Headlines: April 19, 2024

· The Pulse
  • Service on Edmonton's Capital and Metro LRT lines will be impacted in the coming weeks to accommodate scheduled maintenance, with replacement bus service available. Before noon on April 20, both lines will run at a 20-minute frequency and the Metro Line will only run from NAIT/Blatchford Market to Government Centre. After 8pm, there will be no Metro Line Service between NAIT/Blatchford Market and MacEwan. On April 27-28 and May 4-5, the NAIT/Blatchford Market station will be closed as crews demolish the former NAIT station. Also on April 28, Metro Line trains will only run from Kingsway to Health Sciences/Jubilee station until 6pm, after which the line will only run from Kingsway to Churchill.
  • The Edmonton Public School Board is facing difficult budget choices due to inflation, the provincial funding model, and a lack of grant funding rate increases or inflationary relief in the 2024 provincial budget, Postmedia reported. Trustees recently heard that a weighted moving average introduced in 2019 by then-education minister Adriana LaGrange, which calculates funding based on enrolment averages for the prior three years, leaves the division with a significant funding gap.
  • Const. Paul Kelly of the Edmonton Police Service is appealing disciplinary convictions related to a 2017 homicide probe, with Kelly's lawyer arguing Chief Dale McFee engaged in an "off the books" process for charging Kelly in relation to a crime scene investigation. Kelly was originally charged with neglect of duty under the Police Act for failing to find a body, which was discovered by a landlord days after the investigation. Years later, Kelly was subject to 14 additional charges. Kelly's lawyer said McFee brought the latter complaints forward after the one-year period typically allowed in the Police Act. McFee is cross appealing the case and asking the Alberta Law Enforcement Review Board to fire Kelly.
  • Susan Keating and Kalen Anderson of the Urban Development Institute – Edmonton Metro, published an op-ed in Postmedia with suggestions for building a better Edmonton in 2024 in the face of interlocking urban issues like zoning, migration, and housing. Keating and Anderson call for a collective mobilization around key strategic areas, accelerated commercial and industrial development, affordability measures to address the housing crisis, and red tape reductions.
  • Hundreds of people attended an open meeting held by the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board at The Westin Edmonton on April 17, which focused on the state of the Canada Pension Plan. Many questions from attendees addressed the UCP government's push to leave the CPP in favour of a potential Alberta pension plan. The investment board is required to hold a meeting in each province at least once every two years, but this year's event was moved to a larger venue due to increased interest.
  • City of Edmonton data shows Edmonton drivers got more red light infractions in the first quarter of 2024 than the same period in 2023. Some intersections, including Calgary Trail southbound and Whitemud Drive, had nearly double the number of red light infractions. Officials suggest the increase is due to weather, with early 2024 seeing nearly twice as much snow as early 2023.
  • The City of Edmonton is offering residents free horticultural compost through its annual compost giveaway. Each year, the City produces compost from yard waste collected from curbsides or dropped off at Eco Stations. Residents can pick up compost at the Ambleside Eco Station or the Kennedale Eco Station while quantities last. Pickup is self-serve, and residents must bring their own shovel, gloves, containers, or tarps.
  • CTV News highlighted the Wedgewood neighbourhood's efforts to reduce dog waste on public walking paths and green spaces. For the past decade, the Wedgewood Community League has been stocking dog waste bags in eight dispensers along pathways, with two added this year. League president Saad Siddiqui said the program costs the league $2,000 per year and has been "really, really successful." The program is separate from the City of Edmonton's dog-waste program, which maintains about 110 dispensers that are refilled weekly.
  • The Alberta government announced plans to help Albertans save on electricity costs by rebranding the default electricity rate option from Regulated Rate Option (RRO) to Rate of Last Resort and requiring utility providers to inform customers about their option to switch to a competitive contract. The province said RRO is misleading because the term "regulated" gives consumers a false sense that the rate is protected by the government, when it is actually subject to volatility. Over the past year, RRO spiked as high as 32 cents per kilowatt-hour, compared to the 10 cents per kilowatt-hour enjoyed by some customers on competitive fixed-rate contracts.