The Pulse: May 11, 2021

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

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  • 18°C: A mix of sun and cloud. 60% chance of showers in the afternoon with risk of a thunderstorm. High 18. (forecast)
  • 4-3: The Oilers (34-18-2) snag an overtime victory against the Canadiens (24-21-10). (details)
  • 148,199: On Monday, 148,199 Albertans booked vaccine appointments, as the province expanded eligibility to those aged 12 and up. (details)

2S Water CEO Anthea Sargeaunt

2S Water wins cleantech pitch competition

By Emily Rendell-Watson in the Tech Roundup

2S Water, a company researching and developing sensors that detect metals in water, won the Momentum Technology Pitch Competition on May 7.

"There were so many excellent pitches at this event, it is truly a great feeling that we won," CEO Anthea Sargeaunt told Taproot. She said the company was awarded $10,000 in cash plus $20,000 in services from NuBinary, which it plans to leverage for faster deployment and growth, including making more products available.

Sargeaunt said this is a significant win for 2S Water because it is in the midst of an angel raise.

"This competition and our win have brought new investors to the table, and will help us complete our round faster," she said. "A win from an Edmonton company at an event like this, where companies from coast to coast were competing, is real validation of the amazing companies coming out of Edmonton’s startup ecosystem. Hopefully, it brings more eyes and more investment interest to our city."

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By Michelle Ferguson

  • As Don Iveson steps down in the fall, there is room for "a more conservative, no nonsense mayor" in Edmonton, the National Post reports.
  • The decision to re-route a major sewage line from south Edmonton to the Gold Bar Wastewater Treatment Plant was put on hold after community pushback, reports the CBC. The Gold Bar Park Alliance has been challenging the decision since 2017, over concerns that the increased sewer activity would "compromise the recreational use of the parkland."
  • The future of Edmonton's Chinatown is uncertain, as the area continues to grapple with safety issues, a large homeless population, and the effects of the pandemic. A report presented by the Chinatown Transformation Collaborative Society of Edmonton to city council on May 10 said community events meant to rejuvenate the area were stalled due to the pandemic and that Chinatown has "failed to keep up with the city's growth."
  • Edmonton Police Services launched a new campaign, called Know Your Rights, on May 10, to help Edmontonians know what their rights are when interacting with police officers.
  • A training camp to prepare the Canadian women's basketball team for the Tokyo Olympics is in limbo. The training camp was scheduled to begin May 19 in Edmonton, but is currently being reviewed by Alberta Health Services.
Northern Chicken co-owner Andrew Cowan

'A small incentive': Northern Chicken offers discount with proof of vaccination

By Sharon Yeo in the Food Roundup

Local businesses have begun offering incentives to encourage Edmontonians to get the COVID-19 vaccine including Glass Bookshop, which is offering 10% off for a “celebratory vaccine order”, and Fleisch, which is accepting vaccine selfies as entries for a chance to win a $100 gift card.

On May 7, Northern Chicken jumped into the fray, offering 5% off meals with proof, valid on the day of the vaccination. Co-owner Andrew Cowan credits his partner Matt Phillips with the idea.

“It’s a small incentive to get people to get vaccinated,” said Cowan. “We talked about it, and it fits with who we are and what we do.”

Northern Chicken was an early adopter of voluntarily shifting to a take-out and delivery-only model in November, prior to provincial restrictions limiting in-person dining introduced in early December. Even when indoor dining restrictions lifted in February, Northern Chicken chose to remain closed to in-person dining, citing a need to minimize risk to their staff.

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Chart of the week: Dry start to wildfire season

Chart of the week: Dry start to wildfire season

By Jackson Spring

Most of the Edmonton region is subject to fire advisories or restrictions, as experts say a very dry spring has left the area susceptible to wildfires.

"We're seeing extreme conditions with a lot of the grass, the finer fuels, the small shrubs, things like this. They haven't got a lot of moisture in them," Parkland County fire chief Brian Cornforth told Global News.

This chart shows how much precipitation Edmonton received so far this year, compared to monthly averages calculated using data compiled by Environment Canada from the Edmonton Blatchford weather station.

In March, the start of Alberta's wildfire season, Edmonton received only a fraction of its average precipitation. April's numbers were similarly low, with only 5 millimeters compared to an average of 24 millimeters.

As a result of dry conditions across the region, Edmonton, Leduc, Leduc County, Sturgeon County, and Bon Accord have instituted fire restrictions, which means campfires are prohibited on public lands, and the municipalities will not issue new permits for backyard fire pits. Beaumont, Devon, and Fort Saskatchewan have issued fire advisories, which are intended to inform residents about the wildfire danger but don't come with any rules or restrictions.

Parkland County temporarily banned all outdoor fires in mid-April and a wildfire subsequently spread across the county, leading to an evacuation order being issued May 7. The order was lifted May 8, as the wildfire slowed down "with help from some much-needed overnight precipitation," said an update from Parkland County. The county does not currently have a fire restriction or advisory in place.

In a turn of events, the rainfall last weekend has left May on track to surpass its average amount. As of May 10, Edmonton had received 26.9 millimeters, more than half of the monthly average of 44 millimeters.

Adam Laughlin

Speaking Municipally: Episode 128

By Mack Male

In Episode 128 of Speaking Municipally, co-hosts Troy Pavlek and Mack Male spoke with Adam Laughlin, deputy city manager of integrated infrastructure services at the City of Edmonton.

Laughlin, who served as interim city manager from Linda Cochrane's retirement in December 2019 until Andre Corbould was hired in January 2021, was asked what advice he would give to candidates running for council in the upcoming municipal election.

"First off, embrace the City Plan. It's a plan that Edmontonians provided input on," he said. "The other piece of advice I would give them is just trust the advice of (city) administration."

Other topics covered in the episode include the 2021 construction season, which features 268 projects worth about $1 billion, and whether or not the Valley Line Southeast LRT will open this year.

Photo: Adam Laughlin on May 4, 2021, at the construction season kickoff event. (City of Edmonton)

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A picture of the Wall Street sign on a New York corner

Quiz time: Business


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

In what Edmonton neighbourhood did Greg Abel, Warren Buffett's named successor at Berkshire Hathaway, grow up?

  1. Bonnie Doon
  2. Glenora
  3. Highlands
  4. Mill Woods
  5. Westmount

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

The answer to the May 10 quiz was d — 268 capital projects are underway in Edmonton as construction season begins.

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 Sophie Backes on Unsplash

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