The Pulse: Aug. 19, 2022

Taproot will be taking a break from Aug. 22 to Sept. 5. This newsletter will be back in your inbox after Labour Day. Enjoy the rest of your summer!

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  • 31°C: Sunny. Becoming a mix of sun and cloud near noon. Wind becoming southeast 20 km/h gusting to 40 late in the morning. High 31. Humidex 33. UV index 7 or high. (forecast)
  • 8: The number of teams playing this weekend in the Canada World Peace Soccer Tournament, returning after a two-year hiatus. (details)

Upcoming events: Aug. 19-Sept. 5, 2022

By Debbi Serafinchon

While we take a short break to rejuvenate, we don't want you to miss out on the many events coming up between now and Labour Day. Here is a look at some of the festivals, performances, exhibits, workshops, get-togethers, and other events you may want to put in your calendar.

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Headlines: Aug. 19, 2022

By Kevin Holowack

  • The city has activated its extreme weather response, which will remain in effect until Aug. 22 as a heat wave continues. To keep vulnerable Edmontonians safer in the heat, peace officers will carry and give out bottles of water; some city facilities and libraries will provide a cool indoor space; and 15 fire hydrants have been converted to water-bottle refilling stations. Edmonton's emergency weather response, a collaboration with Homeward Trust and other agencies, was formalized in 2019.
  • The Edmonton Expo Centre will soon have Canada's largest rooftop solar array at 5,754 panels covering 193,735.5 square feet. The $5.03-million project is expected to yield operational savings of $290,000 to $460,000 per year, breaking even after 10 to 17 years. The solar array acts as a reminder that Edmonton is "working hard to support a transition to a lower-carbon economy," sustainability director Melissa Radu of Explore Edmonton said in a release. Phase 1 of the installation is scheduled to be done in November.
  • The Nanilavut Initiative has located 12 Edmonton-area graves of Inuit who were separated from their families and died during a tuberculosis epidemic that hit Inuit communities from the 1940s to the 1960s, infecting one-third of the population, according to the federal government. Many were buried in the cities where they were sent for treatment at medical facilities like the Charles Camsell Hospital, which often did not inform their families. "Too much time has passed without proper answers or commemoration," the organization's CEO, Duane Smith, told CBC.
  • According to Statistics Canada's consumer price index, Alberta is experiencing one of the fastest rent and mortgage price increases in Canada. The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation said urban dwellers should expect further rent increases along with a decline in vacancy rates in the coming years. "For Edmonton in particular, we are anticipating some stronger rental demand," says analyst Taylor Pardy, who suggests rising mortgage rates are causing people to rent longer.
  • Inspired by the charity of other Edmontonians, spectacle-wearing brothers Muhammad and Youssef Elezzabi ran a successful donation drive and shipped 430 pairs of eyeglasses to opticians in Ukraine. "We know what it's like not to have proper vision," Muhammed told CBC. "It impairs normal daily functions, especially if you're probably fleeing for your life." The brothers, who are both University of Alberta students, received logistical help from former MLA Thomas Lukaszuk.
  • Gateway Boulevard between University Avenue and 80 Avenue was reduced to two lanes on Aug. 18 for construction, which will last until 2023 before construction starts on the section between 80 Avenue and Whyte Avenue. The city thinks both sections will be done by fall 2023. In the meantime, cyclists can still use bike lanes on 106 Street and 76 Avenue.
  • A plaque celebrating Laurent Garneau — a Métis entrepreneur and important historical figure who lent his name to the neighbourhood — was stolen from Adair Park along Saskatchewan Drive.
The interior of Scona Pool

Coming up at council: Aug. 22-26, 2022

By Mack Male

It's a committee week at City Hall. Community and public services committee will meet on Monday, urban planning committee will meet on Tuesday, executive committee will meet on Wednesday, and utility committee will meet on Friday.

Key items on the agenda include:

  • Administration says Edmonton is on track to meet the City Plan's infill target of 35% by the time the population reaches 1.25 million, but further shifting growth toward more compact development with a diverse mix of uses would require "deliberate choices and dedicated funding." The Growth Management Framework will report progress on the implementation of the City Plan and could draw attention to the revenues and expenses associated with new development.
  • The Edmonton Ski Club lodge, owned by the City of Edmonton, was fully closed earlier this year due to structural issues. Funding of up to $800,000 over three years is required to demolish the existing lodge and install temporary structures. A new permanent facility is estimated to cost $15 million, about $3.5 million of which the Ski Club will seek from the 2023-2026 budget.
  • Administration says that Scona Pool has required about $1.15 million in maintenance and repairs since 2015 and estimates the cost to extend the facility's life by five to 10 years at more than $6 million. It recommends "permanent cessation of all operations and closure of the facility," which it said could be done as part of the Rollie Miles Recreation Centre project.
  • Off-leash areas are currently established or updated through capital projects, or by developers in new neighbourhoods, but a new community parks framework could help ensure a "more strategic, data-driven approach" to community park development, including off-leash areas. As of 2018, 79% of Edmonton's neighbourhoods were within a 20-minute walk of an off-leash area, and administration hopes to boost that to 83% by the end of 2022. It does not recommend integrating community-initiated off-leash dog parks into existing city processes, however, due to "funding issues, (in)equity challenges, and community tensions due to diverse perspectives."
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