Media Monday Edmonton: Update #209

Here’s my latest update on local media stuff:

Alberta First Responders Radio Communications System (AFRRCS) 4991
Alberta First Responders Radio Communications System, photo by Premier of Alberta

And here is some slightly less local media stuff:

You can follow Edmonton media news on Twitter using the hashtag #yegmedia. For a great overview of the global media landscape, check out Mediagazer.

So, what have I missed? What’s new and interesting in the world of Edmonton media? Let me know!

You can see past Media Monday Edmonton entries here.

Edmonton Notes for June 26, 2016

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Headlines

Former Greyhound Station
What’s left of the former downtown Greyhound station

Upcoming Events

Bay/Enterprise Square LRT Station
Bay/Enterprise Square LRT Station

The beautiful symmetry of downtown Edmonton’s newest signs

It’s probably just a coincidence that the signage on Rogers Place went up the same week as Melcor and Make Something Edmonton’s Wall of Encouragement did, but I think there’s a beautiful symmetry in that. With Rogers Place we have a shiny beacon of the megaproject-based transformation of downtown Edmonton, and with the “take a risk” words we see a physical reflection of the many smaller but no less important changes that are taking place. We need both.

Wall of Encouragement

Melcor and Make Something Edmonton collaborated with local designer Clay Lowe to install the new mural on the north facing wall of the 100 St. Place building. It reads, “Take a risk. It’s the most Edmonton thing you can do.” This is straight out of the Make Something Edmonton brand book, and while some see the mural as mere propaganada and a missed opportunity for “real art”, I like it.

“Risk taking is a fibre embedded in Edmontonians. It’s an entrepreneurial tick that each of us has, but only some of us listen to.”

The new mural was installed almost exactly five years after Todd Babiak spoke at Pecha Kucha Night 10 about “the wall” and interventions. He was referring to a different Melcor wall back then (the one behind the Edmonton Journal building) but his intent was always to impact more than the view out his window. Five years later, Make Something Edmonton carries the torch forward with partners like Melcor.

Wall of Encouragement

You can get a great view of the new mural from Churchill Square and the Tix on the Square building.

“Our aim is not only to encourage our citizens to take action on a project of their own, but also to challenge our fellow building owners to join us in treating empty walls as canvases for colour and inspiration.”

I hope this does indeed inspire some building owners to look at their exterior walls differently.

Rogers Place

A few blocks away on 104 Avenue and 104 Street, construction on Rogers Place continues at a rapid pace. This week the “Rogers Place” signage started to go up on the west side of the building. It’s one of many milestones as the September 10 public open house approaches:

“With the letters going up, you can really start to see the building look like it does in the renderings,” said Mike Widdifield, Senior Project Manager for PCL.

I see the new arena every single day and I always feel like it is so much smaller than Rexall Place. But maybe that’s just because I’m used to it. From a distance, Rogers Place does indeed dominate the skyline.

Downtown Edmonton

The Rogers Place groundbreaking took place on March 3, 2014 and although it appears that the arena will open on time this fall, the construction won’t end there. The new Stantec Tower, JW Marriott hotel, Legends private residences, and many other projects will keep the area under construction through 2020.

Downtown Sunset

Fewer blank walls and fewer surface parking lots (hiccups notwithstanding), that is downtown Edmonton’s future.

Media Monday Edmonton: Update #208

Here’s my latest update on local media stuff:


Photo courtesy of CKUA

And here is some slightly less local media stuff:

You can follow Edmonton media news on Twitter using the hashtag #yegmedia. For a great overview of the global media landscape, check out Mediagazer.

So, what have I missed? What’s new and interesting in the world of Edmonton media? Let me know!

You can see past Media Monday Edmonton entries here.

Edmonton Notes for June 19, 2016

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Headlines

Weekend Strolling
Weekend Strolling, photo by IQRemix

Upcoming Events

New Pedway Bridge
New Pedway Bridge connecting Manulife Place & the Kelly Ramsey Building

Edmonton Food Council Recruitment, What the Truck?!, Metro Edmonton’s Future

Here’s the latest entry in my Edmonton Etcetera series, in which I share some thoughts on a few topical items in one post. Less than I’d write in a full post on each, but more than I’d include in Edmonton Notes. Have feedback? Let me know!

Edmonton Food Council Recruitment

The Edmonton Food Council is seeking four new members for three-year terms beginning in September 2016:

“As a volunteer committee of the City, the Edmonton Food Council’s primary role is to advise and act on matters related to the ongoing implementation of fresh: Edmonton’s Food and Agriculture Strategy. The Edmonton Food Council aims to engage with the community on relevant and timely issues related to food and urban agriculture.”

Open Farm Days 7005
Open Farm Days 2015, photo by Premier of Alberta

I think we’ve had a difficult few years since the council was first established in 2013 but I am excited about the year ahead! We have agreed to focus on food security, have setup a website, and have established a few committees that have been working well together. There have been some big successes over the last couple of years including hens, bees, and the urban agriculture zoning changes, and I think there are lots of great opportunities ahead.

If you think you’d like to join us, you can apply online here. You’ll need your resume and two letters of reference to go along with the application form. The deadline to get everything in is 5pm on Monday, June 20, 2016.

What the Truck?! at Blatchford Tower

After a very successful first event of the season a few weeks ago at Northlands, we’re ready for round two! Our next What the Truck?! event takes place on Saturday, June 18, 2016 from 4-8pm at Blatchford Tower! You can see the event and RSVP on Facebook and you can check out the lineup and menus here.

CYXD - Edmonton City Centre - Last Day of Ops
CYXD – Edmonton City Centre – Last Day of Ops, photo by Jeff Wallace

The event takes place along Airport Road right in front of the old City Centre Airport control tower (see it on Street View here). There won’t be any snow thankfully, but check out that view! This is going to be a fun location because in addition to learning more about the City’s plans for Blatchford, if you bring a donation for Edmonton’s Food Bank, you can go up inside the tower to get a unique look at downtown Edmonton’s skyline.

Admission is free as always, and there’s lots of parking at either the Ramada Hotel on the west side or Aviation Museum on the east side. I hope to see you there!

Metro Edmonton’s Future

Last week the Advisory Panel on Metro Edmonton’s Future released its report. This new group was convened in September by the Metro Mayors Alliance which itself was only formalized over the summer last year. Here are the advisory panel members:

  • Don Lowry – Former President & CEO of EPCOR Utilities
  • Carman McNary – Managing Partner of the Edmonton office of Dentons Canada LLP
  • Stanford Blade – Dean of the Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences at the University of Alberta
  • Phyllis Clark – Vice President, Finance and Administration, and CFO at the University of Alberta
  • Salima Ebrahim – Executive Director of the Banff Forum
  • Linda Hughes – 19th Chancellor of the University of Alberta
  • Reg Milley – Former President & CEO of Edmonton Airports
  • Liz O’Neill – Executive Director of Boys and Girls Clubs Big Brothers Big Sisters Society of Edmonton & Area
  • Tim Reid – President & CEO of Northlands
  • Andrew Ross – Executive Vice President, Northern Operations, for Clark Builders
  • Brad Stelfox – ALCES Group Founder
  • Paul Whittaker – President & CEO of the Alberta Forest Products Association

The Alliance was established “to support the global competitiveness and future prosperity of communities in the Metro Edmonton area” and the Panel was intended to “provide insight on matters for the region to further consider.” The cost of the panel was $600,000 which will be shared by the nine member municipalities which include Edmonton, Strathcona County, St. Albert, Sturgeon County, Fort Saskatchewan, the City of Leduc, Leduc County, Spruce Grove, and Parkland County. As Paula Simons noted in her column today, that group “represents nine municipalities with 95 per cent of the regional population, and 96 per cent of the regional tax assessment base.”

The report, called Be Ready, Or Be Left Behind, “provides a roadmap for creating a globally competitive, future-ready Edmonton Metro Region.” It highlights three critical systems for the region: economic development, public transit, and land use and infrastructure development. Can’t get much broader than that! At least they said public transit and not simply transportation. The report makes these recommendations:

  • Recommendation 1: Affirm the Metro Mayors Alliance by developing and signing a Memorandum of Understanding that spells out a commitment to plan, decide and act as one Edmonton Metro Region.
  • Recommendation #2: Formalize the commitment to think, plan and act as an Edmonton Metro Region through a legally binding Master Agreement.
  • Recommendation #3: Consistent with the signed Master Agreement, establish the structures needed to create the three key cornerstones of a globally competitive Edmonton Metro Region.
  • Recommendation #3a: Establish and mandate a new entity responsible for regional economic development in the Edmonton Metro Region.
  • Recommendation #3b: Establish and mandate an entity responsible for planning, decision-making and delivering core public transit across the Edmonton Metro Region.
  • Recommendation #3c: Establish a structure with the capacity and authority to facilitate and act upon regional land use planning and regional infrastructure development in the Edmonton Metro Region.

Paula noted that this could become a major election issue next year. And she notes the potential impact of this group on the Capital Region Board:

“The 24-member Capital Region Board, created, somewhat forcibly, by then-premier Ed Stelmach back in 2008, isn’t nimble enough to give metro Edmonton the leadership it needs.”

Now that the report is out, it’ll be up to the nine mayors to do something about it.

You can follow this on Twitter using the hashtag #YEGMetroRegion and/or the shorter #yegmetro as adopted by the local media.

Media Monday Edmonton: Update #207

Here’s my latest update on local media stuff:

Cameras Ready

And here is some slightly less local media stuff:

You can follow Edmonton media news on Twitter using the hashtag #yegmedia. For a great overview of the global media landscape, check out Mediagazer.

I’m working with Karen on a new approach to local journalism and we’d love for you to join us by becoming a member of Taproot Edmonton.

You can see past Media Monday Edmonton entries here.

Edmonton Notes for June 12, 2016

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Headlines

Walterdale Bridge
The new Walterdale Bridge

Upcoming Events

On the Edge
On the Edge, photo by Dave Sutherland

From intervention to rejuvenation: Michael Phair Park

The little pocket park on 104 Street was given an official name recently. Located behind the former Sobeys just north of Jasper Avenue adjacent to the Icon towers, the park is now known as Michael Phair Park! I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this honor than Michael Phair.

Michael Phair Park Unveiling

It was Michael who convened a group of Edmontonians known as Edmonton on the Edge to “examine, challenge and suggest what it takes to rejuvenate public spaces.” They decided to focus on the alley between Beaver Hills House Park and 103 Street, which came to be known as the Alley of Light. “Inspired by similar alley interventions from other cities around the world, we hope to revitalize the space by making it more engaging, accessible, safe and sustainable.” The group organized pop-up events like IllumiNITE, open houses and workshops to imagine what the space could be, and even painted the roadway in 2011. They showed the forgotten space the love it needed.

Michael Phair Park Unveiling

The decision to name the park was championed by Ward 6 Councillor Scott McKeen last year. The following motion was carried unanimously at the March 10, 2015 meeting of the Edmonton Naming Committee:

“That the Naming Committee approves the naming of a park, located on 104 Street and north of Jasper Avenue legally described as Lot 130A, Block 4, Plan 7823267 within the Downtown Neighbourhood, as ‘Michael Phair Park’.”

The space was previously known as Devonian Park1, though most just called it the 104 Street pocket or strip park. The new sign was not installed until last month and until May 26 it was covered up with blue tarp. Finally on that beautiful Thursday, with more than 100 friends and fans of Michael Phair present, the name was unveiled.

Michael Phair Park Unveiling

The park has changed quite a bit since Michael and the EOTE folks took an interest in it. After years of drawing attention to the alley, work began on finding a way to pay for improvements to both the alley and park. Michael’s knowledge of how to navigate the bureaucracy of the City was especially helpful in that effort, and as a result the park was included in the Downtown CRL. I had my doubts about the approach, but Michael was persistent and never gave up and it paid off. Improvements were made to the alley in 2013 and the park renovations were made in late 2014, transforming the dark, neglected space into a usable park.

Michael Phair Park Unveiling

As a resident of 104 Street I very much appreciate having the park nearby. It has made that park of my ‘hood much more attractive and welcoming and I actually enjoy walking through there now. It will continue to improve when new permanent artwork is installed too, including a new mural by Destiny Swiderski.

Michael Phair Park is also a daily reminder for me that with a little collaboration, persistence, and flair you really can make a difference in your city.


  1. And I think it is actually Lot 192A as I am fairly certain that 130A is Beaver Hills House Park. I understand the space was registered as an easement in 1977. I’ve seen reference to the land having been gifted to the City at some point, but I haven’t been able to find any confirmation of that. The Award of Merit page for Cecil Place also references ‘Devonian Park’.