The Pulse: May 4, 2021

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

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  • 11°C: A few showers ending in the afternoon then a mix of sun and cloud with 30% chance of showers. High 11. (forecast)
  • 5-3: The Oilers (31-17-2) defeated the Canucks (19-24-3) to secure a spot in the playoffs. (details)

G2V Optics

G2V Optics raises $2.6M in growth capital

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

Smart lighting firm G2V Optics announced it has raised $2.6 million in growth funding, led by Accelerate Fund II which first invested in the company in November 2019. Other seed round investors including DJI Capital, ThresholdImpact, Bluesky Equities, and Ashif Mawji participated as well.

The company makes smart lights for researching sunlight applications, including solar cells, solar fuel and water splitting. Its high-tech lights are also used to help plants grow under natural conditions by simulating how geography changes sunlight.

"This funding is significant for G2V because it has really positioned us with a focus on growth coming out of 2020. I think that so many companies are still dealing with uncertainty - both locally and globally - from COVID-19 and we're incredibly fortunate to be in a position of strength to expand our business," said CEO Ryan Tucker.

"We also love the signals of support from our investors and funders like Western Diversification who've seen the impact that G2V's technology is having on the world stage and have doubled down on scaling with us."

G2V Optics will use the funding to expand its customer acquisition program and underlying operations, as well as build out a more robust customer success program which it says is "quite unique in our competitive space."

The company has raised more than $5 million since the beginning of 2019. It was also recently named as one of the recipients of up to $100,000 in funding through the Sustainable Development Technology Canada seed fund.

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By Michelle Ferguson Michelle Ferguson

  • Edmonton city council is moving forward with the second phase of its economic recovery plan with the approval of a new grant program. The Edmonton Economic Action Plan Grant will provide up to $25,000 to more than 80 projects "geared to helping businesses create jobs."
  • The city's aerial mosquito prevention program was reinstated, only days after its cancellation was announced. Edmonton city council eliminated the helicopter program during the fall budget to save around $1 million. Last week, the Edmonton Journal reported that, without the program, mosquito populations could increase by about 40% in some areas.
  • Edmonton Catholic Schools unanimously decided not to pilot the Alberta government's draft elementary school curriculum next year. The school board expressed concerns about content and timing, saying schools "aren't ready to test out something new" during the pandemic.
  • The trial of an Edmonton-area pastor charged with flouting COVID-19 rules began on May 3. GraceLife Church pastor, James Coates, was charged under the Public Health Act for leading in-person services without physical distancing or masking.
  • The University of Alberta continues to maintain strong research ties with China despite warnings from Canadian and U.S. intelligence agencies, reports The Globe and Mail. The university says it has "received no directives related to China” from the federal government.
  • Starting May 4, Alberta teachers, early childhood educators and school support staff can start booking vaccine appointments, as the province expands COVID-19 vaccine eligibility. All adults in Alberta should be offered the vaccine before June 30.
Sea Change Brewing at 40 Acres

Edmonton approves new places to enjoy alcoholic beverages outdoors

By Sharon Yeo Sharon Yeo in the Food Roundup

This summer, Edmontonians can look forward to enjoying a cold one at a local park or at the zoo.

On May 3, city council approved a pilot project permitting alcohol at 47 designated picnic sites in seven parks. Running May 28 to Oct. 11, certain sites in Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Whitemud, William Hawrelak, Government House, Victoria, Gold Bar, and Rundle Parks will allow alcohol. Sites include both bookable and “first-come, first-served” sites, and permit responsible alcohol consumption from 11am to 9pm daily.

A survey had been conducted earlier this year that found 71% of respondents were favourable to alcohol consumption in parks. Councillor Jon Dziadyk was among those in favour of the pilot.

“For a city of a million people with a short summer, but a beautiful summer, I think this is one way to get out and enjoy parks,” Dziadyk said.

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Chart of the week: Public libraries in the COVID-19 pandemic

Chart of the week: Public libraries in the COVID-19 pandemic

By Jackson Spring Jackson Spring

Edmonton Public Library (EPL) released its annual report for 2020 which shows that some of its services took a hit over the past year, while others flourished.

This chart visualizes the statistics included in the report, showing how much the use of various EPL services increased or decreased in 2020 compared to the previous year.

In-person visits and related services like borrowing physical media declined sharply, as did the number of memberships. The report primarily credits the COVID-19 pandemic for that difference.

The pandemic not only discouraged Edmontonians from gathering indoors, but libraries were shut down for several months beginning in March 2020. On April 6, 2021, the EPL closed again as the provincial government moved Alberta back to Step 1 of its reopening plan.

According to the report, most of the library's digital resources saw a spike in use. For example, users borrowed more than double the amount of eVideos than in 2019, and accessed online databases 70% more often.

The report notes EPL's exploration of "innovative ways to increase access to digital resources (and) maintain availability of physical materials," over the course of the pandemic.

Efforts to move educational classes online and generate new video content is said to be part of the reason for the increase in digital service use, while new contactless checkout and curbside pickup are credited with allowing customers to continue borrowing physical materials, indicating the drop in use could have been much worse.

People's Agenda

Speaking Municipally: Episode 127

By Mack Male Mack Male

In Episode 127 of Speaking Municipally, co-hosts Troy Pavlek and Mack Male were joined by Taproot co-founder Karen Unland to discuss the first round of People's Agenda listening sessions that wrapped up last week.

"It's been fascinating to hear what people have to say," Unland said. "Everybody is an expert in their own concerns. We heard from a bunch of real people who really care about their city."

Unland said the interconnectedness of issues was a key takeaway from the listening sessions. "That's something to think about as voters, because one-issue candidates don't serve their city well," she said.

Recaps of the listening sessions are available on Taproot's website, and you can still share your thoughts on what issues you want candidates to be talking about.

Unland also shared her thoughts on Taproot's feature looking at the use of branded posts from city councillors on social media.

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A late winter view of Edmonton's skyline

Quiz time: Growth


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

By how much does the Conference Board of Canada expect Edmonton's GDP to grow in 2021?

  1. 3.6%
  2. 4.5%
  3. 5.4%
  4. 6.3%
  5. 7.2%

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

The answer to the May 3 quiz was b — John Ullyatt was in rehearsal for Edmonton Opera's Candide when the pandemic shut down performances in March 2020.

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 HandsLive

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