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Reimagine 

As a large and complex organization operating in a shifting social and economic environment, the City continually looks at ways to ensure services are efficient, effective and relevant. We are doing what matters. We are doing it well. And we are doing it in a way that respects Edmontonians’ tax dollars. 

Administration reviewed five service areas:

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

On June 22, 2021, Administration will be presenting 18 cost saving and revenue generating actions, to be realized as early as 2022. For the actions being implemented, estimated savings ranging from $572,000 per year up to $1.4 million per year, with a total projected cost savings of $6M in five years.

Cost Saving or Revenue Generating Actions

Park and Open Space Access

Parking Fees

Parking is an asset that provides the City with the opportunity to strategically manage parking occupancy, generate revenue and manage the service to ensure costs are recovered. Paid parking exists in comparable sites in other cities. Paid parking is one tool which supports the Open Option Parking approach.

An Open Option Parking approach will help to achieve strategic city objectives around supporting transit use, contributing to increasing health, improving neighbourhood vibrancy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Action

The City will implement paid parking at Emily Murphy Park, Rafter’s Landing, Muttart Conservatory, Fort Edmonton Park and TELUS World of Science in spring 2022. Additionally, Hawrelak Park will be considered for paid parking once the major rehabilitation is completed, at the earliest 2026. This action will be connected to the City’s broader strategic Public Parking Action Plan, which will be before Council spring 2022.

Maintained Park Space

Naturalization helps preserve and celebrate the natural plant and animal species found in the Edmonton region. Responsible parkland care means sustainable practices that contribute to a healthy, climate resilient and livable City for generations to come.

Naturalization involves reducing mowing and manicuring, monitoring the area over time to maintain legislated weeds and eventually replanting the shrubs, plants and trees that are natural to our city.

Action

The City will invest in a new naturalization strategy and implementation plan to replace the current plan that was created in 1994. Future cost savings will be realized after the new strategy is developed.Additionally, the City will pursue passive naturalization of 80 hectares per year. This work will be supported by a more comprehensive engagement and education action plan.

Recreational and Sport Facility Access

Recreation and Cultural Programming
Registered Program Offerings

The City aims to improve overall cost recovery of registered programs by reducing or eliminating course offerings with low enrolment. Since 2015, attendance for programs declined by 20% while the average number of program hours declined by 9%. 

Actions

The City will reduce the amount of registered recreation and culture programming that it delivers. Specifically:

  • Reduce the number of course offerings and/or eliminate some registered programs where costs are not being recovered by registration fees
  • Explore the delivery of certain registered programs using third-party providers at a lower cost, on behalf of the City
Service Delivery Contracting for Recreation and Sport Facilities

The review looked at facility access, operations and programming to determine if there are benefits to contracting third party service providers, associations, or community partners. It looked at smaller, single purpose facilities such as arenas, leisure centres, senior centres and also explored alternative service delivery for the future Lewis Farms Community Recreation Centre.

Action 

Multi-Purpose Recreation Facility:

Should the Lewis Farms Community Recreation Centre move forward, Administration will pursue a pilot for third-party service delivery. The City will retain ownership of the facility. 

The review also explored contracting out single-purpose facilities with an aim to deliver overall cost savings.  

Action

Single-Purpose Recreation Facility:

The City will not advance outsourcing single-purpose recreation facilities at this time but instead review current programming and operating models to improve financial performance. This may result in a reduction in the amount of subsidized rental time and programs available. Increased fees and increased use of third party program providers will also be under consideration.

Golf Course Operations

Cost recoveries from the City’s three golf courses (Riverside, Victoria and Rundle Park golf courses) have declined from 2015 to 2019. The business case assessed the viability of leasing the golf courses and 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. 

Actions

An Expression of Interest (EOI) will be developed in 2022 to assess private sector interest in entering into a leasing agreement with the City for Riverside, Rundle Park and Victoria Golf Courses with an aim for better cost recovery to the City.

Service Delivery

The Community and Recreation Facilities branch is modernizing how it plans, assesses and delivers some recreation services. This includes automating many processes, including how customer data is analyzed and providing more online customer service.

Actions

Administration is planning a hybrid model of customer services at City recreation facilities introducing self-service payment kiosks starting at the Terwillegar Community Recreation Centre in late 2022. Administration anticipates this new approach will offer a more streamlined customer experience and reduce workforce costs. Additional locations will be assessed for implementation in future years.

Facility Management and Maintenance

Facility Maintenance Functions

This review explored whether more centralized maintenance functions across business areas could produce cost savings and efficiencies. This includes areas such as Edmonton Transit Service.

Action

The feasibility of a more centralized approach will be revisited at the end of 2022 to better align with future regional agreements with the Edmonton Metropolitan Transit Services Commission.

Fleet Management and Maintenance

Fabrication Shop

The City’s fabrication program provides development and repair work for the City’s fleet of vehicles and other fabrication projects across the City. The fabrication shop is not the sole provider to the City for these services. The review examined the financial cost of the fabrication program, including multiple options related to service level changes, potential levels of outsourcing and impacts to overall financial viability. 

Action

Welding and fabrication services will continue at the City as it is a service that recovers costs and provides a net positive financial return.

Lifecycle Replacement Strategy

This review looked at the benefit of a lifecycle framework to guide decision making about the replacement of the City’s approximately 5,100 vehicles and pieces of equipment.

Action

The City will develop a Lifecycle Replacement Strategy in tandem with the “Optimize Overall Fleet Size'' action. The framework will be implemented in 2022 and is designed to decrease costs related to fleet purchases.

Optimize Overall Fleet Size

While the City of Edmonton has a similar number of assets per capita of other Canadian cities, the initial review noted that there may be opportunity to further optimize the fleet size.

Action

The City will develop a governance structure and decision-making framework to ensure a consistent, City-wide approach to determine levels of spare vehicles. This work will be done at the same time as the development of the “Fleet Lifecycle Replacement Strategy”. This framework will be completed for implementation in 2022 and is designed to decrease costs related to fleet purchases.

Reduce Mileage Reimbursement

The review explored the opportunity to align the private vehicle mileage reimbursement rate to other public sector comparators in Alberta for staff using personal vehicles.

Action

The City will consider reducing the private vehicle mileage rate for staff to better align with public sector comparators for Alberta. If approved, Policy A1206 - Administrative Procedures - Private Vehicle Reimbursement will be adjusted to reflect the rate change. Work is underway on this action.

Supply Services

Vendor-managed / Consignment Parts Inventory System for Fleet Management and Maintenance

Enhancing the Vendor-Managed Inventory (VMI) / consignment system for fleet by introducing a consignment model to reduce the carrying costs of inventory.

Action

The city will expand its use of VMI/Consignment approaches to include parts inventory for both transit and municipal fleet with key vendors who have expressed interest.

Re-Evaluate Partner / Non-Profit Leases: Review Non-profit Lease and Facility Arrangements to Improve Cost Recovery

There is an opportunity for the City to either reduce the space provided to non-for-profits (NFP) or to increase recoveries on existing leases (For example, for rent, utilities, maintenance costs, capital investment).

Action

Approximately 55% of the NFP leases will expire by the end of 2023. Administration will review NFP leasing practices to determine where changes might be implemented to improve cost recovery.

Potential cost savings will be identified after the review of current NFP leases is complete.

Fire Rescue Services

Pre-hospital Medical Care

There are five levels of service for pre-hospital medical care as defined by Alberta Health Services:

  • Standard First Aid (least intensive)
  • First Medical Responder (current level of service for EFRS) 
  • Emergency Medical Responder
  • Primary Care Paramedic
  • Advanced Care Paramedic (most intensive)

This business case investigated if, in the current context, Edmonton Fire Rescue Service is providing the most appropriate level of pre-hospital care services.

Action

Administration will continue to provide pre-hospital medical care at the First Medical Responder leave. There is a benefit of having fire services support emergency medical response, at its current level, as shown by the response to the opioid crisis.

Administration is not considering increasing the scope of practice for pre-hospital medical care at this time because it would introduce significant new expenses that could not be absorbed into the current budget. 

Response to Medical Calls

Pre-hospital medical care is a voluntary partnership that now makes up almost 70 percent of the calls responded to by Edmonton Fire Rescue Services (EFRS) and medical call volume is growing 3.5 times faster than non-medical calls. In addition, 24 percent of the pre-hospital medical calls are non-urgent calls where EFRS is not required to respond. 

Action

EFRS, working closely with Alberta Health Services (AHS), will explore opportunities to divert some activities related to non-urgent medical calls. A more detailed assessment is required before a change of this scope is adopted.

Medical Response Units

The business case explored if efficiencies might be realized without compromising the safety of citizens or staff by replacing two recently added pumper trucks to the downtown with smaller units and reduced staff to respond to medical calls at Station 1 and/or Station 5. The medical specific response units would consist of a sport utility vehicle or similar vehicle, staffed by two or three firefighters and equipped with medical supplies necessary to support the current First Medical Responder level of pre-hospital medical care.

Action

A two year pilot will be pursued in 2022 and 2023. While this pilot is active, the projected annual savings will be reallocated towards priority initiatives such as enhanced outreach, mental wellness, training and development within EFRS.

EFRS Capital Investment

A new fire station represents a substantial capital investment, though the costs of different stations vary according to their intended uses and capacity. Capital costs for acquiring land, design, construction and new heavy vehicles is approximately $18 million. The addition of a new station and new crews also carries an ongoing operational cost increase. This business case explored how capital investment decisions are made.

Action

Administration will establish criteria to guide capital investments for new stations and heavy vehicles. This will help to determine when a new station or heavy fleet is required. Decisions will be more consistent and create better alignment between ERFS’ capital planning and The City Plan.

Measurement of Performance Outcomes

This business case looked at how Edmonton Fire Rescue Service(EFRS) measures performance. For EFRS as with other jurisdictions, performance metrics are heavily focused on the speed of response. EFRS targets and measures are generally in line with those of other Canadian cities, however, in some cases, speed of response is not the sole best indicator of impact. 

Action

Administration will strengthen performance measures related to EFRS in ways that:

  • Increase transparency and public confidence in the service and in service levels
  • Demonstrate the value of pre-hospital medical care; and
  • Enhance monitoring and decision-making related to the efficiency of the service

Next Steps

These cost saving and revenue generating actions are being advanced by Administration and will be presented to Council on June 22, 2021.

For those actions being implemented, cost savings begin to be realized as early as 2022, with an estimated savings ranging from $572,000 per year up to $1.4 million per year, with a total projected cost savings of $6M in five years.

For More Information

Email rsreviews@edmonton.ca

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