Headlines: March 8, 2024

· The Pulse
  • City of Edmonton lawyers appeared in Court of Kings Bench on March 7 in an effort to get $25,000 from the Coalition for Justice and Human Rights after the group's case against the city's encampment removal policy was dismissed in January. City lawyers said the money would cover some of its legal bills and deter similar legal actions in the future. Avnish Nanda, a lawyer with the coalition, said the effort to create a deterrence is "concerning" because the city knows its policy could be unconstitutional, which city lawyers dispute. Nanda also said the coalition's injunction application led to a "better encampment clearing policy," and that the coalition was acting to "protect the life, liberty, and security" of unhoused people.
  • Coun. Andrew Knack and Coun. Keren Tang spoke to CBC about whether Edmonton's infrastructure can accommodate a rapidly growing population. More than 100,000 people arrived in Edmonton over the past two years, bringing the population to 1.14 million in 2023, which Knack said is "way faster" that expected, raising concerns about infrastructure and amenities in both new and mature communities. Tang questioned whether the current emphasis on maintenance rather than adding new facilities will lead to growth outpacing needs, especially in communities beyond the Anthony Henday that lack recreation centres, libraries, and community halls. The city projects a population increase of 3.6% in 2024, 2.6% in 2025, 2.2% in 2026, and 2% in 2027.
  • Edmonton waste management picked up about 66,000 tonnes of organic waste from homes in 2022, of which 81% was diverted and 19% sent to the landfill. More than 11,500 tonnes went to the landfill in 2022 because it was mixed with garbage or recycling, or lost before composting, and the city expects a similar amount in 2023. Council heard last month that Edmonton is nearing its capacity to treat organic waste and may need to treat 121,000 tonnes in 2027, much of which will be diverted to the landfill if no solutions are found.
  • The Women's National Basketball Association is holding a pre-season game in Edmonton on May 5 when the Los Angeles Sparks will face the Seattle Storm at Rogers Place. It will be the WNBA's second consecutive year hosting a pre-season game in Canada. WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert said Edmonton was chosen for its sporting history, pointing to the Oilers and the Elks, as well as the Edmonton Grads, the historical amateur women's basketball team. In 2022, an NBA exhibition game at Rogers Place sold out in minutes, suggesting Edmonton's basketball fan base continues to grow, said Engelbert.
  • The Edmonton Oilers have made another acquisition, picking up defenceman Troy Stecher from the Arizona Coyotes. Stecher has a relatively small stature and "profiles as a great depth defenceman", wrote sports columnist Zach Laing. Earlier this week, the team acquired forwards Adam Henrique & Sam Carrick in a series of trades.
  • Spencer O'Brien, a 17-year-old local ninja athlete, is preparing to represent Canada at the World Ninja League Championships, taking place in North Carolina from June 21-24. Spencer was introduced to the sport by his father, who is a ninja coach, and the pair first got involved at Fitset Ninja in Kingsway Mall.
  • Alberta Federation of Labour president Gil McGowan has joined the NDP leadership race. McGowan has been president of the labour organization since 2005, and previously ran for the federal NDP in Edmonton Centre in 2015. MLAs Sarah Hoffman, Kathleen Ganley, Rakhi Pancholi and Jodi Calahoo Stonehouse are also in the race to replace Rachel Notley. The election will happen on June 22.