Headlines: Feb. 16, 2024

· The Pulse
  • The city released the data from the first-ever Edmonton Business Census, which was created to help address gaps in business and employment information. The census focused on Ward O-day'min, where it identified 4,478 businesses that support more than 105,000 jobs, including 40 businesses that have been operating for more than 100 years. The data can be accessed on the city's open data portal.
  • The February rent report from Rentals.ca found Edmonton has the fastest-growing rent prices among large Canadian cities. The average rental price for purpose-built and condo rentals rose 17.1% year over year, reaching $1,479. The average rental price of a one-bedroom apartment rose 19.1% year over year, reaching $1,305. Despite the increase, Edmonton rents are still relatively cheap, ranking 32 on Rentals.ca's list of average one-bedroom rental prices across Canada.
  • Edmonton Global representatives met with Morinville town council as part of a "listening tour" to hear concerns from its 14 member municipalities after several stated their intention to leave the regional development agency. Council voted to refer a discussion about Edmonton Global to an upcoming committee-of-the-whole meeting. Coun. Scott Richardson said there is a need to determine whether belonging to the agency aligns with the town's strategic priorities, though Morinville's administration recommended maintaining membership.
  • The Edmonton Arts Council and partners have organized an afternoon of free Family Day activities downtown from 12-4pm on Feb. 19. Events will take place in Churchill Square, the Art Gallery of Alberta, the Winspear Centre, the Citadel Theatre, and ICE District. Free shuttle service will also be available to the Silver Skate Festival in Laurier Park. More family day events are happening at the Muttart Conservatory, the Edmonton Valley Zoo, and the Alberta Legislature.
  • More than 30 professors, researchers, and staff from the University of Alberta Faculty of Law and the University of Calgary Faculty of Law signed an open letter to Premier Danielle Smith against the province's proposed policies targeting transgender youth. The signatories argue the changes conflict with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and pose risks to the health of trans, Two-Spirit, and gender-diverse youth.
  • Several vehicles have been hit by rocks dropped along Whitemud Drive in recent weeks. One motorist reported being hit under the 53 Avenue overpass during the afternoon of Jan. 8. Although she was uninjured, she said the experience has affected her sense of safety. The Edmonton Police Service is investigating two more incidents that happened on Feb. 10. In one case a concrete slab was dropped into westbound traffic by a man who then left the scene. Police confirmed a similar incident happened about an hour later near 99 Street.
  • The province's work on a proposed Alberta Pension Plan is delayed after Canada's chief actuary indicated plans to form a panel to help interpret what share of Canada Pension Plan assets Alberta would receive. The delay comes as polling suggests support for withdrawing from the CPP is waning. The province's numbers say Alberta is entitled to more than half the CPP, while the chief actuary's calculations are expected to be complete next fall. Postmedia reported that the province denied a freedom of information request for results from an online public engagement survey about the Alberta Pension Plan.