Edmonton Notes for May 3, 2020

As of May 3 at 3:30pm, there are 5,766 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Alberta, including 504 in the Edmonton zone. There have been 95 deaths in Alberta due to the disease.

The Government of Alberta’s page on COVID-19 has the most up-to-date information for our province. Anyone who has health concerns or is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should complete an online COVID-19 self-assessment. The new ABTraceTogether app might protect you from being unknowingly exposed and possibly spreading the disease.

Ice District

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Headlines

  • City Council voted 9-4 to approve a shift in taxes from businesses to homeowners. The 2020 tax levy increase has been set at 2.5% for residential property owners and 0% for non-residential property owners. Combined with the reduction in provincial education taxes this year, the net effect is a 0% tax increase for residential property owners and a 2% decrease for non-residential property owners. Councillors Nickel, Banga, Paquette, and Knack voted against the change in tax share.
  • "A city relies on its businesses to drive employment and the economy — as well as our quality of life," wrote Mayor Don Iveson in a blog post about the operating budget decision. "We want to help our businesses now so we can protect Edmonton’s economic future."
  • Another 900 City of Edmonton employees will be temporarily laid off due to the financial impacts of COVID-19. Nearly half of the affected staff are transit operators. “How the City responds and recovers will determine when and how we bring employees back,” said interim city manager Adam Laughlin.
  • The provincial government announced a phased relaunch plan this week. Some non-urgent surgeries will resume May 4, as will services from dental and other healthcare workers. Parking lots in parks, boat launches in provincial parks, and golf courses opened this weekend. "Progress to Stage 1 will occur once health measures are achieved to the satisfaction of the government based on the advice of the chief medical officer of health, as early as May 14."
  • The City of Edmonton said it will be reviewing its response measures in light of the provincial announcement. “While the relaunch plan gives us hope for the future, it’s important to remember that this transition won’t be linear and could last for months,” said interim city manager Adam Laughlin.
  • The City of Edmonton restarted its TLC for LRT initiative today (May 3). McKernan/Belgravia LRT Station will be closed until July. Construction at Stadium LRT Station will begin in mid-May and is expected to be complete by Jan. 2022.
  • Food trucks will be allowed to operate in Edmonton "with added requirements in place to ensure public health and safety is maintained," the City of Edmonton announced. Hot dog vendors and other sidewalk carts won’t be allowed.
  • Residents in the Crestwood area have made a large-scale Monopoly replica with sidewalk chalk, and it is attracting spectators from across Edmonton.
  • Mobility data from Apple comparing changes in walking activity in 89 major world cities suggests that Edmonton is an outlier in getting out for a walk. "While everywhere around the world saw that big fall-off in mid-March, no other cities have rebounded like Edmonton," said Blake Shaffer, assistant professor at the University of Calgary. Warmer temperatures are likely the reason behind the increased activity.
  • "For 25 years, a succession of owners have propped up the 399-passenger sternwheeler that plies the North Saskatchewan River. It may never be a moneymaker, but for the current owner, keeping it afloat is victory enough," reports Macleans.ca on the Edmonton Riverboat.
  • "The Edmonton Queen is actually a living reminder, like so much else in Alberta’s cities, of Alberta’s pre-Ralph Klein history of demented economic incentives and grandiose overbuilding," wrote Colby Cosh at the National Post.
  • Get the latest on Media, Tech, Food, Health Innovation, the Region, Music, Arts, Business, and Council with Taproot Edmonton’s latest roundups.

Upcoming Events (May 4-10)

The vast majority of upcoming events have been cancelled or postponed, though an increasing number are moving online. If you’re unsure, just stay home – especially if you’re feeling sick.

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