Edmonton Notes for March 1, 2020

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Headlines

  • "Budget 2020 cuts operating expenses by about 2.5% over three years," reports Global News. "Alberta is left with an overall debt of just under $88 billion by 2022." For Edmonton, the budget includes $14 million for a train crossing on 50 Street (but not until 2022-23), $60 million for upgrades to the Misericordia Hospital, $230 million over three years for a new hospital in south Edmonton, no change in LRT funding (deferred until 2022-23), and decreases in MSI funding to $191.5 million in 2020-21 and $178.3 million in 2021-22.
  • As part of Budget 2020, funding of $68 million over the next three years for new affordable housing projects is on pause pending a review. "Sadly, reducing social disorder on our streets which we are hearing directly from our business community is critical to attracting investment to Edmonton and remains unaddressed in this budget," said Mayor Don Iveson in response. "We urgently need to build supportive housing for Alberta’s most vulnerable people."
  • After hearing from more than two dozen speakers on Wednesday, City Council’s Community & Public Services Committee chose not to make a recommendation on speed limit reductions. The item will be discussed at the next City Council meeting on March 9. Troy and I spoke all about it on the latest episode of Speaking Municipally.
  • The City of Beaumont, City of Edmonton, and Leduc County have signed a memorandum of agreement to approve the Intermunicipal Planning Framework which "sets the course for the next 50 years with a unified sub-regional vision for land use, transportation, water, wastewater and stormwater servicing across the shared municipal boundaries."
  • The Valley Line Southeast LRT is now expected to be operational sometime in 2021 as the project continues to track behind schedule.
  • The Edmonton Public School Board has voted to "cut five teaching days, extending the 2021 spring break by one day and the May long weekend by two days." The measure will save an estimated $2.7 million.
  • The Italian Centre Shop has announced that its fifth location will open at 8005 Emerald Drive in Sherwood Park’s Emerald Hills in the fall 2021.
  • According to the Realtors Association of Edmonton, total residential sales in the Edmonton area increased 0.5% compared to January 2019. The most expensive home for sale is 108 Westbrook Dr. NW, at $8.5 million.
  • Biera, RGE RD, Uccellino, Bündok, and Corso 32 have been named the 5 Best Overall Restaurants for 2020 by Avenue Edmonton.
  • The Oilers traded Sam Gagner to Detroit, "because he was one of the prices to pay to get Andreas Athanasiou from the Red Wings," reports the Edmonton Sun.
  • The Edmonton Police Foundation and Alcanna Inc. have announced the Liquor Store Theft Challenge, a $250,000 challenge to "focus on finding solutions to address the chronic problem of liquor store thefts in Edmonton." It’s the first challenge issued under the Community Solutions Accelerator.
  • The Edmonton Police Service says it is going to submit "a few" DNA samples to "genetic genealogy services that have helped identify suspects in cold cases across North America," reports the Edmonton Journal.
  • Get the latest on Media, Tech, Food, Health Innovation, the Region, Music, Arts, Business, and Council with Taproot Edmonton’s latest roundups.

Upcoming Events (March 2-8)

Thanks for reading! Want to support my blog? Buy me a coffee!

Edmonton Notes for February 23, 2020

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Headlines

  • City Council voted unanimously to participate in a new regional transit services commission. “Today’s decision shows that we are bought into working with our neighbours to find efficiencies that benefit our residents and contribute to regional economic prosperity," said Mayor Don Iveson.
  • Mayor Don Iveson says requiring the Province to sign off on all municipal agreements with the federal government would "create a whole bunch of extra bureaucracy" and introduce a “phenomenal amount of red tape”. The Fair Deal Panel, which is considering the idea, is expected to deliver a final report on March 31.
  • A coalition called Free Transit Edmonton has launched a campaign pushing for free public transportation in Edmonton. "We want to see public transit funded like our libraries, schools, hospitals and other public services — open and accepting of all, regardless of their ability to pay," said Laura Kruse an organizer with the group.
  • We discussed the above three stories and more on the latest episode of Speaking Municipally.
  • The Edmonton Police Service has confirmed it plans to roll out facial recognition technology later this year. “The facial recognition technology we plan to implement will have the capabilities of taking an image or video that we obtained during a criminal investigation and comparing it to a database of official records that we’ve already obtained for a lawful purpose,” said Warren Driechel, superintendent of the Edmonton police informatics division.
  • Erick Ambtman will start as the new executive director of End Poverty Edmonton next week. “We’re very good at sort of treading water when it comes to poverty, keeping the line,” he said. “If we can get everybody involved in this in a meaningful way, we could start going in the other direction, reducing poverty in our community.”
  • Robert Spencer Hospitality Group, owned by chef Paul Shufelt, has been selected to provide food operations at City of Edmonton golf courses starting in April. “We aim to continue the work we have done with Workshop Eatery and Woodshed Burgers to highlight great local ingredients and the flavours of the season while providing warm and genuine hospitality to our guests,” said Shufelt.
  • The Edmonton Petroleum Club will debut the new Edmonton City Club by the end of the year. "The club’s new location is being finalized currently as the Board has identified options within the downtown City Centre area," reads a news release. The organization promises the new club will be "a hub for Downtown businesspeople by offering a business centre with workspaces to host meetings or work sessions," reports the Edmonton Journal.
  • St. Albert-based Jack’s Burger Shack was named the winner of The Cut, a $125K pitch competition to attract new businesses to the first commercial building in Rohit Group’s new Stadium Yards development.
  • "Edmonton’s Mechanized River Valley Access, also known as the 100 Street funicular, was recently awarded a National Urban Design Award of Excellence in civic design," reports Global News. “A beautifully-conceived ensemble of built structures, open spaces, and public art that successfully connects Edmonton’s downtown to the river valley,” read a statement from the National Urban Design Awards jury.
  • "Effective March 31, approximately 390 free City-operated parking stalls at Century Park will be returned to the land developer," says the City of Edmonton. "When this transition takes place on March 31, there will no longer be any free parking stalls at Century Park."
  • Get the latest on Media, Tech, Food, Health Innovation, the Region, Music, Arts, Business, and Council with Taproot Edmonton’s latest roundups.

New funding model for child advocacy centres
Edmonton support dog Wren is retiring from Zebra Child Protection Centre

Upcoming Events (Feb. 24 – March 1)

Thanks for reading! Want to support my blog? Buy me a coffee!

Edmonton Notes for February 9, 2020

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Headlines

  • City Council voted 8-5 in favor of having Administration work with Prairie Sky Gondola to advance the proposed gondola project to the next stage with a more detailed feasibility study. “I know we have a lot of work to do, we’re going to raise our game,” said CEO Jeffrey Hansen-Carlson, who hopes to be back at Council in six months.
  • Aurora Cannabis announced that it will layoff 500 workers and replace founder and CEO Terry Booth who stepped down. Executive Chairman Michael Singer has been appointed Interim CEO, while Booth will remain on the company’s board and serve as strategic advisor.
  • Enoch Cree Nation Chief Billy Morin has been appointed grand chief of the Confederacy of Treaty Six First Nations. "Morin, whose nation has a mutual benefits agreement with the corporation behind the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, brings a strong business background to the leadership of Treaty 6," reports CBC.
  • City Council has unanimously approved redevelopment plans for the Jasper Gates Shopping Centre at Stony Plain Road and 149 Street. "RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust and Stantec will lead the redevelopment of new condos, row houses and shops into the area."
  • Neil Herbst, who co-founded Alley Kat Brewing Company back in 1994, has sold the business to Zane Christensen and Cameron French who plan to continue with the local and independent focus. "Alley Kat is Alberta’s fourth-longest operating brewery," reports the Edmonton Journal. This year the brewery is celebrating its 25th anniversary.
  • A new website called the Estimated Time of Arrival Tool "allows Edmontonians to plug in an address, destination, date and time to see an estimated travel time, and how that might change if speed limits were reduced," reports CBC Edmonton.
  • Local companies Darkhorse Analytics and Lift Interactive won a bid to redevelop the USA Facts website by pitching to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. “You don’t get to pitch to the 13th richest man in the world every day,” said Micah Slavens, co-founder of Lift Interactive. “That’s not something we run into.”
  • "The loss of public river valley land would be an enormous cost to Edmontonians, especially in this time of climate and ecological crisis," wrote Kristine Kowalchuk, chair of the Edmonton River Valley Conservation Coalition, regarding the proposed gondola project.
  • More than 6,700 employees completed the City of Edmonton’s December 2019 Employee Check-in, a satisfaction survey planned to occur every three months, which found that most employees feel their work is meaningful and their workplace is safe. "This isn’t necessarily about the scores but this is about the feedback," said interim city manager Adam Laughlin. The statement respondents agreed with the least was, "I feel free to speak my mind without fear of negative consequences."
  • Demolition of the Baccarat Casino has begun. The building, constructed in 1996, has sat empty since September 2016. "We’ve heard loud and clear from Edmontonians that the Baccarat has become an eyesore," said Tim Shipton, spokesperson for the Oilers Entertainment Group.
  • Edmonton Transit Service (ETS) will implement mid-winter bus schedule adjustments starting Sunday, Feb. 9.
  • Residential blading begins Monday, Feb. 10. The City’s Know Your Snow Day page can tell you when crews will be in your neighbourhood.
  • Get the latest on Media, Tech, Food, Health Innovation, the Region, Music, Arts, Business, and Council with Taproot Edmonton’s latest roundups.

Playful Tracks
Playful Tracks, photo by Kurt Bauschardt

Upcoming Events (Feb. 10-16)

Thanks for reading! Want to support my blog? Buy me a coffee!

Edmonton Notes for February 2, 2020

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Headlines

  • Edmonton Transit has confirmed that rollout of smart fare will be delayed until 2021 rather than starting later this year as planned. A spokesperson said the City wants to be "extra cautious that everything rolls out as it is meant to."
  • Council’s Urban Planning Committee has approved the recommendation to implement open option parking. We talked a lot more about this on the latest episode of Speaking Municipally.
  • Prairie Sky president and CEO Jeffrey Hansen-Carlson says there are 18 investors on board for the proposed gondola project. Urban Planning Committee grilled the company but delayed any decision until tomorrow’s full Council meeting, reports the Edmonton Journal. “The next step for us is … to consider a motion next week to authorize and direct our city staff to have further discussions with the proponents,” said Mayor Don Iveson.
  • The City of Edmonton has launched a survey to gather input on the new innovation authority. "We want to make sure a cross-section of the ecosystem has an opportunity to weigh in on what that organization will look like." The survey is open until Feb. 11 at 5pm.
  • The City will explore whether the lake in Hawrelak Park could be turned into a swimming pool after Council raised the possibility in considering upgrades that could align with the 10-year rehabilitation project slated to begin in 2023.
  • "Of all restaurant violations in the Edmonton area in 2018, almost one in five were related to cleaning cloths," reports CBC Edmonton. "More than 12,500 violations were found at restaurants between Jan. 1 and Dec. 1, 2018, in the Edmonton zone."
  • A report exploring how to replace SaskTel Centre with a new downtown arena in Saskatoon "reveals that city officials have been guided by the experience in Edmonton of building Rogers Place and establishing the Ice District around it."
  • TransEd has installed the first suspension cables on the Tawatina Bridge, reports CTV Edmonton. "The bridge is scheduled to link up to the south bank in the fall, and tracks and the pedestrian walkway suspended underneath will be finished in 2021."
  • Edmonton Public Schools is "moving to cut five school days in the next academic year in an effort to save about $2.7 million," reports the Edmonton Journal.
  • "While there were a number of high profile closures in 2019, most notably Hardware Grill, Noorish, and Manor Bistro on the independent side, as well as Red Robin’s and several locations of Tony Roma’s on the chain end of things, the scale was still tipped in favour of new restaurant openings," wrote Sharon in her 2019 Year in Review.
  • Get the latest on Media, Tech, Food, Health Innovation, the Region, Music, Arts, Business, and Council with Taproot Edmonton’s latest roundups.

Polar Crossing
Polar Crossing, photo by Kurt Bauschardt

Upcoming Events

Thanks for reading! Want to support my blog? Buy me a coffee!

Edmonton Notes for January 26, 2020

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Headlines

Taking action to fight liquor store thefts
“James Burns, CEO of Alcanna, Minister Doug Schweitzer, MLA Brad Rutherford, and Cst. Robyn Wilson, Edmonton Police Service, announced action to fight robberies and thefts targeting liquor stores.” Photo by Government of Alberta

Upcoming Events

Thanks for reading! Want to support my blog? Buy me a coffee!

Edmonton Notes for January 19, 2020

Let’s hope the cold snap is now over! It was so cold that two LRT rails cracked.

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Headlines

Overlooking Rossdale
Overlooking Rossdale, photo by Kurt Bauschardt

Upcoming Events

Thanks for reading! Want to support my blog? Buy me a coffee!

Edmonton Notes for January 12, 2020

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Headlines

  • "More than 2,300 people filled the Saville Community Sports Centre at the University of Alberta to cherish the lives of 13 Edmonton community members and 163 others killed last Wednesday when Ukrainian Airlines International Flight PS752 was shot down by a missile shortly after takeoff from Tehran’s airport," reports the Edmonton Journal. The memorial service held today at the University of Alberta can be watched online.
  • It’s going to be cold all week, so bundle up and stay safe! There were nearly 200 collisions over the weekend and numerous complaints about pets being left out in the cold. The temporary emergency overnight shelter at Commonwealth Community Recreation Centre had to expand its capacity to accommodate demand.
  • Edmonton finished 2019 with the highest unemployment rate of any metropolitan area in Canada at 8%, according to the latest data from Statistics Canada. That’s in contrast to the national trend of increasing employment. “We still see this as us being on the road to recovery,” said City of Edmonton senior economist Felicia Mutheardy.
  • Holt Renfrew has closed its Edmonton store, ending a 70-year run amid a shift in strategy for the large-format retailer, reports Retail Insider. Here’s a photo essay of the store’s final days.
  • Edmonton’s NextGen is taking over "sole management of the Make Something Edmonton platform," according to a statement posted to the site. The website will be "repurposed" and the social media accounts will "transition into sunset and no longer be active" so it’s not clear what NextGen is going to have in the end.
  • In hiring Tom Anselmi, "the Oilers hope to bring a little MLSE to Alberta," reports The Globe and Mail. His mandate is to see through construction of the $2.5 billion Ice District which covers 25 acres on Edmonton’s downtown.
  • This year "will be a year of significant change for Edmonton, where we will receive both long awaited answers to lingering issues along with new challenges," writes Keith Gerein at the Edmonton Journal. He mentions the economy, winter roads, election politics, and transit overhaul among the major issues Edmonton will face in 2020.
  • Earlier this week Mayor Don Iveson met with Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland to discuss the new NAFTA, but also homelessness. “The minister had seen some of the social disorder in the city and was curious about what actions we’re taking to deal with addictions and mental health issues here and homelessness and social disorder here,” the mayor said.
  • Joan Hertz has been named interim president and CEO of NorQuest.
  • Sweet Convenience, a candy store in west Edmonton, is offering a cold-weather discount on all bulk candy. “Whatever the temperature is outside — including the wind chill — you get that discount on your candy,” owner Laurie Radostits said.
  • Edmonton’s Christmas Market plans to return this year after about 20,000 people attended the first one.
  • ETS fare changes start Feb. 1. The single cash fare remains the same with most changes made to seniors passes.
  • Get the latest on Media, Tech, Food, Health Innovation, the Region, Music, Arts, Business, and Council with Taproot Edmonton’s latest roundups.

Hoth Survey 2020
Hoth Survey 2020, photo by Kurt Bauschardt

Upcoming Events

Thanks for reading! Want to support my blog? Buy me a coffee!

Edmonton Notes for January 5, 2020

Happy New Year! I had a wonderful break, and am feeling refreshed and ready to tackle 2020.

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Headlines

This great photo of the NYE fireworks was shared on Instagram by Subrata Patra:

New Year's Eve fireworks
Awesome photo by Subrata Patra via Instagram

Upcoming Events

  • The Ice Castles are now open at Hawrelak Park!
  • Three of the City’s five public events to solicit input on the ward boundaries take place this week, on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings.
  • YEG Fitness is hosting its 2020 launch party on Tuesday evening at Browns Socialhouse (West Henday).
  • Deep Freeze Festival takes place on Saturday and Sunday along Alberta Avenue. One of my favorite festivals of the year!
  • There’s a protest planned for 11am on Saturday at the Legislature to "demand that Premier Jason Kenney and the governing United Conservative Party legislate a bill to hold a referendum on the lawful secession of the Province of Alberta from the Confederation of Canada."
  • The Wedding Fair takes place at the Edmonton Convention Centre on Sunday afternoon.
  • Swing ‘n’ Skate is on at City Hall every Sunday until Feb. 23.

Thanks for reading! Want to support my blog? Buy me a coffee!

Edmonton Notes for December 15, 2019

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Headlines

Glow Festival 4
Glow Festival, photo by Dale C

Upcoming Events

Thanks for reading! Want to support my blog? Buy me a coffee!

Edmonton Notes for December 8, 2019

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Headlines

Edmonton Downtown Farmers' Market
The second floor was open at the Edmonton Downtown Farmers’ Market

Upcoming Events

Thanks for reading! Want to support my blog? Buy me a coffee!