Headlines: Jan. 29, 2024

· The Pulse
  • Edmonton City Hall remains closed with no timeline for its reopening as restoration work continues following the attack last week that saw gunfire and a Molotov cocktail thrown inside the building's atrium. Council and committee meetings for the week of Jan. 29 to Feb. 2 have been cancelled, the city announced. City Manager Andre Corbould said security protocols are currently under review and that it's likely city hall will reopen in stages, beginning with staff access. "It's really important that we focus less on timelines and more on the conditions that we want to be met," he said. Damages from the attack are estimated at $100,000, Postmedia reported, citing an anonymous source. Bezhani Sarvar, 28, faces six charges in connection with the attack. His bail hearing is scheduled for Feb. 2.
  • The Edmonton Downtown Farmers Market held its final indoor market on the weekend after its association voted to dissolve and declare bankruptcy. The market's home had been in a 113-year-old building on 97 Street and 103 Avenue since 2019. Rising costs, a dramatic drop in vendors, downtown safety concerns, and reduced foot traffic during the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to the decision. "There's no blame game. It's just the times and there have been so many things that led to this decision," said market manager Elaine Doucette. The market is planning an outdoor event in May on 104 Street downtown, she added.
  • An apartment fire that started while police were negotiating with a man barricaded in his suite sent seven people to hospital and caused significant damage to the building. The Edmonton Police Service said officers were sent to the building at 107 Street and 79 Avenue around 5pm on Jan. 25 to help carry out a court order against the man, and negotiations continued until the fire began inside his suite shortly before 1am. Police said they arrested the man as Edmonton Fire Rescue Services arrived at the scene. Some building residents were rescued from their balconies by firefighters, and many were taken in by neighbours after escaping the flames.
  • Edmonton native Andrew Comrie-Picard is a core member of the group behind the Transglobal Car Expedition, which began in New York on Jan. 9 and passed through Edmonton on Jan. 25 en route to the North Pole. The team will traverse multiple continents during the 17-month expedition, collecting data on cosmic radiation and light pollution, and monitoring ice conditions. The journey is set to conclude in the summer of 2025 after circling the globe and returning to New York.
  • The Edmonton Oilers are one game away from an NHL record for most consecutive wins after they extended their winning streak to 16 games in their 4-1 victory against the Nashville Predators on Jan. 27. In a video message shown during the game, former Oilers goaltender Grant Fuhr congratulated current Oilers goalie Stuart Skinner on breaking his record of 10 consecutive wins set during the 1985-86 season. "It's exciting. Obviously it's a great run, obviously the goalies have played great," team captain Connor McDavid said. After a rough start to the season, the Oilers are now considered Stanley Cup contenders, sitting third in the Pacific Division. The team is currently on an extended break and will return to the ice to face the Vegas Golden Knights on Feb. 6.
  • More than 500 people in Leduc have signed a petition to save a homeless shelter and support centre known locally as the Hub from closure due to potential bylaw and permit changes. "The triple threat of an expiring operating permit, lease ending, and lack of a new location — risks leaving Leduc without a shelter," Susan Johnson, executive director of the Leduc Hub Association, told Global News. The centre provides shelter space for up to 10 beds, social support, and food for vulnerable people in the community. Laura Tillack, Leduc's deputy mayor, said the city has encouraged the hub to apply for an extension to its development permit to stay in its current location, and that bylaw changes to restrict where the centre can operate are not being considered.
  • The Alberta government will introduce a "parental rights" policy this week, Premier Danielle Smith announced Jan. 27 on her call-in radio show. During the United Conservative Party's annual general meeting last November, members passed a resolution that said teachers, schools, and school boards should be required to get parental permission if a student chooses to be addressed by a different name or pronouns. Smith said the UCP caucus has since discussed the policy and done broad consultations. Kristopher Wells, the Canada Research Chair for the Public Understanding of Sexual and Gender Minority Youth, said on X that "any policy changes are only going to make it worse" for trans and non-binary youth in Alberta.
  • The Alberta NDP leadership election to replace Rachel Notley will happen on June 22, the party's provincial council announced on Jan. 27. Candidates have until March 15 to register for the leadership race, with a spending limit of $500,000 and a requirement to disclose their donors. Party members who purchase or renew their memberships by April 22 can vote in the race. Notley announced her resignation earlier this month, after leading the party for nearly a decade.