Headlines: May 1, 2024

· The Pulse
  • The Edmonton Downtown Farmers Market is set to return to 104 Street on June 15, running every Saturday until Oct. 12 and featuring more than 75 local vendors. The Edmonton Downtown Business Association, which is managing the event with Foundry Events as the operator, hopes the market's return will help increase vibrancy and economic activity downtown. The market moved to an indoor location in 2020, but the pandemic caused a decline in vendors and visitors, leading the market to declare bankruptcy and close its doors earlier this year.
  • The Alberta government is withdrawing its annual funding contributions to the Low-Income Transit Pass (LITP) program, according to the mayors of Edmonton and Calgary. The program offers subsidized transit passes for low-income residents in both cities. Edmonton Mayor Amarjeet Sohi criticized the move, noting the program is used by 25,000 Edmontonians each month. "The decision to defund this program in Edmonton and Calgary shows that the province's priorities are in the wrong place," he said in a statement. In 2023, both cities received nearly $6 million each for the program.
  • Edmonton Public School Board trustees voted 5-3 at an April 30 meeting to reintroduce a "formal role" for the Edmonton Police Service in schools after the school resource officer program was suspended in 2020 due to concerns about its impact on racialized and marginalized students. Most of the 32 delegates who signed up to speak at the meeting opposed any police presence in schools, advocating for alternative methods to handle conflicts and improve safety. Board chair Julie Kusiek said it's too early to say exactly what role police will play in schools.
  • The City of Edmonton will once again host a series of Big Bin events from May to September, offering residents free disposal for large items like furniture and appliances that are not eligible for curbside pickup. A calendar of event times and locations is available online. The City is also organizing free Eco Station events on select weekends for residents to safely dispose of household hazardous waste.
  • Edmonton city council has officially passed the 2024 tax bylaw, finalizing an 8.9% property tax increase. The City will mail tax notices to property owners on May 24, and taxes are due by June 30.
  • A Global News investigation revealed ties between federal lobbyist Kirsten Poon and federal cabinet minister Randy Boissonnault, raising ethical concerns. Poon, who previously worked for Boissonnault's consulting firm before his election as MP in 2021, had meetings with high-level political staff in six federal departments that helped raise $110 million in federal grants for the Edmonton International Airport, Global News reported. Boissonnault's office said the minister followed all lobbyist and conflict of interest rules, but experts raised concerns about transparency. In a statement, Poon said Boissonnault was not involved in her lobbying and that she takes "all applicable laws, rules and ethics very seriously."
  • Recipients of the 2024 NAIT Celebrates Awards were announced on April 29. The annual awards celebrate the accomplishments of NAIT graduates and supporters. This year's recipients are Shreya Nandiraju, who was the first woman president of the International Society of Automation Edmonton, Compass Chocolates owner Priya Winsor, Nova Cannabis CEO Marcie Kiziak, Edmonton hip hop artist Arlo Maverick, media planner and buyer Robyn Dawson, and NAIT supporter Ray Pisani. Additionally, manufacturing company Sandvik Coromant was honoured for its longstanding partnership with NAIT.
  • A new political party called TapYeg has formed in Edmonton in response to the Alberta government's proposed Bill 20, which would allow political parties to form at the municipal level in Calgary and Edmonton. The legislation has led to concerns from local politicians who argue that introducing party politics at the municipal level could lead to decisions that do not align with community interests. Bill 20 would also give the province the power to remove local councillors from office and override municipal bylaws.
  • Former Edmonton Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft said he hasn't been following the team much since being fired in November after a weak start to the season. In an appearance on Sportsnet's Real Kyper and Bourne show this week, Woodcroft said he has spent time in February with two hockey teams in Europe. He is set to join Team Canada as an assistant coach for the 2024 IIHF World Championship.
  • The Edmonton Elks made two selections in the 2024 CFL Global Draft on April 30, choosing linebacker Eteva Mauga-Clements from the University of Nebraska as their first overall pick, followed by defensive lineman David Olajiga from the University of Central Missouri with the 10th overall pick.