The Pulse: May 10, 2022

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

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  • 9°C: Mainly cloudy. High 9. UV index 4 or moderate. (forecast)
  • $1.60: Gas prices in Edmonton are averaging about $1.60/litre, well below the national average of $1.90/litre. (details)
  • 1,396: EMS has responded to 1,396 opioid events in Edmonton this year, which is already 33% of 2021's total. (details)
  • 5-4: The Oil Kings defeated the Red Deer Rebels in overtime to take a 3-0 series lead in the second round of the playoffs. (details)
  • 8pm: The Oilers (2-2) will host the Los Angeles Kings (2-2) at Rogers Place for Game 5 of their first-round playoff series. (details)

A large crowd inspects bikes in an underground parkade.

Alberta Bike Swap returns with family-friendly addition

By Brett McKay

A popular event that gives cyclists a chance to buy and sell bikes without the hassles of online marketplaces is returning to Edmonton, this time with plans to include children's bikes, too.

Alberta Bike Swap will be at the MacEwan University's 107 Street parkade on May 14 from 8am to 2pm for consignors, 2:30pm to 4pm for buyers, and throughout the day for donors. The swap is accepting children's bikes on consignment for the first time this year.

"We have a huge need for people and children to become active," co-founder Laura Grant told Taproot. "We've been asked for years about whether we would put children's bikes on or not. This year, we thought, 'You know what? Let's help more families.'"

Proceeds from sales and the $2 admission fee go to community organizations to promote safe and healthy cycling, including CAN-BIKE, Ever Active Schools, and Bike Edmonton.

"We've always donated about five times what we take in back to the community to fund other cycling-related non-profits," Grant said. "In 2019, in our last event we put on, we donated almost $29,000 in bikes and in-kind back to the community."

COVID restrictions put the bike swap on hold for two years, at a time when demand for bikes was surging. High demand and supply chain slowdowns led to a global bike shortage that is expected to continue, causing delays for bike shops and sending more people looking online for a quality used model.

Two sketchy experiences with online marketplaces in Calgary led Grant and her husband, Chris, to start the swap. In one case, the would-be buyer showed little interest in Chris's rebuilt bike and returned later to rob their garage. In the other, Laura went with a friend to look at a full carbon road bike and found it being sold from an unfurnished basement suite for a fraction of what it was worth. (No, she didn't buy it.)

"We need to create a safe space to buy and sell bikes," Grant remembers telling her husband. "And use that money to fund safe cycling in the province."

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By Kevin Holowack and Mack Male

  • Due to expected revenue shortfalls, inflation, and other financial pressures, proceeding with approved growth projects and maintaining current service levels would require a tax increase of 8.5% for 2023. "I think that is not where council will land, I can tell you that, because we want to make sure Edmontonians' living remains affordable, that our taxes remain affordable, that our user fees remain affordable," said Mayor Amarjeet Sohi. Councillors voiced initial support for a tax increase of between 1% and 5%, Postmedia reports.
  • After several tumultuous years, the Edmonton Pride Festival is returning to its original location in Churchill Square on June 25. This year's event — the 40th anniversary — will be run by the new Edmonton PrideFest Association rather than the Edmonton Pride Festival Society, which cancelled the event in 2019 citing a lack of money, volunteers, and unity within the community. In 2018, the parade was halted by demonstrators opposed to police participation. Trevor Watson with the new PrideFest told Global News the parade will be larger and more inclusive than ever and will feature an LGBTQ2S+ market dubbed "Rainbow Road", space for advocacy organizations, and a beer garden.
  • City council has asked administration to prepare a report outlining the budget implications of two snow clearing options that would result in an estimated 30-45% increase in clearing service for roadways and a 50-65% increase for active pathways. "Edmontonians expect us to provide good quality service in that area," said Mayor Amarjeet Sohi. "(In) my mind, I don't think we lived up to people's expectations."
  • The city is calling on Edmontonians to take the Moose Hide Pledge as part of the Moose Hide Campaign, a grassroots movement led by Indigenous men and boys to stand up against violence toward women and children. Moose Hide Campaign Day, which will feature a ceremony, speakers, and performances, is happening on May 12 at City Hall.
  • A plan to eliminate four on-site paramedic positions at the Edmonton Remand Centre as of June 3 has several nurses "alarmed" by the Alberta Health Services decision, Postmedia reports. "With the elimination of our paramedics," one nurse wrote, "there will not only be an influx of potentially preventable deaths, but an influx in EMS calls for individuals that, had a paramedic been onsite, could have been prevented and/or stabilized." AHS said in a statement that inmates "will continue to receive the care they need."
  • The Canada Permanent Building on 101 Avenue and 100 Street has been declared a Municipal Historic Resource. Built in 1909, the "small but iconic downtown heritage" building was designed for the Canada Permanent Mortgage Company in the Edwardian Baroque-style and, with its reinforced concrete structure, was advertised as the city's first "fireproof bank." From 1974 to 2012, it housed the original Japanese Village restaurant. The building was designated as a Provincial Historic Resource in 1995.
  • A fourplex in Griesbach suffered $1.5 million in damages due to improperly discarded "smoking materials" that engulfed the structure on Saturday. Investigators say the fire began in decorative wood chips outside the building. Edmonton Fire Rescue Services is reminding smokers to properly extinguish and dispose of all smoking materials.
  • The city is inviting Edmontonians to plant something red to "express their Canadian pride" as part of celebrating the Year of the Garden 2022, a nationwide campaign led by the Canadian Garden Council. Edmonton is offering several family-friendly garden-themed events this summer, including the Partners in Parks beautification program, the Root for Trees tree-planting event, Arbor Day for students and parents, vegetable planting in the city's several community gardens, and the Front Yards in Bloom competition.
  • Country star Garth Brooks announced his 2022 Ain't Goin' Down tour will now include a second show in Edmonton after his earlier announced concert sold out in less than an hour. The second show is set for June 24, and tickets go on sale May 12.
Cover art, featuring a black square with the words "Turning Point: Stories and Strategies from the World of Business; host Blaine Bertsch, CEO of Dryrun"

Podcast pick: Turning Point with Blaine Bertsch

By Karen Unland

The co-founder and CEO of Dryrun has learned a thing or two in his entrepreneurial career, and he's found a way to both share those lessons and extract more from his guests on Turning Point with Blaine Bertsch.

Bertsch offers "stories and strategies from the world of business" through "frank and honest discussions with experienced entrepreneurs." Sometimes his guests are local, such as Gregg Oldring of Llearner, Derek Hudson of Unconstrained CFO, or executive coach Michèle Hecken. Other times, they're from outside of Edmonton, such as Erin Bury of Willful.

Dryrun, which Bertsch founded in 2016, has been in the news of late as one of the 11 Edmonton companies to receive innovation funding from Prairies Economic Development Canada at the end of April. The financial modelling software company will get $250,000 for enhancements and to launch new sales and marketing activities globally.

He has also benefited from money and mentorship from, whose investment allowed the company to grow to nine people, he told Postmedia after Sprout announced the close of its second venture capital fund. You can get some more insight into a couple of Sprout partners on Turning Point itself; Bertsch spoke to Shaheel Hooda on Episode 16 and Mark Benning on Episode 5.

You can find this and the rest of Taproot's podcast picks in our Listen Notes list.