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Government could make real money by following in Fildebrandt's Airbnb footsteps: Paradis

A night in the Sky Palace, anyone?

UCP Finance Critic, Derek Fildebrandt

Kevin Tuong / Edmonton Freelance

UCP Finance Critic, Derek Fildebrandt

Since news broke that the UCP’s shadow finance minister, Derek Fildebrandt, has been renting out his government-funded apartment as a crash pad for tourists, he seems to have taken it off Airbnb.

That’s too bad.

It’s probably disappointing to Filde-fans that his digs are no longer available, and according to the Airbnb write up, the apartment “in the thick of the action on Jasper Ave” was a real gem. Taxpayers will be glad to hear the space they subsidized was “modernly furnished and very well kept.”

Fildebrandt tweeted Thursday morning that he’d made $2,555 over eight months renting out the place. Not bad, considering that in 2016 he pocketed the maximum amount—$23,160—that MLAs outside Edmonton are allowed to claim for housing.

After all, if you’re tech savvy and under 35 it’s stupid not to take advantage of this opportunity. Listen up public servants: It is the 21st Century!

So in the spirit of getting maximum profit off of government-funded accommodation, here’s a few other spaces that local and provincial employees may be able to use to make a few bucks on Airbnb.

Lucy the Elephant’s house at the zoo

Despite what the activists say, Lucy’s elephant house is pretty luxurious. What visitor to Edmonton wouldn’t want to share space with an artistic pachyderm? (Lucy is an accomplished painter.) Surely an elephant doesn’t need all that space to herself.

If you’re lucky she’ll send you home with one of her famous self-portraits.

City of Edmonton work vans

You see them all over the city, waiting in parking lots and driveways. It seems like a waste to let that space lay fallow. Why not throw a mattress in there and offer a mobile experience to remember?

The MacEwan LRT Station

Dubbed “the station that the city doesn’t want you to use” by Avenue Magazine, this hidden jewel is often empty, as the hockey-loving crowd is pushed to use the Bay/Enterprise Square station. Right in the heart of Ice District, this could surely fetch a pretty penny from sports enthusiasts or concertgoers.

The Sky Palace

No list of luxurious Edmonton government sponsored accommodation would be complete without the mention of the beloved sky palace. The brainchild of former Premier Alison Redford, this 11th floor suite in the Federal Building has sadly since been put to other use, but that’s nothing (another) renovation wouldn’t fix.   

People say politics is all doom and gloom, but it’s important to seize the positive opportunities when they arise. We could look at this as a well-paid politician making money by double-dipping on expense claims, or we could look on the bright side.

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