The Pulse: Nov. 22, 2021

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

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  • 6°C: Mainly sunny. Wind south 20 km/h becoming west 20 in the afternoon. High 6. Wind chill minus 8 in the morning. (forecast)
  • 5-2: The Oilers (13-4-0) defeated the Blackhawks (5-10-2) on Saturday night at Rogers Place. (details)
  • 43-10: The Elks (3-11) lost to the Lions (5-9) on Friday in their season finale. (details)

Anne Stevenson and Jo-Anne Wright

Meet the councillors: Anne Stevenson and Jo-Anne Wright plan to focus on safety

By Emily Rendell-Watson

Wards O-day'min, at the heart of the city, and Sspomitapi, in southeast Edmonton, couldn't be further apart geographically, but each of their newly elected city councillors plan to champion safety in their respective areas, and the city as a whole.

"The permanent solution to me for safety in our community is ensuring that every Edmontonian has a home and the supports that they need. So I'm really looking to champion that continuously and vigorously over the next four years," Anne Stevenson told Speaking Municipally, Taproot's civic affairs podcast.

Stevenson represents O-day'min, where she beat out incumbent Tony Caterina and eight other candidates in a highly contested race for the centre of the city.

Stevenson is an urban planner and housing advocate who worked at the City of Edmonton for seven years. She brings in-depth knowledge of how the organization works, including how to tackle the complexities of city planning. Her experience working in affordable housing will also come in handy when it comes to addressing homelessness in Edmonton.

Meanwhile, fellow council newcomer Jo-Anne Wright also won against an incumbent, Moe Banga, a feat that's only happened three times in Edmonton during the 21st century. The Sspomitapi councillor also ran against Banga in 2017, finishing in second.

Wright has spent nearly 30 years working in the financial services sector in banking and insurance. She's also worked for MLA's, and for Alberta Health Services in the administration department of its contract tracing operation during the pandemic.

Like Stevenson, she plans to focus on safety — particularly road safety and transit.

"We've got a lot of speeding that goes on in our neighborhoods with some of the major arterial roads throughout them. So I want to work with administration to see if there's some sort of enforcement or traffic calming techniques that could be utilized to slow that down and keep people safe," Wright explained.

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By Mack Male

  • A survey of 1,500 Edmontonians conducted by Advanis for the Edmonton Police Service (EPS) found that Edmontonians feel less safe in 2021 than they did in 2020, with 23% saying they worry about crime most of the time or almost always. Just 37% of Edmontonians think police are doing a good job, according to the survey, with older respondents more likely to be satisfied with EPS. On Nov. 19, the provincial government announced $600,000 for EPS' Human-centred Engagement and Liaison Partnership (HELP) which police chief Dale McFee said offers vulnerable Edmontonians "an off-ramp into supports to end the arrest, remain, repeat cycle completely."
  • A judicial review of the EPCOR solar farm, located next to the E.L. Smith Water Treatment Plant, was heard in Alberta's Court of Queen's Bench on Nov. 19. Though construction began this summer and solar panels are slated for installation starting next month, the Edmonton River Valley Conservation Coalition would like to see the project approval deemed invalid and returned to city council. Justice George Fraser is expected to release a written decision.
  • The Alberta Court of Appeal has dismissed three cases brought by the Edmonton Public Library against cannabis store approvals located within 200 metres of branch locations. The city's Subdivision and Development Appeal Board (SDAB) had previously granted a variance for all three stores. Of the 213 cannabis development permits issued by February 2021, 15% were granted variances by the SDAB.
  • Approximately 45 troops and 20 vehicles from Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians), based in Edmonton, left for B.C. on Nov. 20 to support relief efforts from recent floods and landslides, joining a team of 120 soldiers already working as part of Operation LENTUS.
  • Ahead of city council's budget discussions, the Downtown Recovery Task Force has written a letter to the mayor outlining recommendations aimed at enhancing safety and security, increasing downtown vibrancy, and spurring private sector investment. "Now is the time for bold, clear support the recovery and resiliency of downtown Edmonton," the letter concludes.
  • Premier Jason Kenney sounded upbeat following the United Conservative Party's first in-person convention in two years, held in Calgary over the weekend. "I feel more confident about my leadership today than, frankly, I have in a very long time," he said during a news conference. His 38-minute speech on Nov. 20 received two standing ovations throughout.
City councillors proceed to their seats at council's swearing in ceremonytedm

Coming up at council: Nov. 22-26, 2021

By Emily Rendell-Watson

Here are some of the items that will be considered this week:

  • City council will receive operating and capital financial updates, which will provide year-to-date (until the end of September) results and projected year-end results.
  • It will also look at adjustments to the 2022 operating budget and the 2022 capital budget. Notably, administration has recommended a number of adjustments to the 2019-2022 capital budget resulting in a net increase of $216.8 million. And council will get an update on the city's progress towards implementing a carbon budgeting and accounting framework for the 2023-2026 budget.
  • Bylaw 19868 is ready for the first of three readings, which will establish the 2022 due dates for the payment of taxes, the rates of penalty for late payments, the rate of interest on overpayments, and the terms under which taxes can be paid in monthly installments.
  • Council will consider whether to increase the 2021 Social Development operating expenditure budget by $1.4 million on a one-time basis to provide additional grant funding to the anti-racism advisory committee, and several other initiatives.
  • Council is being asked to provide authorization for administration to complete a grant application to help complete an Intermunicipal Planning Framework with the City of St. Albert, which will "help generate regional prosperity in alignment with Connect Edmonton (Making Transformative Changes)."
  • At public hearing, council will consider bylaws to allow for a new high-rise residential development in Oliver (which involves amending the Oliver Area Redevelopment Plan); small scale infill in Glenora, Pleasantview, Terrace Heights, and High Park; and more.
  • An update on the Valley Line Southeast LRT and a shortlisting of candidates for the Edmonton Police Commission will be presented as private reports.

Meetings are streamed live on city council's YouTube channel.

Photo: City councillors proceed to their seats at council's swearing in ceremony on Oct. 26. (Flickr/Mack Male)

Frazil pans, or the clusters of ice seen here, emerged on the North Saskatchewan River as temperatures continue to drop.

Coming up this week: Nov. 22-26, 2021

By Andy Trussler

Photo: Frazil pans, or the clusters of ice seen here, emerge on the North Saskatchewan River as temperatures drop. (Joshua Bergman/Instagram)