Headlines: March 6, 2023

· The Pulse
  • The city activated its extreme weather response on March 4 as temperatures in Edmonton dropped over the weekend. As part of the response, Edmonton Transit Service will operate overnight buses to take people to shelters with capacity. The Bissell Centre and Boyle Street Community Services will also operate expanded daytime operations, and the city's Encampment Response Team will do wellness checks on people experiencing homelessness. The activation is scheduled to remain in place until March 12 but could end earlier if temperatures rise.
  • Mayor Amarjeet Sohi says he is worried the provincial government is not taking Edmonton's social issues and housing needs seriously. While the government has allocated $1 billion to affordable housing grants across the province in its 2023 budget, Sohi said it remains unclear how and where that money will be spent. "I think there's not a proper understanding of how critical the situation is for Edmonton," he said. Sohi said he will raise these needs during his meeting with Premier Danielle Smith, scheduled for March 7. While this will be Sohi's first meeting with Smith since she became Alberta premier, Coun. Tim Cartmell had what he described as an "unscheduled, informal" meeting with Smith after the provincial budget was tabled on Feb. 28, and said he was not there to represent the city in an official capacity.
  • Bus drivers for the Dedicated Accessible Transit Service (DATS) could decide to hold a strike vote this week after negotiations between the city and the union broke down. Steve Bradshaw, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 569, said discussions have been ongoing for more than a year, but the two sides are not any closer to an agreement. The drivers have been without a contract since December 2021 and are asking for a $2.50 per hour raise, which would bring their pay in line with other Edmonton Transit Service operators.
  • A Safer Walk, a new app developed by Edmontonian Jessica Tomory aims to help give women a sense of safety in numbers by pairing women who are walking the same direction. App co-founder Trevor MacDonald said the company's research showed women looking for a more secure walking experience wanted an app that was exclusive to them. "Women trust women above any other option," MacDonald said. Users must submit their driver's license to verify their identity before they can be paired on the app for their first walk.
  • Edmonton home sales have increased by 30% in February compared to January, largely because of a 50% increase in the sale of semi-detached homes, according to new numbers from the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton (RAE). Despite the jump, sales remain about 43% lower than in February 2022, said RAE board chair Melanie Boles, who added the association is optimistic about the spring market potential. The average price of a single detached home in February was $459,600, which represented a 9% drop over last year.
  • Radio Control Racers Edmonton, a non-profit group of miniature car enthusiasts, has opened a permanent space in Bonnie Doon Mall. The group previously only had a dedicated outdoor track, but its new space will allow it to host meet-ups and events year-round. "To have a place where we can race in the wintertime is everything," Randy Van, club president, told CTV News.