Headlines: July 20, 2023

· The Pulse
  • The Hope Mission shelter in downtown Edmonton reported record attendance in June with an average of 663 people per night, compared to the average summer rate of 300 to 400. Demand in July remains high, with more than 700 people sleeping in the shelter on July 17. Tim Pasma, senior manager of homeless programs, said the numbers reflect the fact that more Edmontonians are experiencing homelessness, which means the shelter is also running low on donations, particularly of socks, underwear, men's clothing, and toothbrushes. On July 18, the province unveiled a plan to create more shelter spaces in Edmonton. According to a release, the plan will put $5 million toward creating an additional 450 temporary winter spaces, allow Edmonton's shelters to operate 24-7, and address the funding differential for supportive housing between Edmonton and Calgary.
  • The federal government invested more than $1 million into helping the Boys & Girls Clubs Big Brothers Big Sisters (BGCBigs) of Edmonton & Area make energy-efficient upgrades to the McCauley and Kinsmen community clubs. The McCauley Club will get new heating and solar systems and upgrades to lights, washrooms, water heating, and air conditioning, while the Kinsmen Club will get a new water heating system, lights, and solar panels. The installations are expected to lower the facilities' energy consumption by 92.7% and 90% respectively, which will reduce emissions and operating costs.
  • The latest S&P report for Edmonton maintained the city's AA credit rating and increased its financial outlook from "doing okay" to "doing great." Stacey Padbury, deputy city manager of financial and corporate services, said the results reflect Edmonton's "responsible stewardship of public money" and point to its potential to deliver critical capital projects. The report gives Edmonton a one-in-three chance of upgrading its credit rating within the next two years as long as it successfully manages its capital plan to "achieve sustainable budgetary results."
  • Applications are open for Edmonton's Anti-racism Grant Program, which has $1.5 million to distribute to community and not-for-profit organizations. It is intended to support initiatives that inform Edmontonians about racism and its impact, help organizations working to dismantle racism, and build a "diverse, inclusive and equitable city guided by anti-racism." The grant had been administered by the Anti-Racism Advisory Committee, which was dissolved against the wishes of some of its members earlier this year; the $300,000 program ARAC oversaw has now been consolidated with the Community Safety and Well-being Grant. The deadline for applications is Sept. 13.
  • Ramya Velmurugiah, the city's acting manager of brand and story, spoke to CBC News about the Why Edmonton? website launched in April 2022 to showcase why Edmonton is a good place in which to live, visit, study, and thrive. Velmurugiah said the website is a "place brand initiative" aimed at changing perceptions of the city and enhancing civic pride.
  • Joseph Schow, the minister of tourism and sport, said Alberta will still explore the possibility of hosting the 2030 Commonwealth Games even after the Australian state of Victoria withdrew from hosting the 2026 games due to rising costs. "At the moment, there's no implication on our bid," Schow said of the situation in Australia. "We're going to get all of the relevant information and make a decision based on that." Alberta's joint bid includes Edmonton, Calgary, and the Tsuut'ina Nation, and $3 million in joint provincial and municipal funding has already been spent exploring the feasibility. Canada is currently the only country exploring a bid for the 2030 games.
  • Patrick Kizehe, who now lives in Edmonton, told Global News the story of how he fled the Democratic Republic of the Congo and found refuge in Uganda. He now runs an organization in Uganda called Giving Refugees Hope, which provides occupational training to widows in refugee settlements. The story is Part 2 of the series Inside the Pearl, which is exploring conditions in Uganda, a peaceful country surrounded by conflict.
  • Jean-Charles Poirier, who got into beekeeping during the pandemic, helped relocate a colony of about 50,000 honeybees found in Debbie Mansfield-Stahn's garage near Cardiff in Sturgeon County. Poirier suffered some stings in the process, but called the rescue "flawless." The bees now live on his property in west Edmonton, where they are neighbours with his two permanent hives.
  • Padmanadi, a vegan restaurant in downtown Edmonton, has been making its own chili sauce after a California company suspended production of Sriracha and Sambal Oelek due to supply chain disruptions. Padmanadi avoids most pre-made sauces because they contain onions and garlic, which goes against the dietary codes of the restaurant's Mahāyāna Buddhist owners. The simple recipe involves locally sourced red chili peppers seared and mixed with salt, sugar, and vinegar, which has been a hit with customers, assistant manager Albert told CBC.
  • Alberta has the second-highest rate of provincially incarcerated Indigenous people in Canada, next to Saskatchewan, according to Statistics Canada's over-representation index. Data from 2020-2021 indicates Indigenous people in Alberta were 10.8 times more likely to be incarcerated in provincial facilities than non-Indigenous people, while Indigenous women were 15.5 times more likely to be incarcerated than non-Indigenous women. Eliminating the over-representation of Indigenous people in custody by 2025 is one of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's 94 calls to action. "Despite the efforts of federal governments to alleviate these numbers, the provinces have really just failed at every step," said Edmonton-West Henday MLA Brooks Arcand-Paul, who is also the NDP critic for Indigenous relations and reconciliation.

Correction: This file has been updated to more accurately reflect which buildings the federal government is helping BGCBigs upgrade.