Headlines: Sept. 6, 2022

· The Pulse
  • Students are back in classes, which means the city is reminding everyone to adhere to the 30 km/h speed limit around schools and park legally when picking up kids. The city has also updated its ETS plan to offer timed routes for specific schools and School Special buses to supplement regular routes.
  • Some Edmontonians have been impacted by gaps in ETS services since updated schedules were rolled out in spring 2021. Recently, a Rutherford resident spoke up about at-capacity buses not stopping for children on their way to Dr. Anne Anderson School, which has doubled in size since last year. Coun. Jennifer Rice said she has heard complaints about bus service in Ward Ipiihkoohkanipiaohtsi and wants to see improvements.
  • Edmonton's largest organics processing plant, the already-over-budget Anaerobic Digestion Facility that opened in 2021, requires an additional $6.7 million if it hopes to produce quality compost and limit the amount of litter it produces, according to a business case from July. The facility was originally designed to work with screening equipment at the Edmonton Composting Facility, which was shut down in 2019 for safety reasons. Now, material arriving for digestion is filled with garbage that makes its way to adjacent wetlands, and the compost produced is used to line the dump. City council is slated to hear a staff report about the issue on Sept. 12.
  • Numbers from the city's open data portal show that around 575,000 speeding tickets were given to Edmonton drivers between January 2019 and March 2022, with the top three locations being sections of Stony Plain Road, Anthony Henday Drive, and Yellowhead Trail. The province currently has a moratorium on municipalities installing more photo radar equipment, which has been extended to December 2022.
  • Home sales continue to fall in the Edmonton area, according to a Realtors Association of Edmonton (RAE) report. August saw an 8.3% decrease in residential unit sales compared to July. August also saw a 12% year-over-year fall in home sales compared to 2021. Home prices have decreased across the board, but single-family homes are still more expensive than they were this time last year. "While we continue to see the Edmonton real estate market cooling down after a record-breaking period earlier this year, there is still a fair amount of activity happening," said RAE chair Paul Gravelle.
  • After months of negotiations, around 400 security screeners at the Edmonton International Airport voted to ratify a new collective agreement with their employer GardaWorld, the firm contracted by the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority. The deal results in a 12% raise over two years plus signing bonuses.
  • An online survey by Pollara and the University of Alberta research group Common Ground found that the majority of Albertans disagreed with the "Freedom Convoy" in Ottawa. Of the 2,224 people surveyed, 61% said they opposed the convoy's objectives and 67% said they opposed how it tried to achieve its objectives. In Edmonton specifically, 70% of respondents opposed the convoy's objectives, compared to 53% in areas outside the Calgary-Edmonton corridor and in Red Deer. Among UCP supporters, 56% said they supported the convoy's goals and 48% said they supported its methods. Only 23% of all respondents believed the protest was successful. While researchers conclude that convoy supporters were a "vocal minority" that did not change many minds, assistant professor Feo Snagovsky suggests they will have "an important role in Canadian politics moving forward."