Headlines: April 16, 2024

· The Pulse
  • Some Edmonton city councillors said they are concerned by the pace of development in Blatchford as they reviewed a report during an April 15 audit committee meeting that found the City unit responsible for the community isn't adequately tracking progress. According to the City, 84 homes are now occupied in Blatchford, compared to about 20 two-and-a-half years ago. Mayor Amarjeet Sohi said that while Blatchford is a "beautiful development," he is "concerned about how slow we are going on this." Coun. Tim Cartmell said that his confidence in the project has always been low, but it is now even lower, noting that council is facing significant scrutiny due to a proposed 8.7% property tax increase for 2024.
  • University of Alberta professor Damian Collins appeared on CBC's Radio Active to argue that Edmonton has too many river valley golf courses. "All of those spaces are off limits for other uses" during golf season, Collins said. Edmonton has 19 golf courses, with six on municipal land. About 20% of the river valley and ravine system is allocated to golf, Collins noted. With the city's population growing rapidly, there will be more demand for recreational space, he added, "especially in the centre of the river valley."
  • Edmonton Fire Rescue Services responded to a large grass fire that broke out on private property near Hayter Road in east Edmonton in the early morning hours of April 15. About a dozen units responded to the blaze, including four water tankers, due to non-functional hydrants on the property. A spokesperson said crews were also assisting houseless individuals who were camping in the area. No injuries were reported.
  • The Punk Rock Flea Market brought a unique twist to Edmonton's market scene at the Steele Heights Community League, showcasing more than 40 vendors with punk-themed items, alongside food trucks and punk rock bingo. "We're doing 'misfit vendors' – weird and wacky stuff," said organizer Jason Pultz. The market is set to return on Sept. 15 and Nov. 24.
  • The Edmonton Oilers are set to begin their NHL playoffs journey with home-ice advantage, stirring excitement among fans and local businesses. Preparations include fan parks and away-game watch parties at Rogers Place. "It's a great atmosphere. People light up when the Oilers are doing well," said Franco Camminatore, general manager of 1st RND downtown.
  • The Hockey News caught up with former Edmonton Oilers goalie Jack Campbell, who was demoted to the AHL's Bakersfield Condors after performing poorly with Edmonton earlier this season. Campbell initially struggled with the Condors, but has since made significant progress, overcoming his self-doubt and finding his form again. Campbell credits his time in the AHL for teaching him to be less harsh on himself. "I used to beat myself up so badly," he said.
  • Former Edmonton Oilers player Klim Kostin, now with the San Jose Sharks, talked about his enduring connection to Edmonton in an interview with Daily Hive before he faced off against his former team on April 15. "Every time I come here, it feels like home," he said. Kostin, who spent the 2022-23 NHL season with the Oilers before salary cap issues led to his trade, has since found success with the Sharks.
  • Alberta's unprecedented population growth has led to a surge in demand for services and resources in cities across the province. The influx of residents, lured by job opportunities and housing affordability, has spurred economic growth but also brought challenges such as increased real estate prices, rent hikes, and strains on infrastructure and services. The City of Edmonton expects 100,000 people more people will move to the city within the next three years. With the provincial government projecting the population will hit six million people by 2039, experts say Alberta needs invest in housing, infrastructure, and education.
  • The Alberta government touted the success of the province's tourism industry with an increase in international travellers. In the first three quarters of 2023, international visitor spending in Alberta surged past pre-pandemic levels to $2.53 billion, the province said in a release. Alberta has set a long-term goal through Travel Alberta to expand the province's tourism economy to $25 billion in annual visitor spending by 2035.
  • Former Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi is leading in endorsements among NDP caucus members in the Alberta NDP leadership race, securing the backing of nine MLAs. Calgary rival Kathleen Ganley has secured eight, while Edmonton MLA Sarah Hoffman trails with four. The leadership race, which has drawn significant attention across Alberta, will decide on a new leader on June 22. Debates are scheduled in Lethbridge on April 25 and Calgary on May 11.
  • The Alberta Party appointed Lindsay Amantea, a Calgary corporate lawyer, as its interim leader. She takes over the role from former Brooks mayor Barry Morishita. The Alberta Party has struggled in recent elections, including a drop to 1% of the popular vote in 2023 and no seats in the legislature. Amantea said she aims to address "hyper partisanship" in Alberta through "thoughtful, systemic change" on issues like health care, energy, and housing.