Headlines: Feb. 1, 2023

  • The Edmonton Transit Service announced that mid-winter service changes will take effect starting Feb. 5, including adjustments to LRT service frequency and the replacement of Route 561 with Spruce Grove's on-demand service. Adjustments are made five times a year based on rider feedback, data, and seasonal ridership changes.
  • Residents who attended a community engagement session on Jan. 30 got into a heated debate over a plan by Boyle Street Community Services to open a health hub in the Ritchie community one block south of Whyte Avenue. The "microsite," which Boyle Street wants to open in the spring, would provide various addiction and health-related resources, along with a supervised consumption site, which is awaiting provincial approval. Boyle Street spokesperson Elliott Tanti said the organization identified Ritchie and Old Strathcona as two of four neighbourhoods in the city experiencing the most drug poisonings and calls for service. A 2020 provincial review found that 82% of Edmontonians support a supervised consumption site in their area, which is significantly higher than other Alberta cities.
  • The Edmonton Police Service is asking for help to identify two men who, on Dec. 7, deliberately shot at a house occupied by a mother and her three daughters, whom are believed to be innocent victims. Police say 165 shootings were reported in Edmonton in 2022, up from 150 in 2021, with 85% believed to be targeted. So far, 19 shootings have been reported in 2023. Edmonton police themselves shot and killed four people in 2022, the most of any Canadian city, including an innocent bystander in a nearby apartment.
  • The Edmonton Law Courts building has resumed normal operations weeks after a power outage caused disruptions and case delays. A provincial spokesperson said a "temporary electrical solution" was implemented as work continues to develop a permanent fix. The cause of the power failure hasn't yet been identified, but the outage renewed calls for the courthouse to be replaced. The province said it is developing options to either renovate or construct a new building.
  • Thousands of new spaces at private child care facilities in Alberta are set to become eligible for subsidies as the Canada-Alberta Child Care Agreement moves into its second phase, which involves a for-profit expansion plan. The agreement was signed in 2021 with the goal of lowering the cost of child care at a licensed facility to an average of $10 a day by 2025-2026. Children's Services Minister Mickey Amery said up to 1,600 spaces at private, for-profit facilities will qualify for subsidies "almost immediately" and another 2,000 shortly afterwards, pending licensing requirements.
  • The RE/MAX 2023 Canada Housing Barometer Report found that Edmonton's housing market was among the four major Canadian markets where the loan-to-value (LTV) ratio increased between Q3 of 2012 and Q3 of 2022, but the trend is expected to reverse in the coming years as increased economic activity fuels home buying. An average mortgage in Edmonton rose from $277,554 to $322,469 during that period, and housing values rose proportionally, resulting in an LTV average of 83% by Q3 of 2022, second only to Regina at 88%.
  • The office of Premier Danielle Smith confirmed she will attend a Feb. 7 meeting of Canada's premiers in Ottawa, which Prime Minister Justin Trudeau scheduled to discuss health-care funding. A statement released by the 13 premiers says they welcome the meeting and expect the federal government to increase its share of health-care funding from 22% to 35%, which premiers have been requesting for years.