Headlines: Oct. 16, 2023

· The Pulse
  • The Mustard Seed is requesting the city rezone a lot at 95 Street and 106 Avenue to allow it to open a new homeless shelter. The agency sent out a notice in early September to nearby residents and business owners seeking feedback on its proposal, which would include 60 winter shelter beds and a 64-bed women's ward. One resident who spoke to CBC said she is concerned about the plans because there is already a high concentration of social service agencies in the area. City planners will review the application and a public hearing will be held before council makes a decision.
  • A provincial government study to explore options for the Edmonton Law Courts has been delayed until spring 2024. Originally due this month, the study will make recommendations to either upgrade or replace the 1972 building, which has had capacity issues and leaks. In January, a multi-day power outage shut down part of the building, prompting renewed calls to replace the aging courthouse.
  • Calgary-based content creator and urban cyclist Tom Babin applauded Edmonton's plans to build new bike lanes in a recent video on his YouTube channel Shifter. Babin described the city as "the most exciting bike city in North America," adding that dedicated bike lanes can encourage more people to take up cycling. "We see this over and over again: when safe bike lanes are implemented, people will use them," Babin told CityNews. In December, city council approved a $100-million plan to build additional bike lanes over four years.
  • The University of Alberta released a report and dashboard tracking its progress in fulfilling the National Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action. The dashboard indicates the university has so far fully completed two calls to action, and recently made progress in recruiting Indigenous students by signing a deal with Treaty 8 First Nations to offer dual-credit courses.
  • Hundreds gathered at the RASC Observatory in Coronation Park near the TELUS World of Science to view a partial annular solar eclipse on Oct. 14. People lined up between 9am and noon to safely view the eclipse through a telescope at the observatory, while others wore special glasses to catch a glimpse of the event. The next full solar eclipse visible from Edmonton will happen in 2044.
  • The Mindbender rollercoaster at West Edmonton Mall is almost completely dismantled, with only two small portions of the loops remaining. The mall announced in January it was closing the ride after 37 years in operation, with plans for a new attraction in its place, although nothing has been announced so far.
  • As Alberta's risk of wildfire increases, forestry companies may increasingly salvage wood from trees burned in forest fires. According to provincial government data, fire-killed trees represented about 20% of the total timber harvest between May 2019 and April 2020. The figures can vary each year for a variety of reasons, including the type of trees that burned, the cost of salvaging the wood, and the price of lumber. Climate change may force companies to focus more on salvaged wood, said University of Alberta professor Brad Pinno.