The Pulse: June 4, 2021

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

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Essentials

  • 25°C: Sunny early in the morning then a mix of sun and cloud with 60% chance of showers in the afternoon. Risk of a thunderstorm in the afternoon. High 25. (forecast)
  • Sept. 30: A statutory holiday to commemorate the tragic legacy of residential schools in Canada was swiftly created this week. (details)
  • 3,500: A course on Indigenous history offered by the University of Alberta saw a huge uptick in enrolment this week. (details)

A worker walks alongside a barrier widening a sidewalk along Whyte Avenue

Businesses look to next stage of relaunch plan


By Paul Cashman Paul Cashman in the Business Roundup

After struggling for more than a year with pandemic-inflicted restrictions, business owners are opening patios while looking ahead to an expected June 10 end of a ban on indoor dining and other public health orders.

Premier Jason Kenney is promising "bigger gatherings, indoor dining, gyms, movie theatres, and more" as long as COVID-19 hospitalizations don't rapidly rise.

There is still a long way to go before Edmontonians are comfortable venturing out, so organizations like the Old Strathcona Business Association are working to raise confidence levels. Expanded sidewalks along Whyte Avenue will welcome visitors as one way to deal with public concerns. "We saw crowding, which is something we (were) very, very concerned about last year. And we know that folks are still nervous about that," Cherie Klassen, executive director of the association, told 630 CHED Mornings with Daryl McIntyre.

The group is also reminding shoppers that masks are still required indoors and asking people to be understanding during the transition to the post-pandemic period. "The last year has not been easy, and there is still a lot to remember to do with masks, distancing and as business operations adjust, so the best thing we can all do is be patient with one another," the group urged in a web post.

A survey by Leger found that about half of Canadians were feeling at least somewhat anxious about going back to the way life was before the pandemic, the Edmonton Journal reported.

That anxiety is impacting Edmonton event planners as groups struggle to decide whether to go ahead with plans to host weddings, parties, and corporate events. "It is absolute chaos, talking to other vendors in the industry and venues," Cocktails and Details owner Jenna Fisher told Global News Edmonton.

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Headlines


By Michelle Ferguson Michelle Ferguson

  • Edmonton emergency services responded to 55 opioid-related calls in just two days this week, reports Global News. "This is the latest shocking incident in a trend that we're seeing ... across the city at all our sites," said Boyle Street Community Services director Jordan Reiniger.
  • Mayor Don Iveson has joined the call to remove references to Grandin from city property. He will be putting forward a motion on Monday to immediately remove the bishop's name from the LRT station and civic signs, as well as to cover a mural depicting the residential school system with orange.
  • A group of Indigenous-Edmontonians are making tiny tipis for each of the children found buried in an unmarked mass grave at a former residential school site in Kamloops.
  • A new online exhibit at the City of Edmonton Archives takes a look at the history of place names in Edmonton.
  • The federal government announced $14.4 million in funding for Edmonton's zero-emission bus program. The funding will allow the city to purchase 20 new buses and complete a feasibility study on retrofits to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in municipal buildings.
  • Expanded sidewalks and seating areas have returned to Whyte Avenue this summer. To encourage social distancing, the project has been expanded to include both the north and south side of the avenue.
  • The Hope Mission is asking for donations of bottled water, as temperatures continue to soar in Edmonton. The organization can hand out as many as 500 bottles on really hot days.
  • Halifax mayor Mike Savage will replace Mayor Don Iveson as Chair of the Big City Mayors' Caucus hosted by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. Iveson has held the position since 2016.
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102 Ave Cyclist

City council to review draft bylaw for safe passing distances


By Andy Trussler Andy Trussler

City council gets its first look on June 7 at a new bylaw that establishes rules for safely sharing the road.

What is it?

  • The Safe Passing Distance bylaw (Charter Bylaw 19642) will "establish safe passing distances between drivers of motor vehicles and cyclists on highways."
  • The bylaw states:
    • When travelling a speed limit of less than 60 km/h, drivers must maintain a one-metre distance from cyclists.
    • On roads with speed limits over 60 km/h, that distance increases to 1.5 m.
    • Anyone found guilty of an offence under this bylaw is "liable to a fine of an amount not less than $250.00."

Where did the bylaw come from?

Why is it significant?

  • The rules are intended to provide clarity to help make cyclists feel safer on the road and reduce the likelihood of accidents.
  • "Right now, we've got this deeply ill-defined thing that is probably as much a disadvantage to drivers as it is to cyclists, because what 'safe' is right now, is open to everyone's interpretation," Councillor Ben Henderson said in February.
  • "Even if you only have one in 10 drivers passing a little too closely, some people grit their teeth and bike through it and hope it doesn't result in a collision," said Christopher Chan, executive director of Bikes Edmonton."But for others, those types of interactions can be enough to deter from cycling at all."

What's next?

  • Following the first reading on Monday, the draft bylaw will be advertised to the public.
  • A public hearing scheduled for Aug. 31 will allow for extra input before final consideration.
  • If approved, Charter Bylaw 19642 will take effect on Sept. 30.

Photo: 102 Ave. Cyclist (Kurayba/Flickr)

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Cover art for Super Awesome Science Show

Podcast pick: Super Awesome Science Show


By Sara Gouda Sara Gouda

The Super Awesome Science Show (SASS), an award-winning podcast hosted by Edmonton's Jason Tetro, has wrapped up its season-long look at the science behind the pandemic.

Tetro, also known as The Germ Guy, is a microbiologist who has written two books: The Germ Code and The Germ Files. On the podcast, he interviews scientists, researchers, doctors, authors, and professors to break down scientific concepts for a regular audience. He also answers listeners' questions about the concepts he has presented.

Season 1 covered a wide variety of topics, such as fear, bullying, stress, and lying. In Season 2, every episode focused on aspects of COVID-19, ending with an interview on the miracle of the mRNA vaccines.

Episodes are 15 to 30 minutes long and come out once a week during the season. The show won the 2019 Canadian Podcast Award for Outstanding Science and Medicine Series, and it is part of Curiouscast, Corus Entertainment's podcast network.

Find this and the rest of Taproot's podcast picks on Spotify or via Listen Notes.

More information