Headlines: April 22, 2024

· The Pulse
  • The Katz Group says the development of an urban village north of Rogers Place in Edmonton's ICE District is delayed by at least three years. Construction of the development, including 2,500 residential units and a public park, was originally planned to start in 2024. Tim Shipton of the Oilers Entertainment Group said the delay is due to the pandemic's lasting effects on the market. Edmonton city council recently voted to allow the Katz Group to continue using two lots in the area for surface parking until Dec. 31, 2028, as an interim solution.
  • Hope Mission is set to open a new shelter this fall in Edmonton's west end to provide specialized services for an increasing number of unhoused newcomers, including refugees and immigrants. The shelter will offer language and culturally appropriate services, and assistance with asylum, employment, and housing. Last year, 199 newcomers sought shelter at Hope Mission, compared with 25 in 2022. "We recognize that it would be better to have people in one place to receive specialized support," said Tim Pasma, the organization's director of programs.
  • The Edmonton Interfaith Housing Society, which connects 23 different faith organizations, held an event at city hall to advocate for the Edmonton's more than 3,200 unhoused residents. Keynote speaker Lewis Cardinal, who shared his personal experience of homelessness in Edmonton in the 1970s, highlighted the need to understand the complexities of poverty to spur community action. Attendees of the event developed calls to action, including restricting housing as an investment, launching an education campaign on homelessness, and exploring tiny homes and transitional housing solutions.
  • Paths for People chair Shannon Lohner published an op-ed in Postmedia arguing that a proposed 8.7% property tax increase in Edmonton shouldn't be blamed on the City's investments in bike lanes. The $100 million for the Active Transportation Network Expansion amounts to 0.02% of the 2024 operating budget because the project's funding comes from the capital budget, Lohner noted. "People deserve access to amenities and infrastructure within their communities, and an effective, citywide active transportation network is a key piece of that puzzle," Lohner wrote.
  • The Alberta Railway Museum is now home to a nearly 100-year-old bronze picture window that was once in downtown Edmonton's Canadian National railway station. "It's a piece of Edmonton's history. It's witnessed many comings and goings," said museum president Stephen Yakimets. The window is all that's left of the former station, which was demolished in 1964.
  • The Edmonton Police Service says its recruitment is on the upswing, with an increase in applicants for 2023 and a 12.4% drop in attrition rates. The police service reported last year that about 100 officers had either left the force or announced their plans to do so in 2022. Staff Sgt. Leanne Kilb told the Edmonton Police Commission last week that the police service particularly struggled with both recruitment and retention in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic and the 'defund the police' movement, but that attitudes have since shifted.
  • As the Edmonton Oilers gear up to face the Los Angeles Kings in the first round of the NHL playoffs, bars and restaurants in the city are anticipating a significant spike in business. The playoffs transform typically quiet nights early in the week into bustling periods of high sales. Data from Moneris, which operates point of sale systems, shows businesses near Rogers Place experience a 233% jump in activity on game days.
  • The Athletic published a look at a variety of factors that could impact the Edmonton Oilers in the playoffs, notably the team's reliance on Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, and the need for increased production from Evander Kane and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. While goaltender Stuart Skinner's performance has improved under head coach Kris Knoblauch, he still has to prove himself in the playoffs, wrote journalist Daniel Nugent-Bowman. Meanwhile, Sportsnet journalist Mark Spector wrote that with Kane potentially sidelined in Game 1 due to a lingering injury, rookie Oilers winger Dylan Holloway has the chance to step into the spotlight. "Dylan has been playing outstanding, with his energy, his tenacity," said Knoblauch.
  • The Alberta government has forwarded an anonymous letter alleging ethics concerns within the City of Edmonton to the municipal ethics commissioner, Premier Danielle Smith said during her weekly radio show on 630 CHED. The letter contains "defamatory" allegations, said Smith, who did not elaborate further on its contents. "When we receive an ethics concern about a municipal council member, we forward that on to the ethics commissioner on the municipal level because that's the appropriate thing to do," she said.
  • The Alberta government has passed Bill 204, which grants it more control over decisions regarding national urban parks in the province. Leduc-Beaumont MLA Brandon Lunty introduced the bill to ensure provincial involvement in urban park plans, in response to Edmonton's exploration of a national urban park initiative with Parks Canada. Edmonton Mayor Amarjeet Sohi criticized the bill for creating more red tape and hindering collaboration between the City and other government levels.
  • Edmonton's Marco Arop clinched victory in the men's 800 metres at the Diamond League meet in Xiamen on April 20. Arop, the reigning world champion, achieved a personal best season-opening time of 1:43.61.
  • Residents of Saprae Creek Estates, about 25 kilometres southeast of Fort McMurray, are preparing for a potential evacuation due to a nearby wildfire after an Alberta Emergency Alert was issued on April 21. Firefighters are battling the fire burning near the community, which was impacted by the 2016 wildfires that hit Fort McMurray and forced the evacuation of 90,000 residents in the area.
  • Edmonton's Himanshu Surukanti was among 20 students selected for the Vimy Pilgrimage Award to learn about Canada's military history firsthand in Europe. "The chance to go and learn about things in person instead of a textbook or a YouTube video was really exciting," Surukanti said.