Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:
- Council narrowed the downtown arena funding gap this week. Well, kind of. What they really did was use the money they found between the couch cushions and placed a bet on the fact that they’ll find a similar amount there again in future years. Joking aside, I’m not happy about the use of MSI funding for this project. As Paula said, diverting MSI funding is “a disingenuous violation of the spirit of the framework agreement.” Dave called it a strange comedy of errors. In an interesting regional twist, St. Albert Mayor Nolan Crouse, who is currently the chair of the Capital Region Board, said Edmonton shouldn’t be the only ones paying for the new arena.
- Speaking of regional issues, Doug Griffiths, Minister of Municipal Affairs for the province, said CRB members have until September to sort out their differences or the province will look at changing the boundaries. Make no mistake, if it comes to that Edmonton will come out on top.
- There’s no escaping the potholes this season, which is why they’re still in the news. Council assigned another $9 million to the problem, taking the total additional funding for 2013 to $21 million. Combined with the $4.5 million that was already budgeted, Edmonton is spending about seven times the average annual budget for potholes this year. Many are trying to spin that as a win, but the simply fact remains: we need some long-term funding solutions to our infrastructure problem. Our latest episode of Mack & Cheese discusses potholes too.
- The Edmonton Arts Council has appointed Paul Moulton as its next executive director. You can read the PDF release here.
- Our LRT launched officially on Monday and published a poll showing that nearly two-thirds of Edmontonians don’t want a private company to run the Southeast LRT.
- Looks like work on the new Renaissance Hotel at the Edmonton International Airport is progressing nicely! Crews installed the first of two pedway sections this week.
- Could the funicular be a gondola? Looks that way. As interesting as that sounds, I completely agree with Rossdale Community League president Lynn Parish, who asked: “Why are we not looking at this as one big package?” With the Rossdale Power Plant, the Walterdale Bridge, and other projects in the area, we’d be doing ourselves a disservice if we don’t try to connect them in some way.
- Want to start a restaurant chain? There’s no better place than Edmonton to begin, it seems. Boston Pizza, Earls, Pizza 73, Booster Juice, Wok Box, Famoso, Twisted Yogurt, and Oodle Noodle all got their start here.
- Edmonton-Centre Liberal MLA Laurie Blakeman is now the longest-serving member opposition MLA in Alberta’s history. Check the post for other Alberta Legislature milestones.
- Apparently New City Legion closed recently. Cue stories lamenting the Sidetrack Café!
- Nominations are open for the 2013 Top 40 Under 40. You’ve got until May 13 at midnight to make your suggestions!
- David Staples thinks the next mayor, assuming Mandel steps aside, will be a City Hall insider.
- It was pretty cool to see Edmonton show up on one of my favorite blogs, The Atlantic Cities, with a feature on Edmonton’s Streetcar Bookmobile. Here’s a video from 1942 highlighting the initiative:
Here are some upcoming events:
- Mobile Monday is back with an event focused on Open Data!
- They’re not mathematically eliminated yet, but it’s highly unlikely the Oilers will have a post-season. They host the Wild on Tuesday at Rexall Place.
- Graphic Content and Edmonton Girl Geek Dinners have joined forces to present The Fifth Element at Metro Cinema on Tuesday!
- The 11th annual TEC VenturePrize Business Plan Competition awards celebration takes place Wednesday evening at the Westin!
- The Edmonton Motor Show takes place at the Edmonton Expo Centre from Thursday to Sunday.
- Edmonton Opera’s Eugene Onegin starts on Friday, with additional performances on Sunday, and Tuesday and Thursday the following week.
- Saturday is going to be a busy day! There’s Eat Alberta at NAIT, the Edmonton Volunteer Fair at West Edmonton Mall, the Mercer Collective Makers Market at the Mercer Warehouse, the Edmonton Rush host the Calgary Roughnecks, and much more!
- The Edmonton Poetry Festival kicks off on Sunday and runs until the 28th. You can see all the events here.
- For more upcoming events, check out ShareEdmonton.
The sidewalks on the north side of Jasper Avenue are open again, as you can see in this shot of the Cambridge Building by Darren.