Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:
- Thanks to savings and increased revenue, City Council was able to reduce the tax increase from the 5.7% projected in December to 3.3%. They also gave in to EPS requests and approved the hiring of 49 new officers for the downtown arena area.
- Another big announcement for the Edmonton Arena District: the Baccarat Casino will be torn down after a new $32 million casino opens right next door in the summer of 2016. The new building will also house the offices for the Oilers and Katz Group.
- ICYMI: The final report from the Northlands Arena Strategy Committee was released on Wednesday. The recommendation? Find a way to collaborate with and complement Rogers Place, or tear it down and develop something new.
- As you’ve no doubt heard by now, the Oilers won the first overall pick in the NHL Draft Lottery, which means it’s almost a certainty that star Connor McDavid will start his NHL career in Edmonton. It’s their fourth #1 pick in six years.
- In other Oilers news, the team has agreed to terms on a two-year contract extension with Nail Yakupov.
- We’re now just a little over two weeks from the provincial election, and unsurprisingly the PCs have the most money. What is surprising though are the polls, which show the PCs in third place!
- Nice work Edmonton! The 2015 DONATE-A-RIDE campaign raised a record-breaking $242,685 which will be used to provide 101,136 transit tickets to passengers in need.
- We might be in the midst of an economic slowdown but you wouldn’t know it from Edmonton’s downtown where development continues unabated.
- Michael Ross dug into the news that Edmonton’s air quality is worse than Toronto’s. “Edmonton definitely does seem to have a problem” he found, but there’s some nuance to that which you might have missed if you just scanned the Edmonton Journal article.
- The Art Gallery of Alberta has launched a new initiative called the Poole Centre of Design, a “series of design-centred programs is made possible by a generous donation from the John and Barbara Poole Family Fund, through the Edmonton Community Foundation.”
- ETS is making changes to many downtown bus routes to “accommodate downtown revitalization and development of the Valley Line LRT.” There are both bus stop location changes and schedule adjustments.
- The City has amended its southeast annexation application to add four quarter sections based on research from engineering studies.
- Congratulations to PCL Construction on being named Alberta Contractor of the Year.
- Have you seen the large drilling equipment on site at Blatchford? It’s there to dig two holes approximately 150 meters deep to help evaluate whether a district energy system is feasible.
- Duchess Bake Shop made it onto a new list from Buzzfeed of the “23 bakeries around the world you need to eat at before you die”. Clickbait for sure, but still neat to see an Edmonton success story getting some international attention!
- The results of the 2014 Graffiti Audit show “an overall decrease in the number of incidents and locations of graffiti vandalism.”
- The Edmonton Rush held on to defeat the Colorado Mammoth on Saturday night, which means Edmonton has clinched first place in the west!
- Did you know the Oilers had trademarked the phrase “battle of Alberta” back in 2002? They did, and they’re now trying to get the Rush to stop using it. That’s of course their prerogative (and indeed responsibility as owner of the trademark) but it still rubbed many the wrong way.
- This is really cool: Brewmonton – a YEG brew history primer. Edmonton’s brewing history began way back in 1894!
- I saw my first mosquito today. Fortunately the City is already on the case.
- For more recent headlines, check out ShareEdmonton.
River Valley Sunset, photo by Jordan Vollrath
- The Edmonton Poetry Festival started today and runs through Sunday at various locations around the city.
- The Mayor’s Celebration of the Arts takes place at the Winspear Centre on Monday evening.
- There’s a public workshop on downtown bike routes taking place on Tuesday, and a workshop on the Strathcona bike routes takes place on Thursday.
- Edmonton Opera’s Lucia Di Lammermoor opened last night at the Jubilee. The next shows take place on Tuesday and Thursday.
- The Walrus and Enterprise Edmonton present The Walrus Talks Aboriginal City on Thursday at the Shaw Conference Centre.
- Edmonton’s 41st Social Media Breakfast takes place on Friday morning at Startup Edmonton, with a focus on foodies.
- The Game Discovery Exhibition (GDX) takes place at the University of Alberta on Saturday.
- Also taking place on Saturday is the 30th Mad Hatter’s Gala which raises funds for student scholarships and bursaries.
- Earth’s General Store is hosting Edmonton’s Earth Day Festival on 104 Street on Sunday.
- For more upcoming events, check out ShareEdmonton.