Edmonton Notes for January 20, 2019

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Headlines

  • An investment of $2.5 million from the Canada Cultural Spaces Fund will support the rebuilding of the Roxy Theatre. “This funding will support the construction of a new 14,639-square-foot Roxy Theatre, which will be rebuilt in its original location on 124th Street. The new facility will include a 200-seat black box theatre, an 80-seat studio theatre, a rehearsal hall and a gallery in the lobby. It will also be fully accessible for audiences and artists with disabilities.”
  • J.C. Sherritt has announced he is retiring from professional football after spending eight years with the Edmonton Eskimos. “Just to get to call myself an Edmonton Eskimo for the rest of my life means a great deal,” he said.
  • Council will be discussing the snow & ice program this week and there will be tough questions about the memo on calcium chloride that recently surfaced. “Councillor Scott McKeen, who reviewed the memo, previously said he plans to make an inquiry as to why city administration did not share it with councillors.”
  • David Edey, who served as Edmonton’s City Clerk from 1997 to 2008, passed away on January 10. “David’s work paved the way for Council to do their best work,” said City Manager Linda Cochrane. “He was an unwavering supporter of staff and his community, always believing that a helping hand could make a meaningful difference.”
  • The Hyatt brand is returning to Edmonton with a new hotel in the former Enbridge Tower (the one on 102 Street with the peaked roof).
  • The suicide barriers that were installed on the High Level Bridge a few years ago are failing to prevent crisis calls according to a new Edmonton Police Commission report. “It’s very troubling that we still have these numbers,” said Councillor Scott McKeen.
  • The new Edmonton Opera Centre is located inside a 22,000-square-foot brick warehouse in the northwest part of Edmonton. “The opera centre is also home to the Freewill Shakespeare Festival, set builds for Opera Nuova and rehearsals of The Singing Christmas Tree, among other groups.”
  • According to Environment Canada, the rest of the winter is likely to have above normal temperatures.
  • Information sessions on upcoming Neighbourhood Renewal work are taking place over the next few weeks at Royal Gardens, Highlands, Alberta Avenue, Inglewood, and Strathcona.
  • The LRT will be completely shutdown on Sunday, January 27 to accommodate testing of the Thales signalling system. “Customers will still see trains running on the tracks, but will not be permitted to board.”
  • The Edmonton Arts Council anticipates adding 11 new public artworks to the City of Edmonton Public Art Collection in 2019, five of which are by Edmonton-based artists.
  • From Linda Hoang: 10 Vietnamese Edmonton Entrepreneurs Worth Following.
  • Episode 21 of Speaking Municipally covers the bike share, calcium chloride, and everything else that City Council was discussing this past week. The latest Council Roundup has everything you need to know about the week ahead.
  • Get the latest on Media, Tech, Health Innovation, Music, and Council with Taproot Edmonton’s latest roundups. We’re back at it this week!

Untitled
High Level bridge and North Saskatchewan River, photo by rjbeeswax

Upcoming Events

Legislature Lights Segway Tour
Legislature Lights Segway Tour

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Edmonton Notes for January 13, 2019

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Headlines

Government centre Edmonton January 4 2019
Alberta Legislature, photo by Jason Woodhead

Upcoming Events

Heaviest load ever to travel on Alberta’s highways 127334
Heaviest load ever to travel on Alberta’s highways, photo by Premier of Alberta

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Edmonton Notes for January 6, 2019

Happy New Year! It was nice to have a break, but now I’m ready to get back down to business.

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Headlines

  • Former Edmonton-Mill Creek MLA and Speaker of the Legislative Assembly Gene Zwozdesky has died of cancer at the age of 70.
  • The City has mailed 2019 property assessment notices. “Overall, the residential market experienced a 1.7 per cent decrease in assessed value.” Call 311 if you have any concerns with your assessment. March 11 is the deadline to file formal complaints with the Assessment Review Board. Property tax bills will be delivered in May.
  • A report issued by the Civic Service Union 52 before Christmas says the City could cut management positions to save $100 million over a four-year budget cycle. “Micro-management in an organization this complex can cause gridlock,” wrote Elise Stolte.
  • China stopped accepting 24 kinds of waste at the beginning of 2018, including paper and plastics. Now Edmonton-area municipalities are struggling to manage the increased recycling costs. “It has increased the competition across the board,” said Mike Robertson, contract manager for Edmonton’s Materials Recovery Facility.
  • Could this be the year of the bike in Edmonton? Elise Stolte argues that a “cheap, easy, bike share can make the millions Edmonton invested in bikes lanes a benefit to the masses.”
  • According to Statistics Canada, Alberta lost nearly 17,000 jobs last month. The unemployment rate in Edmonton was 6.3%.
  • Councillors Cartmell, Hamilton, and Paquette spoke about their concerns with the Valley Line West LRT in year-end interviews. All three “voted in favour of the route and design for the 14-kilometre stretch of the Valley Line between downtown and Lewis Farms in the west end.”
  • The City of Edmonton’s urban hen program is capped at 50 sites and there are currently 12 applicants on the waiting list.
  • SkyriseEdmonton has a look at the proposed Stadium LRt Station redesign. “Stadium Station, according to 2017 passenger counts, has the third-lowest utilization of any station on the LRT system, still only being primarily used for a handful of stadium events every year.”
  • Edmonton’s first baby of 2019 arrived 21 days ahead of schedule, weighing in at five pounds, seven ounces. She was born just eight minutes into the new year.
  • Put your Christmas tree out next to your garbage bags by 7am on Wednesday and the City will collect it for recycling. “For Christmas trees to be acceptable for composting, all ornaments, tinsel, garlands, nails, screws and tree stands must be removed.” You can also take natural Christmas trees to an Eco Station for free until January 31.
  • Get the latest on Media, Tech, Health Innovation, Music, and Council with Taproot Edmonton’s latest roundups. We’re back at it this week!

Edmonton 2019
Edmonton 2019, photo by IQRemix

Upcoming Events

AmpersandGrey-CityJam2018064
NextGen City Jam 2018, photo by Edmonton’s NextGen

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Edmonton Notes for December 16, 2018

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Headlines

Premier seeking industry interest in oil refining 124562
Premier seeking industry interest in oil refining, photo by Premier of Alberta

Upcoming Events

Between Christmas Trains
Between Christmas Trains, photo by Jeff Wallace

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Edmonton Notes for December 9, 2018

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Headlines

Holiday light-up at the legislature 124106
Holiday Light-up at the Legislature, photo by Premier of Alberta

Upcoming Events

2021 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships Announcement
2021 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships Announcement, photo by Government of Alberta

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Edmonton Notes for December 2, 2018

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Headlines

  • On Thursday, the Government of Alberta introduced the City Charters Fiscal Framework Act which if passed would “provide Edmonton and Calgary with infrastructure funding tied to provincial revenues, meaning they would share in Alberta’s future revenue growth.” The proposed $500 million would be split between Edmonton & Calgary as a replacement for MSI which completes in 2022. “The deal includes a baseline of funding that can grow (and may contract) based on the Province’s actual revenues, which makes Edmonton a genuine benefitting partner in our combined efforts to grow employment, grow investment and help drive prosperity for Edmontonians and Albertans,” Mayor Iveson wrote about the funding deal.
  • Premier Rachel Notley announced today a short-term reduction in oil production aimed at protecting jobs. “Under the action announced, production of raw crude oil and bitumen will be reduced by 325,000 barrels per day to address the storage glut, representing an 8.7 per cent reduction.” The reduction will start in January and last until December 31, 2019.
  • Starting January 1, 2019 the City of Edmonton’s boundaries will officially expand to include 8,267 hectares of land from Leduc County and a portion of 50 Street in the Town of Beaumont. “We are looking forward to welcoming these new residents to Edmonton,” says Mayor Don Iveson.
  • Inflation in the Edmonton region moved down 0.3% in October to 3.0%. Despite declining gas prices, “gasoline was still up by approximately 21% on a year-over-year basis in October 2018.”
  • Despite just 6 cannabis-related charges in the first month of legalization, Edmonton Police want an $87 million budget increase, in part to hire 24 officers to deal with cannabis. Councillor Andrew Knack has quite rightly wondered how sensible that is and is actually suggesting a reduction in the increase EPS would receive this budget cycle.
  • According to a poll funded by Prosperity Edmonton, 73% of respondents want Council to hold off on tax increases. “Eighty-two per cent of respondents also said taxes will be an important factor in their voting decisions for the next municipal election, the poll suggests.”
  • Parking revenue downtown is less than projected which is a problem as it was supposed to help pay off the arena debt. So Council has decided to use funding from the CRL to cover the difference, which means less money for other projects.
  • Winter schedule adjustments took effect on ETS today. “Bus routes 2, 8, 9, 10, 15, 90, 100, 106, 112 and 143 have undergone significant and permanent schedule adjustments.”
  • This year 11 individuals were recognized at the 2018 Salute to Excellence Citation & Performance Awards. Congrats to all!
  • Councillor McKeen has asked the City for a report on ways to help homeless people in Edmonton while new supportive housing is developed. “[People] are leading desperate lives out there, and we continue to pay a high price for chasing our tail on this, whether it’s policing, bylaw, the folks who clean up these camps, (or) the business zones,” McKeen said Tuesday during a city council meeting.
  • This week Council officially nixed the need for a development permit for minor home-based businesses. They have also passed changes to the Zoning Bylaw that make it easier for residents to hold short-term special events.
  • The deadline for the Metro Line LRT signalling system is Tuesday and Thales insists the system is ready to go.
  • In the latest episode of Speaking Municipally, Troy is joined by Kirsten Goa to discuss parking revenue, budget, and child-friendliness.
  • Get the latest on Media, Tech, Health Innovation, Music, and Council with Taproot Edmonton’s latest roundups.

New era for provincial, cities partnership 123607
New era for provincial, cities partnership, photo by Premier of Alberta

Upcoming Events

  • We’re into the time of year when it seems everyone is hosting a holiday party. Enjoy safely!
  • Zoominescence 2018 started on the weekend at the Edmonton Valley Zoo and runs every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday to Christmas.
  • Holiday Magic starts at City Hall on Monday and runs all week.
  • The Alberta Legislature’s annual Light Up takes place on Tuesday.
  • Green Drinks: YEG Makers takes place on Wednesday evening at Yellowhead Brewery.
  • The Economics Society of Northern Alberta is hosting its Annual Outlook Conference on Thursday at the Quarter Note Hotel (formerly Hyatt Place in The Quarters).
  • The City is hosting a drop-in engagement session on Thursday night at the Stantec Tower lobby about the proposal for digital signs atop the tower.
  • Pitchfest takes place on Friday at the Shaw Conference Centre. It’s “an opportunity for technology startup founders to pitch their businesses and needs to a select audience of other entrepreneurs, private investors, public funders, service providers, business leaders, and community members.”
  • Royal Bison‘s second weekend takes place Friday to Sunday at the Old Strathcona Performing Arts Centre.
  • The sold out Luminaria 2018 runs Friday to Sunday at the University of Alberta Botanic Garden.
  • The Oilers host the Wild on Friday and the Flames on Sunday.
  • URBANYEG is hosting its first Panel Discussion on Saturday at CCIS at the University of Alberta. Three panelists will share their experience with photography.
  • The Inspire Cheer & Dance Championship takes place at the Edmonton EXPO Centre on Saturday.

Cloud Factories
Cloud Factories, photo by Dave Sutherland

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Edmonton Notes for November 25, 2018

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Headlines

Remembrance
Remembrance, photo by Jeff Wallace

Upcoming Events

Gray cup setup Edmonton November 22 2018
Grey Cup Festival Setup, photo by Jason Woodhead

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Recap: DemoCamp Edmonton 43

Edmonton’s 43rd DemoCamp took place last night at the Centennial Centre for Interdisciplinary Sciences (CCIS) on the University of Alberta campus. It was the final DemoCamp of 2018. You can see my recap of DemoCamp Edmonton 42 here.

DemoCamp Edmonton 43

If you’re new to DemoCamp, here’s what it’s all about:

“DemoCamp brings together developers, creatives, entrepreneurs and investors to share what they’ve been working on and to find others in the community interested in similar topics. For presenters, it’s a great way to get feedback on what you’re building from peers and the community, all in an informal setting. Started back in 2008, DemoCamp Edmonton has steadily grown into one of the largest in the country, with over 200 people attending each event. The rules for DemoCamp are simple: 7 minutes to demo real, working products, followed by a few minutes for questions, and no slides allowed.”

Here’s my Twitter thread for the event. We had six demos, in order of appearance:

Xpertz is a Slack app catered toward large teams that lets you showcase your skillset right within Slack. Everything is done using slash commands, and the flagship features include “search by expertise” (so you can find the Android developers in your company, for instance) and “high-five” (which is a way to validate someone’s expertise). Xpertz reminds me a little of the skills on LinkedIn that you can give and receive, but within Slack, and with emoji. Brandon is working on a dashboard with analytics next.

Alex, a NAIT student, showed us Digiplay which lets you play PC games right in the browser. He explained that the high cost associated with PC games combined with the new capabilities of WebAssembly make it possible to play games like Tomb Raider and Quake right inside the browser. Currently desktop-only, Alex would like to add mobile in the future, and is looking at licensing games from smaller studios. He’s also got some original games like Foxtrot, which he demoed. The gaming industry seems to be betting on streaming, but Alex thinks the lag and latency associated with that will ultimately prevent it from working effectively. Next up for Digiplay is a custom compiled interface which would add controller support, and taking advantage of streaming compliation once the browsers support it, which would enable larger games.

I love a good hardware demo and OmniVelos delivered. “We’re not reinventing the wheel,” joked Nick! OmniVelos is a bit of hardware you add to an ordinary bicycle to turn it into an electric bike. The hardware is light and doesn’t interfere with the normal riding of the bicycle. The battery has a range of 20 km, depending on how fast you accelerate, and it can easily be removed and recharged. They’re looking at incorporating regenerative braking in the future. “Do you have any idea about pricing?” asked someone in the audience. “It’s DemoCamp,” responded Jay, to laughter from the audience. (At DemoCamp if you ask someone about their business model you owe them a beer.)

Next up we had two demos from the University of Alberta CompE Club’s HackED Beta hackathon, which took place recently.

The first team, made up of five high school students, showed us Habit Creator, which is a fun web app for reinforcing your habits. As you complete habits you earn rewards that allow your environment to level-up, represented visually as a picture of nature (so as you level up, flowers and other foliage appears). The team had to learn everything in 24 hours! Habit Creator includes a progress report to show a day-by-day breakdown, but currently uses browser storage.

The second team showed us Guba Rush which is an interactive, motion-sensing game featuring the University of Alberta team mascot. One of the team members wore a vest and fanny pack that contained accelerometers, gyros, and an Arduino. As he moved, the data was transmitted to the game to control the character on-screen. The idea is to physically move in order to dodge or jump over obstacles on the screen. Think of it like a Kinect, but with a vest you have to wear.

DemoCamp Edmonton 43

The final demo of the night was from Dan who showed us HonestDoor. He realized when buying real estate that greater transparency would be helpful, so he started tinkering with HonestDoor and realized others found it useful too. The web app can show you the last sold date and price for a given property, and in some cases can also provide an analysis of what HonestDoor thinks it might be worth. The data comes from third parties, including land titles, but was fairly incomplete in the demo. There’s clearly demand for this type of app, given the popularity of Zillow south of the border.

Here are the events and other announcements that were mentioned in-between demos:

You can also check out the Tech Roundup for the latest headlines & happenings in Edmonton’s technology community every Tuesday. Here’s the latest edition.

If you’ve got something to show, apply to demo at a future event.

See you at DemoCamp Edmonton 44!

Edmonton Notes for November 18, 2018

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Headlines

Downtown View from NAIT's new PIC

Upcoming Events

Flames and Oilers licence plates unveiled
Flames and Oilers licence plates unveiled, photo by Government of Alberta

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Edmonton Notes for November 11, 2018

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Headlines

Remembrance Day 121508
Remembrance Day 2018, photo by Premier of Alberta

Upcoming Events

Diwali clebrations 121112
Diwali celebrations, photo by Premier of Alberta

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