Headlines: Aug. 17, 2022

· The Pulse
  • The average attendance at Rogers Place for the 20 preliminary round matches of the world junior hockey championship was just 1,319. Hockey Canada blames the summer schedule and "understandable scrutiny" of the organization for its handling of sexual assault allegations as reasons that people have stayed home. Sponsors such as TELUS and Canadian Tire have also bailed on the tournament, leaving the boards unusually ad-free.
  • Despite being the only "yes" vote for the Prairie Sky Gondola at city council this week, Coun. Karen Principe now says she had concerns about the lack of "meaningful Indigenous consultation" and suggested that if done better it might have led to a different outcome. "It was a very tough decision," Principe said. "I just thought that it was such a great, creative idea and something unique for Edmontonians."
  • There have been 26 incidents between birds and planes at the Edmonton International Airport so far this year, up from 17 in 2021 and 15 in 2020, and on par with the rate seen pre-pandemic in 2019 when 52 bird strikes were reported. EIA uses drones, propane cannons, and pyrotechnics to scare away birds, and said increased flight volumes are behind the increase this year.
  • Housing starts in Edmonton increased 35% year-over-year in July, according to new figures from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. The increase was 32% from June to July 2022, seasonally adjusted at annual rates, despite a 14% drop in the number of single-detached starts.
  • Edmontonians are invited to a procession on Aug. 19 to pay tribute to Ben Stelter, the six-year-old Oilers fan who died of an aggressive glioblastoma brain tumour last week. The procession will leave Park Memorial Funeral Home at 10am and will drive south to Rogers Place. Fans are encouraged to gather under Ford Hall along 104 Avenue. The procession will also be streamed online.
  • According to Alberta Wildfire, there have been 819 wildfires this year, compared to 1,123 by the same point in 2021, but the area burned is nearly twice as large, at 107,517 hectares compared to 53,920 hectares last year. Heat waves like the one currently underway across Western Canada elevate the risk of fires starting and make them harder to control.
  • The UCP government is continuing to make its case for a provincial police force to replace the RCMP in rural communities, saying its plan would add 275 officers to Alberta's 42 smallest detachments. Rural Municipalities of Alberta has said it supports keeping the RCMP. Alberta Municipalities said it will need time to digest the government's deployment plan but expressed some outstanding concerns about a lack of consultation. "Fundamentally, we believe the creation of an Alberta provincial police service should be driven by the real public safety needs of the communities it will serve rather than by political motivations," the organization said.