Headlines

· The Pulse
By Mack Male and Madeleine Stout
Comments

  • City council has approved $2.7 million for a temporary washroom strategy as part of a one-time 2022 COVID-19 impacts and funding strategy. However, some councillors and business leaders are calling for more permanent public washrooms. "Frankly, I do not understand why we're still putting porta-potties in public places as a public washroom solution," Puneeta McBryan, executive director of the Edmonton Downtown Business Association, said during a public hearing Dec. 6. Efforts to develop more permanent public washrooms in the city have been progressing slowly for years.
  • Transit fares are currently set to increase from $3.50 to $4 for single bus and LRT tickets in February 2022, but some councillors and advocates are concerned the increase will negatively impact ridership and accessibility. Edmonton Transit said the Arc Card smart fare system, which was supposed to enter service this fall, won't launch until later in 2022 due to issues found in testing.
  • Business Improvement Areas have asked city council to consider offsetting half of the 2022 taxes paid by businesses to help them recover from the pandemic. If approved, it would cost $1.9 million. Council chose to cover all $3.4 million of the BIA tax levy in 2021.
  • The Edmonton Police Service has become the first Canadian police agency to utilize 911eye, which allows 911 callers to enable EPS members to view live video of a situation and receive GPS coordinates. EPS began testing the tool in non-emergency situations in March 2020.
  • The City has received more than 5,000 sidewalk-specific 311 complaints and issued 1,048 tickets to residents for not removing snow on sidewalks this winter. "It's not fair to people who might have different mobility needs to not be able to experience our city in the winter," Coun. Andrew Knack told CBC.
  • Edmonton has ranked 60th out of 73 cities in this year's Global Destination Sustainability Index, which provides scores for cities based on the environmental friendliness of their tourism industries. Melissa Radu, director of environmental sustainability with Explore Edmonton, said that Edmonton should look to European cities to improve in the future, but also that the city has made big gains in its transit system.