The Pulse: April 27, 2021

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

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  • 8°C: Sunny. Becoming a mix of sun and cloud in the afternoon. Wind up to 15 km/h. High 8. Wind chill minus 7 in the morning. (forecast)
  • 6-1: The Oilers (28-16-2) trounced the Jets (27-18-3). Connor McDavid recorded his ninth career regular season hat-trick. (details)

Catherine Warren

Building Innovate Edmonton: The first four months

CEO Catherine Warren reviews the work that's been done and what's to come

By Emily Rendell-Watson

Since Catherine Warren took the helm as CEO of Innovate Edmonton last December, she's been working to establish the organization as a leading voice for the local innovation community, and on a broader scale position Edmonton as a preeminent innovation city that can tackle global challenges.

Warren has been busy getting everything up and running over the past four and a half months, and she said Innovate Edmonton is still "very much in startup mode," which means establishing funding, plus working on legal, banking, hiring, governance planning — even getting IT set up.

"I would say that the additional challenge for us is we're also expected to meet innovators while we're doing that," she explained. "So it's sort of like building a house in an earthquake zone."

Innovate Edmonton is a not-for-profit corporation formed with city council's approval last May, with a mandate to make innovation a major economic driver in Edmonton. As of 2021, the organization has a budget of $5 million per year, redirected from the former Edmonton Economic Development Corporation.

In the first quarter of this year, Warren met with hundreds of business and community leaders and investors.

"My intentions have been to draw people out on their innovation expertise, their needs for support, and their hope for what Innovate Edmonton can contribute," said Warren, who is the former CEO of the Vancouver Economic Commission.

That work has helped shape a vision for the future of Edmonton's innovation sector, including plans to improve startup and scale-up supports such as access to capital, mentorship, makerspaces, and activities that will help entrepreneurs build their networks and reach international markets. Near the top of Warren's list is preparing to launch an open research library in partnership with Edmonton Global, which will help build a comprehensive list of innovation, investment, talent, assets and needs for the region.

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By Emily Rendell-Watson

  • The first couple of days of the bus network redesign launch caused confusion for some Edmontonians. Postmedia summed up some of the concerns in an article on April 26, one day after the new system went into service.
  • The president of Edmonton’s police union demanded an apology after Mayor Don Iveson spoke out against "police-guided tours of the city’s emergency homeless shelter." The mayor stood by his comments after Edmonton Police Association president Michael Elliott said Iveson "misstated facts."
  • Sports associations are exploring the option of turning part of the Edmonton Expo Centre "into a facility that can meet the city’s sporting demands even in the midst of a pandemic." Athletics Alberta, Alberta Basketball Association and the Volleyball Alberta Association are working with Explore Edmonton to develop a business case.
  • "As of May 10, a new public health order will increase the number of designated support persons from two to four people (at long-term and continuing care facilities) and will allow facilities to have small indoor and larger outdoor visitations," reports the Edmonton Journal.
  • Edmonton's COVID-19 case numbers are rising, and are around where they were at the beginning of December, according to the Edmonton Zone Medical Staff Association Pandemic Response Committee.
  • Stanley A. Milner passed away last week at the age of 91. “From his work as a member of city council, to his leadership roles with numerous civic institutions, Stanley Milner helped shape Edmonton into the uplifting and enterprising city we enjoy today,” said Mayor Don Iveson in a news release.
TYP TOP Bakery

TYP TOP Bakery is a sweet social enterprise

By Sharon Yeo in the Food Roundup

Running a business in the pandemic is not for the faint of heart, let alone operating a social enterprise that relies on sales to provide participants with connection and meaningful employment.

Clark Hardy, founder and director of the Trinity Youth Project, has had a whirlwind few years doing just that. He started the project as an art-based program while working as a high-risk youth worker. However, in 2019, after being hired on full-time by the Anglican Diocese, he introduced a small baking program as a way of providing employment opportunities for vulnerable youth in Edmonton.

“With the pandemic hitting in early 2020, we had to put our art program on hold,” Hardy told Taproot. “But because the bakery was considered an essential service, we were able to continue to grow that.”

The bakery was rebranded as TYP (Trinity Youth Project) TOP Bakery. Since being established, about 60 youth have been involved. TYP TOP works closely with the employment program at the Youth Empowerment Support Services and has helped a few youth work towards long-term careers in the food industry.

“In addition to our employment stream, we also take on youth looking to complete volunteer hours, sometimes as part of a restorative justice agreement, or probation conditions,” said Hardy. “This allows us to build further connections with more youth, and opens up the door for them to work with us as positions become available.”

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Chart of the week: Where do Edmonton's emissions come from?

Chart of the week: Where do Edmonton's emissions come from?

By Jackson Spring

Edmonton has the highest per capita emissions of any municipality in Canada, according to the University of Alberta.

The city emitted the equivalent of 18 tonnes of carbon dioxide per person in 2020. In comparison, Calgary emitted 14 tonnes, and Vancouver emitted six tonnes in 2019.

This chart shows where all of the greenhouse gases are coming from. The plurality comes from transportation, mainly from burning fossil fuels for vehicles, closely followed by the industrial sector, which includes everything from greenhouse gas waste from manufacturing processes, to electricity for industrial buildings. "Other" emissions include those from agriculture, landfills, and sewage.

Electricity generation as a whole accounts for more of the city's emissions than burning fuel for cars, but this is divided between the residential, commercial, and industrial sectors. A paper published by Stantec in 2019 said that electricity accounts for 43% of the city's emissions, mainly due to the fact that Alberta's electricity grid is almost entirely sourced by coal and natural gas — the two most carbon-intensive emitters. The other main source of emissions in these sectors is natural gas burned for heat.

If the City of Edmonton wants to meet its goal of cutting emissions to 3.2 tonnes per person by 2030, and going completely carbon neutral by 2050, it needs to focus on greener electricity and greener transportation.

For transportation, the city's plan to meet its emissions targets was approved by city council on April 21 and includes an expansion of the LRT network, more electric buses, and more infrastructure for personal electric vehicles. While the city's research indicates more mass transportation would significantly lower emissions both directly from per capita fuel consumption, and indirectly by encouraging more density, the impact of electric vehicle usage on its own is diminished because of Alberta's carbon-intensive electricity grid.

However, much of the plan is focused on electricity generation as well. It includes expanding local geothermal and solar power generation, more imports of electricity from less carbon-intensive areas of the country, and city-wide district energy sharing systems, which reduce wasted energy by reusing excess heat.

As part of the plan, the City of Edmonton will also be scaling-up incentives for private citizens and businesses to outfit buildings with solar panels, energy efficient heating systems, and greener building materials.

The plan estimates 28% of the city's total emissions reductions will come from changes to transportation and density, while 36% will come from changes to electricity. Most of the rest will come from energy efficient buildings, carbon capture and offsets.

This chart is part of Taproot's contribution to Covering Climate Now, a global journalism initiative committee to more and better coverage of the defining story of our time.

Speaking Municipally: Episode 126

Speaking Municipally: Episode 126

By Mack Male

In Episode 126 of Speaking Municipally, co-hosts Troy Pavlek and Mack Male discussed the letters being sent back and forth regarding unscheduled "tours" of the Tipinawâw shelter at the Edmonton Convention Centre.

In a letter sent to the Edmonton Police Commission, Mayor Don Iveson stated he had "serious concerns" about the visits. "Tipinawâw cannot become a place where vulnerable people feel unsafe because of surprise inspections by political entourages escorted by armed EPS members in uniform," he wrote.

In response, councillors Sarah Hamilton and Tim Cartmell (who are members of the Edmonton Police Commission) wrote that the mayor's statements are "not accurate" and that his "mis-characterization of these visits are a personal attack on the motivation and integrity of individual councillors."

In the episode, Pavlek points out that in the thick of it all is Councillor Mike Nickel, who shared the letter from Hamilton and Cartmell on Twitter, adding "it’s an absolute bullseye."

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Promotional image for People's Agenda listening session on city-building and infrastructure

Quiz time: Innovators


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

Which member of SHEInnovates Alberta will be speaking at this week's People's Agenda listening session?

  1. Jacquelyn Cardinal
  2. Salima Ebrahim
  3. Kendra Kincade
  4. Bernie Kollman
  5. Vivian Manasc

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

The answer to the April 26 quiz was b — alumni of The Gateway from about 20 years ago reconvened to write and publish Midlife.

The next People's Agenda listening session will be on the topic of infrastructure and city-building. Join us online at noon on April 29.

Learn more