· The Pulse
By and
  • Mayor Amarjeet Sohi met with Premier Jason Kenney, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General Tyler Shandro, and Labour and Immigration Minister Kaycee Madu on June 20 to discuss the public safety plan that Edmonton submitted on June 9. A response to the plan from Alberta's director of law enforcement was provided at the meeting but "will not be released at this time, as both parties have committed to working together to refine and improve the plan in the near term."
  • A motion from Coun. Tim Cartmell directing administration to work with the Edmonton Police Commission to develop a business plan for the proposed Health Streets Operations Centre in Chinatown passed unanimously.
  • City council is looking for two people to join the Edmonton Police Commission, which was expanded to a maximum of 12 members in March. Interested Edmontonians can apply online with a cover letter, resume, and three references. Sitting chair John McDougall and commissioner Jodi Calahoo-Stonehouse published a seven-minute audio file explaining some "key competencies" that will "position future members for success."
  • City council voted 11-2 to direct administration to explore the possibility of city-sanctioned encampments that would serve as a bridge shelter until more permanent housing is available. "Our current encampment response really just leads to a cycle of encampments being moved, and then coming back — within hours, often," said Coun. Anne Stevenson, who proposed the motion. Administration already recommended against sanctioned encampments in April, but city manager Andre Corbould suggested thoughts on the issue may have shifted in light of events in Chinatown. A report with options is due back July 4.
  • With the approval of Bylaw 20091, the city has launched a new incentive program in hopes of encouraging the renovation of more historical buildings. Non-residential building owners seeking heritage designation can now apply for an exemption from tax increases of up to $50,000 per year for ten years.
  • A group of 30 Afghan refugees volunteered to help welcome an additional 296 Afghan newcomers who landed on June 4, the day of the first charter flight carrying refugees from Afghanistan to Edmonton since the Taliban invaded Kabul. About 160 of the passengers plan to settle in Edmonton with the assistance of Catholic Social Services with the rest moving on to Calgary, Red Deer, and elsewhere.
  • Some students and alumni of the University of Alberta are criticizing the institution for unfairly restricting international students' access to funding. Jashan Mahal, vice president of the International Students' Association, said these individuals are ineligible for federally and provincially funded awards and some non-publicly funded awards on top of paying more than three times for tuition compared to domestic students. "Whenever we ask for anything, they just tell us that, according to this legislation, you are responsible for covering your own tuition, and I think that is very demotivating," said Mahal. The association is also resisting a proposed 6% tuition increase for international students for Fall 2023.
  • The Edmonton International Airport (EIA) is warning travellers to expect delays due to increased passenger traffic following the government's removal of COVID-19 vaccination travel requirements on June 20. The airport is still recovering from having laid off 30% of its staff during the pandemic. "We are bringing people back as we can," said Steve Maybee, vice president of operations, infrastructure, and communications at EIA.
  • Swoop last week launched non-stop flights from Edmonton to Charlottetown, PEI and Moncton, NB. The flights bring the Edmonton International Airport's number of non-stop destinations to 55, which it said is more than before the pandemic.