Coming up at City Council: July 6-10, 2015

Time for another Council update, this time for the week of July 6. There are a number of private reports slated for Tuesday’s meeting, including an update on the Metro Line LRT. Will it be delayed again, or will we finally get a date for the opening? Let’s hope it’s good news. Another private item is on the Communications Plan for LRT Funding.

Below you’ll find links to all the meetings and some highlighted items that I found interesting or otherwise wanted to make note of.

City Council Swearing In 2013-2017

Meetings this week

You can always see the latest City Council meetings on ShareEdmonton.

Food Truck Alley on Whyte Avenue

Last summer, a so-called “food truck alley” was proposed for the lane beside Tutti Frutti on the north side of 82 Avenue just west of 104 Street. Well now it looks like it might actually happen.

Bylaws 17278, 17279, and 17280 will be considered at Monday’s public hearing. If approved, these bylaws would close the lane permanently, would amend the Strathcona ARP accordingly, and would rezone the area to allow for “public amenity and temporary commercial space that respects the heritage character of the surrounding buildings and area, while providing pedestrian connectivity between 82 Avenue NW and the rear, east-west lane.”

No permanent structures would be allowed, and the area would need to remain publicly accessible to pedestrians at all times, but allowable uses would include park space, carnivals, restaurants, and general retail stores.

I take that to mean that food trucks could be welcome!

District Energy in the Downtown

Interesting item on a so-called “district energy system” which is basically a more environmentally-friendly way to get hot water delivered to buildings within a specific area. The idea is to use biomass (like waste), solar, natural gas, or waste heat to provide hot water, which could be used as water or in the heating of spaces. Obviously this works better in denser areas.

Here’s the heart of the report:

“Administration has been working with EPCOR, ENMAX, FVB Energy and the Holmes Group since 2012 to develop a feasible scenario for a District Energy System in the Downtown. Initial scenarios for a District Energy System focused on The Quarters Downtown, and in 2012 construction began on a small scale District Energy System to serve the Boyle Renaissance Phases I and II. ENMAX is in the final stages of commissioning a cogeneration plant in the Boyle Renaissance Tower which will be ready to serve the 90 unit senior’s facility in 2015. This plant has the capability to generate heat and electricity for Renaissance Tower and heat for the YMCA Melcor Welcome Village. Electricity generated in excess of Renaissance Tower requirements goes back to the electrical grid for resale.”

The idea is that the City provides building connections, ENMAX owns and operates the thermal generation and would sell to customers directly, and EPCOR build, own, and maintain the distribution system. The proposed system is “estimated to result in a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions of 17,080 tonnes per year in early phases and 63,000 tonnes per year at full build out.”

If Council gives the go-ahead, then Administration will prepare a business case for Executive Committee’s review in the fall. They’d also provide an update on the viability of a district energy system in Blatchford.

Valley Line LRT RFP Questions & Answers

I have found that Q&A documents are often the most enlightening of all City documents, so I was very interested to take a look at this one. There’s a total of 98 questions and answers in the document, so there’s a ton of useful information if you’re willing to read through it all.

There are a number of questions about public engagement, which the City often answers by saying that a number of Citizen Working Groups will be established. As of June 25, five Citizen Working Groups have been established based around different zones of the project. You can see the list of members here.

A few other highlights include:

  • The P3 contractor must accommodate special events, so festivals like the Edmonton Folk Music Festival will not be impacted. Access to both the Muttart Conservatory and Edmonton Ski Club will also be maintained.
  • “A relatively small amount of green space will be lost during construction,” but the City says “the vast majority” will be returned to parkland after construction is complete.
  • Apparently there are beavers living below the footbridge, and the City says that if they are still living there when construction begins, “the P3 contractor will be responsible for relocating them.”
  • There will be a wildlife underpass at Connors Road that will “help to maintain access for wildlife to and from Mill Creek Ravine.”

You can keep up-to-date on the Valley Line LRT here.

95 Avenue Bike Lane Removal

At the City Council meeting on June 23, 2015, Councillor Oshry moved that the bike lanes on 95 Avenue between 149 Street and 189 Street and on 189 Street between 87 Avenue and 95 Avenue, be removed. The motion on the floor was postponed to Tuesday’s meeting because Council ran out of time.

Since then, Councillor Walters has indicated he’d like to see the bike lanes on 40 Avenue and 106 Street removed also and he has a motion pending for Tuesday’s meeting. Commenting on the story, Councillor Oshry told the Journal that “Administration has a hard time admitting that (these bike lanes) are not working, that they’re a mistake.”

Mayor Iveson is against removing the bike lanes, suggesting that doing so would send the wrong signal to the public. Could be a close vote!

Committee recommendations

Here are some recommendations from Council’s committees that will be voted on this week worth highlighting:

  • That Administration prepare a policy for Council’s consideration to require vegetarian or vegan food for all catered City Council meetings “to support environmental sustainability.” This one comes from Youth Council, which has already adopted vegan-catered meals for its meetings, and says the meals have a significantly lower environmental impact than meals with meat. I’d rather see a requirement for local food, which I understand a working group convened by the City along with Northlands is investigating.
  • That Administration prepare a policy on traffic shortcutting that would include, among other things, “ways to address traffic shortcutting in a proactive manner.”
  • That $4.2 million in Cornerstones funding be approved for the construction of a seniors’ housing project called Sakaw Terrace and that the Sakaw surplus school site be sold for $100,000 for the project.

Other interesting items

Wrap-up

You can keep track of City Council on Twitter using the #yegcc hashtag, and you can listen to or watch any Council meeting live online. You can read my previous coverage of the 2013-2017 City Council here.

UPDATE: Since I posted this a Special Executive Committee meeting has been scheduled for Wednesday. One of the key agenda items is an update on the Implementation Plan for The Way Ahead. Council will be discussing 23 “transformational initiatives” that are expected to help achieve a significant number of the strategic outcomes by the end of 2018.

Media Monday Edmonton: Update #161

Here’s my latest update on local media stuff:

FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015 - Edmonton
FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015, photo by IQRemix

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 6/28/2015

It was a hot weekend in Edmonton with temperatures above 30 degrees – how did you beat the heat? Or maybe you decided to make the most of it and spent it outdoors! We might have some rain to start the week but then we’re back to hot weather, so be sure to work and play safely, and never leave children or pets unattended in a vehicle. You can see the forecast here.

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Headlines

Edmonton
Boating on the river

Upcoming Events

Canada Day Information

The fireworks are scheduled to start at 11pm in the river valley. You can’t watch them from Kinsmen Park, but some of the best locations include the Alberta Legislature grounds, Victoria Park, Ezio Faraone Park, and Government House Park. If you’re willing to pay, TELUS Field is offer $4 admission to the baseball game after the 8th inning.

Keep in mind there will be lots of road closures in place on Wednesday starting at around 9pm and continuing until at least 12:45am. There will be limited on-street parking with meter hooding and no stopping signs going into place early in the day. You can see the full list of road closures here. The City is encouraging everyone to walk, bike, or take transit.

Canada Day 2014

There are a few good viewing areas that will be accessible on foot only, including River Valley Road, Queen Elizabeth Park Road, and 109 Street between Saskatchewan Drive and the High Level Bridge. The High Level Bridge itself, as well as the Menzies LRT bridge, will both be closed.

As for transit, all regular bus routes will be operating on a Sunday schedule. The LRT will be running on a 10 minute frequency. For the fireworks though, certain routes will have increased service, including the 1, 5, 8, and 9.

If fireworks downtown aren’t your thing, you can see a full listing of Canada Day events here.

ETS Changes

Thanks to plenty of construction taking place downtown and preliminary work on the Valley Line LRT, permanent changes to 29 downtown bus routes took effect today:

“Most changes are minimal with bus stops only being moved a block or two. The biggest changes take place along 102 Avenue between 95 Street and 103 Street. No buses will be running along this corridor.”

This also affects drivers, as 102A Avenue has now been changed to accommodate two-way traffic. I often took the bus on 102 Avenue, so I’ll have to go see where all of my stops have moved to. Be sure to give yourself a bit of extra time.

Bus Stop Closed
Bus stops along 102 Avenue downtown are closed permanently

Downtown routes weren’t the only ones affected this weekend as ETS also made its summer service changes. These changes are in effect until the end of August and largely consist of the removal of school service and reducing the number of buses used for morning and afternoon peak times. Six routes – 46, 165, 167, 186, 187, and 188 – have been cancelled for the summer.

EndPoverty Edmonton recognizes volunteers and moves closer to finalizing its strategy

When I last wrote about EndPoverty Edmonton, the task force had formed a series of working groups tasked with generating recommendations that would form the basis of a strategy to end poverty in Edmonton. Now five months later, after countless hours of hard work from hundreds of volunteers, the strategy is inching toward completion.

EndPoverty Edmonton is a task force chaired by Mayor Don Iveson and Bishop Jane Alexander and is composed of 18 leaders and stakeholders representing a broad array of communities. The vision is to eliminate poverty in Edmonton within a generation (roughly 30 years according to the OECD definition) and the task force’s mandate is to develop a long-term plan to achieve that vision.

Volunteer Appreciation

Last week, Mayor Iveson and the City staff working on the project hosted a volunteer appreciation event. “It’s so encouraging to see how many people stepped forward to help,” Mayor Iveson said. “Thanks for caring and wanting to make a difference for your fellow citizens.”

Over 200 volunteers contributed to 7 working groups, 2 round tables, and a few other subcommittees of the task force. Most groups met at least once a month from September 2014 through March 2015, and sometimes they met much more frequently than that. Countless hours were put in to help develop the recommendations required to construct the strategy.

The mayor acknowledged that although the structure and timescale that was imposed was difficult, it was important to maintain momentum, and seemed happy that that had been more or less achieved. He admitted that he’s not sure what EndPoverty Edmonton will look like after the strategy is finalized, but said that multiple options and models are being considered.

The goal now is to build a movement and the challenge is to figure out how to sustain it for a generation. “We have mugs now so we’re an official thing!” he joked. Everyone got to take one home at the end of the night. They won’t make a movement, but they can help to spark the conversation, we were told.

EndPoverty Edmonton

Toward the end of his remarks, Mayor Iveson talked about the TRC recommendations and The Walrus Talks Aboriginal City event from a couple months ago. He shared some thoughts on treaties, on what the Cree word for poverty means (it doesn’t talk about money), and on Canada being “an unfinished country” before joking that he didn’t mean to deliver his nation building speech. I thought the question he posed was entirely appropriate though: “What would it look like if we set out to build a city that lives and breathes the treaty spirit?”

The parting message to volunteers was to stay involved, as ambassadors if nothing else.

Recommendations

The working groups and round tables generated approximately 80 recommendations with over 400 actions. These were presented to the task force in March, and over the last few months they narrowed the list to 59 recommendations by combining similar ones and reworking others. To give you a sense of what the recommendations look like, here are a few selected at random:

  • Establish an Aboriginal Culture and Wellness Center
  • The City of Edmonton should ensure the design of transportation modes and access for citizens from all walks of life to basic services within inclusive Edmonton neighbourhoods
  • Improve income security as a pivotal factor for achieving good health and wellness
  • Improve timely access to a range of preventative-oriented mental health and wellness services
  • Grow entrepreneurship initiatives to build sustainable livelihoods and assets
  • Spearhead a “Make Something Inclusive Edmonton” movement of public space that create opportunities to inspire caring relationships, mutual sharing and learning among community members

Earlier this month, the number of recommendations was further reduced at a two-day facilitated event for task force members. They established criteria, priorities, and categorizations for the recommendations to help narrow the list down to just the most critical ones. For criteria, they considered:

  • Upstream/prevention
  • Impact on vulnerable populations
  • Foundational/sustainable change
  • Ripple effect
  • Achievable

As for priorities, they decided upon two types: “must do” and “why not?” They further categorized these as recommendations that fall within the mandate of the City of Edmonton, recommendations that the City will lead along with other stakeholders, and recommendations that belong with the broader movement.

In the end, 26 priority recommendations were identified and they are expected to go into the strategy that Council will consider in the fall. Half of these are considered “must do” while the other half are “why nots”. The list could still change in the end, but it feels like the task force is very close to finalizing it.

At the volunteer appreciation event, Mayor Iveson made a point of reassuring everyone that “the detail is not lost” and that the broader list of recommendations and actions has simply been parked for now and will become critical again as we get into implementation. He noted the importance of ensuring the work would “resonate with and have an impact on some key audiences” like policy makers and politicians.

Public Support

When Mayor Iveson first talked of elevating poverty elimination to a task force with the weight of the mayor’s office behind it, he wasn’t sure how the idea would be received. “It’s a bold goal, but we are not afraid to take it on,” he said publicly, but privately he was uncertain about announcing the task force in front of 2200 business and community leaders.

State of the City Address 2015

Of course he charged ahead, and the room expressed its strong support for the initiative. And in April, further support was identified through a benchmark survey on Edmontonians’ awareness and attitudes towards poverty. That survey found that “Edmontonians consider poverty as a significant problem in Edmonton” and that most “would like to know more about how they can contribute towards eliminating poverty.”

Though the feeling that poverty is inevitable lingers, the survey found that the majority of Edmontonians believe that poverty can be eliminated or drastically reduced. There’s also strong recognition that there’s more to poverty than just money.

Count yourself in

The biggest challenge will be turning the work of EndPoverty Edmonton into a movement that can last for a generation. In recent weeks the City along with its partners has developed some marketing material to help build toward this goal.

“Fighting poverty and social exclusion is a collective responsibility. Everyone can play a role. We encourage you to raise your voice. Join the dialogue. Show your support. Rally for change.”

A big element of this was the launch of the new website and the increase in activity on social media. Both are continuing to develop and will gain new improvements in the months ahead, but already I’ve found the Twitter account a great source of information and resources related to poverty elimination.

EndPoverty Edmonton

You can share your ideas on the website, and stay tuned for additional opportunities coming up such as a series of community conversations over the winter.

What’s next?

A two-phase approach has been adopted to take this work forward. The first phase is the approval of the strategy, which is slated to go to City Council’s Community Services Committee on September 14, followed by a full City Council meeting on September 22. The second phase would be the adopt of the implementation plan, which is expected to be complete around April 2016. In between, a series of community conversations are being planned to give Edmontonians an opportunity to learn about the plan and about what they can do to help implement it.

endpoverty edmonton

You can follow @EndPovertyYEG on Twitter, on Facebook, and you can check out the new website at endpovertyedmonton.ca.

Media Monday Edmonton: Update #160

Here’s my latest update on local media stuff:


* Here’s a Philadelphia-based journalist on Edmonton: “I had been reasonably convinced by my friends north of the parallel that Edmonton was boring,” referring to the Canadian journalists he follows on Twitter. So what did he think after actually visiting? “I would glady argue that Edmonton is not boring.”
* There are lots of American journalists in town at the moment because of the US game against Columbia which took place this evening. Apparently there’s a lot more interest in the team south of the border this time around.
* Karen’s latest roundup of local blog posts was filed from New York City, where she is learning how to be an entrepreneurial journalist.
* As Karen noted, Sunil Agnihotri of The SuperFan is joining The Copper and Blue. He’ll be posting there semi-regularly, while still maintaining his current efforts at The SuperFan.
* Congratulations to Erin Isfeld on ten years with CTV Edmonton!
* The latest edition of Postscript talks about covering the FIFA Women’s World Cup here in Edmonton.
* Here’s a pretty interesting feature on Shaun Donnelly, a Sherwood Park-based TV producer who might also be Edmonton’s elusive porn producer.
* I linked to Zoe Todd’s manifesto for the Edmonton arts scene a couple weeks ago. I’ve only causally followed the response, but I did sense that some of it was pretty intense. Turns out it was pretty bad, and so she is leaving Edmonton sooner than planned. Always disappointing to lose valuable voices like Zoe’s.
* Former Global Edmonton anchor Lynda Steele is making another career move, this time from CTV Vancouver to the radio at CKNW. She makes the jump in September.
* Linda is back with another roundup of social media notes! She notes that YouTube has launched something called Newswire to verify eyewitness footage of breaking news.
* Google made another news-related announcement today: a new initiative called News Lab aims to provide resources for journalists. You can learn more in their blog post here.

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 6/21/2015

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Headlines

Regimental Funeral Procession 5473
Regimental Funeral Procession, photo by Premier of Alberta

Regimental Funeral Procession 5481
Regimental Funeral Procession, photo by Premier of Alberta

Upcoming Events

Dark Edmonton Sky
Scary skies over the weekend!

Coming up at City Council: June 22-26, 2015

It has been a while since my last Council update! I’m going to try to get back into it, with some experimentation on the format. Instead of going day-by-day as I have in the past, I’m going to try a more general overview this time with a focus on highlighting a few specific items. Let me know if you have any feedback or suggestions on how to make this update more readable and useful.

City Council Swearing In 2013-2017

Meetings this week

You can always see the latest City Council meetings on ShareEdmonton.

2013-2017 Council Initiatives – Status Update

There are 23 Council Initiatives underway and by policy they are reviewed annually by City Council. There is an attachment for each initiative here, with work accomplished as of May 2015. Here are some highlights of the next steps:

  • Child Friendly Edmonton – Plans are underway for a Pecha Kucha-style forum in the fall, and development of an intergenerational toolkit is underway.
  • EndPoverty Edmonton – The strategy will be presented to Council in September 2015, with a full implementation plan to be finalized by Spring 2016
  • ELEVATE – Work continues on a collaborative project to demonstrate the intent and approach of ELEVATE, primarily with the Greater Hardisty Community Sustainability Coalition.
  • Emerging Economy – Make Something Edmonton is working on supports for ambassadors of Edmonton, Edmonton Original is working on “52 fishhooks” (a reason to come to Edmonton every week of the year), and EEDC is scaling up its Entrepreneurship 101, Front Desk, and Vacancy Hall programs.
  • NextGen – Projects like Pecha Kucha, MEAET, the Ideas Conference, and others will continue, and an RFP is out for the redevelopment of the website.
  • Public Engagement – There are plans to establish a Public Engagement Advisory Committee, and also to undertake the 2015 Everyday Political Citizen campaign.
  • Public Transit – There are a number of sub-initiatives here, but the report notes that 30% of buses are equipped with Smart Bus Technology with plans for another 500 buses to receive the technology by the end of the year. Also, ridership increased 2.5% in 2014 to 89,283,000 trips, and so far in 2015 there has been “a modest increase” over 2014 levels.

You can read the rest of the updates here.

Ward Boundary Review Implications

This report outlines some options for a ward boundary review. This review could address population criteria, may better align ward boundaries to community league boundaries and easily identifiable borders, and could even result in changes to the number of Councillors. You can see the current wards here.

Option 1 is called Ward Boundary Correction and would change the borders of wards 9, 10, 11, and 12 to “balance them to the optimum population levels.” This option is expected to cost $40,000 for public engagement and consultation, redrawing of boundaries, and map creation.

Option 2 is called Ward Boundary Review and is a more in-depth analysis. The last review was completed after the 2007 municipal election, which resulted in a change from 6 to 12 wards. According to last year’s census, there are no wards that have exceeded the minimum or maximum population growth threshold, so a review isn’t required. Moving ahead with a review would allow Council to consider other changes like adding more Councillors or staff, which could result in building, technology, and governance changes. The cost for this option is estimated at $200,000.

Comparing to other cities is difficult, but the report notes that Calgary has 14 wards, Ottawa has 23, and Toronto has 44. Vancouver doesn’t have wards and instead has 10 Councillors at large.

If Council wishes to make changes to the Ward Boundaries and Council Composition Bylaw (15142) they need to do so by April 18, 2017 in order to have it passed at least 180 days before the general election as required by the MGA.

104 Avenue Corridor Area Redevelopment Plan (ARP)

The 104 Avenue Corridor ARP is going to Council on Monday.

104 avenue corridor

This is a big item that you’ve probably been hearing about, especially if you live in Oliver where a series of open houses were held, as well as meetings with community leagues, businesses, and others.

“The 104 Avenue Corridor Area Redevelopment Plan provides a holistic vision and framework of policies and initiatives for the transformation and integration of the 104 Avenue Corridor into a transit supportive, sustainable community.”

The plan covers the area between 111 Street and 123 Street and is important because that is the future alignment for the west leg of the Valley Line LRT. You can read the final version of the ARP and learn more about the project here.

2016-2018 Operating Budget Guidelines

Work continues on the 2016-2018 Operating Budget, but this report had a few things I found particularly interesting:

  • Population growth rates for Edmonton are estimated at: 1.9% for 2016, 2.4% for 2017, and 2.6% for 2018.
  • The consumer price index increase is estimated at: 2% for 2016, 2.2% for 2017, and 2.2% for 2018.
  • Maintaining current services would result in a general tax increase of: 3.5% in 2016, 3.7% in 2017, and 3.6% in 2018.
  • Including the Neighbourhood Renewal Program and Valley Line LRT funding requirements, the forecasted tax levy increase would be: 6.0% in 2016, 6.1% in 2017, and 5.9% in 2018.

The City will be updating the City Budget microsite with more information as the operating budget is developed, so stay tuned. They’re also planning to “go to the people” for public engagement on the budget, rather than simply hosting their own open houses.

Committee recommendations

Here are some recommendations from Council’s committees that will be voted on this week worth highlighting:

Other interesting items

  • A rezoning for the North by Lamb Development tower is on the agenda for the public hearing. The rezoning would accommodate a 123 metre high tower (approximately 37 storeys) at 10160 106 Street.
  • The City is researching what other cities in Canada are doing with respect to Enterprise Risk Management. “It appears that Edmonton is a leader in its Enterprise Risk Management efforts,” says the report.
  • Council has been told to expect The Way Ahead Progress Report 2014 in September. That report will provide “an account of how well the City is meeting its goals and corporate outcomes.” Administration also says the Citizen Dashboard reports performance, though only 4 of the 26 corporate outcome measures are included. The rest are expected to be added after the Progress Report is released in September.
  • Bylaw 17233 will amend the parking bylaw (5590) to allow pay-by-plate parking, which the City is rolling out under the name EPark.
  • The 2016-2018 business plans for Waste Management Utility and Drainage Services are now available.

Private Reports & Motions Pending

There are seven private reports on the agenda for Tuesday’s Council meeting, covering some very interesting topics. For instance, Council is slated to hear about Valley Line LRT expropriation, an update on the City Charter, and a major event hosting opportunity.

There’s also a motion pending from Councillor Oshry called 95 Avenue Bike Lane Removal.

Wrap-up

You can keep track of City Council on Twitter using the #yegcc hashtag, and you can listen to or watch any Council meeting live online. You can read my previous coverage of the 2013-2017 City Council here.

Recaplets: What the Truck, Edmonton Rush, MADJAM

My list of things to write about is always longer than I can manage, so from time to time I find it helpful to do some mini recaps, or recaplets. Here’s the latest edition:

What the Truck?!

Hard to believe we’re already in our fifth year, but it’s true! Our team of organizers has grown to seven this year, with the addition of Katherine, Mikhaila, and Su.

We’ve hosted two events already this year, with another three to go. Our season kicked off on May 23 at Churchill Square and thanks in part to amazing weather, we had record attendance. Sharon recapped it here, and even with more than 20 events under our belts, we’re still learning about things we can do better.

What the Truck?! at Churchill Square

Our second event took place on Sunday and was a much quieter affair, but it was our first attempt at brunch and we were just thankful it didn’t rain on us! We loved the location though, at 108 Street right in front of the Federal Building, so I think it’s safe to say we’ll try to return there again next season.

Our next three events are taking place on July 10 at Northlands Park, August 22 at TELUS Field, and September 11 back in Churchill Square. Hope to see you there!

Edmonton Rush win the NLL Champions Cup

I know I have already mentioned the big Edmonton Rush victory in my Edmonton notes, but I wanted to expand on it a little.

Edmonton Rush win NLL Champions Cup

Winning the title is always the goal but winning at home? You couldn’t have asked for a better ending to the 10th anniversary season. For me, the victory was made even sweeter as I was in the crowd with my brother. We have been attending Rush games since the very beginning. Actually since before the beginning, as we went to the training camp back in 2005 too! We travelled down to Calgary to witness the first ever Edmonton Rush victory in 2006 and while that was amazing, winning the title is something else.

Edmonton Rush 2015 Western Final

Here’s what owner Bruce Urban wrote:

“Ten years of blood, sweat and tears have amounted to this, our first Champions Cup title in team history. We’ve had to make some moves over the years, trades that haven’t been easy, but we did so knowing that we were building a championship calibre team, one that Edmonton could be proud of.”

I’m not sure if the Rush will remain in Edmonton, but I hope they do. There are lots of reasons it would make sense for the Oilers Entertainment Group to own the team, but it seems that ship may have sailed. Anyway, I’ve enjoyed being a fan for the last ten years and look forward to many more victories!

MADJAM

Back in early May I stopped by the finals of the second MADJAM event of the year, called the GDX Super Jam. You can read the full event summary here. At each of the MADJAM events, game developers have as little as 24 hours or as long as a week to build a game from scratch.

MADJAM April 25, 2015

There were 33 participants and 7 games involved in the GDX Super Jam. They had a week, and while some people spent 2-3 hours per day, others spent significantly more. It all paid off though as every team gets thorough, constructive feedback from the judges on how to improve (in addition to some great prizes).

The winning team was Nick Samoli and Jeremy Burns who built a game called “No One Was Here”. The judges praised their music, among other things. I talked to them afterward and while they put in a ton of effort, they wished they had had an artist on the team. Looking forward to seeing what they build next!

MADJAM April 25, 2015

The next MADJAM event is coming up in July at K Days. Participants will have a week and the winners will get admission for the last three days of the festival. Stop by and check out the incredible budding game developers we have here in Edmonton!

Bonus Notes

This was my first year as an attendee of Eat Alberta, after being a member of the organizing team. Sharon and I had a great time, which you can read about here. The organizing team did a great job!

After a few years of helping out with the digital side of the Mayor’s Celebration of the Arts, I have decided to step away from that committee. I enjoyed working with everyone there and am excited to see what they come up with for 2016. I look forward to keeping my attendance streak alive next year! Here’s my recap of the 2015 event.

I’ve got at least one more year to go as a member of the Edmonton Food Council. We announced our newest members a few weeks ago, and we just had our first meeting with the entire group last week. At that meeting we learned a lot about the food processing industry here in Edmonton, very interesting stuff. I feel like we have a decent foundation in place now, so hopefully we can take the Council forward more publicly in the year ahead.

Media Monday Edmonton: Update #159

Here’s my latest update on local media stuff:

  • The latest radio ratings for Edmonton have been released by Numeris, and once again, NOW! 102.3 FM leads the pack. Their lead over CBC Radio 1 has increased from 0.3 to 1.8 points. Once again in third is Capital FM though they are now tied with 630 CHED. The biggest increase seems to be for 91.7 The Bounce at 1.3 points, though that still only takes them to 9th place in the busy Edmonton market.
  • Marty Forbes has a few additional thoughts on the radio ratings and here is the Puget Sound Radio post.
  • The latest edition of Postscript looks at the decisions journalists had to make in covering the shooting of Const. Daniel Woodall.
  • John Archer confirmed on Tuesday that he has joined the Premier’s office here in Alberta and is no longer at CBC Edmonton. He’s the latest in a string of local media folks who have jumped over to communications for the Province including Laurie Callsen (Metro), Leah Holoiday (Metro), and Cheryl Oates (Global).
  • Here’s more on Archer’s move from David Climenhaga: “Mr. Archer was the president of the Alberta Legislative Press Gallery. As a Legislative reporter, he was known as a tough questioner who refused to accept the usual evasions favoured by politicians of all stripes and bureaucrats of many varieties.”
  • Crystal Darche is the new midday host for 92.5 Fresh FM as of Monday. She joins the station from Vancouver.
  • Both Global Edmonton and CTV Edmonton held their fall launch events in the last week. You can learn more about Global’s lineup here and CTV’s lineup here.
  • Liane Faulder reports that Battista’s Calzone Company will be featured on an upcoming episode of Food Network Canada’s You Gotta Eat Here. They’ll be filming on July 6.
  • This is a neat story. Longmou Li is the colour commentator for CCTV, the Chinese state broadcaster, and he got his start right here in Edmonton.
  • The Journal’s Press Gallery podcast has a new host! Brett Wittmeier takes over for Sarah O’Donnell.
  • In her latest local blog roundup, Karen notes this post from Owen Brierley: A Heliocentric Model of Transmedia. He spoke about the topic at the Banff World Media Festival three years ago and is revisiting the ideas now.
  • This is pretty funny: Global Edmonton’s Shaye Ganam and Erin Chalmers can’t keep it together when they see the video of a little girl accidentally getting hit in the head by one of the queen’s guards.
  • Another big scandal for CBC. This time Evan Solomon was fired for allegedly using his to position to profit from the sale of valuable art. “The string of scandals has created a journalistic crisis at the country’s public broadcaster, once widely respected for the balance and integrity of its current affairs broadcasting.”
  • On Friday, “a coalition of professional associations, unions and media organizations” launched an ad campaign called JournalismIS to highlight “the value and benefits of professional journalism.” The campaign is sponsored by The Globe and Mail, Postmedia, Bell Media, Winnipeg Free Press, Ryerson School of Journalism, and many others.
  • CNBC reports that Rupert Murdoch will step down as CEO of 21st Century Fox, handing the job to his son James.
  • How important is mobile to the New York Times? Important enough that they are blocking staff from accessing the newspaper’s website via desktops for the week. “The New York Times isn’t encouraging staff to think about mobile, they’re forcing them to consume content via smartphones — and it’s brilliant.”

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 6/14/2015

Just got back from the Ed Sheeran concert with Sharon. “That story wasn’t going anywhere, I just wanted to tell you I went to the big mall,” he said after sharing that he visited West Edmonton Mall today. He also remarked on how far people drive here in Canada. Yup.

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Headlines

Feel the Wind
Feel the Wind, photo by Jeff Wallace

Upcoming Events

Edmonton Pride 2015-8450-2
Edmonton Pride, photo by Jamie Provencal

I had a rough week due to illness. Better now than the middle of summer I guess! Fortunately I was well enough today for What the Truck?! at Capital Boulevard. The rain held off and we had a solid event. Thanks to everyone who came out!