Headlines: Feb. 16, 2023

  • The former Edmonton Remand Centre, located downtown at 104 Avenue and 97 Street, is scheduled to be demolished. The building has not housed inmates since the new Remand Centre opened in northwest Edmonton in April 2013. In a press release, the province said it would not be cost-effective to repurpose the building for any other use. Demolition work is expected to begin in June 2023 and take 18 months. Once complete, the land will either be sold or used for another facility.
  • The city has amended its swimwear guidelines at municipal pools to allow all patrons, regardless of gender, to be topless. The policy was updated in June 2022 to better align with protections in the Alberta Human Rights Act, but the change hasn't been widely advertised. Previously, only men were permitted to be topless at city pools. "We realize that some people will be uncomfortable with this approach," said Priya Bhasin-Singh, director of Edmonton's aquatics and community leisure centres. "However, this is a human rights issue and we have an obligation to treat all individuals equally when using city facilities."
  • City council's executive committee received a report from administration about the possibility of creating a progressive property tax system or "mansion tax" in Edmonton. According to the report, the main obstacle is that the Municipal Government Act, the provincial legislation governing municipalities, would likely not allow property tax subclasses based on income or other characteristics of the occupants. Coun. Michael Janz, who requested the information in June 2022, said the report sets the city up for future advocacy around issues of equity even if nothing comes of it.
  • Edmonton International Airport has brought back seven dogs and their handlers as part of the popular pet therapy program, which was put on hold when the COVID-19 pandemic was declared in 2020. The airport partnered with the Pet Therapy Society of Northern Alberta to offer the program, which was first launched in 2015. "I think it's more important than most people realize," Steve Maybee, vice president of Edmonton Airports, told CTV News. "Travel in itself can cause some anxiety and some stress."
  • The city is offering free energy audits and connections with trained contractors to 10 to 15 homeowners looking to retrofit their homes to be net-zero. The purpose is to provide real-world experience to contractors who recently took training on net-zero building and renovation through the Canadian Home Builders Association. Homeowners can express their interest or request more info by emailing changeforclimate@edmonton.ca. The city's Change for Climate website has more details for contractors looking for free net-zero building courses.
  • Multiple sources confirmed to CTV News that an Alberta group is putting together a potential bid to host the 2030 Commonwealth Games in Edmonton, Calgary, and surrounding communities, and might make the proposal public early next month. Edmonton last hosted the Commonwealth Games in 1978, although the city made formal bids for both 2022 and 2026 that were withdrawn.
  • Ken Holland, general manager of the Edmonton Oilers, told TSN 1260 he is "working the phones" to improve his team's roster before March 3, the deadline to make trades before the playoffs. Evander Kane denied rumours that he is being traded but said he enjoys following the "rumour mill" on social media.