Headlines: Feb. 29, 2024

· The Pulse
  • The Alberta Labour Relations Board has approved the City of Edmonton's application to hold an employer proposal vote, which will allow eligible CSU 52 members to vote on the city's "best and final offer" of a 7.25%-wage-increase over five years with retroactive pay, hybrid work options, and other benefits. The electronic vote will take place from 7am on March 4 to 3pm on March 7. If the city's proposal receives a majority vote, it will form the new collective agreement, bypassing negotiations with the union. CSU 52 is calling on members to vote "no" on the city's offer.
  • The Bissell Centre is continuing to see the high demand for services it experienced in 2023, when 7,300 people accessed the facility. The organization has been hearing stories about frostbite, amputations, and people unequipped for the cold weather, said spokesperson Chris Schieman. Boyle Street Community Services has increased capacity at eight warming hubs across Edmonton amid the cold temperatures. Hani Quan, the city's director of affordable housing and homelessness, said there is shelter space for those who need it, even if some facilities are busy. "We have more shelter spaces right now in Edmonton than we've had ever, I think," said Quan.
  • The Conference Board of Canada's latest major city insights report predicts Edmonton will experience slowed economic growth in coming years due to easing oil prices. The report anticipates Edmonton's GDP will grow 1.5% in 2024 and 3.4% in 2025. The slower economic growth is expected in spite of rapid migration-fuelled population growth. The board expects Edmonton's population to increase by 90,000 by the end of 2025. Anand Pye, CEO of NAIOP, says the 5,200 homes promised through the federal Housing Accelerator Fund last week are far short of the 30,000 homes and other infrastructure required to support the influx.
  • Jack Little, a long-time director of the Edmonton Heritage Festival and noted community-builder, died on Feb. 27 at the age of 83 after a battle with cancer. Little's legacy also includes time as a broadcaster, a board member of Edmonton's Food Bank, and a collaborator with several community and business organizations.
  • CBC's This is Edmonton podcast explored the state of Edmonton's condo market, which has largely remained stagnant and is one of the most affordable in Canada. Host Clare Bonnyman looked at apartment-style condos with real estate agent Sara Kalke, and business reporter Madeline Smith discussed signs that a shift is underway in the market.
  • CTV News spoke to a group of four online friends from the United Kingdom, Australia, and the United States who travelled to Edmonton to meet for the first time and share their passion for the NHL and the Edmonton Oilers. The friends shared their positive experiences with the hospitality and openness of Edmontonians. "Every person I've met has been so super nice" and "genuinely surprised that people from out of town had come," said Australian Sam Miller.
  • The UCP government is introducing a series of new restrictions on wind and solar projects in Alberta, which come into effect March 1. The province's moratorium on renewable energy projects, introduced last summer, ends Feb. 29. The new policies include making developers responsible for reclamation costs, creating buffer zones around wind and other projects to protect "pristine viewscapes," and not allowing renewable energy developments on certain classes of agricultural land.