Headlines: March 10, 2023

· The Pulse
  • Mayor Amarjeet Sohi proclaimed March 9-13 to be JUNO Week in front of a crowd of about 200 people at city hall. Businesses and venues are seeing an economic boost thanks to events happening across the city before the official JUNO Awards ceremony is broadcast live from Rogers Place on March 13. Organizers say the events are expected to generate about $9 million in revenue, and downtown hospitality and venue operators who spoke to CBC are optimistic the JUNOS will rejuvenate Edmontonians' desire to go downtown. The JUNOS were last held in Edmonton in 2004.
  • The federal government announced a $54-million investment through the Affordable Housing Partnership Program to support 17 affordable housing projects in Alberta. Investments in the Edmonton region include $3 million to Catholic Social Services to build housing for women, children, and newcomer families; $2.3 million to the City of Edmonton to build supportive housing for women and children fleeing family violence; and $14.7 million to the Meridian Housing Foundation to build seniors units in Spruce Grove.
  • Vinton Apartments, a mixed-use three-storey building at 111 Avenue and 92 Street, caught fire on the morning of March 6. Between 45 and 55 firefighters were involved in extinguishing the fire and evacuating the building. The incident has displaced 24 adults and two children and caused an estimated $1 million in damages.
  • The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) revealed that a man shot by police near the downtown funicular on March 2 was carrying a pellet gun. ASIRT said the man, who as of March 9 was still in hospital, had refused police orders to drop the pellet gun. The incident remains under investigation.
  • Edmonton Catholic Schools is searching for a new chief superintendent to replace Robert Martin, who is set to retire in the summer after a 37-year career in Catholic education. Martin has served as the division's chief superintendent since April 2020.
  • Edmonton man Ivan Dacko chose to spend three days in the Edmonton Remand Centre rather than pay a $500 fine he received for illegally keeping backyard chickens after his application for the city's urban hens program was denied. The city said Dacko has a history of non-compliance and that his neighbours complained numerous times about odours and stray chickens.
  • The Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA) is disputing claims by the province and John Cowell, the official administrator for Alberta Health Services, that the healthcare system is not in crisis. Cowell said emergency response wait times have decreased from an average of 22 minutes to 17 minutes since the province increased staffing and ambulances, and changed procedures to free up paramedics. According to HSAA president Mike Parker, paramedics used to arrive in less than eight minutes.
  • The UCP government's proposed Bill 10, the main purpose of which is to create new rules for handling surpluses, would also put $4 million toward various adoption benefits in Alberta. The bill would increase Alberta's adoption expense tax credit, offer a $6,000 subsidy to families who adopt if they make less than $180,000 a year, and introduce dental, drug, and vision benefits for adopted children under 18.