Headlines: Sept. 13, 2023

· The Pulse
  • Boyle Street Community Services (BSCS) is moving out of its current location near Rogers Place when its lease ends on Sept. 30. In a statement, the Oilers Entertainment Group (OEG), which owns the building, said it offered a lease extension "at the same nominal rate", but BSCS spokesperson Elliott Tanti said "it no longer remains financially viable to stay at this location." He said the agency is working with the city to find a new location so it can continue providing services after its move. BSCS is currently fundraising for the construction of a new facility called the King Thunderbird Centre, but it won't be ready until fall 2024. The agency has so far raised $28.5 million for its construction, and Tanti called on all levels of government to provide the remaining $5 million needed. In 2021, the agency sold its existing building to the OEG, which has plans to eventually redevelop the site as part of the Village at Ice District.
  • Former Conservative Party cabinet minister Lisa Raitt and former Edmonton mayor Don Iveson are co-chairs of the new Task Force for Housing and Climate, which aims to address Canada's housing shortage and climate change effects. The independent group, backed by the Clean Economy Fund, will propose ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and accelerate the construction of sustainable homes. As part of its launch on Sept. 12, the task force released polling numbers showing that 80% of Canadians want new housing built to withstand climate change impacts. The group's recommendations, including tax measures and building codes, will be delivered in early 2024, before the release of federal and provincial budgets.
  • Ward pihêsiwin Coun. Tim Cartmell wrote an opinion piece for Postmedia arguing that the city can avoid a housing crisis by increasing the housing supply, attracting new business investments, coordinating infrastructure projects, effectively delivering core city services, and prioritizing the concerns of Edmontonians. "Building our city and region to welcome more people and attract investment in smart and thoughtful ways is critical," Cartmell wrote. "It will require all orders of government and the private sector pulling together in the same direction."
  • Mayor Amarjeet Sohi told reporters that city finances are in "a very tough position" as city council prepared to discuss a $73.8-million budget deficit on Sept. 12. "The city itself is in a very tough budget going into November. We are going into a deficit already, and we would be forced to tap into our own reserves to make up for that shortfall," Sohi said.
  • Edmonton Police Service Chief Dale McFee appeared on CBC's Edmonton AM to discuss police efforts to target drug use and violence on city streets. "It is a serious issue," he said, adding that random violence has escalated over the past 18 months. He said the police will use a variety of approaches as part of the new Safer Public Spaces strategy, including arrest, drug seizures, and channelling people into safer environments such as supervised consumption sites or the Integrated Care Centre, which the police service operates in partnership with Radius Community Health and Healing.
  • With the Valley Line Southeast LRT expected to open this fall, CBC News looked at parts of the route that drivers have had the most trouble navigating. Since November 2022, Valley Line trains have been in 10 collisions, including six that happened after drivers illegally turned on a red light, and two with pedestrians. The low-floor LRT line moves with traffic, and has no crossing arms or gates at intersections, unlike the city's existing high-floor lines.
  • Edmonton Public Schools announced that a new high school in the city's southeast will be named Elder Dr. Francis Whiskeyjack School, after an Indigenous elder and residential school survivor. Whiskeyjack, a member of the Saddle Lake Cree Nation, has been an advisor at amiskwaciy Academy and an elder with First Peoples' House at the University of Alberta. The school, located near 17 Street and 23 Avenue, is set to open in September 2024.
  • Edmonton encampment residents shared their experiences of being unhoused and their interactions with the city and police in interviews with APTN. The piece describes the sense of community developed within encampments and how some of their residents came to live on the streets. "People act like I was born into homelessness like I didn't make $80,000 last year," said Tyler Kamahkoostayo, who said he ended up on the streets because of a bad relationship and family troubles. According to the By Name List from Homeward Trust, 3,050 people were experiencing homelessness in Edmonton as of Sept. 3.
  • The Canadian Museum of Nature has announced the finalists for its 2023 Nature Inspiration Awards, which celebrate people and organizations that connect Canadians with nature. Among the finalists is Edmonton-based Goodwill Industries of Alberta, recognized for its sustainable practices in diverting used clothing, furniture, and other goods from landfills. The winners will be announced at a gala on Nov. 16.
  • The Edmonton Elks signed offensive lineman Mark Korte to a three-year contract extension, keeping him with the team until the end of the 2026 season. Korte, who is from Spruce Grove, has played 30 games with the team and was nominated for Most Outstanding Lineman last season.
  • The Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMCo) opened its first Asia office in Singapore's central business district. The move is part of AIMCo's strategy to diversify its portfolio globally and tap into growth opportunities in the Asia-Pacific region. The Singapore office is the third international location for AIMCo, which also has offices in London and Luxembourg.