Headlines: April 19, 2023

· The Pulse
By and
  • City council approved spring adjustments to the city's operating budget, which maintain the 4.96% property tax increase for 2023 that was previously approved during budget deliberations late last year. The spring adjustment is the last step in finalizing the annual tax increase, and a bylaw will be introduced in late April to set the rate. Tax notices will be mailed to property owners on May 23 and property taxes are due June 30. The average household will pay around $725 for every $100,000 of assessed home value this year, which is $34 more than in 2022.
  • The city's Affordable Housing Investment Program has for the first time introduced a grant stream specifically to support Indigenous-owned affordable housing. The grants provide up to 25% of total capital costs for Indigenous organizations to create or rehabilitate affordable housing units, and up to 40% for proposals offering deep subsidies for certain priority groups. Developers are eligible for $5 million in dedicated funding each year until 2026. The city is investing up to $20 million over four years into the initiative.
  • The city is continuing its search for Indigenous organizations and governments interested in running city-funded Indigenous-led emergency shelter spaces that can support people transitioning from homelessness to permanent housing. In a release, the city said the expression of interest has been expanded to include a variety of transitional spaces, including options with a land-based component, that provide short-term accommodations and support services with a focus on cultural-based healing. In 2022, city council earmarked $1 million for early design work on an Indigenous-led emergency shelter. The city is accepting expressions of interest until May 19.
  • The city is considering closing a section of Rossdale Road around a confusing intersection with 103 Street and Bellamy Hill Road, which would cause some traffic to be rerouted. Satya Gadidasu, a city program manager, said taking away the "redundant street" will improve safety and alleviate driver uncertainty. Council is expected to decide on the closure following a public hearing on April 24. Coun. Anne Stevenson said her office hasn't received many concerns about closing the road.
  • The Edmonton Public School Board is expecting 5,000 new student enrolments this September, which is 5% higher than the previous year. Superintendent Darrel Robertson said during an April 18 board meeting that the increase, along with inflation and maintenance costs, has put pressure on the division's budget, leaving it with $26,150 per student. "Our schools will feel budgetary pressures as they're organizing for instruction next year," he said.
  • An Edmonton Valley Zoo employee taken to hospital after being bitten by a Burmese python on April 18 is in stable condition. A communications advisor for the zoo said all reptiles in its care are non-venomous, and the python will remain viewable in its secured enclosure while the incident is investigated.
  • Stand-up comedy has become more popular in Edmonton in recent years and is seeing a post-pandemic comeback, according to Ashley Soper, manager of the Yuk Yuk's Comedy Club at the Century Casino. While some other comedy venues, including The Empress Ale House, closed during the pandemic, Soper said Yuk Yuk's has never seen bigger audiences.
  • The Edmonton Oilers lost to the Los Angeles Kings during Game 1 of their first-round Stanley Cup playoffs series on April 17. While the Oilers were ahead for the majority of the game, the Kings tied with a last minute power play and beat the Oilers 4-3 in overtime. Head coach Jay Woodcroft said there was "a lot of good in that game" but that his team was "derailed by the penalties." The next game in the series is set for 8pm on April 19 at Rogers Place.
  • The Alberta Legislature Press Gallery issued a letter calling on Premier Danielle Smith to reverse her policy of limiting reporters to one question at news conferences during the election season. In response, the premier's office said the policy would remain in place and reiterated that it would allow Smith to "respond to as many journalists as possible in the allotted time." The letter from the press gallery, which was signed by reporters from CBC, Global News, the Western Standard, and other outlets, said the policy "flies in the face of convention in Alberta" and "restricts reporters from doing the job of holding the government and politicians to account." The premier has reversed course on an additional restriction to only accept one question in total from any single news outlet. Smith mentioned the restriction on her Your Province. Your Premier. radio show on April 15, but a later statement from her office said "individual journalists, not outlets, are welcome to ask the premier one question so she is able to respond to as many journalists as possible in the allotted time."