Headlines: May 18, 2023

  • The city activated its extreme weather response on May 17 due to poor air quality caused by smoke from wildfires burning across the province. It will be in effect until May 19, but the activation timeline is subject to daily changes because of rapidly changing conditions. Air quality in Edmonton worsened on the morning of May 17 and was considered "very high risk" by Canada's Air Quality Health Index, before changing to "high risk" by 3pm. The extreme weather response involves opening all city facilities to people who need respite from the smoke and distributing N95 masks to social agencies to provide to people who need protection. The city encourages Edmontonians to reduce exposure to the smoke by closing windows and doors to all vehicles and buildings as much as possible during poor air quality periods.
  • City manager Andre Corbould told council he has found $15 million in savings by reviewing the city's budget projections, which had previously estimated higher-than-expected spending on enforcement related to homeless encampments, and fuel and utilities. The city also brought in higher revenues than expected due to an increased property tax base and more people using transit and recreational facilities than anticipated. Council tasked the city manager with finding $60 million in cuts, without affecting core services, during last year's budget talks.
  • An Edmonton Police Service officer fired a gun on the evening of May 16 after responding to "a white Dodge Ram truck actively smashing into other vehicles in the area of 117 Avenue and 102 Street," according to a news release. Police said the driver escaped and attempted multiple armed carjackings before being arrested on the morning of May 17. The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team is investigating the incident.
  • The Parkland Institute released a report called "Failing to Deliver" that found the UCP government's Alberta Surgical Initiative has diverted resources away from public hospitals and reduced provincial surgical capacity. The initiative, referred to in the report as a "significant expansion of for-profit, corporate health care," was introduced in 2019 under then-premier Jason Kenney and continues to be promoted by Premier Danielle Smith as a way to improve surgical capacity. "Alberta has now among the worst performance in reducing wait times in Canada," said report author Andrew Longhurst, who attained the data through freedom of information requests and statistical analysis.
  • Edmonton Oilers general manager Ken Holland said he plans to stay on for the completion of his contract, which concludes after next season, but can't comment on his commitment for 2024 and beyond. Holland, like many players and fans, expressed disappointment over the Oilers' playoffs elimination. He said the "key pieces" are there for the Oilers to succeed but that he plans to make "tweaks" to the roster.