Headlines: Aug. 8, 2023

· The Pulse
  • Free valet bike parking is now available downtown at 102 Avenue and 103 Street as part of a pilot project that will run into September. Bike Edmonton volunteers and staff will make sure bicycles are tagged and locked securely. "The best way to do safety in the downtown area is to have people on the street," said executive director Greg Glatz. "We're encouraging people to bring their bikes here, so that's more people on the street. That encourages people to shop and to eat downtown." The service, which is funded by the city's Meet Me Downtown grant, is available Thursday to Saturday from 2pm to 10pm, and Sunday from 10am to 5pm.
  • Edmonton's Food Bank is urgently seeking donations as the demand for its services continues to increase. "The numbers are extremely high. Plus, we're providing food to more soup kitchens and shelters and other community groups," said executive director Marjorie Bencz. "People have been very kind and generous to us, but the food has been going out faster than it's coming in." To address the 74,000 kg of food deficit, the food bank relies on events like the Edmonton Heritage Festival to help with its supply. Donations can also be dropped off at grocery stores or made online.
  • Chief Dale McFee of the Edmonton Police Service told The Canadian Press that many officers have quit the force in recent months because they often don't feel their work is improving community safety or holding people accountable for violent acts. "The frustration comes in when you're doing it with the same person over and over and over," McFee said. He said a focus on taking people with mental health problems and addictions out of the justice system and connecting them to services such as health care or rehabilitation isn't the answer for violent offenders. "We need to jail the people we're afraid of, not the ones we're mad at," he said.
  • Hockey Edmonton, which recently named Jeremy Haluschak as its new executive director, has introduced the Edmonton Female Hockey Alliance. The alliance will "connect girls playing minor hockey in the city under a single association, which will elevate development and significantly improve the female hockey experience." The organization introduced three new divisions for the elite, community, and introductory levels — the Edmonton Ice, Edmonton Storm, and Edmonton Flurries, respectively. It plans to bring all female minor hockey players under its banner within a year. "We've got incredible talent in the city of Edmonton. There's no reason we shouldn't be a powerhouse on the provincial and national scene," said committee chair Aimee Skye.
  • The Edmonton Riverhawks broke the West Coast League's attendance record this season, with 104,748 fans showing up to cheer the team on over 27 games. The team's final game of the season on Aug. 6 saw more than 5,400 in attendance for its 3-0 loss to the Victoria HarbourCats. "It's been an unbelievable year," said general manager Steve Hogle. "We're really touched and we just love feeling the vibe." The Riverhawks failed to make the playoffs with a disappointing 18-36 record.
  • The city issued 94 parking tickets on Saturday and another 68 on Sunday on streets near the Exhibition Lands and Borden Park where the Edmonton Heritage Festival took place this year. It was a significant increase over the 37 tickets issued on average during K-Days last month, which was held in the same area. "This is our first year in the new location so it's a big learning experience for us," said executive director Rob Rohatyn. "We want to take the information away and really improve on it while we're on this site."
  • Premier Danielle Smith said her government's six-month moratorium on new wind and solar power projects is needed because the federal government "has created so much uncertainty in the market" that no companies are proposing new backup plants powered by natural gas. "The premier and others are under the impression that you have to have natural gas to make the system work, but you don't," said Vittoria Bellissimo of the Canadian Renewable Energy Association. "If somebody adds solar to the grid, you don't need to add backup to compensate for it," said Andrew Leach, an energy economist at the University of Alberta.