Economic Recovery Plan

The Problem

Edmontonians have been painted a bleak picture of our future throughout this campaign and our economic situation is serious but there are solutions. A focus on job creation, attracting investment, and lowering property taxes is key to our economic recovery.

There’s no question over the past 18 months that the people of Edmonton have been tested like never before. Through it all, even in our darkest moments, we’ve seen the best of what our city has to offer - strength, determination, kindness, generosity.  This is the spirit, the pride in our city that will guide us as we work to build a city that works for all Edmontonians. 

By focusing on our mandate, my plan for our recovery will keep property taxes low and allow us to find new sources of revenue so Edmontonians no longer shoulder the burden of economic recovery.

The Policy

As Mayor, I commit to advocating for the following economic policies to support and speed Edmonton’s post-pandemic recovery.

Watson’s 10 Point Economic Recovery Plan

    1. Mandate Based Budgeting: We’ll build the budget beginning with city services mandated in the Municipal Government Act and prioritize the things you’ve said are important (your roads, bridges, garbage, rec centres). I’ll work collaboratively with Council to transition away from the lines of business we shouldn’t be in (see point 10 for details). 
    2. Metro Region Taxation Contributions: We need more support from our metro region municipalities. I will work with the Province to begin discussions to annex (obtain) the land the Strathcona Refinery is on as well as the possibility of tolls roads, a surcharge on registered vehicles outside of the Edmonton municipal boundary and other revenue ideas for equality. Residents in surrounding communities utilize Edmonton amenities often and should be contributing more towards them.
    3. No Business Licensing Fees for One year: Any new small or medium-sized business that establishes in Edmonton between November 2021 and March 2022 will receive their business license for free. 
    4. Waive Infill Development Fees: To get the most out of our existing infrastructure - and recognize the increased costs of building in developed neighbourhoods - we will waive development fees for a period of two years in targeted aging communities in the city.  
    5. Forefront and Fund AKSIS: Our Indigenous economic development agency needs a proper budget and a seat at the table. We will immediately prioritize funding from existing sources to provide them with the right funds to encourage and realize Indigenous entrepreneurship contributions.  
    6. Alberta Economic Corridor: We’re missing out on federal cluster funding related to technology, innovation, and economic development ($50 million short in the last federal budget, to be precise). An economic partnership with Calgary must be established. 
    7. A Safe, Welcoming Downtown: It’s time for action. We need a comprehensive plan that prioritizes safety, meets the basic needs of vulnerable citizens, and addresses petty crime. A dedicated City and Edmonton Police Service Task Force, implementing the Safe City for Women and Girls and basic needs policies will get us there.
    8. Property Tax Freeze: Edmontonians cannot afford to pay more right now. I’ll work with Council to ensure we freeze property taxes for the next two years while our economy recovers. 
    9. Transit Taskforce: I will bring global transit experts together to reassess our public transit infrastructure investments to increase service, accessibility, and mobility options to better enable Edmontonians to get to work.     
    10. Activate and Monetize our Land Assets:  The City needs to get out of the land development and land ownership business by selling the large masses of land that are currently undeveloped and/or underdeveloped, like: Blatchford, the Exhibition lands, Edmonton Energy and Technology Park, and the Edmonton Research Park. This will contribute to communities, allow neighbourhoods to evolve, and generate more revenue for city services. 

The Outcome

With a focus on the economy and on doing what the city does best and is within its mandate, Edmonton’s economy can not only recover but thrive. This leaves citizens with more money in their pockets to support local businesses and businesses with the opportunity to succeed and grow.