Headlines: Dec. 8, 2023

· The Pulse
  • At its Dec. 6 meeting, city council's executive committee heard an overview of administration's renewed strategy to revitalize Chinatown, which focuses on safety and security, diversifying businesses, and celebrating the area as a cultural destination. The strategy, which is still in draft form, will be implemented by the Chinatown Transformation Collaborative Society, which is receiving $1.2 million in funding over several years to carry out the strategy. In early 2024, the city will launch a new $481,000 vibrancy grant program to replace the Chinatown Recovery Grant, a $1-million program that was supported by one-time pandemic funding.
  • CBC obtained data through a freedom of information request that shows 38 members of the Edmonton Police Service have resigned while under investigation for misconduct since 2012, leaving internal disciplinary proceedings against them incomplete. In a breakdown of the types of allegations made against the officers, the most common was "discreditable conduct." In policing regulation, this can mean harming the reputation of the police service, contravening an act of Parliament, and using "oppressive or tyrannical conduct" toward a subordinate, among other things. There are no laws preventing officers who voluntarily leave during a disciplinary process from finding work in law enforcement elsewhere.
  • The city is calling on Edmontonians to apply to join an agency, board, committee, or commission, which are collectively referred to as civic boards. For this year's annual recruitment campaign, the city is seeking 38 Edmontonians to join 13 civic boards focusing on accessibility, history, transit, library services, community services, and more. The deadline to apply is Jan 14.
  • A provincial court is conducting a fatality inquiry into cases of two young men who died from hypothermia in 2017 and 2018 outside The Ranch Roadhouse, a popular bar on Calgary Trail that has since reopened as Midway Music Hall. The 2018 incident sparked protests and a petition to shut down the bar, which garnered more than 32,000 signatures. An Edmonton Police Service detective who investigated the 2017 case suggested the bar's relative isolation could have contributed to the death. The fatality inquiry will not determine legal responsibility but could produce recommendations to prevent similar deaths.
  • Edmonton's real estate market is likely to continue cooling into 2024, but the city's relatively affordable housing market and appeal to out-of-province buyers gives it an advantage over other Canadian markets, according to RE/MAX Canada's 2024 Housing Market Outlook. The average home price in Edmonton fell about 4% from October 2022 to October 2023, reaching $401,000. Calgary's average home price rose 3% during that time, even as both cities saw declining sales. RE/MAX predicts Edmonton's average home price will climb 4% to reach $417,000 in 2024.
  • Edmonton's real GDP growth is expected to outperform all other major Canadian cities in 2023 despite slowing to 2.9%, according to The Conference Board of Canada's latest Major City Insights report. The growth is spurred by improvements in oil and gas prices and the influx of out-of-province homebuyers. Growth is expected to slow to 1.8% in 2024 as local economies across Canada feel the effects of continued inflation and falling consumer purchasing power.
  • The University of Alberta ranked 28th in the 2024 QS Sustainability Rankings, up 90 spots from last year. It sits ahead of several Ivy League schools, including Yale University, Harvard University, and Cornell University. The U of A was fifth among Canadian institutions, up from 10th last year.
  • The Northgate Lions Seniors Recreation Centre is closed until spring 2024 to undergo renovations to improve energy efficiency and safety. The work includes updates to mechanical systems, doors, asphalt, and skylights, and is supported by a joint municipal-federal investment of around $5.1 million.
  • The Edmonton Oilers are on a five-game winning streak after beating the Caroline Hurricanes 6-1 on Dec. 6. The streak puts the team within six points of the eighth-place team in the NHL. Connor McDavid attributed the team's resurgence to goalie Stuart Skinner, who has let in only nine goals in five games.
  • Alberta Health Services has named Athana Mentzelopoulos as its new president and CEO. The appointment comes weeks after the UCP government announced it will overhaul the provincial health care system and reduce the role of AHS. For the past month, the position was held by Sean Chilton, who took over from Mauro Chies, who held it since the province fired Verna Yiu in April 2022.