The Pulse: Dec. 10, 2021

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

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  • -3°C: A mix of sun and cloud. Wind becoming southwest 20 km/h in the afternoon. High minus 3. Wind chill minus 14 in the morning and minus 7 in the afternoon. (forecast)
  • 400+: The number of art installations on the Tawatinâ Bridge, whose opening will be celebrated on Dec. 12. (details)
  • 19: There are now 19 known cases of the Omicron variant in Alberta. (details)
  • 3-2: The Oilers (16-9-0) lost to the Bruins (13-8-2), extending their losing streak to four games. (details)

A business in Edmonton's Strathcona area

Edmonton business districts set sights on post-pandemic recovery

By Paul Cashman in the Business Roundup

Representatives of 5,000 Edmonton companies in the city's business improvement areas (BIA) are setting 2022 budgets and looking for city council's help to recover from the continuing impact of COVID-19 on brick-and-mortar operations.

The 13 BIAs have a mandate to support the vibrancy, economic health, and appeal of key commercial areas. The largest, the Downtown Business Association, (DBA) has a proposed 2022 budget of $1.5 million, while the smallest, the Fort Road Business and Community Association is working with a budget of $103,000.

The downtown association is looking to raise the tax levy on area businesses to 2020 levels, a 27% increase from 2021 to $1.3 million in revenue. The association's budget aims to restore pre-pandemic activity levels and revive "a vibrant, bustling economic centre of Edmonton where workers and the public alike want to be."

Among the key actions among the DBA's priorities for the coming year is a review of expanding its boundaries to encompass Rossdale and the Government Centre/Oliver areas, a move that would grow its territory to meet the current boundary of the 124th Street and Area Business Association.

The Old Strathcona Business Association, the second-highest funded BIA with a proposed 2022 budget of $572,000, is holding the line on its levy for a second year but will tap into savings and grants to spend an additional $47,000 over 2021.

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By Madeleine Stout

  • The City of Edmonton is seeing a high demand for free sand as residents try to mitigate icy sidewalk conditions after several bouts of freezing rain and 0°C temperatures. Residents can typically pick up free sand from community sandboxes, but the city is struggling to keep up with demand.
  • City council's utility committee has endorsed a freeze on garbage pickup fees for single-family and multi-unit homes at $43.32 a month for a 120-litre garbage cart and $48.32 for a 240-litre one. The cart-based system that rolled out this year is part of a 25-year Waste Strategy approved in 2019.
  • An Edmonton police officer has been charged with sexual assault, breach of trust, and unauthorized computer use after a two-year investigation by the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) revealed "a pattern of behaviour" toward women. Const. Hunter Robinz was relieved from duty without pay in March after being charged with assault and unsafe storage of a firearm by Parkland RCMP in a separate incident.
  • EPCOR has launched its Community League Safe Rink grant program, which provides grants to eligible community leagues to create safe ice surfaces for recreation. The grant program is part of the company's broader Annual Winter Stormwater Safety campaign, which aims to educate the public unsafe ice conditions on stormwater ponds.
  • The former Sands Inn & Suites on Fort Road is being renovated to serve as supportive housing for Indigenous people experiencing homelessness in Edmonton. Non-profit charity Niginan Housing Ventures will own and operate the facility's 53 self-contained apartments once renovations are complete in June 2022. The renovation is part of a broader city-led, federally funded initiative to repurpose underused hotels as long-term housing.
BIPoC Outside, with black-and-white figures of people kayaking, hiking, skiing and cycling

Podcast pick: BIPoC Outside

By Andy Trussler

Alberta is known nationwide for its scenic views: the Rocky Mountains, Lake Louise, Edmonton's River Valley, only to name a few. As such, athletes and adventure-seekers often have traversed Alberta's loveliest locales — but not everyone feels welcome to enjoy the slopes, mountains, and rinks.

New podcast BIPoC Outside strives to "create equity of access in outdoor sport and recreation" by way of interviews and thoughtful conversations with athletes, innovators, and organizers who are Black, Indigenous, or Peoples of Colour.

Notably, the show is self-described as not a pain podcast, with a focus on "joy, empowerment, and the transformative power of the outdoors."

Host Kris Cromwell is an avid skier and cyclist. She told CBC Edmonton that she launched the podcast as part of her master's degree in Native Studies because she noticed few BIPoC people involved in outdoor sports and wanted to know why. "I really wanted to talk to people that are making changes," she said.

So far, she has released four episodes, the latest of which features Sandy Ward, a professional snowboarder, the back-country team lead at Indigenous Women Outdoors, a professional coach, and one the creative minds behind the documentary series Fabric.

"It's not necessarily about learning and trying to become a professional snowboarder," she told Cromwell when asked about her snowboarding philosophy. "It's more about getting outside, having fun."

And that's the motto of BIPoC Outside: Get outside, have fun. Catch new episodes on its site, Spotify, Podbean, or Apple Podcasts.

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

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