Headlines: Jan. 27, 2023

  • City staff have begun looking for $60 million in savings from the 2023-2026 operating budget, which council directed administration to do in December. City manager Andre Corbould said staff will also redirect $240 million toward new budget priorities and report back to council monthly on the progress. Mayor Amarjeet Sohi said the process is "not about austerity" and that staff and council will try to minimize front-line impact.
  • Imperial Oil, the second-largest integrated oil company in Canada, is moving forward with plans to build a $720-million renewable diesel facility at its Strathcona refinery. The project, which was first announced in August 2021, is expected to be complete in 2025. It will be the largest facility of its kind in Canada and produce 20,000 barrels of renewable diesel per day. Building the facility will create about 600 construction jobs, the company said.
  • Edmonton Tamil communities are celebrating to mark Tamil Heritage Month this January. In 2021, there were 238,000 Tamil speakers in Canada, which has one of the largest Tamil diasporas in the world, including just over 10,000 in Alberta. Today, the Edmonton Tamil Cultural Association supports more than 1,000 Edmontonians, including students, refugees, and skilled workers, said association president Ravi Subramaniam. The House of Commons voted in 2016 to recognize the month every January to coincide with Thai Pongal, a harvest festival.
  • Rental demand for purpose-built apartments in Edmonton outpaced rental supply in 2022 due to an economic rebound and record migration flows, according to the latest Rental Market Report from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. The vacancy rate fell from 7.3% in October 2021 to 4.3% in October 2022.
  • Retired teacher Stacy Long found an Ice Age mammoth bone while walking her two dogs west of Edmonton last spring. She sent the Royal Alberta Museum photos of the discovery, which museum staff identified as a shoulder blade bone that belonged to a mammoth alive about 10,000 to 14,000 years ago. "I was definitely shocked," said Long, who donated the specimen to the museum's research and reference collection.
  • The Clareview Recreation Centre closed temporarily on Jan. 25 following an incident that sent a man to the Royal Alexandra Hospital in critical condition. "As part of our protocols, safety, life-saving staff and management meet to debrief and review practices following emergency events. That work is ongoing," a city spokesperson said. The facility resumed operations on Jan. 26.
  • The Canadian Armed Forces is preparing to send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine as part of NATO's wider coordinated effort to supply equipment. The army's fleet of Leopard 2 tanks is primarily located at the Edmonton-based unit Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians) as well as at CFB Gagetown in New Brunswick and a maintenance depot in Montreal.
  • Rhett Melnyk has been named the 15th captain of the Edmonton Oil Kings. The right winger from Fort Saskatchewan started his WHL career with the Tri-City Americans and was acquired by the Oil Kings last off-season. "It's an unreal feeling, I was speechless when they told me the news," Melnyk said.
  • The province said it is freezing auto insurance rates for private passenger vehicles and will not approve further increases for the rest of 2023. Previously approved rate increases or those resulting from an at-fault claim or ticket will still occur. In a release, the Insurance Bureau of Canada called the move "disappointing" because it "does nothing to improve the affordability of auto insurance in the near term and only pushes today's challenges down the road."