Headlines: Jan. 17, 2023

  • The city mailed out more than 400,000 property assessment notices on Jan. 16. The notices tell property owners what to expect this spring on their property tax bill, which will reflect the 4.96% overall tax increase for 2023 that council approved in December. The city released a video to explain how it calculates individual property tax rates.
  • Up to 30 temporary pop-up off-leash dog parks will be installed in Edmonton green spaces for six months under a city pilot program beginning this spring. The city is prioritizing neighbourhoods that have a significant need for an off-leash area, according to a report at the Jan. 16 community and public services committee meeting. The final list of locations will be announced by the end of winter following a public consultation. Coun. Michael Janz doesn't have a dog but was excited nonetheless. "I was thinking, if I was a golden Labrador, my tail would be wagging considerably as I read this report and looked at that map," he said. The program is expected to cost between $150,000-$300,000.
  • The city's Winterscapes photo contest is accepting nominations until Feb. 27. Edmontonians are invited to submit photos of outdoor spaces, including their or a neighbour's front yard, a school yard, or a community hall. The categories for entry are Winter Art, Winter Garden, or Winter Play. Each nominee will receive a snowman building kit, while supplies last, and will be entered into a weekly draw for a gift card to one of the #YEGWinterPatios. The public can vote for their favourite photos on the city's Facebook page.
  • As part of its Healthcare Action Plan, the province announced it is working to implement recommendations made in a report by the Alberta Emergency Medical Services Provincial Advisory Committee and an independent dispatch review. The recommendations include adding 10 ambulances each to Edmonton and Calgary and introducing guidelines to streamline ambulance transfers at emergency departments and urgent care centres. The province will also issue a request for proposals from contractors to provide non-emergency transfer services. NDP Health Critic David Shepherd said the UCP government's move ignores requests from paramedics to improve recruitment.
  • Moms Stop the Harm co-founder Petra Schulz expressed concerns about the transparency and efficacy of the Digital Overdose Response System (DORS), the province's overdose prevention app, such as whether someone's drug use could lead to criminal charges or be added to their health record. "Frankly, the other concern I have since the app was launched is that we don't have data on it," said Schulz. The app has been downloaded 3,700 times and has nearly 1,100 registered users, but a government spokesperson said the province won't release data about its effectiveness because DORS is a "confidential and anonymous service."
  • Lesley and Lyle LeGrande have a special relationship with Edmonton Transit Service, aside from the fact they both work for the service. The couple met in 2012 on an ETS bus Lyle was driving, and he later proposed on the same route. Their wedding took place on a chartered ETS bus in 2013 at the same bus stop as the proposal. "Everyone was so happy," Lesley said. "It was amazing."
  • "No one is expecting much" this year from the Edmonton Elks, wrote Postmedia sports columnist Gerry Moddejonge. Over years of management overhaul and playing to a quiet Commonwealth Stadium, the team has finished last in three out of the past four West Division seasons and is sitting at 17 straight home losses and counting. "We know what it takes to win," said head coach Chris Jones. "Now we just have to reassemble our team and stay the course." The team's pre-season starts in May and the regular season begins in June.
  • Edmonton is one of the seven best places to live in Canada, according to MoveHub, a U.K. company that compares international shipping quotes. "Edmonton is a great place for anyone looking to start a family," the company said, while also praising the "enormous mall."