Headlines: June 1, 2023

  • Mayor Amarjeet Sohi congratulated premier-elect Danielle Smith on her election win but suggested it is more important than ever for the province to improve its relationship with Edmonton and Calgary city councils, which represent two-thirds of Alberta's population. "This is an opportunity for the premier to reset that relationship and really look at why many Edmontonians are remaining dissatisfied with the provincial government," he said. He also indicated that he hopes to schedule a meeting with Smith in the coming weeks to advance Edmonton's priorities, particularly those contained in an open letter he released prior to the election and reshared on May 30. Meanwhile, Smith told 630 CHED she plans to put together an advisory council of UCP candidates who lost in Edmonton. "There are a couple of fantastic candidates, many in fact in Edmonton, and some got a lot closer than I think anybody ever would have expected," said Smith. "And so I'm going to rely on them to continue giving me advice because our capital city is vitally important to the overall success of Alberta." The closest race in Edmonton was in Edmonton-Decore, where the NDP's Sharif Haji beat UCP candidate Sayid Ahmed by 1,719 votes.
  • June 1 marks the beginning of Pride Month in Edmonton, which is being celebrated with more than 50 events throughout the month. These include a drag bowling event at Bonnie Doon Bowling Lanes on June 3, self-guided and scheduled walking tours from the Edmonton Queer History Project, an augmented reality Pride tour of downtown developed by Fruit Loop, and the mayor's 18th annual Pride brunch on June 10. The Gay AF Market, which focuses on local queer art and apparel, is taking place June 11, and the Love Out Loud Night Market is set for June 16. For the second year in a row, the Grindstone Theatre is partnering with Fruit Loop to present the Pride Block Party on June 3. Meanwhile, Edmonton PrideFest is scheduled for Aug. 18-26 this year and will include a series of events in Churchill Square.
  • The city announced that redevelopment work at the Stadium LRT Station is now complete. The work began in 2020 and involved installing a new platform on the west side of the tracks for Commonwealth Stadium event traffic and more accessible street-level ramps at the end of each platform. It also included new heated shelters, public washrooms, a security office, an open-design overhead roof canopy, a public art installation, and benches. The work marks the first major LRT station rehabilitation to be completed in Edmonton. Stadium Station was one of the five original LRT stations on the Capital Line that opened in 1978.
  • City council approved a request to rezone the area around the proposed Warehouse Park in downtown Edmonton, which has been in the works for 13 years, as well as a request to close a portion of 107 Street. Council must still approve the park's $40 million budget this month for the project to go ahead. The city said it plans to finalize the preliminary design by the end of the summer. The park covers about 1.47 hectares from Jasper Avenue to 102 Avenue and from 106 Street to west of 107 Street, an area that currently contains a collection of parking lots. Coun. Anne Stevenson said the rezoning approval is an "exciting milestone" in the development of the park, which is "going to be an incredible asset in the heart of our city."
  • The city launched a new interactive dashboard that provides businesses and residents detailed data about Edmonton's 13 Business Improvement Areas (BIAs). The dashboard was developed in response to public engagement with BIAs last year and replaces the static Economic Indicator Reports. According to a release, the dashboard enhances the previous information by including additional census data and allowing some data to be updated more frequently or in real time.
  • Union Bank Holdings, led by Edmonton-based businessman David Hawreluk, announced it has completed its purchase of the Union Bank Building, an iconic historic landmark located at 10053 Jasper Avenue. In a release, the company said the two top floors of the building will be used for office space and will become corporate headquarters for lender brokerage Grow Lending Group Inc., along with Union Financial Corporation, which are both also led by Hawreluk. The company also plans to find a tenant to operate a restaurant on the first floor, which was formerly home to Madison's Grill, and said it will complete renovations to reopen a boutique hotel that will once again be operated as the Union Bank Inn. The hotel and adjoining restaurant struggled during the pandemic and the building was later sold to local entrepreneur Henok Kassaye in a deal that closed in January 2022, but was back on the market as a receivership sale earlier this year.
  • Five Edmonton women are suing Coventry Homes, a prominent local construction company, alleging that sales director Robin Nasserdeen created an unsafe work environment that exposed staff to harassment, bullying, discriminatory conduct, and unwanted sexual solicitation. The claims, which total $6.2 million, also allege the company failed to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct against Nasserdeen even after he was charged by police for sexually assaulting an employee. Two of the women say they were sexually abused by Nasserdeen, and three say they were pushed out of their jobs for raising concerns about his behaviour. Nasserdeen, who is currently awaiting trail for the criminal charges, has denied the civil allegations and pleaded not guilty to the criminal charges. None of the allegations have been proven in court.
  • The Edmonton Oilers have made their first off-season trade, exchanging their fifth-round selection in this month's draft for centreman Jayden Grubbe from the New York Rangers. The Oilers now have only three of their seven draft picks left because they included their other picks in deals for Mattias Ekholm, Nick Bjugstad, and Derick Brassard. The NHL draft will take place June 28 and 29 in Nashville.