Headlines: May 16, 2024

· The Pulse
  • The City of Edmonton said it expected to see up to 1,500 evacuees from Fort McMurray register at the Clareview Community Recreation Centre during the first day since it began accepting evacuees late on May 14. About 6,600 people have been forced from their homes in four Fort McMurray neighbourhoods as the nearby wildfire continues to grow. YMCA of Northern Alberta is offering free access to four YMCA centres in Edmonton, and the City of St. Albert said it is ready to help if called upon. For many, the emergency has brought back difficult memories of the 2016 Fort McMurray wildfires, which forced 80,000 people to evacuate.
  • A peaceful yet occasionally disruptive protest at city hall related to the police's handling of a protest encampment at the University of Alberta has prompted council members to reconsider security measures and public behaviour expectations during meetings. Coun. Tim Cartmell said he heard from police and police commission delegates who felt unsafe, and city solicitor Michelle Plouff told council she is "very concerned about the health and safety of our staff" because of the tense meeting. Mayor Amarjeet Sohi said members of the public who filled council chambers told him they felt unsafe due to heavy security.
  • The Alberta Crown Prosecution Service has decided not to lay charges against Edmonton Police Service officer Const. Alex Doduk, who shot and killed an unarmed man in June 2021. Despite an ASIRT report finding "reasonable grounds" for a criminal offence, the Crown's legal standard is "reasonable likelihood of conviction." The victim's family called the decision "devastating and heartbreaking." Similar outcomes occurred in the case of Pacey Dumas and the case of a St. Albert teen who ASIRT determined was unlawfully confined by the RCMP.
  • Edmonton experienced the most rapidly rising rent prices in Canada over the past year, according to Zumper. Despite this, Edmonton is ranked 21st out of 23 on Zumper's list of most expensive Canadian cities to rent. Average rent prices for a one-bedroom unit increased by 23.90% year over year, while two-bedroom rents rose by 15.9%. Only two Canadian cities saw similar spikes, including Calgary, where one-bedroom rents increased by 26% between October 2022 and October 2023.
  • The Canadian Real Estate Association's latest statistics show a steady increase in home prices in Edmonton, Calgary, and Saskatoon since the beginning of last year. This trend contrasts with the rest of Canada, where "prices are generally sliding sideways," according to the association.
  • The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation's latest data show a 62% increase in single-detached housing starts in Edmonton from April 2023 to April 2024, and a 64% increase in total housing starts. Additionally, Edmonton saw a 28% rise in the seasonally adjusted annual rate for housing starts from March to April this year, compared to the national average decrease of 1%.
  • The City of Edmonton has begun opening its spray parks, with most set to open within two weeks of the May long weekend. A map of all spray park locations shows their opening status and hours. By year-end, Edmonton will have 75 spray parks, with new ones in Windsor Park and Inglewood.
  • The HotSpot Parking App became available to Edmonton customers on May 14. The new system, which launched on April 29, initially allowed payment only via credit, debit, or QR code. The City of Edmonton chose HotSpot to replace EPark citing its ease-of-use and speed. Customers with less than $25 in their EPark account must request a refund before June 30, as funds won't transfer automatically.
  • The City of Edmonton and the Indigenous Sport Council of Alberta invite residents to attend this year's Moose Hide Campaign Day event at city hall on May 16. The Moose Hide Campaign challenges men and boys to stand against gender-based violence. Everyone is encouraged to attend and support the campaign.
  • The Vancouver bar Black Frog, located on Cambie Street in Gastown, is a "haven" for Oilers fans on the west coast. The venue attracted about 80 fans to watch Game 4 of the playoff series between the Edmonton Oilers and the Vancouver Canucks.
  • Chief Billy Morin of the Enoch Cree Nation is among the 40 people nominated so far to represent the Conservative Party of Canada in the next federal election, slated to take place on or before Oct. 20, 2025. Morin is running in the new riding of Edmonton Northwest, created by the latest electoral boundary changes.