The Pulse: March 31, 2021

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

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Essentials

  • 13°C: A mix of sun and cloud. Wind becoming west 20 km/h gusting to 40 in the afternoon. High 13. (forecast)
  • 4-0: The Oilers (22-14-1) were shutout by the Canadiens (15-8-9). (details)
  • 301: There are 301 people in hospital in Alberta due to COVID-19, including 58 in intensive care. (details)

New funds announced to expand two highways, improve 'huge congestion points'

New funds announced to expand two highways, improve 'huge congestion points'


By Jackson Spring Jackson Spring in the Regional Roundup

Two highway improvement projects in the Edmonton region are getting a boost, following an announcement that the federal and provincial governments are investing more than $180 million between them.

The federal government announced on March 29 that it is contributing more than $73 million, while the Alberta government is contributing more than $114 million to double the lanes on Highway 19 near Devon and Beaumont and on Highway 15 connecting Edmonton and Fort Saskatchewan.

The projects will aim to ease congestion, reducing traffic accidents and smoothing the trade network by allowing more volumes of commercial and industrial traffic through the two significant trade corridors.

"Improvements to these two highways will enhance road safety, help manage traffic volume, and reduce travel times for travellers and freight transporters," said Larry Bagnell, secretary to the federal minister of economic development.

Malcolm Bruce, CEO of Edmonton Global, said Highways 15 and 19 are critical to the region's economic development, since they connect areas that are already rapidly growing.

"There is exponential growth that is occurring in the southwest," Bruce said, pointing to the recently opened Amazon fulfillment centre in Leduc County, commercial and light industrial development around the Edmonton International Airport, and residential growth in the southernmost portions of Edmonton. "(Highway 19) directly connects Devon and Beaumont to those opportunities."

Meanwhile, Highway 15 is important for the transportation of goods into the Edmonton region that are produced in the industrial heartland to the northeast.

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Headlines


By Emily Rendell-Watson Emily Rendell-Watson

  • Variant cases of COVID-19 now make up just under 30% of the province's total active cases. That's 10.7% higher than two weeks ago, reports CTV News.
  • "Internal Alberta Agriculture documents show the UCP government and health officials prioritized the continued operation of the Cargill meat-packing plant over worker safety even as infection rates skyrocketed," reports CBC News in an exclusive investigation.
  • In a little less than a month, the city will launch its redesigned bus network. Some Edmontonians are worried the changes will negatively impact their access to convenient and fast transit.
  • City councillor Ben Henderson has announced he will not run again in the next municipal election this fall. "After fourteen years I feel it is time to step aside and make room for new energy on council," he wrote in a website post on March 30.
  • CTV wrote about the Edmonton Urban Coyote Program and how it has made a difference when it comes to city safety.
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Health innovators say collaboration is key to attract global investments

Health innovators say collaboration is key to attract global investments


By Hiba Kamal-Choufi Hiba Kamal-Choufi in the Health Innovation Roundup

Alberta-based health innovators say building partnerships between post-secondary institutions in the province is integral to growing the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries and attracting global investments. 

"There's a lot of collaboration that goes on between Edmonton and Calgary in the research areas, so our competition is the world," University of Alberta's Li Ka Shing Institute of Virology founding director Dr. Lorne Tyrrell explained during an online panel discussion hosted by Edmonton Global on March 29.

Nobel Prize winner Dr. Michael Houghton, who is currently the director of the Li Ka Shing Virology Institute, said the University of Calgary and the University of Alberta have teamed up to take on a number of research projects.

"One of them has been with the computational science department. We've come up with the algorithmic models to predict drug cardiotoxicity, also in hepatology," said Dr. Houghton.

He also noted that Alberta's research and talent infrastructure are key to attracting global investments.

“I am convinced that Alberta will succeed in the biotech industry," said Houghton. "I think we are at a perfect time for investors to look us over — (it’s a) great time for personal investors, organizational investors, and also pharmaceutical companies to come here.”

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Quiz time: Issues

Quiz time: Issues

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Test your knowledge with this daily quiz, brought to you by the People's Agenda project:

What is the topic of the April 1 People's Agenda listening session?

  1. Finances
  2. Quality of life
  3. Integrity in municipal politics
  4. Transportation
  5. Policing

See Thursday's issue of The Pulse for the answer. Or just sign up for the session and find out!

The answer to the March 30 quiz was d — Jobber announced a $100,000 grant program for home services businesses.

Taproot wants to know what key issue you want the candidates to talk about as they compete for votes in the 2021 municipal election, and why. Add your voice to the People's Agenda.

Photo by Marco Verch

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