The Pulse: Sept. 8, 2021

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

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  • 23°C: Sunny. Increasing cloudiness early in the afternoon. Wind becoming south 20 km/h near noon. High 25. (forecast)
  • 83%: Of the 15,486 active cases in Alberta, 83% have an unknown source. (details)
  • 2hrs: It took approximately two hours to get tested for COVID-19 at the EXPO Centre on Tuesday. (details)
  • Sept. 8: Alphonso Davies won't be playing in the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying match against El Salvador on Sept. 8 due to injury. (details)

A photo of the current Edmonton Metropolitan Region Board.

Mayoral races in the region begin to take shape

By Nathan Fung in the Regional Roundup

Edmonton's municipal election is on Oct. 18, and residents of the surrounding municipalities will also vote in their respective local elections that day.

Mayors of the 13 largest municipalities in the region make up the Edmonton Metropolitan Region Board. Of the mayors currently on the board, seven are seeking re-election, three have said they aren't (including Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson), and two have yet to announce whether they plan to run. Councillors in Leduc County appoint a mayor from amongst themselves after the election.

Here's a look at who's running for mayor in the 12 largest municipalities around Edmonton:

Beaumont: Incumbent John Stewart is running for re-election in a three-way contest. Other candidates for mayor include first-time councillor Bill Daneluik and Beaumont resident Coreina Hubert.

Devon: Incumbent Ray Ralph is seeking a second term. The city's website does not list any other candidates running for the position.

Fort Saskatchewan: Gale Katchur, who has been mayor since 2010, is running for her fourth term. The other candidate for mayor is Deanna Lennox, a Fort Saskatchewan city councillor and former RCMP member.

Leduc: Mayor Bob Young is running for his second term. Previously, he served as a city councillor since 2004. The other candidate is Lynn Schrader, a local business owner.

Leduc County: Leduc County council appoints a mayor from amongst themselves following an annual organizational meeting in October. Mayor Tanni Doblanko is running again as councillor for Division 5.

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By Michelle Ferguson

A cyclist is followed by a car in a screenshot from a video on safe streets for everyone

Safe passing distance quantified, but precision isn't the point

By Karen Unland

We now know how close is too close when a motorist is passing a cyclist in Edmonton.

As of Sept. 30, drivers need to stay at least one metre away on roads with a speed limit of 60 km/h or less, and 1.5 metres on faster roads, after city council unanimously passed the safe passing distance bylaw that has been in the works since February. Drivers risk a fine of $250 if they fail to give bikes the prescribed amount of room.

"This is one of those bylaws that I'm like, 'This isn't already a bylaw? I'm surprised,'" said Troy Pavlek on Episode 145 of Speaking Municipally, Taproot's municipal affairs podcast.

The province's Traffic Safety Act says drivers must pass cyclists safely, but it doesn't define what that means. The bylaw brings some precision to the matter, though it's not really about the exact distance, co-host Mack Male suggested on the episode.

"People have horrible depth perception when they're parking; how are they going to know what a metre is when they're driving?" he said. "But give cyclists space — that's the point here."

Awareness is indeed the objective, rather than issuing fines, said Jessica Lamarre, the city's director of safe mobility. Motorists might find themselves behind a bike for a little bit, but that's what it means to share the road in a city aiming for Vision Zero.

"One of the biggest things here is patience," Lamarre told Postmedia. "Everybody take a deep breath, wait that five seconds you need until it's safe for you to pass, and do so with enough distance between you and the bike to make it safe."

Episode 145 of Speaking Municipally also takes a look at city council's decision to reactivate Edmonton's mask bylaw (which happened before Alberta reinstated a province-wide mandate), as well as increases to the city manager's signing authority limits and some accusations flying during the municipal election campaign.

Photo: A car comes up behind a cyclist in this screenshot from Safe Streets are for Everyone from the City of Edmonton.

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A photo of Louise McKinney Riverfront Park.

Municipal election rundown: Sept. 8, 2021

By Andy Trussler

Every week in the lead up to Edmonton's municipal election on Oct. 18, we're rounding up the news and announcements you need to know to stay informed.

Policies and campaign updates

Weighing in on the campaign trail

  • I Heart Edmonton, the blog run by Emil Tiedemann, posted its list of school board candidates and also added to the election survey series introducing candidates. Check out new responses from mayoral candidate Amarjeet Sohi, Ward pihêsiwin candidate Guiscela Perez Arellano, and Ward Métis candidate Salar Melli.
  • Edmonton Journal columnist Keith Gerein wrote about how the Election Readiness Coalition (ERC) attempted to recruit "select candidates and support them by providing training opportunities and campaign volunteers" in emails obtained by Postmedia that date back to March 2020. Mayoral candidates Mike Nickel and Michael Oshry tweeted their thoughts about the news.
  • Ward O-day'min candidate Anne Stevenson tweeted out a Global News article she was featured in that looked at whether there might be more women elected to council during this municipal election. Mayoral candidate Diana Steele, Ward Anirniq councillor Bev Esslinger, and ParityYEG's vice-chair of governance Cindy Caturao also weighed in.

Upcoming forums

A list of all of the candidates who have announced they are running in the Edmonton municipal election is available here. Learn more about Taproot's effort to ground our election coverage in what is important to Edmontonians on our People's Agenda page.

Photo: Louise McKinney Riverfront Park would be one of five major city parks renovated under Kim Krushell's arts and culture policy. (City of Edmonton)

A picture of three vaccine vials.

Entos Pharmaceuticals set to begin Phase 2 trial for its COVID-19 vaccine

By Hiba Kamal-Choufi in the Health Innovation Roundup

Entos Pharmaceuticals is one step closer to manufacturing its DNA-based COVID-19 vaccine after the company was granted approval to begin a Phase 2 clinical trial in South Africa.

The trial will be conducted at multiple sites across South Africa for four to six months and it will evaluate the safety, tolerability, and immunogenicity of Covigenix VAX-001.

"Reaching this important milestone gets us one step closer towards helping end this pandemic by providing a potentially effective and safe fridge-stable, single-dose vaccine against COVID-19 to under-vaccinated regions of the world," said Entos CEO Dr. John Lewis.

According to a statement by Entos, approval by the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) to start the Phase 2 clinical trial was based on successful pre-clinical and Phase 1 results. Multiple sites across South Africa will be used for the second trial.

"The vaccination rate against COVID-19 in South Africa will allow us to recruit (enough) people," Lewis told Taproot. "Many Albertans have expressed a huge interest in joining our trial, so we are working to open a site here too."

The University of Alberta spinoff company has been developing its vaccine since the beginning of the pandemic. Entos is using a Fusogenix nucleic acid delivery system, which the company said will help provide a robust response against SARS-COV-2, and potentially against future coronavirus threats.

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