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Reimagine 

Over the last nine months since the Reimagine report came to Council in July 2020, a significant amount of thoughtful and intentional work has been advanced in all five of the areas identified in the report. As a large and complex organization operating in a shifting social and economic environment, looking at ways to continuously enhance how we work is essential.  Reimagine has been an opportunity to demonstrate that we are committed to relevance, effectiveness and efficiency. We are doing what matters.

We are doing it well. And we are doing it in a way that respects tax dollar value to Edmontonians. The pandemic highlighted the need for new thinking about how we work in order to recover, but the need for continuous improvement is a business practice that is expected of any modern organization and will be a feature of how we always work for Edmontonians.

There are five areas to the City’s Reimagine work, all of which will require adjustments and difficult tradeoffs. They are framed by the long-term vision and goals for the City which were developed well before the pandemic struck.

Five Areas of Work

The 5 major areas of work are: 

  • Park and Open Space Access 
  • Recreational and Sport Facility Access/Recreation and Cultural Programming
  • Facility Management and Maintenance
  • Fleet Management and Maintenance
  • Fire Rescue

The reviews will prioritize value for money and concrete cost-savings recommendations, while clearly identifying any trade-offs or impacts.  

The reviews will offer recommendations for service level reductions and/or the elimination of services or sub-services (internally and/or externally); evaluate private-sector, non-profit and partnership service delivery alternatives; and complete a GBA+ analysis to ensure potential equity impacts are understood and mitigated.

Analysis Underway

No decisions have been made about any of the services under review. Careful and thoughtful analysis is currently underway. We are working closely with the service areas to gain a deep understanding of how they do business and potential opportunities to find efficiencies.

Shortlist Opportunities

Consulting firm (KPMG) has been retained to support these reviews with a targeted completion date of mid-2021. 

The Executive Leadership Team (ELT) narrowed the list to 16 shortlist opportunities that warranted the development of a business case with unique considerations for each opportunity. These include:
 

Park and Open Space Access

Parking Fees

Parking is an asset that provides the City with the opportunity to generate revenue and manage the service to ensure costs are recovered. Paid parking exists in comparable sites in other cities.

Expanding paid parking aligns with the Open Option Parking initiative and other activities aimed at achieving strategic City objectives around supporting transit use, contributing to increasing health, improving neighbourhood vibrancy, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The upcoming business case will explore applying a parking fee to some of the City’s larger parks, open spaces and amenities with an option of the first two hours free. It will also review the overall impact to access at facilities where drivers are parking at the facility to access other amenities and services in the area.

Parks Board

Across other municipalities in Canada, such as Vancouver or Calgary, Parks Boards are established to fundraise for park rehabilitation, upkeep and development.

In the upcoming business case, an arms-length board or foundation that can raise additional funds for parks from donors, associations, non-government organizations, other levels of government or corporations, will be explored.

This concept could generate additional new revenue and has the potential to provide communities or individuals a greater sense of ownership in their local parks.

Maintained Park Space

Naturalization helps preserve and celebrate the natural plant and animal species found in our region. Responsible parkland care means sustainable practices that contribute to a healthy, climate resilient and livable City for generations to come. This business case will explore how we can enhance the overall benefit of passive or natural naturalization in park spaces, specifically turf and shrub bed areas.

This will enable the City to potentially reduce mowing and maintenance of these turf and shrub bed areas while providing a benefit to overall biodiversity. This could include both some species reestablishing naturally while other measures would be active planting of trees or natural species.

Recreational and Sport Facility Access

Recreation and Cultural Programming
Registered Program Offerings

This business case will explore whether to reduce registered programming that is less financially viable. The intent for this business case is to improve overall cost recovery.

Pre-2020, registered programming was filled to approximately 67% of its capacity compared to other jurisdictions that achieve an average of 70% to 83% fill rates. Since 2015, attendance for programs has declined by 20% while the average number of program hours declined by 9%.

Service Delivery Contracting for Recreation and Sport Facilities

This business case will review facility access, operations and programming to determine if there are benefits to contracting third party service providers, associations, or community partners. It will focus on smaller, single purpose facilities such as arenas, leisure centres, senior centres, and the City Arts Centre.

The business case will also explore having partners, associations or others deliver registered recreation offerings at the facilities. Looking at alternative service delivery of operations and programming of the future Lewis Farms Community Recreation Centre will also be explored in the business case.

Golf Course Operations

This business case will assess the viability of a future model in which the City leases golf courses and the driving range to a private operator. The City would retain all ownership of the courses, facilities, land and capital assets and the courses would remain fully public.

Cost recoveries from the City’s 3 golf courses (Riverside, Victoria and Rundle Park golf courses) have declined from 2015 to 2019 with Rundle Golf Course experiencing the lowest cost recovery of the 3 courses.

Fleet Management and Maintenance

Fabrication Shop

The business case will explore the financial cost of the current fleet fabrication program which provides development and repair work for the City’s fleet of vehicles and other fabrication projects across the City. This line of business currently covers slightly more than its direct operating costs, but does not cover costs associated with facility/space, utilities, equipment, depreciation and corporate overheads. 

The fabrication shop is not the sole provider to the City for these services. The business case will examine multiple options related to service level changes, potential levels of outsourcing, and impacts to overall financial viability.

External Client Fleet Maintenance

In addition to serving internal City departments, Fleet and Facility Services provides fleet maintenance services for other public sector organizations. There is an opportunity to further understand if this service to external clients is cost recovery.

Previous City reviews have looked at primarily internal clients versus external clients. The City could re-evaluate their position as a fleet management provider for these external clients.

Lifecycle Replacement Strategy

This business case will look at how the City could benefit from a fleet lifecycle maintenance and replacement framework. The City has approximately 5,900 vehicles and pieces of equipment and a lifecycle framework could guide decision making about the timing of vehicle replacements.

Lifecycle reviews have been performed by the City for a select number of vehicle categories. Applying such reviews to other vehicles in the fleet could allow the City to reduce lifecycle costs by determining the optimal replacement point for vehicles.

Optimize Overall Fleet Size

This business case will explore opportunities to optimize the City’s light and heavy duty fleet. Edmonton has a comparable number of assets per capita of other Canadian cities but based on an initial review of gathered data, there may be opportunity to further optimize the fleet size.

Facility Management and Maintenance

Facility Maintenance Functions

Some of Facility Management Services’ internal clients, such as Edmonton Transit Service and Community and Recreation Facilities, have their own facility maintenance coordinators.  The review will explore whether or not there may be opportunity for efficiencies.

Supply Services

Vendor-managed / consignment parts inventory system for Fleet Management and Maintenance

This business case will explore the introduction of consignment into the City’s Vendor-Managed Inventory (VMI) for municipal and transit fleet.

This would complement the VMI system already being introduced by adding a consignment arrangement, meaning inventory is not charged to the City until it is consumed. This could reduce its inventory carrying costs.

Fire Rescue 

The Edmonton Fire Rescue Services (EFRS) review began as a Program and Service Review in 2017, with KPMG brought on to support the review in 2019. The review was then paused due to COVID-19 in March 2020. The review has resumed as a part of the Reimagine Services work and the City of Edmonton and KPMG are exploring the following options:

Deployment of EFRS Personnel and Vehicles, including Staffing and Service Levels

This business case explores whether or not there might be opportunities to optimize how we deploy fire staff by looking at specific events, at specific stations, at specific times.

For example, EFRS currently responds to all pre-hospital medical care calls with four firefighters and a full-size fire vehicle. The business case  explores having a reduced number of firefighters and smaller units at select stations for specific medical response.

Approach to Pre-hospital Medical Care

Pre-hospital medical care is a service that now makes up more than two-thirds of the calls responded to by EFRS. Medical call volume is growing at about 7% per year, which is much faster than population growth in Edmonton and 3.5 times faster than non-medical calls. This creates a sustainability issue for the service.

Notably, 20% to 25% of medical events responded to by EFRS are not within EFRS’ stated scope of work and are not emergency, life-threatening calls. The business case  explores whether there is an opportunity to work closely with Alberta Health Services to focus on event types where the presence of EFRS has the greatest potential for lifesaving.

The first priorities are the needs and safety of Edmontonians and first responders. A comprehensive risk analysis is part of the work, as well as direct analysis by the Fire Chief will be conducted prior to a final draft.

More details regarding the recommendations will be brought forward at the same time as the other services under review.

Next Steps

Each opportunity will be explored further in a business case that includes an analysis of revenue opportunities, improved cost recovery and operational efficiencies. No decisions will be made about the next steps for these opportunities until the business case has been completed and recommendations are presented to the Executive Leadership Team (ELT) and/or Council.

Business case development begins this month and Administration’s final recommendations will be presented to Council in June, 2021. As they become available, business case recommendations will be shared with staff, the public and unions so that we can be as transparent as possible about the details and impacts.

For More Information

Email rsreviews@edmonton.ca

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