Edmonton Notes for March 8, 2020

Happy International Women’s Day! Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Headlines

  • The first presumptive case of COVID-19 in Alberta was confirmed on Thursday. The first case in Edmonton was announced the next day. There are now four presumptive cases in Alberta.
  • "Edmontonians are stockpiling essentials like toilet paper — leaving few products on shelves at some stores — in preparation for the possible spread of the novel coronavirus to Alberta," reported the Edmonton Journal on March 4. Now all I see in my feeds are photos of empty store shelves that used to be full of toilet paper. It makes no sense.
  • Both Edmonton Public Schools and Edmonton Catholic Schools have cancelled upcoming international field trips amid concerns over the spread of the novel coronavirus, reports the Edmonton Journal. "Both school boards will be working with travel companies to try to recoup some costs."
  • Wen Wang, executive director of the Chinatown and Area Business Association, said some businesses in Chinatown have reported a 30% to 50% decline in sales compared to the same time last year, reports Global News. The economy and coronavirus are factors, according to the association.
  • The City of Edmonton has released the latest draft of The City Plan that "pictures how the city can grow and organize itself to attract an additional million people to call Edmonton home." Urban Planning Committee will review the draft on March 16, with a public hearing scheduled for late May.
  • Northlands has cancelled the K-Days parade citing declining attendance and "current fiscal realities."
  • The Edmonton Police Service has confirmed that Clearview AI facial recognition technology was used by three "fairly senior" officers. An internal investigation has been launched and Chief Dale McFee has directed EPS members to cease any further use of the technology.
  • NAIT says it will raise tuition by 7% for the 2020-21 school year and confirmed it will eliminate up to 240 jobs to deal with a 6.8% funding cut.
  • Troy and I dug into Budget 2020’s impacts on Edmonton in the latest episode of Speaking Municipally.
  • Dr. Annette Trimbee will become MacEwan University’s new president and vice-chancellor in August. “I am very excited to return to Edmonton, and to have the opportunity to represent MacEwan and play a part in further defining the university’s identity,” she said.
  • Planet Organic Market has confirmed it is closing all 11 stores citing the company’s "current financial state," reports CTV Edmonton. "We have tried to find a solution for the company but now it has come the time to recognize that despite the best efforts to restructure the business we are at an end," said CEO Alan Thompson. The company operated four locations in the Edmonton region.
  • "The half-billion-dollar 2019 sale of Stantec Tower drove Edmonton’s commercial real estate market to end 2019 on a high note, with a record $1.7 billion in sales in the fourth quarter," reports the Edmonton Journal. Overall sales for the year dropped 13% compared to 2018.
  • The Edmonton Police Service has launched a safe exchange zone at the southwest division station as part of a pilot program to "provide a safe space for buyers and sellers of online goods to meet, in response to a growing number of reports of criminal activity in such transactions," reports CBC Edmonton.
  • "Janice MacKinnon, the chair of the Blue Ribbon Panel into Alberta’s Finances, has been appointed by the province as a member of the board of the Governors of the University of Alberta," reports CTV Edmonton. Her three-year term took effect on March 7.
  • "The University of Alberta has charged 40 students from two introductory computing science courses with cheating," reports CBC Edmonton.
  • Get the latest on Media, Tech, Food, Health Innovation, the Region, Music, Arts, Business, and Council with Taproot Edmonton’s latest roundups.

Edmonton Skyline from McNally
Edmonton Skyline from McNally, photo by Kurt Bauschardt

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