The Pulse: April 12, 2021

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

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  • 3°C: A mix of sun and cloud. 30 percent chance of flurries in the morning and early in the afternoon. Fog patches dissipating in the morning. Wind up to 15 km/h. High plus 3. Wind chill minus 10 in the morning. (forecast)
  • 50.5: Variants of concern now make up 50.5% of all active cases of COVID-19 in Alberta. (details)

Edmonton economic system

Edmonton Economic Action Plan aims to create 121K jobs by 2030

By Mack Male

The Edmonton Economic Action Plan consists of 24 actions to coordinate and drive economic development over the next decade with a goal of creating 121,000 net new jobs in Edmonton by 2030, a target that the city says incorporates the impacts of COVID-19.

Edmonton is currently home to more than 34,000 businesses and the city's economy accounts for nearly 70% of the Edmonton regional economy, according to the report. Last year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and changes to the energy sector, Edmonton's regional economic output is estimated to have contracted by 5.9% with 62,200 fewer individuals employed. A full recovery to 2019 levels of output is not expected until 2022.

Administration says the challenge is "how to create the conditions for success in this new economy that demands agility and resilience."

The economic action plan, which will be discussed by city council's executive committee on April 12, "cascades" from the City Plan which is intended to help Edmonton prepare for two million people and 520,000 new jobs. Administration says the economic action plan was "built in partnership with 25 economic development partners" and "recognizes the importance of local economic development organizations who are already hard at work."

Actions in the plan include aligning relevant economic development activities and reporting metrics, making regulations and processes more efficient and streamlined, prioritizing local and equitable procurement, leveraging digital infrastructure like open data and the fibre optic network, encouraging low impact businesses in parks and public spaces, supporting emerging off-shoots of the energy sector, and expanding on existing relationships to support economic participation by Indigenous peoples, nations, and businesses in the region.

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By Emily Rendell-Watson

  • "As Edmonton's temporary shelters are closed after getting the city's homeless population through the winter, city council has approved $8.1 million along with a patchwork plan of new shelters and centres for the next six months," reports CBC News.
  • Premier Jason Kenney says the majority of the province's COVID-19 restrictions could be lifted in June, and that Alberta has the capacity to provide 400,000 to 500,000 doses of vaccines.
  • More than 30 domestic flights to and from Edmonton had potential COVID-19 exposures from March 28 through April, according to data analyzed by CTV News.
  • The Crown and Anchor Pub and Grill initially remained open despite current public health restrictions, but it closed over the weekend after receiving threats online and by phone.
  • Hundreds of people gathered outside GraceLife Church over the weekend to protest its closure by Alberta Health Services.
  • The University of Alberta's law program is facing a proposed 45% tuition increase, raising concerns among students about accessibility.
  • An unexpected snowstorm in Edmonton caused collisions and poor road conditions over the weekend, but the snow isn't expected to stick around.
  • The president of the Edmonton Police Association says a "city-appointed task force on policing and community safety has attacked the integrity of the Edmonton police."
Edmonton welcome sign

Coming up at council: April 12-16, 2021

By Mack Male

Here are some of the notable agenda items coming before city council for the week of April 12-16:

  • The Edmonton Place Brand Strategy 2021-2023 outlines eight strategies to educate people about "the many benefits of living, working, learning, and building or expanding a business in Edmonton." The report identifies Edmonton Global, Explore Edmonton, Innovate Edmonton, the Edmonton International Airport, and Edmonton's post-secondary institutions, among others, as key partners and stakeholders in the effort.
  • The revised Community Energy Transition Strategy will be discussed by executive committee, along with an action plan and the climate resilience policy. The new plan would be "the first time Edmonton has targets aligned with the Paris Agreement."
  • Improving the water quality of the lake at Hawrelak Park for activities "by the lake" and "on the lake" (but not "in the water") is projected to cost $2 million in capital costs and $100,000 per year for maintenance.
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Promotional image for People's Agenda listening session on housing

Share your thoughts about housing and homelessness on April 15

By Karen Unland

Will we house everyone? That's the question we'll be exploring on April 15 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 housing. We've heard from many people who want know what candidates will do to decrease or eradicate homelessness. Many see a need for more affordable housing and they see a direct connection between that and social justice. A few want a crackdown on homeless encampments.

Host Chris Chang-Yen Phillips will discuss the topic with a guest to put the question into context. Then we'll head into discussion groups where you can share your 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 spend less on police?".

We'll be holding listening sessions every Thursday throughout April, which you can sign up for now:

And for more on where we've been and where we're going with the People's Agenda, read our latest progress report.

Chart showing transit ridership in 2019 and 2020

Chart: Edmonton transit ridership fell 44.3% YoY in 2020

By Mack Male

The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in 38 million fewer transit trips in 2020 compared with 2019, a year-over-year decrease of 44.3%.

Edmonton transit reports ridership of 48,275,563 in 2020, down from 86,715,541 in 2019. Ridership fell to its lowest point in April 2020 with a 69.1% year-over-year decrease. May 2020 saw the fewest number of trips at 1.98 million.

The city says ridership is typically seasonal in Edmonton, with ridership highest between September and April when schools are in session and temperatures are colder.

Fare revenue in 2020 declined $66 million or 57% compared to 2019, though not all fare categories were affected equally. Sales of adult monthly passes declined 60.2% while sales of senior monthly passes declined just 27.1%. The city says this "indicates a level of reliance on transit for many of these riders." Fare collection was temporarily suspended between March 20, 2020 and June 15, 2020.

Historical ridership statistics are available on the ETS website.

Coming up this week

Coming up this week

By Emily Rendell-Watson

Thanks to Alex Liew for sharing his photo with us!

A spoonful of sugar

Quiz time: Food industry


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

What sugar substitute is manufactured by Edmonton's BioNeutra?

  1. Fiber Yum
  2. Lakanto
  3. Sukrin Fiber
  4. VitaFiber
  5. Yacon Syrup

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

The answer to the April 9 quiz was a — Alberta Innovates announced plans to invest up to $25 million in accelerators to help startups scale up.

The next People's Agenda listening session will be on the topic of housing. Join us online at noon on April 15

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon

Learn more