The Pulse: April 7, 2021

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

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  • 14°C: A mix of sun and cloud. Becoming cloudy in the afternoon with 30% chance of showers late in the afternoon. Wind southwest 20 km/h becoming north 20 late in the afternoon. High 14. (forecast)
  • 3pm: The Oilers (23-14-2) will play the Senators (13-22-4). (details)
  • 328: There are 328 people in hospital in Alberta due to COVID-19, including 76 in intensive care. (details)

Council approves recommended police reforms, puts funding decisions on hold

Council approves recommended police reforms, puts funding decisions on hold

By Jackson Spring Jackson Spring

The City of Edmonton and the Edmonton police commission will work together to implement 13 of the 14 recommendations to address discrimination in policing, outlined by the community safety and well-being task force.

Council voted on April 6 to move forward with "quickly actionable" items within 90 days, while a recommendation to freeze police funding will be further analyzed, and reconsidered in early 2022.

The task force was created by council in July 2020, in response to nationwide demonstrations against systemic racism, and a public hearing where dozens of community members expressed concerns with Edmonton’s police force. The task force aims to address racism, discrimination, and excessive use of force in the city's law enforcement agencies.

The task force’s recommendations include anti-racism training for officers, a temporary freeze on increases to the Edmonton Police Service budget, and re-directing the funds budgeted for those increases to other social services, such as social work agencies.

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By Emily Rendell-Watson Emily Rendell-Watson

  • Alberta is moving back to Step 1 of its reopening plan to try to slow the spread of highly contagious variants of the coronavirus, Premier Jason Kenney announced on April 6. Effective immediately, the government will reduce retail capacity to 15%, close libraries, and only allow one-on-one training for indoor fitness activities. At noon on April 9, restaurants must close indoor dining, but patios will remain open.
  • All Albertans in Phase 2B of the province's COVID-19 vaccine rollout plan will be eligible to book a vaccine appointment on April 7.
  • "Edmonton's Cross Cancer Institute has declared a COVID-19 outbreak on one of its units, closed the unit to new patient admissions, and put the entire facility on "watch" status," CBC News reported in an exclusive story. It is not yet known how many cases there are at the facility.
  • Councillor Jon Dziadyk wants the city's redesigned bus network to be put on hold and says "the public is not on board with this." The changes are set to begin on April 25.
  • Edmonton police were busy over the long weekend catching speeding motorists. Some were caught going 50km/h or more over speed limits.
  • The new Costco Business Centre in west Edmonton is now open, with products targeted towards restaurants and grocery stores looking to buy in bulk.
Council reduces funds to traffic safety programs by $2.6M over two years

Council reduces funds to traffic safety programs by $2.6M over two years

By Jackson Spring Jackson Spring

Facing projected losses of photo radar enforcement revenues, Edmonton city council has decided to reallocate and reduce funding for three traffic safety programs.

A report presented to council by city administration on April 6 estimates the city will bring in $20 million less than the previously budgeted estimates over the next two years from traffic safety automated enforcement. To close the gap, the report recommends reducing funding for programs in the Safe Mobility Strategy, which are funded by the traffic safety automated enforcement reserve, by $2.6 million.

The report said the projected loss of revenue is primarily due to a decision by the provincial government to reduce the share of traffic enforcement revenues that go to municipal governments.

Council voted unanimously to reduce funding for two traffic safety programs, and voted 12-1 to increase funding for one, with Coun. Mike Nickel voting against.

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Province provides $408M grant for Heartland Petrochemical Complex

Province provides $408M grant for Heartland Petrochemical Complex

By Stephen Cook Stephen Cook in the Regional Roundup

Calgary-based Inter Pipeline is getting $408 million from the province for its Heartland Petrochemical Complex as the first recipient of the Alberta Petrochemical Incentive program, which was announced last July.

The complex is a propane-to-polypropylene plastic facility and is expected to provide over 300 permanent positions. It has previously experienced construction delays but is expected to begin operations in early 2022.

The grant, spread out over three years once operational, will support the project located in Strathcona County with a price tag of $4 billion.

"The fact that the program has a structured and logical approach makes it very competitive with other jurisdictions in North America and also substantially enhances the economics for future petrochemical investments in Alberta," CEO Christian Bayle said in a news release.

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‘First of its kind’ home health monitoring to expand in central Alberta

‘First of its kind’ home health monitoring to expand in central Alberta

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

A remote health monitoring project is expanding to more rural areas in the province after two primary care networks (PCNs) successfully tested the technology in July 2020.

The project allows patients to upload, view, and keep track of daily health data results, such as temperature and blood pressure, and follow-up with clinicians from home.

The Alberta Central Zone PCN Home Health Monitoring Project is the “first of its kind” in the province — it aims to improve the care of patients living with chronic health conditions, as well as minimize the risk of exposure to COVID-19.

The current phase of the project includes an expansion to six additional central Alberta PCNs, with the goal of enrolling 500 patients over 20 months.

"The project works with health companies, agencies, and clinicians to improve care management for patients in a sustainable way," said Reg Joseph, CEO of Health City.

"Demonstrating the viability of home health monitoring in central Alberta could generate widespread adoption of the care model, leading to more affordable and efficient care for patients, and better health outcomes within the province while serving as a national model of care delivery for patients in rural areas.”

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Speaking Municipally: Episode 123

Speaking Municipally: Episode 123

By Mack Male Mack Male

In Episode 123 of Speaking Municipally, co-hosts Troy Pavlek and Mack Male interview councillor Ben Henderson about policing, poverty, his legacy, and what he's looking for in an ideal mayor.

Henderson announced on March 30 that he won't seek re-election in the upcoming municipal election.

"A whole bunch of our time is ombudsman work," Henderson said in explaining his rationale for stepping away. "There's a role that we play as councillors really helping out on those grassroots people problems, and they take a lot out of you."

"I'd prefer to see someone else come in who can get really pumped again about helping people with those little problems."

As for what he'll miss, Henderson mentioned his work on public engagement, poverty elimination, and winter city. "The bigger picture stuff is the stuff that I'm going to miss, the large thinking about how we build the next version of our city," he said.

Henderson shared his view on the two mayors he served with, Stephen Mandel and Don Iveson, and his thoughts about Edmonton's next mayor. "I think what you want is for someone to do what needs to be done next, not revisit what we did before."

"I'm hoping we get the next mayor that we need," he said. Henderson said he is keen to see his former colleague, Amarjeet Sohi, run for mayor.

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Quiz time: Policing

Quiz time: Policing


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

About how much money over five years did the Community Safety and Well-Being Task Force recommend shifting from the police budget to community supports and social services?

  1. $52 million
  2. $60 million
  3. $160 million
  4. $260 million
  5. $360 million

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

The answer to the April 6 quiz was a — the Play the Fool Festival extended the run of its short film festival, which we featured last week.

The next People's Agenda listening session will be on the topic of police funding. Join us online at noon on April 8.

Learn more