Headlines: April 11, 2023

· The Pulse
  • Firefighters responded to the Talus Dome around 8:30pm on April 9 to rescue a man who became trapped inside the public art installation after climbing on top of it. Troy Brady, district chief for Edmonton Fire Rescue Services, said it took crews an hour and a half to rescue the man using the jaws of life and other heavy equipment. He was charged with mischief over $5,000 for damaging several of the balls while climbing. Crews also removed one ball in the process. A video of the rescue shot by passerby Connor Schwindt was widely shared online, and the event went viral on social media because of the Talus Dome's polarizing reputation among Edmontonians.
  • Coyotes in Edmonton are building their dens surprisingly close to human habitats, according to a new survey by the Edmonton Urban Coyote Project at the University of Alberta. Sage Raymond, a researcher who tracked and surveyed 120 dens in the city, said pups are emerging from unexpected places each spring, often under dense cover or on steep slopes, and that 500 to 1,000 are believed to live in Edmonton. The proximity increases the risk of conflict with humans and pets, especially when coyotes are protecting their young. The city advises residents to call 311 only if you or your pet comes into contact with a coyote or if the animal is exhibiting "fearless or aggressive behaviour." More information about reducing coyote risk is available online.
  • The Canada Permanent Building, located at 101 Avenue and 100 Street, has reopened to visitors following major internal renovations, including new ceilings, walls, floors, and electrical, but with many vintage elements retained. Originally built in 1910 as a bank for the Canada Permanent Mortgage Company, the building also housed a Japanese Village restaurant and has been declared an official heritage site by both the city and the province. Alex Hryciw with the Downtown Recovery Coalition said the building's restoration could support downtown revitalization, adding that revitalizing historic buildings can attract people from across generations. It is yet to be seen what the space will be used for.
  • Mark Anderson, vice-president for CBRE's Edmonton office, said there are signs of optimism despite a rising office vacancy rate, which follows a predicted trend as employers accommodate hybrid work. The city's overall office vacancy rate rose slightly to 22.3% in the first three months of 2023, up from 22.2% the previous quarter, and the downtown office vacancy rate rose half a percentage point, to 23.5%. Anderson noted the downtown office vacancy rate has increased 3.4% since the end of 2019, which shows the "fundamental strengths" and resilience of Edmonton's office market compared to other Canadian markets. In January 2024, Lloyd Sadd Insurance Brokers will move its offices, currently at 124 Street and 103 Avenue, to the Annex building, located downtown at 102 Street and 103 Avenue.
  • City council approved a motion by Coun. Andrew Knack asking administration to help attract mid- and large-sized esports events to Edmonton. Knack told council such events draw tens of thousands of players and spectators in other cities, and that Edmonton "has the capability of being the esports leader in this country, if not North America." The motion directs staff to leverage the Alberta Esports Strategy, a report released in November 2022 by a working group that includes the Edmonton Screen Industries Office, Edmonton Global, and Explore Edmonton.
  • Coun. Andrew Knack took to Reddit to answer questions from Edmontonians on April 7. He was inspired by a similar thread started by Coun. Aaron Paquette on April 5.
  • The Edmonton Elks have a new face for their franchise in Eugene Lewis, a receiver acquired on Feb. 14, the first day of CFL free agency. Lewis, who was named the East Division's top player last season while playing with the Montreal Alouettes, was signed to Edmonton for a two-year deal reportedly worth $320,000 annually, which would make him the highest-paid CFL player who isn't a quarterback.
  • Edmonton Oilers forward Derek Ryan was nominated for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy offered by the Professional Hockey Writers Association, which is given to "the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey." The trophy will be awarded in June.
  • Alberta's ethics commissioner is launching an investigation into whether Premier Danielle Smith interfered with the administration of justice related to pandemic-related prosecutions, according to a statement from the premier's office. The statement says Smith is "fully co-operating with the commissioner, and is confident this examination will confirm there has been no such interference." On her Your Province. Your Premier. radio show on April 8, Smith said she took a call from controversial street pastor Artur Pawlowski in January, weeks before he went on trial for charges related to the Coutts border blockade, because she thought the discussion was in the context of Pawlowski's role as leader of the Alberta Independence Party. CBC reported that this is a "new version" of why she spoke with Pawlowski.