Headlines: Jan. 23, 2024

· The Pulse
  • The City of Edmonton has declared a Phase 1 parking ban for all major roads beginning at 7am on Jan. 23 and expected to last 48 hours, though it could be extended for three to five days. During the ban, parking is not permitted on arterial roads, collector roads, bus routes, and in business improvement areas, but residents can still park on cleared residential streets. Vehicles violating the ban may be ticketed and towed. You can sign up for parking ban notifications online.
  • Edmonton's utility committee unanimously agreed to increase the fees for certain single-use items during its Jan. 22 meeting. Beginning July 1, paper bags will cost 25 cents, up from 15 cents, and reusable bags will rise from $1 to $2. An online survey conducted by the city indicated that while Edmontonians often bring reusable bags for their grocery shopping, they're less likely to do that at food service businesses. The city is working on a waste study due in 2025 for more detailed insights.
  • Seniors in the Edmonton region can now sign up for the Arc electronic fare payment system by creating a senior profile online. Complimentary Arc cards are being distributed at various locations, and instructions on how to transition to the new system are available on the Arc website, through the call centre, or in person at service centres. The City of Edmonton said it will work with seniors residences and community centres to deliver presentations on Arc and help seniors become more comfortable with the system. Paper tickets and passes can still be used until the end of 2024.
  • More than 6,000 members of Civic Service Union 52 employed by the City of Edmonton are preparing for a strike vote after contract negotiations reached an impasse. Union president Lanny Chudyk criticized the city's offer of a 7.25% wage increase over five years as insufficient, especially given recent pay increases for city council and a 7% retroactive raise for Edmonton police officers. The members haven't had a wage increase since 2018, Chudyk noted. The strike vote, which can't happen until after a two-week cooling-off period ends Jan. 30, would authorize job action with 72 hours' notice within a 120-day window.
  • Members of Edmonton's South Asian community are expressing frustration over a lack of response from elected officials following a series of arsons and shootings linked to an extortion scheme targeting local homebuilders. Mayor Amarjeet Sohi has released public statements about the crimes, including one recently calling for a coordinated response form the federal government, and said he is expecting an update on the issue from city administration during a council meeting next week. However, some community members say more direct action is needed. "They need to at least sit down or have some conversations with these builders, these businesses, these individuals," local realtor Nam Kular said. The Edmonton Police Service, which has so far connected five extortions, seven firearms offences, and 15 arsons to the scheme, is planning a community town hall meeting.
  • Edmonton will host the International Federation of American Football championship from June 20 to June 30, as Canada seeks to defend its world junior football title following the tournament's six-year pause due to the pandemic. The Canadian team will compete against seven other countries. During the 2018 championship, Canada beat Mexico in front of a crowd of more than 35,000 spectators.
  • The Edmonton Oilers have collaborated with local designers Lance Cardinal, Pete Nguyen, AJA Louden, and Sunny Nerval, to create cultural celebration logos featuring Indigenous, Lunar New Year, Black history, and South Asian cultures. The logos will be featured on special Oilers jerseys and limited-edition merchandise, with a portion of the proceeds supporting community organizations chosen by each designer. The merchandise is available for purchase at the Ice District Authentics Oilers Team Store and online.
  • The Edmonton Oilers have confirmed they signed free-agent forward Corey Perry to a one-year contract with an average annual value of $775,000 and performance bonuses. Perry, a veteran right-winger, has scored 421 goals and 471 assists in his 1,273-game NHL career.
  • Alberta Municipal Affairs Minister Ric McIver has asked all cities and towns to provide a list of all existing municipal-federal agreements. A government spokesperson said it's possible future legislation could be introduced that "requires the federal government to engage in negotiations with our province, rather than side-stepping us by engaging only with municipalities." Municipalities have until Jan. 31 to comply with the request.