Edmonton Notes for September 25, 2016

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:


Shedding Yellow
Shedding Yellow, photo by Kurt Bauschardt

Upcoming Events

Alberta’s Police and Peace Officers’ Memorial Day 15070
Alberta’s Police and Peace Officers’ Memorial Day, photo by Premier of Alberta

Media Monday Edmonton: Update #221

Here’s my latest update on local media stuff:

Sept 17-Celebrity Showcase-Kevin Fuhr-20160918-031021-D1D_7626
Western Canada Fashion Week’s Celebrity Showcase

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 September 18, 2016

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:


Harvest Moon, Edmonton, Alberta [Explored]
Harvest Moon, photo by Jeff Wallace

Upcoming Events

FISE World Series - Edmonton
FISE World Series Edmonton, photo by IQRemix

Media Monday Edmonton: Update #220

Here’s my latest update on local media stuff:

I am thrilled with our first story at Taproot Edmonton! Written by Mel Priestley, it’s all about the herd of deer that live near the Edmonton Ethane Extraction Plant along 23 Avenue.

Deer off 23 Avenue

Please check it out, and consider becoming a member to help us put more great stories like this into the world.

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 September 11, 2016

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:


Ford Hall
Ford Hall, photo by Kurt Bauschardt

Upcoming Events

  • The Edmonton premiere of Catching the Sun!, a film about solar energy, takes place on Tuesday at the Garneau Theatre.
  • Dark Matters returns on Thursday to the TELUS World of Science with a focus on the science of science fiction.
  • Head over to Hall D at the Shaw Conference Centre on Thursday for the Balcony Harvest Party in support of the High School Culinary Challenge.
  • Western Canada Fashion Week gets underway on Thursday and runs through September 24 at the ATB Financial Arts Barns in Old Strathcona.
  • Edmonton is hosting the FISE World Series this weekend at Hawrelak Park. The event features 400+ riders and is free to attend. They have quite the lineup of food trucks too!
  • Vignettes takes place on Friday at the former Sobey’s location on 104 Street. The event “is an interdisciplinary competition that invites teams of local designers, woodworkers, visual artists and contractors to bring their best in collaboration, creation, and competition in a challenging and innovative way.”
  • MacEwan is hosting tours of its urban beekeeping project for the next few weeks – the first is on Friday during lunch.
  • A meeting for the Edmonton Soccer Project takes place Friday night at the Mill Woods library.
  • Keith Urban will play the first concert at Rogers Place on Friday evening. Dolly Parton will play the second concert, on Saturday evening.
  • The City is hosting another Big Bin Event this weekend at Commonwealth Stadium. Bring your household items that can’t be set out for regular waste collection.
  • Rogers Place is hosting a viewing party for Team North America vs. Team Finland on Sunday. Tickets are $5 and go on sale Wednesday at 10am.
  • For more upcoming events, check out ShareEdmonton.

Fall Street

Coming up at City Council: September 12-16, 2016

Expect to hear a lot next week about suicide prevention and the High Level Bridge.

City Council Swearing In 2013-2017

Here’s my look at what Council will be discussing in the week ahead.

Meetings this week

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

Edmonton Suicide Prevention Strategy 2016-2021

This new strategy is the result of two years of work on better suicide prevention in Edmonton.

“While suicide is a complex issue involving the interaction of biological, psychological and social factors, it is preventable. The Edmonton Suicide Prevention Strategy provides an understanding of suicide in Edmonton and recommends a set of actions for implementation that reflect evidence-based practices. Recommended actions are intended to enhance known protective factors that mitigate against suicide while reducing factors that put individuals at higher risk. The strategy employs a universal preventive approach that emphasizes collaboration and coordination of services. It also takes into account alignment opportunities with existing and upcoming community and provincial initiatives.”

Research into the issue surfaced a number of key learnings:

  • “There were 117 deaths by suicide in Edmonton in 2013 and 165 in the Edmonton Zone of Alberta Health Services, which includes surrounding areas.” And that’s probably an underestimate.
  • “Three out of four suicide deaths are male, and most suicides among men take place between the ages of 30 and 69 years.”
  • “After a mental illness, the risk factors most frequently associated with suicide include substance abuse, trauma, social isolation, and higher rates of poverty.”
  • “According to the Injury Prevention Centre, the total loss costs associated with suicidal behaviour in the Edmonton Zone – Alberta Health Services, were estimated at over $89 million in 2013.”

The strategy highlights three goals:

  • “to provide awareness and education to promote positive mental health and reduce the stigma of suicide”
  • “to ensure the whole continuum of services including the promotion of positive mental health, prevention, intervention, and postvention”
  • “to promote these services to be fully accessible and address the needs of at-risk populations”

If approved by Council, an implementation plan for the strategy will be developed. “The development of an implementation plan for Edmonton will not require additional financial resources as this work falls under the Urban Isolation/Mental Health Initiative and will be funded within current operating budgets.”

High Level Bridge Pathways

Councillor McKeen made an inquiry back in June related to the development and delivery of the High Level Bridge Safety Rails project, commonly referred to as the suicide barriers. This report is the response, and provides an overview of the three options that Council considered as well as suggestions on how to make the pathways more friendly for pedestrians and cyclists.

Here were the three options that Council considered:

  • Option 1: Chain Link ($1.2-1.7 million)
  • Option 2: Existing bridge rail with additional height added ($3.0 million)
  • Option 3: State of the art design ($7.4 million)

Council voted to go with option 2 back in August 2014 and approved funding later that year.

While the City did consult with EPS, AHS, The Support Network, and other stakeholders during the development of the concepts, “broader consultation was not undertaken during the design phase because of the sensitivity of the suicide issue.” They are now of course engaged with the Edmonton Bicycle Commuters Society, Paths for People, and other organizations and individuals.

High Level Bridge

The City contracted Urban Systems to conduct a safety review and you can read their report here. They identified 13 issues and suggested improvements, including:

  • Consider making the pathways one-way – the east side of the bridge would be northbound only and the west side would be southbound only. Another option is to make the east side one-way only for bicycles.
  • Install “enhanced physical separation between the carriageway and the west side and east side pathways” to keep cyclists from entering the road.
  • Install reflective hazard markings on all obstructions.
  • “Consider installing additional pedestrian scale overhead lighting where feasible on the bridge pathway itself ensuring that any additional light does not obstruct the pathway itself.”
  • “Widen the pathway on the east side of the bridge approach utilizing space within the roadway shoulder and/or additional right of way.”
  • Add better route wayfinding and other signage.

Some of the recommendations have already been implemented, such as additional signage and the installation of reflective hazard markings. Other recommendations are still being considered and the City is looking for additional input on those.

Bylaw 17755 – To Increase Allowance of Participation by Communications Facilities in Committee Meetings

That’s a really wordy way of saying that the City wants to allow people to participate in Council meetings via phone or perhaps something more advanced like Skype, even if they are in the city. To do so, they are recommending an amendment to the Procedures and Committees Bylaw 12300 to “remove the requirement for persons wishing to participate by communication facility to be in a location outside of Edmonton.” The report notes that the last citizen participant by telephone was in 2007. The location restriction was put in place for technological reasons (at the time) as well as the value that was placed on in-person communication.

“This amendment could increase accessibility for residents who are unable or disinclined to physically attend meetings, and could contribute to the goal of ensuring public involvement processes are accessible to the public as per Council Policy C513 – Public Involvement.”

We don’t have the same technological barriers today, of course. Many of us use web conferencing tools all day, every day, and they work incredibly well. The report doesn’t recommend anything in particular, and it is expected that initially remote participation would be done by phone. But “technology and infrastructure upgrades” could come in the future.

Administration recommends allowing remote participation only in Committee meetings. The rationale:

“A Statutory Hearing is a City Council meeting required to be held under statute where members of the public have a right to speak. There is lack of legal certainty as to whether a technological failure, either on the speaker’s end or the City’s end, could result in a speaker being denied their right to address City Council.”

There is no expected budget impact from this change. Apparently Edmonton would be the first municipality in Canada and possibly the United States to allow remote public participation in Council meetings.

Here’s more on the story from Elise Stolte.

Other interesting items

  • An update on the Art of Living Implementation Plan notes that 13 out of 17 Arts & Culture recommendations have been completed (76%) and 8 out of 11 Heritage recommendations were completed (73%). Development of a refreshed strategy for the next ten years is slated to begin in 2017.
  • Council approved $5.3 million in the 2015-2018 Capital Budget for the Rollie Miles Athletic Field District Park Renewal. The recommended Master Plan is now available. If approved, design work will begin this year with construction starting next year.
  • A report on garage and garden suites summarizes feedback received on current regulations and proposes draft amendments to the Zoning Bylaw. Some of the recommended amendments include combining the two into a single classification, increasing the maximum heights for flat-roofed buildings, reducing parking requirements for seniors’ oriented units, and removing balconies and stairwells from floor area calculations.
  • Administration recommends the sale of up to eight City owned building sites to homeEd at 50% of market value for the purpose of constructing new market and affordable medium-density housing.
  • There are lots of interesting stats in this report on Funding for Purchasing Renewable Energy Certificates. For instance, “approximately 353,000 carbon dioxide equivalent tonnes were emitted from City operations” in 2015. The goal is to have that down to 179,228 by 2018. It’ll cost about $3.3 million to get there.
  • The 2015 Annual Report and Audited Financial Statements are now available for the Fort Road Business Association, French Quarter Business Association, and Downtown Business Association.
  • The City intended to build a public school in Evansdale at 150 Avenue and 87 Street and assembled the land to do so in 1969. But a few years ago, EPSB declared the site as surplus to its needs, so now the City is proposing to sell it at market value. The Muslim Association of Canada has expressed interest in purchasing and developing the site.
  • The surplus school site in Kiniski Gardens South is proposed to be sold at market value to the Headway School Society of Alberta.


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.

Media Monday Edmonton: Update #219

Here’s my latest update on local media stuff:

2016 Municipal Census
The media room at City Hall

And here is some slightly less local media stuff:

  • CBC’s Peter Mansbridge will retire from The National next summer after anchoring special Canada Day coverage celebrating Canada’s 150th anniversary. “Mansbridge’s storied career has spanned nearly five decades, including 28 years at the helm of the desk as anchor and chief correspondent.”
  • CTV’s Canada In A Day takes place on September 10. They are encouraging Canadians to “grab their cameras or smartphones and film their lives.” The footage will be used in a film to be aired as part of Canada’s 150th anniversary next year.
  • John Doyle in the Globe and Mail discussing CRTC’s recent decision on Canadian content: “To make Canadians care there needs to be an example of a much-loved show that would not have been funded and made under the new system.”
  • The Newspaper Association of America is renaming itself the News Media Alliance. Writes the NY Times: “There is one obvious reason behind the change: The number of newspapers continues to drop, which has a way of depressing the association’s membership.”
  • Margaret Sullivan argues in the Washington Post that “news organizations should fix online comments rather than ditch them.” She says there’s value there that can’t be replicated on social media.
  • Although the number of full-time editorial cartoonists is dwindling, “the narrative of decline excludes a whole host of people stretching the form online in ways that weren’t possible just a few years ago.” The future looks bright for the editorial cartoon.

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 September 4, 2016

Happy long weekend! Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:


  • You’ve no doubt seen the horrible video of a group of men in a car yelling racial slurs at Jesse Lipscombe in downtown Edmonton. Jesse later met with the mayor and now they have teamed up on the #MakeItAwkward campaign to call out discriminatory and ignorant behavior.
  • The latest municipal census puts our city’s population at 899,447. I wrote about it here and Dave says the results “could give some indication into how provincial electoral boundaries in the city will be redrawn for the next election.”
  • Former Lt.-Gov. Norman Kwong died on Saturday at the age of 86. Here’s a statement from Premier Notley. Online condolences can be shared here.
  • The City of Edmonton and the Edmonton Police Association have “settled a retroactive collective agreement for 2014, 2015 and 2016 through binding arbitration.” Wage increases of 2.4% in 2014, 2.5% in 2015, and 2.75% in 2016 were awarded.
  • For the 5th consecutive year, Edmonton has been awarded a score of AA+, the second-highest possible, from credit agency Standard & Poor’s.
  • Jonathan Brownlee of Great Britain finished first in the Elite Men’s race at the ITU World Triathlon Edmonton today.
  • The federal government has agreed to put $143.9 million toward more than four dozen Edmonton transit project, CBC Edmonton reports. “Today’s agreement means projects that are not only shovel ready, but also shovel worthy, can proceed without delay,” Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi said at the Alberta legislature.
  • Councillor Tony Caterina’s son Rocco is planning to run in Ward 4 next year if current councillor Ed Gibbons chooses not to run again.
  • Do you love Edmonton? Then you might want to support Emil Tiedemann’s campaign to print a book called 101 Reasons Why I Heart Edmonton. He’s looking to raise $6,000.
  • NorQuest College is facing a “massive privacy breach” as well as fraud that cost the college nearly $2 million in damages.
  • Paula Simons on Rogers Place and ICE District: “The pace and scale of development is dazzling — more like something you might see in Shanghai or Dubai than Edmonton.”
  • Changes to park & ride at the Belvedere, Century Park, Clareview, and Stadium LRT stations took effect on September 1. “Across the system, ETS now offers approximately 1,700 free stalls and 2,300 reserved paid stalls at the above-mentioned LRT lots.”
  • “When Fort Mac needed you, you were there.” Check out the #WeAllResponse microsite.
  • Gretzky’s Wine & Whisky is Wayne Gretzky’s new restaurant which opened on Friday at the Edmonton International Airport.
  • Police are urging motorists to slow down on the High Level Bridge after catching multiple drivers travelling more than double the posted speed limit.
  • Three new schools opened in Edmonton this month, part of the 32 school projects that were completed this month across the province.
  • Stand Up To Cancer takes place on Friday, September 9 across Canada and the U.S. and a number of buildings are being lit up in support including Edmonton’s High Level Bridge. It will be lit red, orange, and yellow from September 7-9.
  • Here’s the first of a three-part chronicle of Edmonton’s Italian community. In it, “Adriana A. Davies highlights the people, places, and motions that were at the heart of Italian immigrants finding a foothold in Alberta and Edmonton.”
  • Major ETS bus service changes went into effect today. “This year, the changes are bigger than ever with 50,000 service hours being reallocated to improve on-time performance and to serve higher demand routes.”
  • For more recent headlines, check out ShareEdmonton.

Summer Sunset

Upcoming Events

Beautiful Morning to Build a Bridge
Beautiful Morning to Build a Bridge, photo by Dave Sutherland

Edmonton’s population rises to 899,447

The results of Edmonton’s first ever paperless municipal census were released at City Hall today, revealing that Edmonton’s population has grown by 2.5% since 2014 from 877,926 to 899,447. That is much more modest growth than we saw in the period between 2012 and 2014 when our city’s population grew by 7.4%. From today’s news release:

“The impact of the recent economic slowdown and higher unemployment in Alberta and Edmonton is evident in the stable population growth figures recorded over the past two years,” said John Rose, Chief Economist for the City of Edmonton.

The slowdown mirrors to some extent what is happening provincially and federally. Estimates put Alberta’s growth rate at 3.9% from 2014 to 2016, down from 6.5% between 2012 to 2014, and Canada’s growth rate at 2.0% from 2014 to 2016, down from 2.3% between 2012 and 2014.


The update to the Capital Region Board’s Growth Plan projects that Edmonton’s population will grow to at least 1.3 million people by 2044, which we’ll achieve if we can grow at an average of 1.8% per year.

“Although we saw more moderate growth these past two years, Edmonton’s population has increased by 117,000 since 2009. When you add to that the growth of neighbouring municipalities, it highlights the need for us to combine our efforts to ensure effective use of land and smart infrastructure planning.” said Mayor Iveson. “We need to work together and leverage our resources as well as those of the provincial and federal governments to ensure an ongoing strong and growing region, one that continues to attract and retain people and investments.”

Regional cooperation is especially important because it looks like Edmonton is getting even more suburban. Ward 6, which includes Downtown, Oliver, and other central neighbourhoods, saw its population decrease 5.0% from 2014 with a loss of 3,769 people. In fact, the centrally-located wards (6, 7, 8, 10, 11) all saw their populations decrease by anywhere from 2.2% to 5.0% while the outer wards (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 9, 12) all saw their populations increase by anywhere from 1.1% to 12.1%. This is a big shift from the 2014 Municipal Census in which every ward grew.

2016 census by neighbourhood

It’s disappointing to me to see “population loss in a number of core and mature neighbourhoods” while the developing neighbourhoods like Walker, Laurel, Summerside, Chappelle, Windermere, and McConachie all show strong population gains. A decrease of 1,012 people in Oliver and 380 people in Downtown is cause for concern. Inglewood, Central McDougall, and Strathcona were some of the other central neighbourhoods that saw their populations decrease. We are continuing to grow out when we really need to be growing up.

You can see a comparison of census results from 2016, 2014, 2012, and 2009 in PDF here. There are 201 datasets related to Edmonton’s municipal census in the Open Data Catalogue with more to come. You can also access the latest results in PDF here. And here’s my post about the 2014 Municipal Census.

Media Monday Edmonton: Update #218

Here’s my latest update on local media stuff:

  • Even the newspaper delivery boys are getting fired! Thirteen-year-old “Connor Piquette has been delivering the Edmonton Examiner every Wednesday after school for the past year. But this Wednesday will be his last on the job.” He was one of “approximately 600 contract carriers” who received termination letters last week. In a follow-up statement, Postmedia said they have “restructured our distribution model in Edmonton aligning our FlyerForce distribution system and Edmonton Examiner distribution system” which led to the change.
  • Trent Wilkie interviewed Ryan Jespersen on The Undad. “From the moment Wyatt is old enough to understand English, I’ll be telling him talk radio is the world’s most important public service.”
  • The City found itself in trouble last week when it “took permission away” from CTV Edmonton reporter Breanna Karstens-Smith who was going to do an interview in Kinsmen, apparently because she wasn’t “promoting” the facility.
  • The Oilers too caused a stir this week by cancelling an interview with CBC Edmonton about the community benefits agreement for Rogers Place. “An interview set up with Susan Darrington, vice president and general manager of Rogers Place, was cancelled by the organization following publication of a news story containing comments from critics of the community benefits.”
  • Congratulations to Omar Mouallem on being published in The New Yorker! Here’s his contributor page.
  • Historian Laureate and CJSR News Coordinator Chris Chang-Yen Phillips has launched a new podcast called Let’s Find Out which aims to answer questions about Edmonton history.
  • Congratulations to Global Edmonton’s Carole Anne Devaney on the birth of her second child!
  • Apps are coming to a radio near you! 91.7 The BOUNCE will feature the new local daily countdown show “The Shazam @ 7 Countdown” which is a partnership between Rogers Radio and Shazam. “Using unique, targeted data to feature different playlists in each market, the show highlights the top seven songs of the day, comprised of recently Shazam’d tracks and new and trending tracks from across the country.”
  • Believe it or not, Postmedia is looking for a part-time senior copy editor for the Edmonton newsroom. The deadline to apply is September 3.
  • Want to be the new Public Address Announcer for the Oilers? You can apply here. Auditions for selected candidates will take place early next month.
  • Sportsnet has released details of the Edmonton Oilers broadcast schedule for the 2016-2017 regular season. The schedule features 37 national games and 45 regional games and all can be streamed online as well.

Elise Campbell, Marty Chan, Annie Dugan, and Holger Petersen, photo by Capital Ideas Edmonton

And here is some slightly less local media stuff:

  • You can always count on The Onion: Media Intern Looking Forward To Moving Up At Company That Won’t Exist In 8 Months.
  • Fox News will soon celebrate its 20th birthday and is currently the most-watched cable network “with a larger audience than its nominal rivals, CNN and MSNBC, combined.” But its secret sauce is demography and that may not last.
  • Is John Oliver a journalist or not? He continues to state that his show is comedy, not news. “If you make jokes about animals, that does not make you a zoologist. We certainly hold ourselves to a high standard and fact-check everything, but the correct term for what we do is ‘comedy.’” He’s clearly committing acts of journalism, however!
  • I did not realize that some college papers in the United States are actually owned by for-profit companies. And now they’re feeling the effects, “of course, student publications haven’t been immune to the business challenges facing the news industry as a whole.”

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.