The Pulse: June 22, 2022

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

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  • 18°C: A mix of sun and cloud. 60% chance of showers late in the morning and in the afternoon. Risk of a thunderstorm in the afternoon. High 18. UV index 7 or high. (forecast)
  • $2,691.28: If you invested US$5,000 in bitcoin when Alberta's jobs minister Doug Schweitzer made a major pitch for crypto on Feb. 3, you would have $2,691.28 left as of June 20. (details)
  • Purple: The High Level Bridge will be lit purple for Migraine Solidarity Day. (details)

A bar chart comparing the light-trap counts of 10 species of mosquito in Edmonton, with Aedes vexans the most populous in mid-August, followed by Culiseta inornata

Data shows the ebb and flow of mosquito season

By Brett McKay

You've probably never swatted a mosquito and stopped to ask yourself if it was a Culex or an Ochlerotatus, but that is one of the considerations guiding Edmonton's ever evolving pest control program.

There are dozens of mosquito species in the region, hatching in waves over the course of the summer. Some, like the complex of species that develop in cold-water environments in early spring, are often naturally limited to one generation a year. Others, like the Culex subspecies, are the most common carriers of the West Nile virus, though that is fortunately less of an issue this far north.

The most bloodthirsty and populous varieties that breed in the warm months and ruin your summer outings are the main concern of the city's pest department.

"When we start seeing Ochlerotatus dorsalis and Ochlerotatus spencerii, those are spring developers, and they're also quite aggressive daytime biters," said the city's pest management coordinator, Mike Jenkins. "When they show up, that gives us a warning that those species are developing. And so, we can target our programs to look for the larval development, and to concentrate our efforts on the sort of sites where those species are developing."

The pest control teams gather weekly data from sources such as light traps placed around the city, weather forecasts, and observations of larvae growing in standing water. From that, they make projections and determine their response, meaning their approach is constantly being adjusted. For the past few years, the city has also been incorporating carbon dioxide bait traps that mimic human scents to supplement the data gleaned from the light traps.

"They're more effective. They draw in all the species that we're looking for, not just the ones that get attracted to the light," Jenkins said. Unlike light traps, the BG-Sentinel carbon dioxide traps can also be used during the day, when some of the most aggressive biting species are active.

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By Kevin Holowack and Mack Male

  • The City of Edmonton and CUPE Local 30 have ratified a new three-year collective agreement which includes general wage adjustments of 0% in 2021, 1% in 2022, and 2% in 2023.
  • Edmonton landlords are running a private Facebook group with a "do not rent" list where they have shared the names of around 440 people and some children and family members. The group has over 2,200 members, and around 95% of posts include no reason for the person's inclusion, Postmedia reports. Donna Monkhouse of the Alberta Residential Landlord Association said the group is "just wrong" considering the power landlords already have to vet renters, while the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Alberta said blacklisting tenants on social media is likely illegal under the Personal Information Protection Act.
  • Sharda Devi Naidu, the 78-year-old woman who was seriously injured after she was shoved onto the LRT tracks on April 25, is suing the City of Edmonton and ETS alleging they did not respond quickly enough, failed to implement sufficient safety protocols, and didn't ensure she was safe while being recovered by emergency services. The statement of claim seeks more than $1.1 million in damages as well as legal costs, Global News reports
  • The Addiction Recovery Centre, a 24-hour drug and alcohol detox facility in downtown, is temporarily relocating during LRT construction to Alberta Hospital Edmonton on Fort Road and 174 Avenue, a move that worries addictions advocates. Dr. Daniel Alati at MacEwan University suggests there "could be a very real human cost" to displacing such services to inaccessible or less familiar areas.
  • A small piece of land near Anthony Henday Drive in west Edmonton, which was part of the Enoch Cree Nation reserve until the government forced its surrender in 1908, will be returned to the nation within a few months. As of June 20, the City of Edmonton and the province have both approved a land transfer suggested by Enoch Cree Nation Chief Billy Morin in 2021 as step toward reconciliation. The land holds a cemetery where ground-penetrating radar surveys have located around 80 sites including the graves of historic leaders Lazarus Lapotac, Enoch Lapotac, and Tommy Lapotac, CTV News reports.
  • STARS has unveiled a new Airbus H145 helicopter in Edmonton, which means all six STARS bases across Western Canada now use the new model. "We wanted one aircraft type going forward. It's more economical and much more efficient to just operate one type of aircraft for our operation," said Scott Young, director of fleet implementation with STARS.
  • The city is seeking input on the Rossdale Transportation Network, with a public event scheduled for June 23 and an online survey open until July 11. Proposed changes include a community hub on 96 Avenue and a pedestrian-focused 104 Street.
  • The Edmonton Oilers have signed a three-year contract extension with head coach Jay Woodcroft, who took over after Dave Tippet was fired in February. The 45-year-old Woodcroft, originally from Toronto, led the Oilers to a 26-9-3 record during the final 38 games of the regular season.
  • Former Edmonton quarterback Ricky Ray has been inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame along with Chip Cox of the Montreal Alouettes. Ray won four Grey Cups as a starting quarterback over his career, a league record.
  • Premier Jason Kenney announced a cabinet shuffle on June 21. Two Edmonton-area MLAs are included among the changes, with Jackie Armstrong Homeniuk, MLA for Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville, becoming the Associate Minister of Status of Women and Brad Rutherford, MLA for Leduc-Beaumont, becoming Chief Government Whip and Minister without Portfolio.
A newspaper clipping with the headline "New Swimming Pool To Be City's Largest"

A moment in history: June 22, 1953

By Scott Lilwall

On this day in 1953, the city was planning to build the largest outdoor pool in Edmonton.

The proposed $150,000 project in the Mill Creek Ravine would create a large central pool and "a separate diving tank, a wading pool and a large sundeck," the Edmonton Journal noted at the time. But Mill Creek's connection with swimming in the city goes back far longer than the 1950s.

In the early 20th century, there were not that many options for Edmontonians to swim. Ponds and lakes around the town were deemed unsuitable for bathing or swimming, and "the river, as past experience has proven, is very dangerous," a special committee noted. In 1917, a makeshift pool was temporarily created by damming up Mill Creek. However, it was evident that a more permanent option was needed.

On the hottest day of the year in 1922, the city opened the first municipal pool in western Canada, in Riverside Park, south of the river. It would later be renamed the Queen Elizabeth Pool in 1939. The opening of the pool proved to be extremely popular, so much so that the city almost immediately began planning two more. In 1924, the city opened the East End Pool in Borden Park and the West End Pool in Oliver.

That summer, two pools became the focal point for racial tension in the city. In July, a young Black boy was refused admission to the East End Pool. A month later, when two Black citizens entered the Oliver Pool, every white swimmer left the facility in protest. A year earlier, the city commissioners had put in a rule barring Black Edmontonians from using public pools.

The young boy's mother and a group of other Black residents wrote a letter to the city commissioner, who upheld the order. They then appealed to the city council, arguing that they deserved the same access to civic facilities as any other taxpayer. Eventually, city council rescinded the order (which prompted city commissioner Christopher Yorath to resign). That didn't fully clear up the issue, however — Borden Park's pool was under the control of the Edmonton Exhibition Association, and it still refused to allow mixed bathing.

In the 1980s, the city planned to close the aging Queen Elizabeth Pool, but public outcry kept the beloved facility open for another couple of decades. Finally, in 2004, the deteriorating condition of the pool led to its closure, and a new Queen Elizabeth Pool was opened at the nearby Kinsmen Sports Centre. In 2018, Edmonton once again snagged another pool "first" when it opened Canada's first natural swimming pool in Borden Park, which uses sand, gravel, and aquatic plants to clean the water instead of chemicals.

Edmonton's already-short outdoor pool season will be even shorter this year. The city won't open its outdoor pools until July 1, a decision that was made in 2020 due to budget pressures, though the Queen E once again got a reprieve and is slated to open on June 22. Mill Creek Ravine's pool will not be opening at all, however. It is undergoing rehabilitation and remains closed until further notice.

This is based on a clipping found on Vintage Edmonton, a daily look at Edmonton's history from armchair archivist @revRecluse — follow @VintageEdmonton for daily ephemera via Twitter.