Headlines: Dec. 6, 2022

  • An extreme cold warning is currently in effect for Edmonton and most of central and northern Alberta, with temperatures expected to drop to nearly -40°C in some areas on Dec. 6. Meteorologists are forecasting dangerously low temperatures in the morning and advise Edmontonians to check weather conditions before leaving home. Wind chills below -30°C can cause frostbite in as little as 10-30 minutes, and wind chills below -40°C can cause frostbite in as little as 5-10 minutes. Temperatures are expected to climb on the night of Dec. 6 and return to the -12°C to -2°C range by Dec. 7.
  • The Edmonton Police Commission has hired retired provincial judge Donna L. Shelley to conduct an independent review of the events that led to the unprovoked murder of two men in Chinatown in May. The commission promised to conduct the review in July as concerns emerged around the interaction between law enforcement and the accused, Justin Bone. Shelley, who served for 15 years as a justice on the Court of King's Bench, will be looking into the "circumstances of the accused individual's arrival and stay in Edmonton" for the purpose of producing a report outlining gaps and recommendations. "Everybody agrees that what happened in Chinatown was an absolute catastrophe," police commission chair John McDougall told reporters. "I would like to have the people of Chinatown feel confident that their voice is being heard, that the commission is appreciative of their concerns, and we have that same vested interest in wanting to find answers."
  • Ward pihêsiwin Coun. Tim Cartmell wrote a blog post warning that other councillors have suggested reducing the budget for the Terwillegar Drive Expansion as part of ongoing deliberations. Work on widening Terwillegar Drive to four lanes started in 2021. The project also includes expansions to the Rainbow Valley bridges, a pedestrian bridge over Whitemud Drive, and an upgrade to interchanges by 2025. "I do not understand why this road project gets this amount of notoriety," said Cartmell. "It seems to be more about where it is in the city than what it actually accomplishes, and that's getting tiresome." Coun. Michael Janz, who said he hadn't heard of plans to defund the expansion, nonetheless suggested "there may be some savings there, and Coun. Cartmell, of all people, should know how strapped we are for the capital budget." Council approved the expansion in 2019, and the province pledged $120 million to the project in 2020.
  • The UCP caucus has proposed various amendments to the Alberta Sovereignty within a United Canada Act that would remove the power for cabinet ministers to unilaterally change legislation if they decide to fight a directive from the federal government. The amendments also narrow the scope of federal legislation that cabinet can resist to laws the government deems to be unconstitutional, interfere with provincial jurisdiction, or violate Albertans' charter rights. "I want to make sure that we get this bill right, and I'm grateful that my caucus is going to propose amendments to do that," said Premier Danielle Smith. NDP Leader Rachel Notley said the opposition will not support any amendments to the act. "It is a mess," said Notley. "There are so many elements of it that create uncertainty. It needs to be withdrawn, and they need to go right back to the drawing board."
  • The City of Edmonton has designated a Holyrood church as a historic resource. Built in 1958, St. Luke's Anglican Church was one of the city's first to eschew the influence of medieval ecclesiastical design in favour of a more modern approach, the city said in a release. "The post-war years changed how people lived in Edmonton," heritage planner Scott Ashe said. "They wanted to live away from where they worked, but still worship in their own communities. St. Luke's is indicative of the kind of modern church built in those times." It was designed by Edmonton architect Kelvin Crawford Stanley, who also designed the former Edmonton Post Office and the Paramount Theatre. As part of its historic designation, the church will receive a grant of more than $50,000 for its rehabilitation.
  • Real estate prices in Edmonton fell slightly in November as activity slowed, according to the monthly report of the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton. New listings fell 22% from October, and single-family home sales were 36% lower than in November 2021. Single-family homes averaged at $454,000, condos at $216,000, and duplexes at $362,000. "While we're not seeing significant changes to our average prices from the previous month or even last year, we are seeing an impact on residential sales and the number of listings hitting the market each month," said association chair Paul Gravelle. "We expect this normalization to continue as we move away from the flurry of pandemic activity and back to a more balanced market."
  • The Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation announced that Myrna Khan will take up the role of executive director on Jan. 9 to replace Natalie Minckler, who retired in September. "Born and raised in Oil Country as a passionate Oilers fan, Ms. Khan is an accomplished executive and community steward with an impressive track record of success," the foundation said in a release.