Headlines: Feb. 8, 2024

· The Pulse
  • Edmonton city council's urban planning committee has decided not to move forward with a dedicated shuttle bus service between downtown and the Edmonton International Airport because of cost concerns. Staff found the route would cost at least $10.3 million to launch and $2.5 million annually to operate. Council decided at the end of last year not to fund the proposed service as part of the current budget cycle. Coun. Anne Stevenson said that while the service would improve connectivity and reduce emissions, it falls below other priorities.
  • Council's executive committee approved renaming Oliver to Wîhkwêntôwin, the name recommended by the Oliver Community League. The name change still requires full council approval, which could happen later this month. City staff estimate that updating signs to reflect the new name will be completed by early 2025. Other landmarks, including Oliver Park and the future LRT stop in the area, will also use Wîhkwêntôwin in their names, while the Oliver School name will be decided by Edmonton Public Schools.
  • Students at some Edmonton schools participated in province-wide classroom walkouts around 10am on Feb. 7 in protest of the UCP government's proposed policies around gender identity and transgender youth. "As organizers, we made the executive decision to allow trans youth to have the microphone" and "talk about what they're going through," said Oliver Collins, a student at Victoria School of the Arts, where nearly 200 students walked out.
  • The Edmonton Police Service reported nine shootings in January 2024 compared to 19 in January 2023, a decrease of 53%. The police service attributed the numbers to its guns and gangs strategy.
  • Health experts in Alberta are warning of an increase in cases of invasive pneumococcal disease, a potentially life-threatening ailment that often strikes after a viral illness. Provincial data shows cases of invasive pneumococcal disease increased in 2023 after falling in 2020-2021 due to pandemic restrictions. The trend comes as Alberta, like the rest of Canada, faces a surge of strep A infections.