Headlines: April 23, 2024

· The Pulse
  • A massive fire engulfed Hangar 11, a historic hangar located at the former Edmonton municipal airport near NAIT's main campus. Edmonton Fire Rescue Services received the call in the evening of April 22, sending 11 crews to the scene. The hangar, designated a municipal historic resource in 2022, had been slated for restoration and conversion into a mixed-use space. No injuries were reported in the blaze.
  • Josan Properties purchased the Phipps-McKinnon Building in downtown Edmonton, with plans for a $22-million redevelopment into a mixed-use facility including office spaces and more than 90 residential units. Work on the redevelopment is expected to begin in late May or early June and last about 12 months. The project reflects a recent trend in real estate to convert vacant office space for residential use.
  • Postmedia columnist Keith Gerein wrote that Edmonton city council is facing tough choices as it considers an 8.7% property tax increase for 2024, and further increases in the next two years. The city's financial struggles are compounded by infrastructure expenses, population growth, and reduced revenues from transit and tourism, noted Gerein, arguing that further tax increases, service cuts, and infrastructure compromises will be required. "People will be upset. Political fortunes could be mortally wounded," he wrote.
  • The Edmonton Police Service says it will increase its officer presence around Rogers Place and the ICE District for the Edmonton Oilers playoff run. The policing strategy will adapt as needed, with the number of officers increasing in line with fan participation and game progression. Fans are advised to anticipate traffic congestion around the arena, even during away games.
  • The Jewish Federation of Edmonton and the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) are calling on the federal government to revoke funding for the Pride Centre of Edmonton because of the centre's response to the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks and subsequent Israeli attacks on Gaza. In a letter to the federal government, CIJA argued that the Pride Centre had violated the national anti-racism strategy, and "does not warrant the financial support of our national government." In a statement to Postmedia, the Pride Centre said it was "saddened and troubled to learn that some members of the Jewish 2SLGBTQIA+ community have expressed feeling unsafe" at the centre, and that it is "vital to express solidarity with Palestinians experiencing ongoing displacement and genocide."
  • The condo board at Castledowns Pointe in Edmonton is seeking court approval to dissolve the condo corporation and sell the land after residents were ordered to evacuate because of structural flaws that were uncovered following a March 2023 fire. The board, which represents the owners of the 83-unit building constructed in 1999, says it is facing challenges seeking compensation as the corporations directly involved in the building's construction have been dissolved. Rebuilding would have cost more than $7 million, while the sale is expected to bring in $2 million to $3 million, said condo board president Susan Strebchuk.
  • The Edmonton Humane Society has launched its "spring them home" adoption event, offering reduced fees and a training class discount for dogs. The event runs until April 28 and is an effort to encourage families to adopt pets. The shelter recently returned to offering drop-in adoption services alongside appointment options to meet growing demand.
  • Lifelong Edmonton Oilers fan Ken Stevenson has transformed the basement of his Edmonton home into an extraordinary showcase of Oilers memorabilia. His collection includes a wide array of items, from an old Northlands Coliseum seat to signed jerseys and game-used sticks from current stars like Leon Draisaitl, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Connor McDavid.
  • Strathcona County has imposed a fire restriction on all rural areas due to windy, dry conditions. Fire Chief Martin Paulson urged residents to report fires and adhere to safety measures to prevent wildfires. The restriction includes a ban on all fire and fireworks, but residents are allowed to use barbecues, recreational fire pits with screens, chimineas, and propane or natural gas appliances.
  • Residents of a Cold Lake First Nation were ordered to evacuate to a local community hall due to a wildfire burning nearby. Meanwhile, a wildfire about 4.5 kilometres from Saprae Creek Estates near Fort McMurray had expanded to about 70 hectares but was classified as being held, and an evacuation alert for the community was lifted. Alberta Wildfire said it had deployed four firefighting crews, six helicopters, two air tanker groups, and heavy equipment to combat the fire.
  • The Alberta government announced changes to legislation that would help lower utility bills in Calgary by regulating the local access fees charged by the city, but no changes are planned for customers in Edmonton. The province said customers in Calgary paid $240 in local access fees in 2023, compared with an average of $75 for Edmonton EPCOR customers in the same period.