t just be writing things on paper. We have to be demonstrating that action is being taken.”
But $53 million worth of retrofits to City-owned buildings, intended to move them toward carbon neutrality, is left unfunded.
Coun. Aaron Paquette recently made the point that Edmonton attracted a $1.6 billion investment from Air Products to build a hydrogen production facility in his ward. He said it’s because the City declared a climate emergency in 2019. “When we declared it, our whole thought process, from my office, was how this can benefit us, economically, as a city?” Paquette said. “And, lo and behold, we’re getting those investments. That’s because companies see that this is a city that takes this seriously.”