The Pulse: Oct. 11, 2022

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  • 12°C: Mainly sunny. Wind northwest 30 km/h gusting to 50. High 12. UV index 2 or low. (forecast)
  • Purple/Pink: The High Level Bridge will be lit purple and pink for International Day of the Girl Child. (details)
  • 11-48: The Edmonton Elks lost to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Oct. 8. (details)
  • 3-1: FC Edmonton defeated Valour FC on Oct. 8 at Clarke Stadium in their final game of the season. (details)
  • 5-3: The Edmonton Oilers defeated the Seattle Kraken on Oct. 7 in their final pre-season game. (details)

A large purple display with the Edmonton Unlimited logo and the words "Innovation from here for the world"

Accelerator grads and pitch veterans among Launch Party startups

By Karen Unland

The 10 companies to be showcased at Launch Party 13 on Oct. 20 include a number of graduates of accelerators attracted to Edmonton in the past year.

The Public Food Hub, a marketplace connecting food lovers to food makers and experiences, and Cash2Crypto, a platform for exchanging cryptocurrency, were part of the first cohort of Alberta Accelerator by 500, which wrapped up in the spring. And DeepBlue Greens, an agritech startup that develops products to increase crop yield in indoor farms, was part of the second cohort of Alberta Catalyzer, the pre-accelerator run by Edmonton Unlimited and Platform Calgary.

Other Launch Party companies have amassed some pitching experience via Startup TNT. For example, Kidney-Chek by sn biomedical pitched at the Life Sciences Investment Summit in February, and was part of the Top 20 pitch night for Investment Summit VI on Oct. 6. Meanwhile, Bladeflex, which makes and distributes healthcare solutions for musculoskeletal problems, made it into the Investment Summit V finale.

The Public Food Hub is not the only Launch Party company at the intersection of food and tech. This year's class also includes Oonnie Food Technologies, an online marketplace aiming to make it easier to regularly shop for local food, as well as Ordr, a to-your-seat delivery service for sports venues that is serving fans of basketball, lacrosse, and baseball, with more integrations on the way.

Rounding out the Launch Party class of 2022 are AIRMarket, which helps customers operate drones safely and efficiently; Liquid Software Corporation, which provides cloud-based business software called Edge-LQ to a wide range of industries; and Varme Energy, which diverts waste from landfills and decreases greenhouse gas emissions.

Launch Party is the flagship event of Edmonton Startup Week, which runs from Oct. 17 to 22. This will be the first such event under Edmonton Unlimited, the entity formerly known as Innovate Edmonton, which had inherited Startup Edmonton, the birthplace of Edmonton Startup Week.

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Headlines: Oct. 11, 2022

By Kevin Holowack and Mack Male

  • In a 9-4 vote on Oct. 7, city council approved a new funding formula that will increase the Edmonton Police Service budget by at least $7 million in 2023, which will take the annual tax-supported total to more than $414 million. Council also agreed 11-2 to review the funding formula for future years after a report with options comes back early next year. Several councillors expressed concerns about the funding formula, including Coun. Andrew Knack, who ultimately voted in favour. "If I'm going to be stuck with a not ideal formula, I'd prefer it only be for the one year than four years," he said. Mayor Amarjeet Sohi voted against the new formula arguing that increasing the police budget takes away from other priorities. "There are so many other things that we have not properly funded in this city that require our attention," he said. "I think $407 million going into 2023 is a sufficient amount of money for EPS." Coun. Anne Stevenson, who also serves on the Edmonton Police Commission, brought the motion forward. "It's imperfect, and it's messy, and it's pragmatic," she said, explaining the rationale behind the approach that will result in another debate about the funding formula next year.
  • TransEd said in a video update last week that it has almost finished a root cause analysis of the cracked concrete pillars on the Valley Line Southeast LRT and will share its findings with the city "very soon." Repairs have started on 98 Avenue west of 96A Street, which is reduced to one westbound lane, and part of Wagner Road west of the Davies Road, which is closed to motorists. The company said both areas will be affected until "about January 2023."
  • Edmonton is the most successful city in North America when it comes to attracting visitors downtown after the pandemic, according to data from Avison Young. The real estate firm found that downtown visitor volume increased 151.1% between March 2, 2020, and Sept. 5, 2022, ahead of Calgary and San Diego, which tied for second at 123.3%. Cory Wosnack, the firm's managing director in Edmonton, told CTV News that Rogers Place and ICE District were a "difference maker," a sentiment echoed by Jeffrey Sundquist, CEO of the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce. "You can't argue that the Ice District and that development and ambition has really re-energized the central Edmonton area," he said. "And in fact, it reinvigorated the entire region."
  • Michael Elliott, president of the Edmonton Police Association, wrote a letter accusing Mayor Amarjeet Sohi of not supporting the police after the mayor was absent from an annual memorial service at the Legislature for fallen police and peace officers on Sept. 25. "You may not support us," wrote Elliott, "but your office should at least pretend to respect our members and give the appearance you care." Sohi, noting that no Edmonton mayor has been invited to the event for the past six years, responded in a letter defending his support for police. "I will continue to support and show my appreciation for the work and sacrifices of our civic employees, including that of EPS, while fulfilling my governance roles in demanding accountability and value for money, like I do in each of the 73 lines of business that the City of Edmonton funds."
  • After opening two new private collision reporting centres on Sept. 29 in partnership with Accident Support Services International, the Edmonton Police Service said it has moved 62 positions to its patrol complement which has enabled the creation of a new "10-squad patrol model" that will launch on Nov. 13. The new model is aimed at addressing front-line workload demands but will also "balance deployment more effectively to address officer wellness," EPS said.
  • Blankets for Love is looking for donations of quilts and materials for its annual campaign to make blankets for patients spending the holidays at the University of Alberta Hospital and the Alberta Hospital. This year's goal is 500 quilts.
  • This year marks the 100th anniversary of Fire Prevention Week which runs Oct. 9-15 and Edmonton Fire Rescue Services has put out a reminder to plan your fire escape and check your smoke alarm.
  • Edmonton soccer star Alphonso Davies suffered a cranial bruise on Oct. 8 during a match between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund. Davies indicated that he was "feeling good in the circumstances," but it is unknown when he will return to the game.
A white bus marked "On Demand" parked on the side of a road with trees in the background

Coming up at council: Oct. 11-14, 2022

By Mack Male

City council's community and public services committee will meet on Tuesday, with a continuation scheduled for Friday. Executive committee will meet on Wednesday.

Key agenda items include:

  • On Demand Transit, which was originally introduced to 37 neighbourhoods in Spring 2021, has expanded to 14 additional neighbourhoods using existing funding, administration says in a new report. Ridership grew from 21,000 trips in September 2021 to 32,000 in May 2022, with current estimates forecasting 40,000 trips per month by the end of the year. The service is currently delivered by a third party and administration said bringing it in-house wouldn't be possible until 2027 at the earliest. An unfunded service package to continue providing On Demand Transit will be brought forward during the 2023-2026 budget process.
  • Administration recommends two adjustments to Edmonton's municipal ward boundaries as well as updates to the Ward Boundary Design Policy. If approved, the Calgary Trail South neighbourhood would move from Ward papastew to Ward Karhiio and the Yellowhead Corridor West neighbourhood would move from Ward O-day'min to Ward Anirniq to align with school division boundaries.
  • The 2014 business case for Blatchford projected the construction of 250 residential units per year by 2015 and 500 per year by 2018, but administration now says those timelines were "aggressive" and "could not be met for a number of reasons." By May 2022, just 32 units had been built. Negotiations are underway for a significant number of potentially large-scale land sales, and administration says a 20-25 year development timeline is "still a reasonable target."
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A smiling Zoya Thawer at the counter of The Great Canadian Baking Show kitchen, wearing an apron that bears her name

Food competitions capture Edmonton cooks' fancy

By Mack Male

Zoya Thawer, a pediatric endocrinologist from Edmonton, took some time off from her practice this summer to participate in Season 6 of The Great Canadian Baking Show, which launched on CBC and CBC Gem on Oct. 2.

"To say this is an honour is an understatement and I hope you'll follow along," she wrote on Instagram. She made it through cake week and biscuit and bar week; next up is bread week.

Thawer has been baking since childhood, ever since she moved to Canada from Tanzania, according to her CBC bio. Though she recently moved to Victoria, her appearance on the show is the latest Edmonton connection to popular food competitions.

Last month, local chef Lindsay Porter became Edmonton's first-ever representative on Top Chef Canada, which launched its 10th season on Food Network Canada on Sept. 26. Porter has participated in several other Food Network shows, including Beat Bobby Flay, Guy's Grocery Games, and Fire Masters.

Also last month, Corey Meyer of ACME Meat Market and Elyse Chatterton of Popowich Meat Company were part of the first Team Canada to participate in the World Butchers' Challenge.

And local restaurants have also been participating in competitions, like Le Burger Week, a cross-Canada competition to determine the best burgers. Burgers from Kinosoo Ridge Restaurant, Pink Gorilla, Cork & Barley, 1st RND, and Wayback Burgers were named the favourites from Edmonton.

Closer to home, the YEG Food Masters Competition kicks off on Oct. 12. The competition, hosted at El Beso, pits local chefs and "wildcards" against each other in an elimination-style tournament. The winner will be crowned YEG Food Master in June.

Photo: You can watch Zoya Thawer compete in Season 6 of The Great Canadian Baking Show, which is heading into Episode 3. (CBC)

The big, colourful IMAGINE sign at the Stanley A. Milner library

Coming up this week: Oct. 11-14, 2022

By Debbi Serafinchon

This week, you can experience the diverse design world, take in a food competition, sample a new beer, kick off a literary festival, learn about glycomics, or cheer on some four-legged athletes.

Find even more listings in Taproot's weekly roundups.

Photo: A design-focused tour of the Stanley A. Milner Library is one of many events taking place during Edmonton Design Week. (Mack Male/Flickr)