Regional beat followups: Transit, travel, and trees

· The Pulse

Just because a story is written doesn't mean it's over. Here are some updates on regional stories we covered in 2022:

Sohi sees economic growth, sustainability, social issues as key regional issues (Jan. 5, 2022)

The original story: As Amarjeet Sohi looked ahead to his first full year as mayor of Edmonton, he spoke to Taproot about his interest in pursuing both economic development and social issues in the metro region.

Then what?: One of the big stories to come out of Edmonton's four-year budget decisions was city council's decision not to approve $13 million for the first phase of the Edmonton Metropolitan Transit Service Commission's service plan, despite endorsing the plan in September. Coun. Sarah Hamilton called the decision "the death of regionalism," but Sohi disagreed. "I want to take exception to the notion that us pulling from the regional commission is going to damage our relationships," he said. EMTSC chair Wes Brodhead said "trust has been broken" in a release, and St. Albert Mayor Cathy Heron said she was "heartbroken," but Leduc Mayor Bob Young said he understood the decision.

Relaunched Port Alberta expands concept from airport to region (March 25, 2022)

The original story: Edmonton Global relaunched Port Alberta, a concept describing the convergence of air, rail, pipelines, and roadways in the Edmonton region that facilitates the movement of goods.

Then what?: Level 42 AI, a med-tech company based in Silicon Valley, announced plans in September to set up a digital health subsidiary called Vibrome in the Edmonton region, which Edmonton Global attributed in part to the region's connection to world markets via Port Alberta. The Edmonton International Airport (YEG) has continued to build out its cargo capacity. "We're seeing dramatic cargo growth because companies are realizing the efficiencies of actually using Edmonton as their jumping off point into the U.S. and then conversely, back into Asia or the Middle East," Myron Keehn told FreightWaves in August, a couple of months before he was named CEO of YEG.

Wisdom of wild boar farming questioned in light of feral pig problem (June 24, 2022)

The original story: People involved in both conservation and agriculture expressed concerns about the continuation of wild boar farming in Alberta, including in Parkland and Strathcona counties, as the threat posed by feral pigs grows.

Then what?: In October, Strathcona County updated its responsible livestock ownership bylaw, banning new wild boar farms and requiring current producers to register for a permit before Jan. 1.

Amarjeet Sohi swearing oath of office, Malcolm Bruce at a news conference, wild boars, tree lovers Joshua Kirsch and Dustin Bajer, a downtown bus, Chelsey Reschke

Catch up with the rest of the story on regional cooperation, Port Alberta, wild boars, Grade 1 trees, an airport bus to downtown, and G20 youth summit delegate Chelsey Reschke.

Project looks to map saplings given to Alberta first-graders (Aug. 3, 2022)

The original story: Tree enthusiast Dustin Bajer and junior high student Joshua Kirsch launched the Grade 1 Tree Registry to map what happened to the tree saplings distributed to students over the past seven decades.

Then what?: After a flurry of media coverage from CBC, Global, and CTV, the registry's map had 752 trees on it as of Oct. 18, with one planted all the way in Portugal.

Express bus from airport to downtown seen as business boost (Oct. 7, 2022)

The original story: Coun. Anne Stevenson got the ball rolling on an express bus between downtown and the Edmonton International Airport (YEG), saying the Route 747 service between the airport and the Century Park LRT station was inadequate for business and convention travellers.

Then what?: Stevenson's motion was passed, putting an unfunded service package before council during budget deliberations. The proposed operating budget said the service would require 18 buses and 12.7 FTEs to provide service seven days a week at a 30-minute frequency. In the end, council voted unanimously to work with stakeholders such as downtown businesses, Explore Edmonton, and YEG to explore a cost-sharing approach, with a report due in the fourth quarter of 2023.

Summit-bound CEO sees promising future for Edmonton region (Oct. 26, 2022)

The original story: Chelsey Reschke, CEO of Voran Group Ventures in Sherwood Park, was heading to Germany as a delegate to the G20 Young Entrepreneurs' Alliance summit, with a view to advising the leaders of the G20 nations ahead of their summit in Indonesia.

Then what?: The summit resulted in a communiqué outlining three priority areas: an inclusive global recovery, fostering peace through sustainable growth and economic inclusion, and climate and energy entrepreneurship for a sustainable future. Reschke led a panel on sustainable innovation and made a lot of connections.