Headlines: Jan. 10, 2023

· The Pulse
  • Environment Canada issued a poor air quality warning for Edmonton, St. Albert, and Sherwood Park. The poor air quality, caused by pollutants built up from stagnant weather conditions, was expected to be at its worst on Jan. 9 but persist through the week. Alberta Health Services has more information about staying healthy during air quality events.
  • TransEd is almost done repairing the cracked elevated support piers on the Edmonton Valley Line Southeast LRT, and testing on the line is ongoing. On Dec. 20, CEO Ronald Joncas said the company finished 94% of the structural repairs on the 45 cracked piers identified last year, but provided no timeline for when the line will be in service. It was originally scheduled to start running in December 2020.
  • Drivers who have used the city-run EPark system may have had their personal information compromised after the Calgary Parking Authority, the vendor for the software used by the EPark mobile parking app and kiosks, experienced a privacy breach in which details such as names, addresses, license plates, validation tags, and emails were publicly accessible from May-July 2021. Neither the Calgary Parking Authority nor the City of Edmonton proactively notified the wider public of the breach after first learning about it. In correspondence with Postmedia, both deferred responsibility for disclosing the breach to each other.
  • More than 300 people filled the Centennial Centre for Interdisciplinary Science at the University of Alberta to honour the victims who died on Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752, which was shot down by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps on Jan. 8, 2020. Those killed included 13 people from Edmonton and ten with ties to the University of Alberta. The event was organized by the Iranian Heritage Society of Edmonton and the Iranian Students' Association. A joint statement from the groups said the victims' families are "seeking truth, pleading for justice and trying to bring those responsible before a court."
  • Postmedia columnist Keith Gerein thinks city council will regret its decision in December not to fund the first phase of operations for the Edmonton Metropolitan Transit Services Commission, putting an end to its plan to develop regional transit. "(Regional) trust has been seriously damaged with this decision, and I suspect it will take a long while for the group to find the confidence to resume serious work on big joint projects," wrote Gerein. Council's move was also criticized by former councillor Michael Walters in a piece for Urban Affairs.
  • A University of Alberta delegation led by president Bill Flanagan is in India to promote the university's research strengths, particularly in renewable energy and climate change mitigation, and to expand collaboration with Indian academic institutes. The university's partnerships with several Indian Institutes of Technology, which are among the top technology institutions in the country, are "unique in the world," said Amit Kumar, an energy researcher with the delegation.
  • Ashwini Gadtoula, a recent University of Alberta grad and urban planning enthusiast, wrote an article for Canadian Architect about how Edmonton's suburbs can attract new immigrants as the city's population grows to two million over the next 45 years.
  • The province's inflation relief payments will be distributed starting this month. Seniors over 65 and parents who make $180,000 a year or less can apply online or in person starting Jan. 18. Albertans supported by Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH), Income Support, the Alberta Seniors Benefit, or the Persons with Developmental Disabilities (PDD) program will automatically receive payments beginning Jan. 31.