Headlines: June 20, 2024

· The Pulse
  • Edmonton Transit Service summer service changes take effect June 30. Several regular routes will be adjusted for typical summer ridership, school special routes will end until the fall, and several additional On Demand Transit hub options will be available.
  • Edmonton city council's urban planning committee recommended pausing changes to the Residential Parking Program that were rolled out at the beginning of June. The changes eliminated 15 of 19 residential parking zones and introduced a new permit system. Residents in all 19 zones should continue displaying their 2022 and 2023 permits, or request a replacement permit if needed. Council will discuss the issue further on July 3.
  • A pair of Edmonton Police Service officers who were convicted of assaulting a man outside his house party in October 2020 received discharges during a sentencing hearing this week. Det. Marc Chmilar received a conditional discharge, which, if completed, will leave him without a criminal record. Former officer Steven Minarchi, who resigned shortly after being charged in 2021, was given an absolute discharge, which comes with no conditions.
  • Council's executive committee received a report showing the City of Edmonton's non-residential tax base is falling compared to the 12 other municipalities in the metropolitan region. In 2022, 78% of Edmonton's tax base came from residential properties and 22% from non-residential properties, compared to 60% and 40% across regional municipalities. Edmonton's share of the region's non-residential properties fell from 72% in 2008 to 60% in 2022. Administration has proposed focusing on the nine areas in the Industrial Investment Action Plan, including improving administrative processes and creating shovel-ready land.
  • The Hope Mission and Herb Jamieson shelters are seeing an increase in assaults, with 443 reported since 2021 across both facilities, according to documents obtained by the Coalition for Justice and Human Rights. University of Alberta professor Damian Collins, who specializes in housing and homelessness, told Postmedia the statistics are lower than he would have expected given the increasing number of people using shelters.
  • Edmonton Public School Board trustees voted 6-2 to update their policy on sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. The changes are intended to promote inclusivity and align board policy with the Alberta Human Rights Act, and they will not affect the policy's purpose or school curriculum, said trustee Saadiq Sumar. Feedback collected from 1,137 members of the public found 68% believe the intent and purpose of the policy is clear, but some respondents expressed concerns about the changes, Postmedia reported.
  • WestJet began cancelling flights across Canada after a union representing aircraft maintenance engineers issued a 72-hour strike notice earlier this week. As of the morning of June 19, the airline had announced 40 flight cancellations, including six departures and three arrivals at the Edmonton International Airport. The strike deadline is 7pm on June 20.
  • The Nîkâniw Indigenous Youth Leadership Program, a cultural and pre-employment initiative focused on aquatics, is wrapping up this week, with 29 participants completing the program. The program has had more than 500 participants since the City of Edmonton and the Bent Arrow Traditional Healing Society launched it more than 20 years ago.
  • Edmonton Oilers fans are both optimistic and anxious about the team's chances of winning the Stanley Cup and becoming the first team to win a final series after a 3-0 deficit since 1942. The Oilers began demonstrating their resilience last November, when they held the last place in the NHL, rising to finish second in the Pacific Division, said head coach Kris Knoblauch. Sports writer Robert Tychkowski wrote about 10 reasons the Oilers have a "very realistic chance to pull off a miracle."
  • Sports writer Jesse Campigotto published an article arguing that Connor McDavid should get the Conn Smythe Trophy, awarded annually to the NHL's most valuable player, "no matter what". The award generally goes to someone from the team that wins the Stanley Cup, but on five occasions has gone to a player from the losing team. McDavid has achieved records this postseason for points and assists.
  • A three-day hearing focused on the 2021 actions of former Alberta justice minister Kaycee Madu concluded on June 19, with a Law Society of Alberta tribunal committee expected to decide whether to sanction Madu until a later date. Madu was cited last July for allegedly undermining respect for the administration of justice by calling Edmonton Police Service Chief Dale McFee after receiving a distracted driving ticket.
  • Alberta recorded the fastest population growth in Canada in the first three months of 2024, Statistics Canada data shows. The province's population grew 1.02%, from 4,800,768 on Jan. 1 to 4,849,906 on April 1, compared to the national rate of 0.6%. Only Alberta, New Brunswick, and Yukon saw net-positive interprovincial migration rates.