The Pulse: Aug. 12, 2022

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  • 28°C: Sunny in the morning then a mix of sun and cloud with 30% chance of showers late in the afternoon. Risk of a thunderstorm late in the afternoon. High 28. Humidex 33. UV index 7 or high. (forecast)
  • Teal/Yellow/Red: The High Level Bridge will be lit teal, yellow, and red for Alberta Open Farm Days. (details)
  • 6: One engineer who spoke to CBC estimates that TransEd won't get the Valley Line Southeast LRT running for at least six months. (details)

An aerial view of the Currents of Windermere shopping centre

How Windermere became a restaurant hot spot

By Brett McKay

If you pay attention to restaurant openings in Edmonton, you'll hear one particular neighbourhood coming up a lot lately: Windermere.

Whether it be high-profile chains like P.F. Chang's and California Pizza Kitchen or new locations for independents like Black Pearl Seafood Bar, the area south of the Anthony Henday Freeway and east of the river has become a food destination, as restaurants follow customers to the urban periphery.

"The city's pushing more towards the outskirts, and it's pushing away from downtown," said Shakeel Dhalla, general manager of Black Pearl, which started at 10132 104 St. eight years ago. "Since COVID happened, a lot of people are staying out of business centres. People are trying to stay at home, they're working from home, and we're really trying to reach out to them."

The seafood bar opened its second location at 1285 Windermere Way on Aug. 2.

"Once one restaurant opened up, everyone gravitated towards it," Dhalla said, explaining what has drawn Black Pearl and others to Windermere. "We all saw the blowing up of the population."

Windermere now has a critical mass of businesses organically pulling others in, but that groundwork was laid by developers convincing companies of the promise of the neighbourhood, said Tony Prsa, the Alberta vice-president for Harvard Developments, which manages the Currents of Windermere shopping centre.

"In particular for P.F. Chang's, we did court them, and it came down to a decision for them between ourselves and West Edmonton Mall," Prsa said. The completion of the Henday made Windermere accessible to the city and the surrounding region, he noted, and while WEM may be a destination, Windermere has a desirable customer base that lives and works in the area.

Harvard's leasing information indicates that the average household income in Windermere exceeds $160,000, and census data from 2016 suggests it is one of the most affluent areas of Edmonton. "So that has a lot of checkmarks associated with it," Prsa said. "And secondly, it's the diversity in the population. When somebody's looking at Asian fusion, we have a very strong Asian population in this area. So, you can be guaranteed that you're going to be supported by the neighbourhood."

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Headlines: Aug. 12, 2022

By Kevin Holowack

  • In anticipation of an expected heat wave, the city has set up 15 water bottle-filling stations near fire hydrants and announced that peace officers will be handing out water in the downtown core. The city also wants Edmontonians to know that outdoor pools will be busy, but they can still find relief from the heat at a public recreation centre — except for the Peter Hemingway Fitness and Leisure Centre and the ACT Aquatic and Recreation Centre, which are closed. EMS crews have already responded to a handful of heat-related calls in the Edmonton area since temperatures began to approach 30°C on Aug. 1.
  • TransEd's announcement that construction on the Valley Line Southeast LRT line will be delayed indefinitely has some people questioning the value of a public-private partnership model for infrastructure projects, which involves taxpayers owning infrastructure that is designed, built, and operated by private companies. The president of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 569, which represents ETS workers, said the southeast line would be operational by now if it was not following "a tortured business model" where it is "impossible to tell who's responsible for what." Coun. Andrew Knack told CTV News that the Valley Line West is being built under a "modified" P3 model that gives the city more oversight.
  • The Tools for School campaign by United Way, which delivers backpacks of school supplies to K-12 students in and around Edmonton, is running short on donations for this year's drive. Suzi Medhurst said the program only has enough to fill 10,000 backpacks instead of the usual 12,000 to 15,000. The principal at Norwood School, Maureen Matthews, says backpacks, highlighters, erasers, and glue sticks are the most needed items. Donations can be made online or at any of the Staples locations in Edmonton.
  • The Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues opposes plans to move a casino from Camrose to the Ellerslie Industrial area, arguing that it risks undermining Edmonton-based charities that depend on casino proceeds. Under the province's charitable gaming model, the new casino's proceeds would remain in a pool that serves rural communities including those in Beaumont, Sherwood Park, Fort Saskatchewan, Leduc, and Devon.
  • Accessibility advocate Marla Smith and her Rottweiler named Kuno, who is famous on Instagram, toured venues for the Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival ahead of the event to help ensure spaces are inclusive for everyone. "As much as we like to think that we are an inclusive city, so much of our community just isn't by design," said Smith, who uses a wheelchair. "There's a lot of places that someone like myself cannot get into, and most people don't realize that." The festival started on Aug. 11 and runs to Aug. 21.
  • Deron Bilous, the NDP MLA for Edmonton-Beverly-Clareview, announced he will not be seeking re-election at the next provincial vote, expected in May 2023, because he wants to "pursue new adventures in the private sector." Bilous has held the riding since 2012 and served as the Minister of Municipal Affairs and the Minister of Economic Development and Trade in Rachel Notley's government.
A crowd cheering on a participant in the slam dunk competition at the Pride of the Northside streetball tournament

Weekend agenda: Aug. 12-14, 2022

By Debbi Serafinchon

The Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival has begun, but that's not all that's going on. This weekend also offers an artistic institution's anniversary, a community fair in Norwood, an LGBTQ2S-celebrating float down the river, and both music and basketball in Londonderry.

Find even more things to do in the Arts Roundup.

Photo: The Pride of the Northside streetball tournament returns for a 13th year after a two-year hiatus. (Supplied)