Headlines: Dec. 19, 2022

· The Pulse
  • The city announced a series of changes to service levels and operating hours during the holiday season. Routes on the Edmonton Transit Service (ETS) will follow Sunday hours on Dec. 25 and have altered hours until regular service resumes on Jan. 9. Recreation centres will see some closures on Dec. 26, Dec. 27, and Jan. 2, and the city encourages users to check hours online before visiting. The 311 service line will be suspended on Dec. 25, Dec. 26, and Jan. 1. Curbside collection of natural Christmas trees starts Jan. 9 and lasts until Feb. 10 at the latest, depending on the weather.
  • City council approved a decrease in spending on snow and ice removal, which will likely result in service reductions beginning next winter unless more funding is allocated. Currently, the city is paying for 50% of what it calls "enhanced" clearing levels, but that number was reduced to 20% over the course of budget deliberations. "There will likely be a decrease in service between winter 2022/2023 and winter 2023/2024, but an increase over what residents have experienced in previous years," Craig McKeown of the city's parks and roads department told Postmedia, adding the reduction may prevent staff from completing work such as windrow pickups in school zones and clearing pathways in parks.
  • City council approved various changes to parking rates at city-run EPark stalls in an effort to raise an additional $1.4 million in annual revenue. Starting next year, rates at 92 high-demand EPark stalls will rise from $3.50 per hour to $4.50 per hour, the 30-minute grace period introduced during the pandemic will be reduced to 15 minutes, and some free parking will be cut. "In the last 20 years, transit fares have risen by about 75%, whereas parking fees have not significantly increased over that time," said Ward Métis Coun. Ashley Salvador, who introduced the motion while acknowledging the changes "will probably not be super popular." Puneeta McBryan, executive director of the Edmonton Downtown Business Association, said on Twitter that parking revenue generated within Business Improvement Areas in the downtown core "should be SPENT inside BIAs to achieve adequate service levels."
  • Real estate developer Maclab Development Group has bought Mill Woods Town Centre and plans to convert vacant parking space into infill rental housing in an effort to "bring more activity and density to the area." According to the company, which plans to conduct public engagement with surrounding neighbourhoods over the next 18 months, the development will not affect businesses already operating in the space. "It's been on my radar that the future of Mill Woods Town Centre has been uncertain for quite some time," said Ward Karhiio Coun. Keren Tang. "I think this development offers a real opportunity for potential economic development, for community building, for growth in this part of the city."
  • Rapper Ntwali Kayijaho released a music video for his song Message to the Youth that features a 1969 Ford Galaxie 500 he borrowed from a stranger. Kayijaho left a note on Adam Kaminski's red convertible while he was parked outside the Sugarbowl restaurant in Old Strathcona. "My daughter thought it was super cool and said, 'You've got to do this,'" Kaminski told CBC.
  • Global News published an in-depth look into Edmonton's opioid epidemic written by journalist Meaghan Archer.