The Pulse: April 6, 2021

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

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Essentials

  • 12°C: A mix of sun and cloud. 30 percent chance of showers late in the afternoon. High 12. (forecast)
  • 3-2: The Oilers (23-14-2) lost to the Canadiens in overtime (17-9-9). (details)
  • 9.9%: The provincial positivity rate has increased to 9.9%, the fourth-highest recorded to date. (details)

More hospitality businesses voluntarily close to indoor dining

More hospitality businesses voluntarily close to indoor dining


By Sharon Yeo Sharon Yeo in the Food Roundup

With cases of COVID-19 rising in Alberta, some local hospitality businesses are voluntarily and proactively closing indoor dining, mirroring the shift that took place back in November before the provincial government mandated in-person dining restrictions in December.

Some in the medical community continue to advocate for a return of restrictions. In an open letter to the Premier dated April 1, the Edmonton Zone Medical Staff Association recommended an immediate lockdown or circuit breaker, “advising people to only leave their homes for essential services or outdoor exercise.”

In an interview with Global Edmonton, University of Alberta infectious diseases expert Dr. Lynora Saxinger expressed her concern about “places where, for example, people have to unmask to eat like in restaurants, food services and things like that.”

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Headlines


By Emily Rendell-Watson Emily Rendell-Watson and Mack Male Mack Male

  • Edmonton doctors are asking the province to implement another lockdown, as COVID-19 cases and variants are on the rise. "EZMSA said that while a lockdown has significant impacts on businesses and individuals, the group predicts that hospitals and ICUs in the province will be overwhelmed before the end of April should no new measures be put in place," reports CTV News.
  • An outbreak of the P.1 variant first identified in Brazil occurred at PTW Energy Services at the Drayton Valley, Edson and Hinton offices, reports Postmedia.
  • City police saw a 17% drop in crime in 2020, but violent crimes appear to be higher than before. Postmedia broke down the police data and its effects on Edmonton.
  • "After a drop in sales in last spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Edmonton's real estate market continues to improve through the start of 2021 in a seller's market stronger than the city has seen in years," reports CBC News.
  • Ward 12 councillor Moe Banga has announced he will seek re-election in the upcoming municipal election in Ward Sspomitapi.
  • An Edmonton student has created a Black Parent Resource Guide, a 24-page PDF document "that lists services to help improve Black children's well-being in Alberta, including health, cultural supports, Black-led service providers and extracurricular activities."
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Coming up at council: April 6-9, 2021

Coming up at council: April 6-9, 2021


By Mack Male Mack Male

Here are some of the notable agenda items coming before city council for the week of April 6-9:

  • The Community Safety and Well-Being Task Force, formed last fall after public hearings on racism in policing, has released its report containing 14 recommendations intended to "help make Edmonton safer for everyone." The task force recommends freezing the current level of funding to the Edmonton Police Service (EPS) "until alignment with comparable cities is achieved" and suggests that the money, estimated at $260 million over the next five years, be "refunded and invested in the community to make certain health and social services available on a 24/7 basis." The report says that in recent years the funding formula for EPS "has been completed divorced from expectations" and that "EPS has enjoyed the privilege of receiving the money no matter what."
  • An update on the Traffic Safety Automated Enforcement Reserve projects a deficit by the end of 2022 due to "a number of changing realities" including "a continuing decline in automated enforcement violations."
  • The Alberta Aviation Museum is looking to rezone Hangar 14 to allow for signage which is prohibited under the current zoning approved in 1984. No other redevelopment of the historic building is proposed.
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Alberta Innovates requests proposals to develop business and tech accelerators

Alberta Innovates requests proposals to develop business and tech accelerators


By Emily Rendell-Watson Emily Rendell-Watson in the Tech Roundup

Alberta Innovates has put out a call for proposals with the aim to develop new business and technology accelerators in the province.

In a press release on March 31, the organization said it wants to "vault Alberta’s promising start-ups and small and medium technology companies through scaleup and growth faster." With that goal in mind, it will invest up to $25 million for a three-year contract for three or more accelerators and will consider either private or not-for-profit acceleration models.

“Our goal is to make Alberta a hub for high growth entrepreneurial businesses and recognized as an attractive place for technology investment. We want to help companies scale – not just to become $5-million or $10-million companies – we want to see companies get to $100 million or more," said Laura Kilcrease, CEO of Alberta Innovates.

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Share your thoughts about police funding on April 8

Share your thoughts about police funding on April 8


By Karen Unland Karen Unland

Will we spend less on police? That's the question we'll be exploring April 8 at the next listening session for our People's Agenda project.

Join us at noon for another discussion to uncover what is important to you as we head towards the municipal election on Oct. 18. Please register here to attend.

The topic reflects the synthesis of a number of responses to our People's Agenda question related to policing. Some of those we have heard from want to know whether candidates will be willing to defund or decrease funding for the police. Most who prioritized this item want to redirect some or all of the police budget to social services and community support; a few said it was important to maintain police funding, and we have heard from people who feel that not enough is being done to reduce crime, and wonder how it is possible to address that without bolstering the police budget.

Host Chris Chang-Yen Phillips will discuss the topic with Rob Houle, a member of the Community Safety & Well-Being Task Force that recently made 14 recommendations to city council regarding anti-racist actions that should be taken to address community safety and well-being in the city. Then we'll head into discussion groups where participants can share their thoughts on the matter.

If you can't make it, we will recap it on Friday, as we did last week on the question Will we be able to move around the city easily?

We'll be holding listening sessions every Thursday throughout April:

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Chart of the week: Slow greenhouse gas decline

Chart of the week: Slow greenhouse gas decline


By Jackson Spring Jackson Spring

The City of Edmonton wants to align its greenhouse gas emissions with the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 C outlined by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2018. This would require cutting emissions in half by 2030, relative to 2005.

As part of the overall effort to reduce the city's carbon footprint, administration implemented a Community Energy Transition Strategy in 2015, which includes investments into green infrastructure like electric buses and district energy sharing systems, expanding Edmonton's local electricity production, and rebates for residents who install more energy efficient home retrofits like windows, furnaces, and insulation.

This chart shows Edmonton's community greenhouse gas emissions per year, using City of Edmonton data. Community emissions include those created by private citizens and businesses: heating and electricity, burning fuel for transportation, and those related to manufacturing and industrial processes. They exclude city operations emissions: fuel for public transportation, heating city-owned buildings, etc. — which account for about 1.8% of the total. The city started collecting yearly data in 2014, which is why some points are missing from earlier years.

Emissions rose considerably between 2005 and 2016, but have gone down in the years since the Energy Transition Strategy was implemented. Change for Climate Edmonton credits more energy efficient building standards in the transition strategy, as well as the provincial government's transition towards less carbon-intensive sources of electricity as the main two reasons for emissions being lower in 2019.

However, though 2019 is the lowest point in the 14-year range, emissions only decreased by 5.6% relative to 2005 while the target is 50% by 2035. A recent report from administration says the city will miss the 1.5 C target if it follows the current trajectory.

This is the main reason city council asked administration to revise the Energy Transition Strategy. The revision was published March 26, and includes a more aggressive expansion of local electricity generation that would rely less on coal and renewable gas and more on geothermal fields and solar power than the provincial grid, quicker development of district energy sharing systems, city planning initiatives encouraging density and mass transit to complement those in the City Plan, and many other tactics.

Council's executive committee will discuss the revised strategy on April 12.

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Quiz time: Festivals

Quiz time: Festivals

Sponsored

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

Which festival has extended its (Very Short) Short Film Festival?

  1. Play the Fool
  2. NorthwestFest
  3. SkirtsAfire
  4. Edmonton International Film Festival
  5. Rainbow Visions Film Festival

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

The answer to the April 2 quiz was b — Leduc is home to the Agrivalue Processing Business Incubator, which just received a $24-million investment from the province.

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 from Opéra dans mon salon

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