Headlines: Oct. 30, 2023

· The Pulse
  • The city held a press conference to introduce several new updates to its Snow and Ice Control program, including a new live snow-clearing map and changes to its snow-clearing service levels. Major roads such as freeways, arterial roads and business districts are the city's first priority and will be cleared within five days. The city has also identified a Winter Priority Loop that will be cleared within 24 hours to create a reliable winter cycling network. Bike lanes outside the loop will be cleared within three days, along with city sidewalks, wheelchair ramps, bridges, stairs, and parking lots. Manually cleared areas, including bus stops, will be cleared within two weeks. As with previous years, residents can sign up for parking ban notifications to be informed when they need to move their vehicles. Last week, council approved a one-time $5-million funding boost for snow and ice clearing, though this year's budget of $63.3 million is still $9 million less than last season.
  • A spike in dog attacks prompted the city's Animal Care and Control Centre to remind Edmontonians about responsible pet ownership. Dog attack complaints rose by 18% in 2023 compared to last year, with a 66% increase since 2021, the city said. Last week, a provincial court issued a $10,000 fine to a pet owner whose dog was involved in multiple complaints and attacks. The city is also renewing its Animal Control and Licensing bylaw. Residents can register online for a virtual public engagement event on Nov. 2 about the bylaw renewal.
  • The Latta Bridge on Jasper Avenue between 90 and 91 Street reopened on Oct. 29. The previous bridge, which was 80 years old, was replaced so it could be widened to meet current city standards and now includes a shared path. The city said the rehabilitation of the nearby Kinnaird Bridge was completed at the same time to minimize construction impacts on the community.
  • The Edmonton Oilers ended a four-game losing streak by defeating the Calgary Flames 5-2 in the 2023 Heritage Classic at Commonwealth Stadium. "The way we came out and asserted the way we wanted to play, it looked like us tonight," coach Jay Woodcroft said. While Oilers captain Connor McDavid had missed the two previous games because of an injury, he recovered in time for the game, which gave "everybody a little bit of a lift," Woodcroft added. The Battle of Alberta edition of the Heritage Classic marked the 20th anniversary of the outdoor game.
  • Hangar 14, a historic building in Edmonton's former City Centre Airport lands, is up for sale. The building, which is home to the Alberta Aviation Museum, needs $42 million in repairs. The city has set requirements for potential buyers, including honouring the museum's existing lease. A price hasn't been set for the building, but the city said it's open to all offers that meet its proposal requirements.
  • CBC News profiled two Edmonton homeowners who created elaborate and spooky Halloween yard displays. Molly Bzdel said her family begins decorating at the beginning of October, attracting neighbours who keep up with the evolving display. "The kids love it," Bzdel said. "They love to see it grow every year." Tammy Ewanec said her family spent about $300 to build a haunted pirate ship this year. "Halloween is the one time of the year that I can get away with being a big kid," Ewanec said.
  • The Edmonton Police Service welcomed 35 new constables to its ranks during a graduation ceremony for Training Class 157 at City Hall on Oct. 27. Among the graduates were Const. Alex Opoka, who immigrated from Uganda, and Const. Torrell Red Iron, who is Métis and the son of an RCMP officer. Both officers will work out of downtown division.
  • A whistleblower who sounded the alarm about healthcare conditions inside the Edmonton Remand Centre is still concerned about substandard care in the jail. Alberta Health Services made changes in response to a watchdog report that highlighted "medical mistreatment" and "serious and significant wrongdoing," but the whistleblower, who had been employed as a healthcare professional at the facility, said improvements are still needed, particularly in training charge nurses to handle emergencies.
  • The Edmonton & District Cricket League is facing challenges due to limited field space and increasing popularity. With 1,500 adult and senior players, the league only has seven playing spaces, two of which are home base locations. The lack of field space means games are capped at 12 per team. The city is working with the league to secure more playing space, and will provide one additional cricket pitch for next season. League president Gurdeep Klair said the priority now is finding more practice space for the winter.
  • An affordable housing project in Leduc will receive $8.6 million in funding through a joint investment from the federal and provincial governments, the city of Leduc, and the Leduc Regional Housing Foundation. Gaetz Landing II will be developed into a 24-unit low-rise apartment building designated for women fleeing violence and people with low incomes. Six of the units will be fully accessible. Construction on the project began in July and is excepted to finish by March 2024.
  • The province has rejected a recommended 17%-salary increase for provincially appointed judges, opting for a smaller raise of 9.3% for 2021-2024. In a report, the province said the initial recommendation, made by the Alberta Judicial Compensation Commission, was "out of step with the economic times" and could have hurt public confidence in the judiciary. The approved raise will cost $14.9 million.
  • MLAs will return to the Alberta Legislature on Oct. 30 as the first sitting since the provincial election begins with a Speech from the Throne. Debate on the UCP government's proposal to withdraw from the Canada Pension Plan is expected to feature prominently this session. The government says it expects to table between seven and nine bills this sitting, which will continue until early December. The Opposition NDP released its own alternative throne speech on Oct. 27.