The Pulse: April 30, 2021

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

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Essentials

  • 19°C: Clearing in the morning. High 19. (forecast)
  • 3-1: The Oilers (29-17-2) lost to the Flames (22-24-3). (details)
  • 21,385: There are now 21,385 active cases of COVID-19 in Alberta, with variants of concern accounting for 62% of all active cases. (details)

'It has to work for everyone': Edmontonians call for more inclusive city planning

'It has to work for everyone': Edmontonians call for more inclusive city planning


By Jackson Spring Jackson Spring

Edmonton residents want the city's planning and infrastructure to accommodate everyone — regardless of income, housing status, or how they choose to get around.

That's what Taproot heard in the final People's Agenda listening session on April 29, which saw more than 20 people participate in a discussion about public infrastructure.

The event was prompted by Taproot’s People's Agenda, a document that’s being compiled based on the responses to this question: What key issue do you want the candidates to talk about as they compete for votes in the 2021 municipal election, and why?

Vivian Manasc, the event's featured speaker, said that good city planning is inclusive of all residents.

"A healthy city has space for many different ideas," she said. "It has to work for everyone."

Manasc is an author, former president of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, and the senior principal and architect at Reimagine (formerly Manasc Isaac), a company she co-founded in 1997. In 2018, she earned a lifetime achievement award from the Canada Green Building Council for her contributions to eco-friendly building design.

Those who attended the listening session broadly agreed that city councillors should be as inclusive as possible when it comes to building Edmonton. To this end, they said the next city council should make the city more walkable, implement more infrastructure for houseless residents, and involve the community more in the planning of big infrastructure projects.

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Headlines


By Michelle Ferguson Michelle Ferguson

  • The City of Edmonton is once again increasing security at transit stations. Starting in May, additional police and transit officers will conduct proactive patrols, it said in a news release. Last weekend, an international student was stabbed after getting off the train at the University LRT Station.
  • Edmonton police chief Dale McFee said on April 29 that the attack on an eighth-grade boy outside Rosslyn School on April 16 "does not currently meet the Criminal Code threshold for a hate-motivated crime." A GoFundMe has raised more than $40,000 to help the victim identified as Pazo and his family with legal and long-term psychological needs.
  • A decision by city council last fall to terminate the city's helicopter control program could lead to an increase in mosquitoes of up to 40% in some areas. Luckily, a dry winter and spring means there will be fewer mosquitoes this season.
  • The province has released its 10-year plan for advanced education, described as "the most significant adult learning initiative Alberta has undertaken in more than 15 years." University of Alberta professors criticized the plan, while president Bill Flanagan praised it.
  • Starting April 30, another 650,000 Albertans eligible under Phase 2C and 2D of the vaccine rollout plan, including police, firefighters, corrections officers, and anyone over the age of 50 can book appointments. Nearly 1.5 million doses have been administered in Alberta, as of April 27.
  • The province introduced targeted restrictions for most major cities, including Edmonton. Gyms and indoor sports have been shut down and all junior and high schools will switch to online learning starting Monday. The restrictions will be in effect for at least two weeks.
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Edmonton on track for economic rebound

Edmonton on track for economic rebound


By Paul Cashman Paul Cashman in the Business Roundup

Edmonton is on track to rebound this year from one of the steepest economic plunges among Canada’s big cities as analysts express relief that Alberta has avoided mass bankruptcies and other long-term impacts from COVID-19.

The Conference Board of Canada expects Edmonton’s GDP to grow 6.3% in 2021 after recording a 7.2% drop last year, YYC Business reported.

“As infections subside, vaccines are distributed, and economic activity intensifies, the city’s economic growth is expected to continue into next year, with a 5.4 % expansion set for 2022,” the board said in its latest report.

The Business Council of Alberta had earlier raised concerns about widespread business failures, permanent shifts in consumer behaviour, and labour force scarring.

“However, there is good news: thanks to unprecedented levels of government support and the resiliency of Albertans, this has not come to fruition,” its latest quarterly snapshot said.

The group representing more than 100 Alberta chief executives sees signs of optimism in low consumer and business bankruptcies, more businesses opening or reopening than closing, and plans by business leaders to hire more workers and invest more in the coming year.

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Social media, handle with care

Misleading or helpful: Should city councillors use branded graphics on social media?


By Mack Male Mack Male

Most votes at city council are procedural and can seem mundane, but there are some decisions that city councillors seem to want to share more widely. In the era of social media, doing so has never been easier.

Decisions that are broadcast on platforms like Twitter and Facebook are often shared in a visual way, reflecting the way social media as a whole has evolved. Increasingly though, city councillors are putting their own branding on the visuals they share. Four city councillors spoke to Taproot about their approach.

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City Nestmaking's cover art, featuring a drawing of tall buildings nestled among the sticks of a nest

Podcast pick: City Nestmaking


By Karen Unland Karen Unland

City Nestmaking was launched by Edmonton-based planner Beth Sanders in February to ask "Who do our cities need to be to serve us well?" and "Who do we need to be to serve our cities well?"

Sometimes she addresses these questions in conversation with citizens such as Soni Dasmohapotra or Jason Syvixay or Dustin Bajer. And sometimes the episodes feature her alone, addressing themes arising from a lifetime of experience, as in Episode 13: Eight Ways I Engage in City Life.

The podcast is a way to "navigate the complexity of city life, so we can better hear each other and make better cities for ourselves as a result," Sanders writes.

It also allows her to introduce and expand upon the ideas in her book, Nest City: How Citizens Serve Cities and Cities Serve Citizens. It has been shortlisted for the Robert Kroetsch City of Edmonton Book Prize alongside Like Run-Drunk Angels by Tyler Enfield and Taken by the Muse: On the Path to Becoming a Filmmaker by Anne Wheeler. Watch for that award to be announced this spring.

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A box of cinnamon buns drizzled in icing

Quiz time: Baking

Sponsored

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

What does the TYP in TYP TOP Bakery stand for?

  1. That's Yummy, People!
  2. Treat Your Parents
  3. Trinity Youth Project
  4. True You Phood
  5. Tasty Yeasty Pastry

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

The answer to the April 29 quiz was d — People's Agenda listening session facilitator Chris Chang-Yen Phillips works for CJSR.

What do you want the candidates to be talking about as they compete for your vote? Add your voice to the People's Agenda.

Photo by Sharon Yeo

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