Wednesday, May 27, 2009

My opinion really counted

I attended the first of three open houses gauging public opinion on what to do with the Edmonton City Centre Airport (ECCA). It was at Grant MacEwan's downtown campus and it was, umm, not well attended.

(This photo is only slightly misleading. By voting time there was one other guy.)

There were a few people around 5:30-7pm while I hung around Grant Mac. So there were a few paper surveys dropped off. I'm also told (by that lonely survey organizer in the photo) that there were a few people for the electronic tabulations at 4pm.

The neat thing about the open houses is the survey of three-dozen or so questions. You get a little electronic gadget, just like "America's Funniest Home Videos," which lets you lock in your vote. The questions are all about the two possibilities for the ECCA and ask you if you agree, disagree, strongly agree, don't know, etc...

The results for each question are then shown up on a screen. Since it was just me and one other guy most questions had two answers, split 50-50. We did agree on a couple "undecided" ones though.

While it will be much better for the whole process if more people come out to the second and third open houses it was cool to see my answers go head-to-head. It certainly was no secret after one or two questions that me and this other guy were on opposite sides of the debate. Things were kept cordial, we did not end up throwing punches.

Make sure you have your say on the airport and its land. The survey results (with comments from the paper versions) will be part of the package submitted to City Council for their decision.

The two remaining choices are an airport with reduced air traffic (likely just one runway), a few more transit connections and some new buildings - one of which is being called a "Mayo Clinic" of the north, with little explanation. The second choice is a mixed-use development with a transit hub, places for business, more NAIT, and residential neighbourhoods.

Don't forget to follow the online debate on Twitter. Search for the hashtag #ecca.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Oh no

I really hope the City of Edmonton and others backing the Expo bid don't take this loss as a reason to try harder for the Expo.

I hope they take it was a way to bow out of such bids for a little while and fix a few things around the city.

You want to know what world class cities have? Nice stuff, including world class transportation and transit. Then everyone will be happy to tell their friends to visit.

If the Mayor of the winning Universiade city is slagging your outdated venues how about you build some new stuff, then you bid.

And since the Universiade and Expo 2017 stories tend to include economic spin-off numbers, how come we question the same numbers from the money-losing Indy race but these numbers look solid to people?