Headlines: Jan. 31, 2024

· The Pulse
  • The City of Edmonton is continuing repair work following the City Hall attack last week, though there is still no timeline for the building's reopening. Executive leadership team meetings are happening online, and virtual council and committee meetings will resume during the week of Feb. 5 after they were cancelled this week. Core services have continued uninterrupted, with most front-line staff still at work last week, the city said in a release. Trauma-informed counsellors have been brought in to support staff who were affected by the attack, which saw gunfire and a Molotov cocktail thrown in the building's atrium. No one was injured, and a security review is underway. In response to the attack, the City of Winnipeg said it will review its own security processes to build a comprehensive security program.
  • The mandatory ban on non-essential water use for Edmonton and surrounding areas is expected to last until Feb. 4 as repairs at the E.L. Smith Water Treatment Plant continue, EPCOR said. Workers are repairing the electrical system to the distribution pumps that feed the reservoir system. The City of Edmonton has reduced its water use by pausing the non-essential washing of buses, trains, and other city vehicles, and has also suspended street cleaning and tree watering, while residents and businesses are urged to continue conserving water. EPCOR said water consumption fell from an average of 370 million litres per day to 340 million litres per day after the ban was announced.
  • Daycare centres in Alberta, including several in Edmonton, began rolling closures on Jan. 30 as part of a protest organized by the Association of Alberta Childcare Entrepreneurs against the financial burdens caused by the $10/day child-care program. "This program, in its current state, places an unsustainable strain on the child care industry's ability to serve Alberta families effectively," the association said in a statement. It is asking for emergency funding and a reassessment of the program. In a post on X, Premier Danielle Smith said she will request a meeting with the federal government to "consider changes to the framework that would support operators facing inflationary pressures."
  • Former Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson has launched newsletter called Civic Good to share what he's been up to since his time in municipal politics. In his first post, Iveson shared some of the projects he has been working on, including climate adaptation finance with Co-operators Insurance. He has also been involved in housing and homelessness initiatives, serving as co-chair of the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness, and has set up an advisory practice also called Civic Good.
  • Alberta's Top Employers for 2024 were announced by Mediacorp Canada Inc., including Edmonton International Airport, EPCOR, PRIMED Medical Products, and the Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation. The selection is based on criteria such as workplace, social atmosphere, benefits, and community involvement. The full list of employers is in a special magazine published by the Edmonton Journal and Calgary Herald.
  • Edmonton NDP MP Blake Desjarlais has requested an emergency debate on the housing and homelessness crisis across Canada, citing the recent emergency declaration passed by Edmonton's city council. "Across Canada, people are struggling to afford basic needs," he wrote in a social media post. "Indigenous people are being pushed out of their community, without cultural or community supports and as a result, are eleven times more likely to be unhoused."
  • Enerkem Inc. announced it will decommission its Enerkem Alberta Biofuels plant in Edmonton after completing the commercial scale-up of its waste-to-biofuels technology. The facility has operated for more than 15,000 hours, producing ethanol and methanol. While the Edmonton plant winds down, Enerkem said it will focus on deploying its technology globally.