Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:
- Edmonton surpassed Calgary in active cases of COVID-19 in this week. Currently, 242 of Alberta’s 520 active cases are in the Edmonton zone. #WearAMaskYEG
- City Council voted unanimously to remove minimum parking requirements from the Zoning Bylaw, making Edmonton the first major Canadian municipality to do so. "Effective July 2, 2020, developers, homeowners and businesses will be able to decide how much on-site parking to provide on their properties based on their particular operations, activities or lifestyle."
- Edmonton public school trustee Cheryl Johner has resigned after she suggested that refugee students could sometimes be violent. "All they’ve known is violence," she said during a board meeting on Tuesday. "The safety of students is critically important — that other students feel safe as they go to their own school." She suggested school resource officers "act as a deterrent." EPSB chair Trisha Estabrooks called Johner’s remarks racist and said "it’s wrong, and it’s completely unacceptable." At that EPSB meeting, trustees voted unanimously to commission an independent study of the efficacy of the school resource officer program. A motion to immediately remove officers from schools was narrowly defeated.
- We spoke about Johner’s remarks and resignation on Episode 90 of Speaking Municipally.
- The Oliver Community League (OCL) has launched the "Uncover Oliver" campaign which calls on the City of Edmonton to initiate "an inclusive co-creation process to discover a new community name" for the neighbourhood currently known as Oliver. Mayor Don Iveson called the OCL’s calls-to-action "thoughtful" and committed to "do our best to facilitate these tangible steps for reconciliation and anti-racism."
- The City of Edmonton said it will be mowing and trimming grass and weeds more often starting in July in response to frustration over its previous decision to reduce maintenance frequency due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The Edmonton International Airport said the number of passengers departing has risen from a low of 300 per day in April to about 1,000 per day now. Face masks are now required to enter the building. CEO Tom Ruth said it’ll likely be three years before the airport fully recovers economically from COVID-19. Some good news though: Plant Plus, which manufactures plastic alternatives using plant fibre technology, is establishing a production and distribution facility at EIA.
- City Council unanimously approved the proposed conversion of the former dormitory building at the Exhibition Lands into bridge housing at a cost of $600,000. The building is expected to be move-in ready by the end of the year.
- Councillor Scott McKeen intends to ask his colleagues to revisit the e-bike rebate program calling it "a little tone-deaf in the context of a pandemic."
- Poplar fuzz is piling up along river valley paths and in parks across the city though the amount of fluff seen this year "is actually comparable to what we see most seasons," said Katelynne Webb, community forest leader at the City of Edmonton. “It’s a really healthy and natural process for our urban forest.”
- A Connor McDavid rookie card has sold for a record US$135,811 at an auction recently.
- Get the latest on Media, Tech, Food, Health Innovation, the Region, Music, Arts, Business, and Council with Taproot Edmonton’s latest roundups.