The Pulse: Oct. 8, 2021

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Essentials

  • 14C: Sunny. Wind up to 15 km/h. High 14. Wind chill minus 4 in the morning. (forecast)
  • Oct. 8: The Elks take on the Blue Bombers at 6:30pm in Winnipeg. (details)
  • $1.41/l: The gas price in Edmonton hit $1.41 per litre this week. (details)
  • 158: Only 158 people reported their COVID-19 status to the province's $4.3-million-dollar app. (details)

Puneeta McBryan, executive direction of the Downtown Business Association

'A critical role': Most candidates support spending as much — or more — on Downtown Vibrancy Strategy


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

The Taproot Survey of council candidates has revealed many champions for the Downtown Vibrancy Strategy, with the majority of respondents supporting the current level or more of city investment. But a few are opposed, including two incumbents.

Puneeta McBryan, executive director of the Downtown Business Association (DBA), said the results aren't surprising — but they are reassuring.

"This tells me that our returning and new councillors are leaders who understand the critical role that downtown plays in Edmonton's future," McBryan told Taproot. "I'd imagine they all have different reasons for why they believe this is important work and worth investment.

"Whether a councillor prioritizes Edmonton's economy and job creation, the City Plan and densification, urban wellness and community safety, or arts and culture, downtown is at the centre — literally and figuratively — of all of those issues," she said.

The strategy is "a call for action" to support the recovery of Edmonton's downtown from the COVID-19 pandemic. Since 2015, more than $4.4 billion has been invested in downtown development, but the pandemic has created "unique challenges" for the area. While the strategy could require between $7 million and $28 million to fully implement, council approved an initial investment of $5 million in June.

McBryan said that council should "seriously consider adding additional city funding," such as incentives for new housing development and office building conversions as well as incentivized tenancy or activations for ground-floor vacant spaces.

"These kinds of programs tend to be revenue-neutral or even net positive for the city, because of the tax uplift they're designed to generate," she explained. But McBryan also said that a significant amount of the funding should come from provincial and federal governments, pointing to success in attracting federal grants for initiatives like Downtown Spark/Root 107.

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Headlines


By Michelle Ferguson Michelle Ferguson

  • Some Edmontonians cast their vote in the wrong school board ward during advance polling this week. Edmonton Elections returning officer Aileen Giesbrecht said the "where to vote" tool used to confirm addresses wasn't fully refreshed leading to some people being given incorrect ballots.
  • Edmonton police Chief Dale McFee wants to set up independent traffic collision reporting centres to free up officers for other duties. McFee also continues to advocate for changes in legislation that would allow police to impound vehicles if drivers go 50 km/h above the speed limit, rather than hand out tickets.
  • The Grocery Run Program, an Edmonton charity that provides food for new Canadians and refugees, is in need of funding. The program serves 3,200 individuals each week, and more than half of those are children.
  • The province announced it was exploring options for new supervised consumption services in underserved areas of Edmonton — particularly south of the river. It also released an app to help Albertans using opioids while alone in their homes.
  • The province announced financial support for businesses adopting the restrictions exemption program. Small- and medium-sized businesses who choose to implement the program will soon be able to apply for a one-time payment of $2,000 to help with training and implementation.
  • The Alberta Medical Association is calling for all eligible students to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Meanwhile, the province said there were no plans for schools to move online, amid calls from the Edmonton Public School Board.
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The cover art for Research Recast(ed), featuring a cast iron pot of molten material over a fire with a waveform in the background

Podcast pick: Research Recast(ed)


By Andy Trussler Andy Trussler and Karen Unland Karen Unland

MacEwan University has launched Research Recast(ed), a "knowledge mobilization" podcast dedicated to exploring research, scholarship, and creative activities at the school. Journalism graduate Brittany Ekelund and music student Dylan Cave are joined every episode by a MacEwan faculty member to delve into their scholarly projects.

"If you're someone who loves to learn, this is the podcast for you," Ekelund says in the trailer.

The first episode breaks down complex concepts like settler colonialism and neoliberalism with health and community studies professor Cynthia Puddu alongside student and research assistant Cheyenne Greyeyes. Subsequent episodes have featured conversations with sociology professor Emily Milne, neuroscientist and psychologist Trevor Hamilton, and professional designers Isabelle Sperano and Robert Andruchow.

Research Recast(ed) was created and funded in collaboration with MacEwan's Office of Research Services and Faculty of Fine Arts and Communications.

This is not MacEwan's first foray into podcasting. Other podcasting projects to emerge from the school include Artful Conversations, produced by the arts and cultural management program; The Common Ground, a 2019 series on hate and counter-hate in Alberta; and Clock Radio, the original MacEwan podcast that ran from 2016 to 2017.

Research Recast(ed) can be found on its Pinecast site, as well as Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and iHeart.

You can listen to podcast picks from Taproot on Listen Notes or Spotify.

More information