The Pulse: Feb. 22, 2021

Here's what you need to know about Edmonton today.

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Essentials

  • 7°C: Clearing in the morning. Wind west 20 km/h gusting to 40. High 7. (forecast)
  • 7-1: The Oilers (12-8-0) beat the Flames (8-9-1) on Feb. 20. Connor McDavid scored a natural hat trick and had five points. (details)

Belvedere CRL facing $11.9 million revenue shortfall


By Mack Male Mack Male

The latest economic outlook for the City of Edmonton's three community revitalization levy (CRL) areas suggests the projected revenue for the Belvedere CRL will not be sufficient to fund all outstanding debt which means general tax revenue would be required to pay it off beyond 2032.

Current projections for the Belvedere CRL show revenue of $42.3 million in taxes and land sales, a decrease of nearly $2 million from 2019 and $10.9 million from the plan approved in 2012. A decrease in market values due to the COVID-19 pandemic and slower than anticipated development are to blame for the decrease, administration said in the report. The projected shortfall when the Belvedere CRL expires in 2032 is $11.9 million. Ongoing municipal tax revenues would be required to payoff the remaining debt by 2039.

The Capital City Downtown CRL, approved in 2014, is projected to generate revenue of between $710 million and $825 million which administration said is "sufficient to fund all currently approved projects and most of the unfunded downtown catalyst projects." Revenue for the Quarters Downtown CRL, approved in 2011, is projected to be $156 million, also sufficient to fund all currently approved projects. Administration said in the report that the Capital City Downtown CRL has "spurred more than $4 billion in new development that is complete or under construction" while the Quarters Downtown CRL has funded $67 million in public infrastructure improvements that have "attracted over $800 million of complete, in-progress, and planned private developments."

Also coming up at council

Here are some of the other notable agenda items coming before city council for the week of Feb. 22-26:

  • A report on Prairie Sky Gondola's proposed $155 million gondola connecting Whyte Avenue and downtown was referred to council by Urban Planning Committee without a recommendation. Council is being asked to approve an agreement framework that would enable the project to move forward to phase three, which consists of more comprehensive assessments, detailed design, and regulatory approvals. The project has been endorsed by a number of engineering and business organizations, including Stantec, the Downtown Business Association, and the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce, but is opposed by critics who argue the project would negatively impact the river valley.
  • Administration supports the adoption of the Meltwater Neighbourhood Structure Plan in the Decoteau area. The new southeast neighbourhood is planned to accommodate more than 11,000 residents over the next 20-25 years while designating 72 hectares (23% of the total area) of land as Environmental Reserve in the form of wetlands and natural area buffers.
  • Councillor Aaron Paquette is expected to make a motion regarding impacts to City of Edmonton headwaters and a potential protection strategy. "We have a right and a responsibility to protect our headwaters that feed Edmonton's drinking water & ecosystem," he tweeted on Feb. 9.
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Headlines


By Emily Rendell-Watson Emily Rendell-Watson

  • The provincial government has announced next steps in its vaccine rollout plan. Seniors aged 75 and older will be able book appointments for COVID-19 vaccines starting on Feb. 24. Residents of lodges and other continuing care facilties can book appointments beginning Feb. 26. "Dr. Noel Gibney, co-chair of the Edmonton Zone Medical Staff Association’s pandemic committee, said (the plan) largely falls in line with federal recommendations," wrote the Edmonton Journal.
  • An anti-lockdown protest was held at the Alberta legislature over the weekend. According to CTV News, as of Sunday afternoon, Premier Jason Kenney had not responded to the event.
  • GraceLife Church held service in-person again over the weekend, despite orders from the province to abide by COVID-19 restrictions. The church's pastor is still in custody due to violating rules. A Calgary church also held a service to support the Edmonton pastor.
  • Free Play for Kids, which allows kids to play sports at no cost, has been given an outdoor rink by the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation and the Scotiabank Hockey Club. “Seeing the kids, the smiles on their faces when they touch the ice — it’s all worth it,” coach Sadie Reid told Global News.
  • A UCP press secretary plans to keep her job while running for a spot on Edmonton city council. Tricia Velthuizen is hoping to get elected in the new Dene ward, which Coun. Aaron Paquette currently represents.
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Speaking Municipally: It's not quite Chili enough to treat people like human Beans


By Mack Male Mack Male

In Episode 117 of our weekly podcast on municipal politics, hosts Troy Pavlek and Mack Male discussed the recent video that showed Edmonton police officers ordering people sheltering in the Central Station LRT to leave without any assistance. The wind chill made it feel below -30 C that night.

"Our extreme weather response is meant to keep people safe and warm, which is why it was frustrating to see a video showing folks being removed from an LRT station, without being directed to City supports and partner agencies who could be of help," tweeted Mayor Don Iveson following the incident.

Video screenshot courtesy of Bear Clan Patrol Edmonton on Facebook

Listen to audio

Coming up this week


By Emily Rendell-Watson Emily Rendell-Watson

Thanks to Passports and Pigtails for sharing their photo with us!

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Quiz time: Theatre

Sponsored

Test your knowledge with this daily quiz, brought to you by SkirtsAfire:

Which Edmonton theatre company did Makings of a Voice director Vanessa Sabourin co-found?

  1. Azimuth Theatre
  2. Catalyst Theatre
  3. The Maggie Tree
  4. Teatro La Quindicina
  5. Tiny Bear Jaws

See Tuesday's issue of The Pulse for the answer.

The answer to the Feb. 19 quiz was a — Covid Collections will be streamed online from March 4 to 31.

SkirtsAfire is Edmonton’s only theatre and multidisciplinary arts organization featuring women-identifying and non-binary artists. It’s happening online and outdoors March 4 to 14 — see what's on.

Photo supplied by SkirtsAfire

Learn more