Headlines: April 12, 2023

· The Pulse
  • Council's community and public services committee heard from a researcher representing MAPS Alberta Capital Region, who suggested the city should support small-scale Indigenous-led camps to help people transition to secure housing. The non-profit group created a report for the city's Encampment Response Team called Staying Outside is Not a Preference: Homelessness in Edmonton, which compiles the results of interviews with about 120 people.
  • Power outages were reported across Edmonton on April 11. EPCOR said at least five outages were linked to "pole fires," which are caused when an electrical current is created on electric pole insulators due to moisture and debris. The largest outage impacted 6,000 EPCOR customers in northeast Edmonton from about 11am to 3:30pm. Smaller outages happened in south and northwest Edmonton, and in Glenora.
  • The Edmonton Police Service is implementing a new online record request system in response to a growing number of Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIP) requests, which have risen from 459 cases in 2015 to 1,665 in 2022. Police chose to move to a platform called ATIPXpress, which is used by several other Canadian and American agencies including Alberta Health Services, after the province decommissioned its FOIPnet system in 2021. EPS said its new public portal is expected to launch "in the near future" and will "significantly streamline" its management of FOIP requests. The police service is also hiring four additional analysts for its Information and Privacy Unit, which currently has seven members.
  • The city is seeking public feedback on several projects and initiatives. A drop-in public information event for the Rideau Park and Royal Gardens Alley Renewal happened April 11, and a drop-in event for the Crawford Plains, Daly Grove, and Pollard Meadows Alley Renewal is set for April 13. A survey and draft design of the Gariepy Neighbourhood and Alley Renewal are available online from April 12 to 30. Edmontonians are also invited to share their experiences with the Residential Parking Program and provide feedback to help the city draft a Digital Signage Policy.
  • A Calgary-based home builder called 3volution Homes Group had its permits cancelled for 13 builds in the Fraser and McConachie neighbourhoods in northeast Edmonton, leaving several people with mortgage payments for unfinished houses. Four of the homebuyers told CBC they can't afford to pay rent and mortgage payments at the same time and are facing a dire situation. Court documents show tradespeople are seeking more than $180,000 in damages from 3volution for unpaid invoices. The company has not filed a statement of defence. Mary-Ann Thurber, a spokesperson for the city, said the city cancelled the permits due to lack of progress but is in communication with 3volution and committed to working with the company to help it finish the builds.
  • The province announced that it has delivered $10 million to food banks and food security organizations since it made a commitment in November 2022 to provide $20 million over two years. Edmonton's Food Bank and the Calgary Food Bank each received $280,000 through a grant stream for food banks. So far, 210 organizations have received funding, including $3.4 million used to match donations.
  • Associated Press sports writer Stephen Whyno made his predictions for the winners of the 2023 NHL Awards. According to Whyno, Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid stands to win the Hart Memorial Trophy, which goes to the most valuable player in the league, and goalie Stuart Skinner is a possible contender for the Calder Memorial Trophy, which awards the player who is most proficient in their first year of competition.