Headlines: April 4, 2024

· The Pulse
  • Edmonton city council voted to ratify the City's new collective agreement with Civic Service Union 52, which union members voted to ratify on March 25. The four-year agreement includes a 0% general wage adjustment for 2021, 1.25% for 2022, 2% for 2023, and 3% for 2024, plus a $1,000 lump sum payment and a hybrid work commitment. "This agreement balances the needs of staff and Edmontonians," said Mayor Amarjeet Sohi.
  • Edmonton city council named Eddie Robar as interim city manager, following the departure of Andre Corbould, who left his position effective April 3. Robar, previously the deputy manager of city operations, is the most senior official in Edmonton's administration. He will fill the role until a council committee can recruit a new city manager. Robar told reporters his priority will be improving transparency and work culture at city hall.
  • Edmonton's administration is proposing an omnibus amendment to the business licence bylaw to change wording related to adult service industries. The proposal includes replacing the word "exotic" in three adult industry categories with "erotic" in response to concerns from workers that the term "exotic" has racist undertones and doesn't reflect the language used in the industry. The omnibus amendment also proposes changes to allow the City to collect member information from massage therapy associations and remove municipal restrictions on the operating hours of cannabis retailers. The changes will go to council's urban planning committee for approval on April 9.
  • Mayor Amarjeet Sohi pledged to find out more about two dogs that killed an 11-year-old boy at a home in south Edmonton on April 1, while one neighbour described the incident as "bound to happen" because the dogs were "basically a loaded gun." The City said animal control had been called about two recent attacks at the home, of which one was concluded without charges and one remains under investigation. Interim city manager Eddie Robar said the City will review previous complaints to see if there were gaps the City's response. The boy has been identified as a Grade 5 student at Osoyoos Elementary School in British Columbia.
  • University of Alberta students launched a campaign to promote social engagement and break barriers between peers. The "It Starts With Hello" campaign includes laminated posters with conversation prompts and QR codes to access games and other resources, which will be installed at communal tables across campus. "Despite the constant buzz of activity here on campus, many students go through their university years feeling disconnected, alone, and feeling isolated from others," said Daniel Clark, a member of Student Advocates for Public Health. About 65% of post-secondary students reported feeling very lonely in the past year, Clark said.
  • Edmonton's single-family detached home market was ranked among the most affordable in Canada by realty brokerage Zoocasa. The average price of a single-family detached home in Edmonton was $422,400 in January, compared to the national average of $659,395, while two-story homes in the most in-demand regions are about $660,000. Krystal Smith, a realtor with eXp Realty, said residents from other cities are now buying real estate in Edmonton, with "quite a few people" from British Columbia looking at houses in the $1-million range after selling homes for far more. Edmonton buyers, meanwhile, tend to look for price ranges significantly below the national average, according to market data from the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton.
  • Manjit and Ravinder Minhas, a pair of Calgary siblings and entrepreneurs, have acquired part ownership of the Edmonton Stingers, joining Taranvir 'Tank' Vander and James Burns as the team's managing partners and investors in the Canadian Elite Basketball League. The deal makes Manjit Minhas, known for her role on CBC's Dragon's Den, the first female owner of a team in CEBL history. The change will not affect day-to-day operations of the organization, the club said in a release.
  • CBC News spoke with Edmonton Oilers superfan Trevor Don Weal, known as "McMullet," who drives eight hours to and from Strathmore to watch every home game. By the end of the 2023-2024 season, Weal will have attended 104 home games in a row.