Headlines: March 8, 2023

· The Pulse
  • Mayor Amarjeet Sohi and Premier Danielle Smith met on March 7 to discuss Edmonton's urgent needs related to community well-being and safety. Ahead of the meeting, their first since Smith took office, Sohi sent the premier a letter asking the province to fund shelter spaces, supportive housing, and addictions facilities in Edmonton and put $100 million toward revitalizing key areas like downtown, Chinatown, and Whyte Avenue. Afterwards, Sohi said he was optimistic and that the province has committed to working with the city on priority areas, but has not made promises about timelines. According to a release, Smith agreed the province would be an active partner in addressing issues of downtown safety, including through the Edmonton Public Safety and Community Response Task Force. Smith also brought up concerns about high property taxes and the need to collaborate on large capital projects but identified a need for "detailed plans" to address Sohi's requests.
  • Some Ottewell residents are concerned that the Ottewell neighbourhood renewal project will reduce parking availability. Ward Métis Coun. Ashley Salvador said parking will be removed in some areas to make room for drainage infrastructure and to narrow roads to encourage slower driving, adding that the city has tools like permit parking and time-limited parking it can use if necessary. In an emailed statement, the city said public engagement was incorporated into the neighbourhood renewal design, which was already changed to reflect parking concerns.
  • Despite the 2023 JUNO Awards happening at Rogers Place on March 13, local music venues are still struggling to survive in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. "Venues are trying to reopen and ... do their best to stay open at this point, and so are artists," said Tyson Boyd, owner of The Starlite Room, who attributes the closure of Station on Jasper in early February to a lack of municipal and provincial support. Over 50 artists are performing at venues across the city from March 10-12 as part of JUNOfest.
  • The Saville Community Sports Centre at the University of Alberta is getting six new year-round tennis courts. The university is one of four locations in Canada to receive funding for a year-round tennis facility through a partnership with Rogers Communications. A soil-turning ceremony was held March 7.
  • Flair Airlines announced two new flights from Edmonton beginning this summer. The airline will fly to Kamloops three times a week beginning June 15, and to Quebec City twice a week starting on July 7.
  • The UCP government tabled the Alberta Firearms Act, which it says will strengthen its ability to regulate and administer gun ownership and advocate on behalf of gun owners. In addition to clarifying the role of Chief Firearms Officer Teri Bryant, the legislation gives Justice Minister Tyler Shandro the ability to enact regulations around how the federal government's proposed firearms legislation is administered in Alberta. The act would also allow Shandro to prevent municipal police from entering into any funding deals with the federal government to confiscate firearms under Bill C-21.