· The Pulse
By Kevin Holowack and Mack Male

  • City council has confirmed a 1.9% tax increase for 2022 as part of spring updates to the city's operating budget. Tax notices will be mailed to all property owners on May 24, with property taxes due on June 30. Council originally approved the increase during its budget discussions in December.
  • City council voted 11-2 to ask the federal government to decriminalize personal drug possession in Edmonton by applying for an exemption to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Councillors Jennifer Rice and Karen Principe were the two opposed, CTV News reports. Council also unanimously agreed to lobby the federal government on the issue and to ask the provincial government to bring in safe supply, safe consumption sites, treatment and supportive housing, Postmedia reports.
  • City council has approved $1.765 million in one-time funding for more resources to deal with problem properties and has asked administration to explore the creation of tax subclasses for "derelict properties" to help keep owners accountable.
  • Edmonton saw a 23% increase in housing starts from March 2021 to March 2022, compared to the 26% decrease across the country during the same time period, according to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). Despite the national dip, the number of housing starts in Canada remains at a historical high.
  • The aggregate price of a home in Edmonton increased 6.2% year-over-year to $452,000 in the first quarter of 2022 — the highest gain on record — according to the Royal LePage House Price Survey. "The city's thriving job market and relative affordability compared to larger urban centres is driving demand from young families looking to move up in the market," suggested Tom Shearer, broker and owner of Royal LePage Noralta Real Estate.
  • Some parts of the city smell like rotten eggs and may continue to do so for another week or more, according to Edmonton Fire Rescue Services. Officials said the odour, which was first reported in the neighbourhoods of Strathearn, Forest Heights, and Ottewell on Monday, is caused by a gas leak at the Imperial Oil tank farm and does not pose a public health risk.
  • The provincial government's Alberta at Work program aims to strengthen Alberta's labour market, with $23 million for the Canada-Alberta Job Grant program, $41 million for the Training for Work programs, $235 million to support post-secondary enrolment and opportunities, and $20 million to help unemployed Albertans. "Labour shortages across sectors remains a critical concern for many employers in the Edmonton region," said Jeffrey Sundquist, president and CEO of the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce. "Investment into programs like "Alberta at Work" will ensure businesses of all sizes can source skilled employees and those jobs stay in Alberta."
  • Alphonso Davies spoke with Inside World Football about his relationship with Edmonton and the prospect of the city co-hosting the FIFA World Cup in 2026. "Edmonton is a beautiful, diverse place, and I have no doubt they will accept the rest of the world, exactly how they accepted me and my family when we moved here," he said.