The Pulse: Oct. 4, 2022

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

Sponsored by:

Want this in your inbox? Sign up to get The Pulse by email. It's free!


  • 20°C: Sunny. Becoming a mix of sun and cloud in the afternoon. High 20. UV index 3 or moderate. (forecast)
  • Blue/White: The High Level Bridge will be lit blue and white for Yom Kippur. (details)
  • 7-2: The Edmonton Oilers defeated the Vancouver Canucks in pre-season play at Rogers Place. (details)
  • 4.5 cents/litre: The province partially reinstated its fuel tax on Oct. 1, meaning Albertans are now paying 4.5 cents/litre more at the pump. (details)

A pile of plastic straws and plastic utensils wrapped in plastic

Edmonton restaurants grapple with proposed ban on single-use items

By Brett McKay and Mack Male

While some local restaurants have already eliminated the use of plastic straws, others are worried about the potential impact of Edmonton's proposed bylaw to ban or reduce the use of many single-use items, including plastic bags, cutlery, and Styrofoam containers.

Katy Ingraham, the owner of Fleisch Delikatessen, said cost and accessibility are concerns the restaurant industry will need to grapple with.

Fleisch has not stopped offering any single-use items, but only provides straws when requested. "We use compostable packaging where possible, but it's pricier," Ingraham told Taproot. "Chains and larger restaurant groups will likely be able to adapt and absorb these costs," she said. "Independents not so much."

As momentum for a ban on plastic straws gained steam in recent years, dozens of local restaurants decided to eliminate their use. Workshop Eatery owner and head chef Paul Shufelt said his restaurant was going through more than 150 straws per day when it made the decision to stop using them for the environment.

"They can't be recycled. There is really nothing you can do with them. They just end up in the landfill, or worse, in the lakes or the oceans," he told CBC News in 2018.

Shufelt estimated he would save hundreds of dollars each year with the change.

According to Waste Free Edmonton, research supports the notion that a ban might actually save businesses money. "Restaurants that switch to reusable food service items are estimated to save at least $1,000, even once the cost of washing facilities are included," it said. They also save money by not automatically offering single-use utensils, napkins, and other accessories that customers may not even use.

Restaurants Canada disagrees, suggesting in a news release earlier this year that "the industry will take on an estimated 125% increase in costs" due to the forthcoming federal ban on single-use plastics. "This does not account for the costs associated with the increased demand for such products resulting in supply shortages," it added.

Continue reading

Headlines: Oct. 4, 2022

By Kevin Holowack and Mack Male

Kevin Dahl and Lindsay Smylie holding microphones at an event

Bigger Edmonton contingent joins Plug and Play Alberta's second batch

By Karen Unland

Six Edmonton-area companies and another with Edmonton roots have been accepted into the second cohort of Plug and Play Alberta's accelerator.

The 17 startups in the sustainability program include three from the Edmonton region:

The 22 startups in the sector-agnostic program include two based here and one that started here:

  • AlignVR, an offshoot of vrCave that aims to create a better way to hire, train, and coach employees;
  • Trust Science, one of Canada's top growing companies, which has a software line called Credit Bureau 2.0 that helps lenders determine the risk for borrowers without a traditional track record;
  • Spontivly, an Edmonton-born company now based in Florida, which has created a community management platform that helps organizations measure engagement, growth, and impact in real time.

DrugBank, billed as the source of "the world's most robust drug knowledge," is the only Edmonton company among the 11 startups in the health program. It raised $9 million in April.

The first cohort of the Calgary-based accelerator had two Edmonton representatives: True Angle Medical and 2S Water. The accelerator is one of several brought to Alberta through the Alberta Scaleup and Growth Accelerator Program.

Plug and Play Alberta's Batch 2 Expo will take place on Nov. 29-30 in Banff.

Image: Plug and Play Alberta directors Kevin Dahl and Lindsay Smylie address the crowd at the Expo Day for Batch 1 in July. (Plug and Play Tech Center/YouTube)

Cover art for Speaking Municipally, featuring a cartoon turnip in front of Edmonton's City Hall

Speaking Municipally considers proposed bike lane expansion

By Karen Unland

Episode 192 of Speaking Municipally takes a look at urban planning committee's decision to consider a couple of options for rapidly expanding Edmonton's bike lane network.

At its Sept. 27 meeting, the committee asked administration to develop plans for two options. One would see 100 km of the district connector network built by 2026 for about $170 million in capital costs and up to $11 million in annual operating costs; the other would build 130 km in neighbourhoods that see lots of cyclists, incurring $130 million in capital costs and up to $9 million in annual operating costs.

The final decision will be part of the 2023-2026 budget deliberations.

The bike lane discussion followed an emotional meeting of community and public services committee on affordable housing, leading some critics to ask why council is considering spending that much money on bike lanes instead of housing. Speaking Municipally co-host Troy Pavlek rejected the premise.

"The idea that this is mutually exclusive with affordable housing came up a lot this week, and is on its face completely absurd," he said. "Yes, we should fund affordable housing. Yes, we should fund the bike plan implementation. And I will add that the entire 100 kilometres of city-connecting infrastructure comes in at a lower bill than a single 50th Street overpass for trains."

Pavlek also questioned why the report included the ongoing operational costs for snow-clearing, street-sweeping, and other maintenance. "When was the last time we built a road and council had to explicitly approve a motion to operate that road and increase the operational funding for that new road?"

"Never," answered co-host Mack Male.

Hear more of their thoughts on bike lane expansion and affordable housing, as well as the police funding formula, the Downtown Recovery Coalition, council's code of conduct, and that photo shoot everyone is talking about on the Sept. 30 episode of Taproot's civic affairs podcast.