Headlines: Nov. 1, 2023

· The Pulse
  • The community and public services committee passed a motion calling for the city to increase funding to attract events to Edmonton from the current $500,000 to $2 million. A city report showed that Edmonton has hosted eight major national and international events in 2023, generating an estimated $64 million in economic activity. According to the report, the city spent about $1.6 million to help fund the events. Workers and businesses in Edmonton count on the city hosting major events, Do North Events CEO Stephen Bourdeau told the committee. "We are an event city. It is what we do. We have such a strong sector here," he said.
  • Edmonton Public Library workers and other city administrative staff represented by the Civic Service Union 52 are preparing for a potential strike as contract negotiations with the city stall. Two polls done in September found 86% library workers and 70% of city staff represented by the union are willing to strike over their request for a wage increase. The union members haven't had a contract since 2020 and haven't had a raise since 2018. The city and union have jointly applied for mediation, but if it isn't successful, union president Lanny Chudyk said workers could strike as soon as late December.
  • Boyle Street Community Services held a memorial for 118 people who died between June and October, many of whom were homeless. The majority of deaths were caused by opioid poisoning, but other social issues contributed, said Lina Meadows, a manager with the agency. As the colder temperatures approach, advocates are concerned about encampment fires and a lack of adequate housing. Boyle Street holds a memorial each quarter to honour community members who have died.
  • The Zebra Child and Youth Advocacy Centre has received more than $40,000 in donations to replace supplies that were damaged in a fire at its office building on Oct. 24. The Zebra Centre, which operates on the seventh floor of the building, had to close temporarily due to the fire. Services have now resumed at different locations in the city while restoration work is completed. The Edmonton Police Service is investigating the fire, which was deliberately set.
  • In an op-ed published by Postmedia, Edmonton Metropolitan Region Board CEO Karen Wichuk argues that a lack of affordable and attainable housing threatens the region's economic growth and social well-being. Collaborative action from all levels of government, along with the private, public and non-profit sectors is necessary to tackle the housing crisis, she wrote. "Housing challenges aren't constrained by municipal boundaries, nor can they fall to one order of government alone," she wrote. The board will hold a symposium, called REenvision Housing, at the Edmonton Convention Centre on Nov. 2.
  • Edify Magazine revealed its Top 40 Under 40 class for 2023. Among the Edmontonians honoured this year was Coun. Andrew Knack, who was recognized for making "thoughtful decisions with the city's future at heart." Others included on the list were Kayli Avveduti, executive director of the Confederacy of Treaty Six First Nations, and Tarek Fathelbab, team lead for Immigration and Multicultural Relations for the city.
  • Maisie's Magical Christmas House in north Edmonton is once again lighting up the neighbourhood with an over-the-top festive display. The home is decked out with $150,000 worth of Christmas and Halloween lights and decorations, with the theme of "Halloween Invades Maisie's Magical Christmas House," said homeowner Jerry Dolynchuk, who began adding spooky decor to the holiday display in 2020. Dolynchuk is encouraging visitors to bring donations for the Second Chance Animal Rescue Society, with a goal of raising $10,000.
  • The Edmonton Oilers have signed forward Sam Gagner to a one-year, two-way contract worth $775,000. Gagner, who joined the Oilers on a professional tryout, scored eight goals and had six assists with the Winnipeg Jets last season before having hip surgery. This will be Gagner's third time playing for the Oilers.
  • The Alberta government has tabled a new bill to strengthen its position in lawsuits to recover healthcare costs from opioid manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, and consultants. The bill proposes three changes to the existing legislation, introduced in 2019, including adding consultants as liable parties, and defining "active ingredients" as an "opioid product." Alberta has joined two class-action lawsuits launched by the B.C. government. A hearing to certify the class action is set for November.