Headlines: Feb. 15, 2023

· The Pulse
  • City administration told council's audit committee that intergovernmental affairs is among the biggest challenges facing the city. An annual corporate risk report listed intergovernmental affairs as "medium" risk, behind the only "high" risk item of inflation-related cost increases, and one administrator suggested polarization has worsened since before the pandemic. Mayor Amarjeet Sohi is expected to discuss housing, addictions, and mental health - which all fall under provincial jurisdiction - during his first meeting with Premier Danielle Smith on March 7. Dr. Chaldeans Mensah with MacEwan University's Department of Anthropology, Economics, and Political Science suggested Calgary, meanwhile, is being "courted strongly by the UCP government."
  • The city is considering charging citizens and contractors a fee to offload snow at any of the four municipal snow storage facilities after the idea was presented by the city auditor as a way for Parks and Road Services to generate revenue. According to city reports, it costs Edmonton around $3.2 million a year to manage the sites, but 80-90% of snow dumped at them is from private services, contractors, and other municipalities.
  • The Zebra Child and Youth Advocacy Centre, which supports victims of child abuse in the Edmonton region, served 4,272 children and youth in 2022, which is 11% higher than 2021 and 50% higher than 2019. CEO Emmy Stuebing said the numbers reflect the fact that more abuse is being reported. She added there has been a rise in complex cases, which can be attributed to rising internet use among younger children, and encouraged caregivers to talk to children, including younger children, about online safety.
  • The province announced that its 2023 capital budget plans include $4 million to help fund a renewal project at the Citadel Theatre. The project includes replacing elevators and fixtures, renovating washrooms, and adding stairlifts to improve accessibility. The provincial budget is set to be released Feb. 28.
  • The city's Old Strathcona Public Realm Strategy includes plans to make Whyte Avenue more pedestrian friendly by widening sidewalks, removing on-street parking, and adding dedicated bus lanes. A survey in August 2022 found only one in five people get to Whyte Avenue by driving, while 65% walk and 50% cycle or use transit. The strategy also includes plans to turn the Old Strathcona Farmers' Market parking lot into a park or plaza. Edmontonians can provide feedback on design proposals until March 5.
  • Fitness: Trans Formed, the city's first fitness training program designed specifically for transgender people, had more than 30 registrations within weeks of its January launch. The pay-what-you-can program focuses on creating a less stressful gym environment and is offered at Action Potential Fitness, an inclusive facility in west Edmonton, which is also looking for donations to offer more sessions later this year.
  • Crown prosecutor Matthew Griener argued Matthew McKnight, a former event promoter who is serving an eight-year sentence for sexually assaulting five women between 2010 and 2016, should receive an additional 15 years because his attacks were premeditated. McKnight, who worked at various bars and clubs, offered the women free alcohol before he assaulted them. The court will issue a written decision at a later date.
  • CBC News published an opinion piece by Chris McBain, a sociology student at Athabasca University who was once addicted to crystal meth, arguing that recovery and harm reduction are "both essential" to treating addictions. It is the latest instalment of The Way Out: Addiction in Alberta, a series documenting a "fundamental shift" in addictions treatment in the province.