Headlines: July 5, 2024

· The Pulse
  • The 40th annual Edmonton International Street Performers Festival will happen downtown from July 5-14. This year's theme is "looking back, looking forward," spotlighting both new and returning performers. A special 40th anniversary show is set for July 5 from 10pm to 10:45pm in Churchill Square. The festival is free to the public, although audiences are encouraged to pay performers.
  • The City of Edmonton will do additional public engagement on a new Residential Parking Program after council voted to pause the rollout and return to the system that was in effect before May 31. Residents have been critical of administration's plan to phase out most of the 19 residential permit parking zones and increase the price of a permit to $120 in some areas. Councillors Anne Stevenson and Ashley Salvador, who supported some proposed changes, say further public engagement is needed. Council's urban planning committee will revisit the issue in early 2025.
  • Edmonton city council unanimously passed a motion from Coun. Andrew Knack calling for a "transition strategy" that transfers costs for homeless-related services and infrastructure to the Alberta government. A report shows the City spent $91 million in 2023 on homeless-related services, up 23% from 2022. Knack and other council members have repeatedly said the province should do more to address homelessness, which falls under provincial jurisdiction. A provincial spokesperson said the government would review an "itemized list" of programs and services if Edmonton sends one, and then "discuss a path forward."
  • A pair of newlyweds from Edmonton and their wedding guests were left stranded in Jamaica by the WestJet strike as Hurricane Beryl caused widespread damage in the Caribbean this week, CBC reported. WestJet began cancelling flights on June 28 after the airline's mechanics went on strike, and nearly 300 flights were still cancelled by time the strike ended that same day.
  • Edmonton Centre MP Randy Boissonnault, who is also the federal employment minister, was cleared of allegations that he broke conflict of interest rules. The allegations that set off a preliminary probe were based on text messages between Boissonnault's former business associates and someone named "Randy." Canada's ethics commissioner said there is no information to suggest wrongdoing other than the name "Randy" appearing in the texts. Boissonnault was facing near-daily questioning from Conservatives over the issue, CBC reported.
  • Annette Trimbee was reappointed for a second term as president and vice-chancellor of MacEwan University. In her first term, Trimbee helped lay the groundwork for growth, led the development of the university's strategic vision, and secured a provincial investment in the new School of Business building, the university said.
  • Alberta Innovates is receiving $10 million in federal funding to establish a facility for producing, testing, and commercializing technology that converts bitumen into carbon fibre. Expected to open in 2025, the facility will have open-access and be run by InnoTech Alberta at the Edmonton Research Park. The first users will be participants in Alberta Innovates' Carbon Fibre Grand Challenge.
  • Around 90 elective orthopedic surgeries scheduled at the Royal Alexandra Hospital were postponed or diverted after the University of Alberta School of Medicine moved its orthopedic residency program from the Royal Alex to the University of Alberta Hospital. Alberta Health Services said it is exploring orthopedic surgical capacity elsewhere. Paul Parks, president of the Alberta Medical Association, said the loss of orthopedic residents at the Royal Alex may indicate a systemic problem stemming from an outdated pay system pulling doctors away from specialized roles.
  • Edmonton playwright, historian, and drag performer Darrin Hagen was selected as the new Lee Playwright in Residence at the University of Alberta drama department. Hagen says he is working on a play about the "Pansy Craze," which refers to a period of heightened popularity of queer bars and drag performances in the United States during the 1920-33 prohibition.
  • Todd Babiak, a former Edmonton-based writer now working as CEO of Brand Tasmania, wrote an op-ed encouraging Edmontonians to reflect on the qualities that make the city unique, as demonstrated by the recent Edmonton Oilers playoffs run. "Find the meaning in how the city felt in May and June," Babiak wrote. "Harness it and make it permanent. Tell stories of the success all around you, and demonstrate how there is an Edmonton way to solve everything."