Headlines: June 23, 2023

· The Pulse
  • The city issued a reminder that property taxes are due June 30. A 5% penalty on any outstanding 2023 payments will be charged to accounts on July 1, and further penalties will be applied later this year. Due to high volumes, the city advises property owners not to wait until June 30 to make their payment.
  • The city provided an update on the Healthy Streets Operations Centre (HSOC), which was soft launched in October 2022 with the aim of reducing social disorder and crime in several core neighbourhoods. The city said the HSOC community safety teams, which include police and peace officers, paramedics, fire rescue workers, community liaisons, and Alberta sheriffs, regularly connect with residents in Chinatown, Downtown, and Kingsway, where they work from 7am to midnight on weekdays. The Edmonton Police Service said total crime severity increased slightly from February to March this year, from 77.5 per 100,000 people to 85.8, but reported an overall decline in crime severity since November 2022. Police also say crime severity is expected to increase in summer months due to seasonal fluctuations. Council has allocated $15.2 million to fund the HSOC community safety teams for two years starting in January 2023.
  • The Edmonton Police Commission had decided not to proceed with advocating for the addition of race on government-issued identification and instead request that the province prioritize the collection of race-based data as part of its Anti-Racism Action Plan. The commission first considered a motion to advocate to the province to collect race via identification in October. Commission chair Erick Ambtman said they were led to a "different outcome that sounds a lot better" after engaging the public and hearing from experts, including presentations from the RCMP and the Race-Based Data Collection Table, a group led by the United Way and EndPovertyEdmonton.
  • Const. Elena Golysheva with the Edmonton Police Service, who was relieved of duty without pay in 2022 after posting a video to social media expressing support for the "Freedom Convoy" protests, will return to active duty, an EPS spokesperson said. An internal disciplinary hearing for Golysheva concluded on June 21. EPS did not say why Golysheva will be returning to active duty but indicated a timeline for her return is not finalized.
  • Postmedia columnist Keith Gerein published a piece on the contentious Zoning Bylaw Renewal Initiative encouraging Edmontonians to understand how their city develops and advising city administration to increase engagement efforts prior to council's final vote on the bylaw in October. Gerein wrote that Edmontonians should not expect extreme changes and suggested that one of the "biggest unknowns" is whether the proposed changes will really improve housing affordability. "City growth is unrelenting," he wrote. "Newcomers and young adults need homes somewhere, and it is unhealthy, uneconomical and unfair to just keep developing the way we have."