The Pulse: Jan. 20, 2023

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

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  • 2°C: Mainly sunny. Wind up to 15 km/h. High plus 2. Wind chill minus 8 in the morning. UV index 1 or low. (forecast)
  • 5-3: The Edmonton Oilers (26-18-3) defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning (29-14-1) on Jan. 19. (details)
  • 8pm, Jan. 21: The Oilers play the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena. (details)

A series of data visualizations overlaid on a map of the Edmonton region, with boxes forecasting hydrogen demand

RUNWITHIT Synthetics forecasts hydrogen's effect on Edmonton region

By Karen Unland

As hydrogen becomes an increasingly important part of the Edmonton region's economy and its net-zero ambitions, RUNWITHIT Synthetics (RWI) has created a way for stakeholders to envision the implications of such development.

The augmented-intelligence company has created a "synthetic Edmonton region," mapping out the built environments and populations of 14 municipalities and districts in the metro area. This helps decision-makers understand what the region will look like through to 2050, and how decisions made today will compound in the future.

"We had a very early and enthusiastic champion with Edmonton Global, who brought together agencies and institutions and different sectors in the Edmonton region to sponsor the kickoff of how we synthesize the region and then make that a synthetic environment available for interested stakeholders who have questions," RWI co-founder and CEO Myrna Bittner told Taproot's Bloom podcast.

Mapping out the implications of hydrogen was one of the first uses of the synthetic Edmonton region, some of which was presented last April by Edmonton Global in conjunction with the Canadian Hydrogen Convention.

"We utilize that environment already to look at things like the phasing of hydrogen, the workforce around hydrogen and energy, and how that might shift and grow," Bittner said, adding that RWI has also looked at the use of hydrogen in heating and heavy-duty trucks. "There was some really exciting work done there."

The City of Edmonton has a carbon budget, for which it has received both criticism and awards. Bittner suggested that RWI's holistic platform might be a better way to consider the climate implications of every decision.

"Everything we do, we can measure its impact on emissions," she said, listing factors such as carbon pricing, changing consumer behaviour, electrification, heat pumps, or the tree canopy. "We can take several approaches where we say ... 'What is your target?' And then we can actually look at and configure and sandbox the things that might get them closer or farther."

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Headlines: Jan. 20, 2023

By Kevin Holowack

  • A new 24/7 temporary emergency shelter in west Edmonton is set to open Jan. 20 in a former hotel at 155th Street and Stony Plain Road. Operated by the Jasper Place Wellness Centre in partnership with the Tallcree Tribal Government, the shelter will open at 30% capacity and eventually have 209 spaces, including 59 private beds and 150 congregate living spaces. The facility was expected to be fully operational late last year but was delayed due to "unforeseen circumstances." It is expected to remain open until May 31.
  • The Edmonton Police Service said it has discontinued the use of the term "street check reports" and replaced it with "observed reports" and "officer contact reports." The service says observed reports are those made when officers do not interact with an individual, whereas officer contact reports happen when police do interact with someone and collect their personal information because they have the "duty, responsibility, or authority" to do so. Sgt. Jeffrey Westman, who presented the change to the Edmonton Police Commission, told reporters it makes the language more precise and avoids confusion with the provincial Police Act, which was amended in 2021 to ban carding and create regulations around street checks and how officers collect personal information the public. Chief Dale McFee told reporters the change was about doing a "reset" on street checks.
  • Erick Ambtman and Aneela Hussainaly were elected as the new chair and vice-chair of the Edmonton Police Commission at its annual general meeting on Jan. 19. "I am humbled to lead this diverse group of talented individuals making a difference in our city," said Ambtman. The positions are elected annually under the Police Act and the Edmonton Police Commission Bylaw.
  • TransEd said that two small cracks in concrete at Davies Station, which were photographed by a member of the public and posted to social media, are "non-structural" and unrelated to the cracked piers of the Valley Line Southeast LRT extension, which the company said have all been repaired. The photographed cracks at the corner of a construction joint between two concrete pours is the result of water and freeze-thaw cycles and will be sealed "like any other surface crack on the Valley Line" when temperatures are warmer, said spokesperson Dallas Lindskoog. Testing on the line continues but TransEd has not yet said when it will open for service.
  • Angelo and Teresa Gentili, a local couple, have been feeding their family and friends with fresh vegetables grown in a hydroponic garden in their basement, which produces year round. "There's a lot of information on how to build them on the internet," said Angelo, who made his vertical hydroponic towers out of PVC pipes for about $200 each. "It's not hard, anybody can do it really. All you have to do is go on YouTube."
  • Alberta received its first shipment of 250,000 bottles of liquid acetaminophen, a children's pain reliever, which will be distributed to hospitals immediately. The province ordered the medicine in late fall because of widespread shortages as hospitals faced a spike in several respiratory illnesses. An additional supply of 4.75 million bottles with child-proof caps that is also expected to arrive will be distributed to pharmacies for retail sale.
  • Raj Sherman, who formerly served as MLA for Edmonton-Meadowlark with the Progressive Conservative party and as leader of the Alberta Liberal Party, announced he is seeking the United Conservative Party nomination in the Edmonton-Whitemud riding. Sherman launched a campaign to become leader of the UCP last June but was disqualified for not meeting the party's requirements for membership duration and supporting signatures.
Smiling people participating in a race using deep freezers on skis

Weekend agenda: Jan. 20-22, 2023

By Debbi Serafinchon

This weekend offers Afro-fusion, star-crossed lovers, a beloved winter festival, a tasty way to welcome the Year of the Rabbit, and a big meet for swimmers and runners.

Find even more things to do in the Arts Roundup.

Photo: The Cool Runnins' Deep Freezer races are among many activities taking place along Alberta Avenue this weekend. (Deep Freeze).