Headlines: Dec. 1, 2022

· The Pulse
  • Edmonton police and fire services reported three deaths of people living in encampments within the first two weeks of November. One of the deaths occurred on Nov. 9, when temperatures dropped to -26°C overnight and shelters were at 98% capacity. Neither the province nor the city track mortality rates among Edmontonians experiencing homelessness. Elliott Tanti, a spokesperson for Boyle Street Community Services, said the lack of data suggests the deaths are not considered a priority and that it is "incumbent" on Edmonton to follow the lead of other jurisdictions, such as Toronto, that have begun publicly tracking deaths of people who are homeless. Homeward Trust's By Name List indicates that 1,254 of the 2,750 people experiencing homelessness in Edmonton currently report sleeping in shelters or outdoors. There are only 1,072 shelter spaces available in the city heading into winter.
  • More than 5,000 City of Edmonton employees had their private information compromised in a data breach discovered in May 2021. According to the city, a former employee accessed records without authorization and uploaded documents from city-owned computers to their personal cloud-based account. Daryl Croft, branch manager of Open City and Technology (OCT) said the city hired an IT forensics consultant firm to gain access to the former employee's cloud account and determine what personal information was contained within 157,000 records it identified. "OCT immediately strengthened its processes and safeguards to reduce the possibility of something like this happening in the future," Croft said, adding he has no reason to believe the information was shared beyond the former employee. However, as the city was only able to review a portion of the affected records, the full extent of the breach remains undetermined. The city also noted is it not in a position to delete the records from the cloud account.
  • A series of earthquakes in northern Alberta, which were detected on Nov. 29 in the Peace River region about 360 kilometres northwest of Edmonton, caused rumbling across the province and aftershocks through the night. According to Earthquakes Canada, two 5.2-magnitude earthquakes were followed by a 5.8-magnitude earthquake shortly before 6pm, which may go down as the largest seismic event ever recorded in Alberta, ahead of the 5.4-magnitude earthquake recorded in 2001. Rebecca Salvage, an earthquake expert at the University of Calgary, said the biggest earthquake occurred at least six kilometres underground, which is likely too deep for it to be caused by human behaviour. The Alberta Energy Regulator, which had investigated tremors in the region the previous week, said the earthquakes were likely caused by natural tectonic activity as there is no active hydraulic fracturing in the area. Some Edmontonians took to Reddit to share that they felt tremors across the city.
  • Tom Viinikka, CEO of the Edmonton Screen Industries Office (ESIO), asked city council during the budget public hearing this week to increase the group's yearly funding from $1.2 million to $1.5 million, which Viinikka said will support more events for film and interactive digital media companies and adjust for inflation. The ESIO also wants to expand its office, connect with more production companies, and offer grants to start-ups. Viinikka noted that Alberta's film industry generates around $550 million a year, with most filming done in the Calgary area.
  • Commonwealth Stadium will host The Style Experience, an event for the International Ski Federation Snowboard Big Air World Cup on Dec. 10. Construction crews have been building the 147-foot-tall and 483-foot-long snowboard jump at the southeast end of the stadium since early November. "We see these kind of jumps on mountains quite regularly," said Richard Hegarty, an event specialist for Canada Snowboard. "But to see them in a stadium is just so impressive." Athletes from more than 40 countries will compete in the event, which is expected to attract 10,000 people.
  • The province has selected Graham Construction to build the new major interchange at Queen Elizabeth II Highway and 65th Avenue in Leduc, which it says will "drive economic momentum in Alberta's growing warehousing and logistics industry" by connecting the busy highway to cargo hubs around the Edmonton International Airport. Construction is expected to begin in late 2022 and take three years. The $112 million-project will include a new overpass, on-off ramps, and various ramp and intersection improvements. Leduc Mayor Bob Young said back in 2019 that the interchange has been a priority for years.
  • The Edmonton City as Museum Project published a piece by University of Alberta history student Kassandra Milette reflecting on the impact of Edmonton's 1947-1953 polio epidemic, which marked some of the most damaging years for polio in the city. "The undeniable role that polio played in the advancement of pediatric medicine and sanitation while adapting to developing knowledge by health care workers, is still remembered today," Milette wrote.