Headlines: May 17, 2023

  • City council voted unanimously on May 16 to approve $4 million in funding to keep day shelter spaces open at the Bissell Centre and Boyle Street Community Services. The funding will allow the organizations to provide Edmontonians experiencing homelessness space to shower, eat, do laundry and access other support and resources. Council also passed a motion to call on the provincial government to provide sustainable funding to support continued day shelter spaces as well as bridge housing. "What we are looking for is a logical, sensible plan, whole cloth, from the provincial government on how to deal with and how to repair and heal the situations on our streets and the people who suffer them," said Coun. Aaron Paquette.
  • The city kicked off its 2023 construction season, with 200 projects on the go or ready to begin. In a release, the city highlighted its continued work expanding the LRT system, the ongoing Yellowhead Trail Freeway Conversion, the Terwillegar Drive Expansion, and the 124 Street Renewal project, which will enter its final year of construction this spring. Work is also underway on the William Hawrelak Park Rehabilitation Project, which is expected to be complete in winter 2025/26, and the Neighbourhood Renewal program, which will see 100 kilometres of roads and sidewalks plus 23 kilometres of alleys renewed across 17 neighbourhoods. The city's traffic disruptions map provides information about road closures, delays, and project timelines.
  • Strong northwest winds have caused wildfire smoke to blanket much of Alberta, including Edmonton and Calgary, and increased fire risk in central and northern communities. On May 16, Environment Canada issued a special air quality statement due to reduced visibility and the health risks of inhaling even low concentrations of wildfire smoke. Air quality was expected to improve on May 17, but officials warn that the forecast in coming days will increase the risk of extreme fire behaviour and make conditions on the ground more dangerous. As of May 16, there were 87 wildfires burning in forest protection areas, with 24 considered out of control. Evacuation orders have been partially lifted for Drayton Valley and parts of Brazeau County.
  • Labeled, an eight-episode docuseries about Edmonton's sex industry produced by Andrea Heinz and Guerrilla Motion Pictures, hopes to debunk the glorification of sex work in pop culture and empower people who want to leave. The fifth chapter, called "The Missing, Murdered, and Forgotten," tells the story of three women including April Eve Wiberg, founder of the Stolen Sisters and Brothers Awareness movement. The chapter was screened May 7 at Metro Cinema as part of the NorthwestFest film festival, but the series is not currently set for distribution.
  • An Edmonton man who committed an unprovoked attack against an elderly woman at the Health Sciences/Jubilee LRT Station in April 2022 was sentenced to 22 months in jail, with 80 days left to serve after time credited for pre-trial custody. The sentence will be followed by a 24-month probation. The man pleaded guilty to aggravated assault as well as assault with a weapon for a separate incident at Churchill LRT Station. The attacks sparked discussions about violence on transit and promises by officials to improve safety.
  • The first two weeks of May 2023 were the hottest ever recorded in Edmonton. The average high for the city from May 1-15 was 23.8°C, which is more than six degrees higher than the long-term average of 17.7°C.
  • Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl of the Edmonton Oilers told the media the team will have a "cup or bust" mentality going forward. "When you look at the group here, everyone is signed on for the next number of years," said McDavid. "Everyone is in the prime of their career." Postmedia columnist David Staples noted there has been "no shortage of criticism" toward Oilers players, coaches, and management since the team was eliminated from the playoffs following their loss to the Vegas Golden Knights on May 14.