Headlines: Oct. 28, 2022

· The Pulse
  • The number of people accessing food banks in Alberta has increased 79% since 2019, according to the annual Hunger Count by Food Banks Canada. In March, the number of visits rose by 34% with a total of 156,000 Albertans going to a food bank, one-third of them children. "It's been a very difficult thing for us to navigate as an organization," said Tamisan Bencz-Knight with Edmonton's Food Bank. "We're fortunate to have the support of the community, but how do you scale up an operation by 34% in one year?" The top reasons for food bank visits were food costs, low provincial social assistance rates, and housing costs.
  • The city announced improvements to its 2022/23 snow and ice control, which includes funding aimed at better consistency, more equipment, more frequent residential maintenance, three new supplier-filled sandboxes for public access, and efforts to reduce windrows. It also introduced a parking ban notification tool for snow-related bans. "We've heard some of the feedback — windrows, catch basins, flooding, ponding, water drainage issues — so we intend to maximize our equipment utilization, increase the amount of crews that are out on the road, (and) access that inventory faster," said Craig McKeown with parks and roads services.
  • Edmonton's curbside collection service is shifting to its winter schedule starting Nov. 1. Until April 4, crews will collect food scrap carts every two weeks. The city is asking residents to make collection easier by clearing snow off their carts, using liners to stop scraps from freezing to carts, shovelling around carts, and leaving them for collection one metre away from windrows.
  • Kevin Martin, the "movie guy" who owns The Lobby, said Edmonton's last remaining video rental store is ready to help people find the perfect horror flick in time for Halloween. "Everybody loves a good horror movie. Everybody needs a good scare," Martin said. He added he has no plans to close his doors any time soon. "The only reason I've been able to survive is because, obviously, I don't believe in making money."
  • Edmonton Fire Rescue Services announced 37 new recruits. "Our firefighters have skills beyond physical strength," said Fire Chief Joe Zatylny. "This includes the ability to effectively communicate, emotional intelligence, customer service focus, empathy and compassion, creative problem-solving, resilience, and the ability to work as a team to meet the needs of Edmontonians."
  • Premier Danielle Smith said her office is considering changes to the Local Elections Authorities Act that would allow municipal candidates to run as part of a political party, which has some precedent in Vancouver and Montreal. Mayor Amarjeet Sohi said he hasn't heard from the premier or the UCP on the matter. "At a time when we are seeing so much political polarization across the country," he said, "keeping municipal councils not affiliated to any political party is the best approach."