Headlines: Nov. 15, 2023

· The Pulse
  • The Edmonton Downtown Business Association (EDBA) will host the Downtown Winterval on 104 Street on Dec. 1 and 2. The new seasonal festival will feature free concerts, including performances by Jamie Fine, Rich Aucoin, and alt-rock band Rare Americans, along with cultural activities and a Christmas market. The event is meant to encourage people to enjoy the city's downtown, especially as the holiday season is "one of the most critical times of the year for our small businesses," said Puneeta McBryan with the EDBA.
  • New signs installed at 34 staircases in the river valley indicating "no winter maintenance" have caused confusion among residents about the city's snow and ice control this winter. The city said that service levels for snow clearing on staircases isn't changing and that the signs are intended to manage expectations. However, the city also confirmed to Postmedia that at least seven of the marked staircases were cleared in error during previous winters. "That is likely going to create some frustration among some residents closer to those areas," said Coun. Andrew Knack. The city's snow-clearing service levels and priorities are listed online.
  • The city partnered with the Otipemisiwak Métis Government of the Métis Nation within Alberta to declare Nov. 12 to 18 as Métis Week in honour of the cultural and historical contributions of the Métis community to Edmonton. The week includes several community events highlighting the role of Métis people in Edmonton's development, and coincides with Louis Riel Day on Nov. 16.
  • Uber announced the Edmonton pilot of Uber Tasks, which will give app users the opportunity to hire drivers to complete household jobs like snow shovelling and furniture assembly. The pilot program, which is also being tested in Fort Meyers, Fla., allows Uber drivers and couriers to opt-in for tasks they are interested in completing. Drivers and couriers would be able to see the estimated earnings before taking a job. The pilot is expected to launch in the coming weeks.
  • Advocates say people experiencing homelessness in Edmonton are facing increased vulnerability and health risks as winter approaches, with new shelter beds promised for Nov. 1 still not available. Two people recently died because of encampment fires, which remain under investigation. In April, Edmonton Fire Rescue Services launched an educational campaign to reduce the risk of encampment fires as part of the city's encampment response plan. Hope Mission is working to address the crisis, including plans to add 100 new beds for women. A spokesperson for the provincial government said it is working with the city to make the 1,700 beds available and that more information would be available in the coming weeks.
  • The Alberta Securities Commission has ruled that Calgary man Ali Ghani misappropriated more than $3 million invested in the Summerside Plaza strip mall in south Edmonton. A commission panel found that Ghani, who did not participate in the hearing, distributed funds from the sale of the plaza to other projects without the consent of his 207 investors, resulting in the loss of their investments.
  • The Alberta NDP introduced a private member's bill urging the provincial government to reinstate public reporting on class sizes and establish a commission to update standards on class size and complexity. The move is supported by the Edmonton Public School Board, which has continued to report increasing class sizes and complexity even after the UCP government ended the requirement in 2019. According to the school district's most recent report, the average size of K-9 classes exceed provincial standards.
  • Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl has been fined US$5,000 by the NHL for a "dangerous trip" on New York Islanders centre Bo Horvat during the team's 4-1 victory on Nov. 13. The fine is the maximum penalty for the offence and the funds will go to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund.