Headlines: June 2, 2022

· The Pulse
  • Pride Month has returned to Edmonton in full force with events planned at dozens of venues throughout the city. Find many listed at Capital Pride Edmonton, including this weekend's Pride Reunited, featuring a free and family-friendly street fair in Old Strathcona put on by Fruit Loop with The Grindstone. The annual celebration traces its roots to a riot in response to a police raid on the Stonewall Inn, a gay club in New York City, on June 28, 1969 — an event echoed by the 1981 police raid on the Pisces Bathhouse in Edmonton, noted a statement from Whitney Issik, associate minister of status of women, whose department will be sharing stories from 2SLGBTQQIA+ history in Alberta throughout June.
  • City council's executive committee passed a motion recommending a tax increase over the next four years to cover the loss of revenue from photo radar fines. The Traffic Safety Automated Enforcement Reserve (TSAER), which is projected to end 2022 with a deficit of $9.1 million, is the source of $22.3 million annually to the Edmonton Police Service and funds traffic safety programs. "Just to be very clear: there's no defunding of the police, which needs to be said probably a million times," said Coun. Andrew Knack. "It's either coming from our tax base or a dwindling fund, so in my mind, there's no way I can't support (this motion) because I support giving them that base amount." The final decision rests with council.
  • Enoch Cree Nation and Surgical Centres Inc. are partnering to establish a surgical facility on Enoch Cree Nation land, which will offer around 3,000 publicly funded hip and knee replacements and other joint-related procedures every year. The facility, which is expected to increase the number of annual orthopedic procedures in the Edmonton area by 13%, is scheduled to be constructed by 2023 and operational for the 2023-2024 fiscal year.
  • Edmonton's Commercial Clean Energy Improvement Program (CEIP) will be open to commercial building owners starting at 10am on June 7. As much as $8.54 million in funding and rebates will be available for up to 17 major energy efficiency projects. The city has released terms and conditions for commercial applicants to give them time to prepare.
  • The city released a list of local events happening in June as part of National Indigenous History Month. A launch event will be held in Blackburne Park on June 4 in partnership with the Roots for Trees program.
  • City council's urban planning committee voted 3-2 in favour of converting the eastbound lane of 102 Avenue between 99 and 103 Streets into a pedestrian-only walkway, sending a one-year pilot project proposal to a city council vote on June 7. "There's been, I would say, considerable interest from a lot of Edmontonians to sort of reimagine what this street could be — turn it into more of a vibrant, walkable area," said Coun. Ashley Salvador, who championed the committee's motion.
  • Mountain bikers and conservation groups are advocating for the city to implement a trail strategy to encourage a balance of preservation and fair use of single-track river valley trails, CBC reports. The city's urban planning committee voted unanimously to recommend that council let the Edmonton Mountain Bike Alliance (EMBA) maintain natural surface areas in declared preservation areas until a trail strategy is researched and approved. A recent city report reflects on the 4,000+ resident feedback responses to the city's proposed river valley plans.
  • Several participants in the recent Edmonton Real Estate Forum suggested that improving Edmonton's 19.8% office vacancy rate, the second-highest rate in Canada, requires focusing on social problems impacting downtown such as homelessness, poverty, and mental health issues affecting residents, reports the Real Estate News Exchange.
  • Flair Airlines is allowed to keep its operating licence after a federal regulator found the company is sufficiently Canadian to satisfy ownership requirements defined in the Canada Transportation Act. The Edmonton-based budget airline was under investigation by the Canadian Transportation Agency due to its close relationship with a Miami-based investor called 777 Partners. Flair met the 49% ownership minimum by "rejigging the composition of its board" and removing 777 Partners' unique shareholder rights, CBC reported.
  • K-Days released its 2022 concert lineup as it gears up for a big summer comeback under the auspices of Explore Edmonton, which took over the event after the demise of Northlands last summer. This year's 10-day festival will also have lower admission prices, new rides, and new 10-day Indigenous culture, art, performance, and education experience thanks to Explore Edmonton's new partnership with the Indigenous Edmonton Entertainment Group Association (IEEGA).
  • CBC's First Person project is inviting writers to submit personal essays of 500 to 700 words that "reflect contemporary Alberta but are outside of the regular news cycle." Some will be paired with video when they are published.