Headlines: May 15, 2024

· The Pulse
By and
  • The City of Edmonton is supporting the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo as thousands of residents evacuate due to a wildfire near Fort McMurray. Starting May 14 at 9pm, Edmonton began welcoming evacuees at the Clareview Community Recreation Centre, providing food, clothing, pet daycare, and health care. "Please know that the City of Edmonton's doors are open, and a safe space and support is waiting for you," said interim city manager Eddie Robar. The wildfire, consuming nearly 21,000 hectares, has prompted an evacuation order for about 6,600 people.
  • The University of Alberta and the Edmonton Police Service are under continued scrutiny for their handling of the dismantling of a protest encampment in the Main Quad over the weekend. Hundreds of protestors gathered on campus and at city hall to show solidarity and demand the resignation of university president Bill Flanagan. Art and design professor Natalie Loveless resigned as associate dean of equity, diversity, and inclusion in the Faculty of Arts, saying she "can neither protect students nor facilitate the difficult conversations that are needed to advance equity and justice for our community" in light of the events. Chelsea Vowel from the Faculty of Native Studies shared an open letter stating the university's actions violate treaty obligations. Faculty of Law professors signed an open letter asserting that the university's actions infringe on students' rights to protest.
  • The Canadian Civil Liberties Association has written to the Edmonton Police Commission, calling for an independent investigation of Edmonton police regarding their actions in dismantling the encampment, stating that the investigation should "shed light on the reasons why the Edmonton police felt entitled to shut down a peaceful protest and why such intervention escalated to the use of force that reportedly left some protestors injured." The province has requested an Alberta Serious Incident Response Team investigation into police actions related to the encampment clearings in Edmonton and Calgary.
  • Edmonton city council has unanimously voted to allow an entertainment district on Rice Howard Way on an ad hoc basis. The plan is to activate the district on Saturdays from 11am to 12am during the summer months. During these activation periods, the east-west road will be closed to vehicle traffic, allowing patrons to bring food and alcoholic drinks onto the street, with music and other forms of entertainment permitted. A What We Heard report summarizing the City's public engagement indicates that many businesses are supportive and optimistic, though some expressed concerns about loading zones, safety, and cleanliness.
  • The Terwillegar Community Recreation Centre will be renamed following a 9-4 vote at Edmonton city council in favour of the plan. The new sponsor, a local company, and financial details remain undisclosed. While some councillors expressed discomfort with the privatization of public spaces, the decision was made to address financial needs. "We need every dollar we can find — we're in the ditch," said Coun. Tim Cartmell.
  • The City of Edmonton has launched its second annual business census, aimed at shaping local economic development, investment attraction, and services. From May 15 to Aug. 31, summer students will collect data door-to-door in the proposed districts of Central, 118 Avenue, Scona, Jasper Place, Southeast, and West Edmonton. Businesses in other districts can complete an online questionnaire, available in multiple languages. Data from the 2023 business census are accessible on the City's open data portal.
  • CBC News visited several Edmonton businesses thriving with playoff-themed products, including Doughnut Party's "Connor McDoughnuts," Annie Rue's "Play La Bamba, Baby!" ice cream pints, and Sea Change Brewing Company's Joey Moss Man Crush mandarin ale. "There's community rallying behind the playoffs, behind local business, just having a lot of fun with it," said Annie Rue owner Tanya Rumak, who is selling the "La Bamba" pints to support the Ben Stelter Foundation.
  • Three Edmonton bars have been ranked among the top 50 in the annual list of Canada's 100 Best Bars. Judges praised Clementine, ranked 33rd, for its "bygone era" ambiance and extensive list of Try Before You Die classics. Bar Bricco, ranked 40th, was noted for its "superb antipasti-style share plates" and a rich selection of Italian drinks. Baijiu & Little Hong Kong, ranked 50th, is described as a "dark, casual Asian-inspired canteen" in ICE District with a "raucous" all-season patio and "intimate vibes" in its hidden speakeasy. Meanwhile, no Edmonton restaurants made the list of Canada's 100 Best Restaurants.
  • Alberta's health minister Adriana LaGrange has tabled Bill 22, which aims to "refocus" the health care system by dividing Alberta Health Services into four separate entities focused on mental health and addictions, acute care, primary care, and continuing care. These changes "represent a fundamental shift in how we approach health care in Alberta," LaGrange stated at a press conference. Bill 22 will also establish new roles for an "oversight minister," who will oversee the strategic direction of the health care system, and "sector ministers," who will oversee specific parts of the new system. Under the legislation, LaGrange, as the current health minister, will also serve as the oversight minister.
  • David Cooper, founder of the consulting firm Leading Mobility, appeared on Global News to discuss the province's plan to develop the first province-wide passenger rail system.