Headlines: Oct. 11, 2022

· The Pulse
By and
  • In a 9-4 vote on Oct. 7, city council approved a new funding formula that will increase the Edmonton Police Service budget by at least $7 million in 2023, which will take the annual tax-supported total to more than $414 million. Council also agreed 11-2 to review the funding formula for future years after a report with options comes back early next year. Several councillors expressed concerns about the funding formula, including Coun. Andrew Knack, who ultimately voted in favour. "If I'm going to be stuck with a not ideal formula, I'd prefer it only be for the one year than four years," he said. Mayor Amarjeet Sohi voted against the new formula arguing that increasing the police budget takes away from other priorities. "There are so many other things that we have not properly funded in this city that require our attention," he said. "I think $407 million going into 2023 is a sufficient amount of money for EPS." Coun. Anne Stevenson, who also serves on the Edmonton Police Commission, brought the motion forward. "It's imperfect, and it's messy, and it's pragmatic," she said, explaining the rationale behind the approach that will result in another debate about the funding formula next year.
  • TransEd said in a video update last week that it has almost finished a root cause analysis of the cracked concrete pillars on the Valley Line Southeast LRT and will share its findings with the city "very soon." Repairs have started on 98 Avenue west of 96A Street, which is reduced to one westbound lane, and part of Wagner Road west of the Davies Road, which is closed to motorists. The company said both areas will be affected until "about January 2023."
  • Edmonton is the most successful city in North America when it comes to attracting visitors downtown after the pandemic, according to data from Avison Young. The real estate firm found that downtown visitor volume increased 151.1% between March 2, 2020, and Sept. 5, 2022, ahead of Calgary and San Diego, which tied for second at 123.3%. Cory Wosnack, the firm's managing director in Edmonton, told CTV News that Rogers Place and ICE District were a "difference maker," a sentiment echoed by Jeffrey Sundquist, CEO of the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce. "You can't argue that the Ice District and that development and ambition has really re-energized the central Edmonton area," he said. "And in fact, it reinvigorated the entire region."
  • Michael Elliott, president of the Edmonton Police Association, wrote a letter accusing Mayor Amarjeet Sohi of not supporting the police after the mayor was absent from an annual memorial service at the Legislature for fallen police and peace officers on Sept. 25. "You may not support us," wrote Elliott, "but your office should at least pretend to respect our members and give the appearance you care." Sohi, noting that no Edmonton mayor has been invited to the event for the past six years, responded in a letter defending his support for police. "I will continue to support and show my appreciation for the work and sacrifices of our civic employees, including that of EPS, while fulfilling my governance roles in demanding accountability and value for money, like I do in each of the 73 lines of business that the City of Edmonton funds."
  • After opening two new private collision reporting centres on Sept. 29 in partnership with Accident Support Services International, the Edmonton Police Service said it has moved 62 positions to its patrol complement which has enabled the creation of a new "10-squad patrol model" that will launch on Nov. 13. The new model is aimed at addressing front-line workload demands but will also "balance deployment more effectively to address officer wellness," EPS said.
  • Blankets for Love is looking for donations of quilts and materials for its annual campaign to make blankets for patients spending the holidays at the University of Alberta Hospital and the Alberta Hospital. This year's goal is 500 quilts.
  • This year marks the 100th anniversary of Fire Prevention Week which runs Oct. 9-15 and Edmonton Fire Rescue Services has put out a reminder to plan your fire escape and check your smoke alarm.
  • Edmonton soccer star Alphonso Davies suffered a cranial bruise on Oct. 8 during a match between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund. Davies indicated that he was "feeling good in the circumstances," but it is unknown when he will return to the game.