Headlines: Jan. 12, 2023

· The Pulse
  • The stagnant weather that put Edmonton in the moderate to high risk category for pollutant levels this week will last until a strong weather system arrives to shake up the atmosphere, which Environment Canada meteorologist Jesse Wagar said could happen this weekend or next week. Wagar added that early morning and rush hour are generally the worst periods for air quality and cautioned not to rule out the chance of another stagnant weather event.
  • Data obtained by CBC News revealed that Alberta Health Services recorded 91 frostbite amputations during the 2021-2022 winter, a dramatic increase over the previous year and the highest of any year since 2011. AHS also recorded a significant increase in frostbite diagnoses, even compared to other colder-than-average winters in the past decade. The data does not include demographic information, but Sandy Dong, an emergency room doctor, said the "vast, vast majority" of people who had amputations because of frostbite were experiencing homelessness. "I think you can draw a straight line between our housing crisis and these outcomes," Dong said.
  • Data released by the Opposition NDP shows there were 16,318 unstaffed paramedic shifts in the Edmonton metro area in the first 10 months of 2022, which the Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA) said represents a 15.5% vacancy rate. "(These) thousands and thousands of unfilled shifts are the reason why we don't have the trucks on the road to respond to 911 calls," said HSAA president Mike Parker. "This running of perpetual code red is harming our people." The province has said it would address EMS issues by outsourcing non-urgent patient transfers to alternative vehicles like shuttles and taxis, but some Alberta ambulance associations say the problem stems from a lack of registered paramedics.
  • The city said it is "actively monitoring shortcutting" through residential areas while the Stony Plain Road Bridge is being replaced as part of the Valley Line West LRT expansion and will "address emerging situations as they arise." Stony Plain Road between 129 Street and 131 Street will be closed until fall 2024, with vehicle and pedestrian traffic rerouted to 102 Avenue or 107 Avenue.
  • Edmonton was ranked #1 in the Canadian Home Builders' Association's 2022 Municipal Benchmarking Study, which examined 21 municipalities across the country for the impact of their development processes on housing affordability and supply. The study states Edmonton "ranks highest in utilizing tools and features that are thought to have an impact on the ability of municipalities and applicants to deliver housing supply in a timely and efficient fashion."