The Pulse: March 6, 2023

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

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


  • -14°C: Periods of light snow. Wind up to 15 km/h. High minus 14. Wind chill near minus 23. UV index 1 or low. (forecast)
  • Blue/Green/Red: The High Level Bridge will be lit blue, green and red for GOBfest - Edmonton's Board Game Convention. (details)
  • 6-3: The Edmonton Oilers defeated the Winnipeg Jets on March 3. (details)
  • 5-7: The Oilers lost to the Jets on March 4. (details)
  • 5:30pm: The Oilers (34-22-8) play the Buffalo Sabres (32-25-4) at KeyBank Center. (details)

A large Volvo grader clears snow near Churchill Square

Edmonton finishes 2022 with $81.5M surplus

By Mack Male

Edmonton finished 2022 with a surplus of $81.5 million, according to the city's preliminary year-end financial results. That's about 2.5% of the city's roughly $3.2-billion tax-supported operating budget.

Administration said the surplus is primarily the result of lower-than-budgeted costs for financial strategies and personnel. The financial strategies budget, which is used to "manage risk and provide flexibility for unknown amounts," was $59 million lower than expected, mainly due to reduced fuel and utility costs. Personnel costs were $18.3 million lower than expected, mainly due to unfilled vacancies.

The surplus would have been even higher had it not been for an $18.2-million overspend on the snow and ice control budget. Administration said heavier snowfall and additional freezing rain led to $13 million in additional costs from January to April, and increased snow resulted in $5 million more from October to December. The overspend is on top of the $4.7 million in additional funding that city council approved on July 4 for enhancements to the snow and ice control program.

The surplus means the city's rainy-day fund, the Financial Stabilization Reserve (FSR), will be replenished past the minimum required balance of $122.8 million (the balance had fallen to $68.4 million following the 2023-2026 budget process). The FSR will now have a balance of $128.1 million, and administration recommends the $5.3 million over the minimum remain unallocated.

City council will review the preliminary figures, which are unaudited and subject to change, on March 14.

Continue reading

Headlines: March 6, 2023

By Mariam Ibrahim

  • The city activated its extreme weather response on March 4 as temperatures in Edmonton dropped over the weekend. As part of the response, Edmonton Transit Service will operate overnight buses to take people to shelters with capacity. The Bissell Centre and Boyle Street Community Services will also operate expanded daytime operations, and the city's Encampment Response Team will do wellness checks on people experiencing homelessness. The activation is scheduled to remain in place until March 12 but could end earlier if temperatures rise.
  • Mayor Amarjeet Sohi says he is worried the provincial government is not taking Edmonton's social issues and housing needs seriously. While the government has allocated $1 billion to affordable housing grants across the province in its 2023 budget, Sohi said it remains unclear how and where that money will be spent. "I think there's not a proper understanding of how critical the situation is for Edmonton," he said. Sohi said he will raise these needs during his meeting with Premier Danielle Smith, scheduled for March 7. While this will be Sohi's first meeting with Smith since she became Alberta premier, Coun. Tim Cartmell had what he described as an "unscheduled, informal" meeting with Smith after the provincial budget was tabled on Feb. 28, and said he was not there to represent the city in an official capacity.
  • Bus drivers for the Dedicated Accessible Transit Service (DATS) could decide to hold a strike vote this week after negotiations between the city and the union broke down. Steve Bradshaw, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 569, said discussions have been ongoing for more than a year, but the two sides are not any closer to an agreement. The drivers have been without a contract since December 2021 and are asking for a $2.50 per hour raise, which would bring their pay in line with other Edmonton Transit Service operators.
  • A Safer Walk, a new app developed by Edmontonian Jessica Tomory aims to help give women a sense of safety in numbers by pairing women who are walking the same direction. App co-founder Trevor MacDonald said the company's research showed women looking for a more secure walking experience wanted an app that was exclusive to them. "Women trust women above any other option," MacDonald said. Users must submit their driver's license to verify their identity before they can be paired on the app for their first walk.
  • Edmonton home sales have increased by 30% in February compared to January, largely because of a 50% increase in the sale of semi-detached homes, according to new numbers from the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton (RAE). Despite the jump, sales remain about 43% lower than in February 2022, said RAE board chair Melanie Boles, who added the association is optimistic about the spring market potential. The average price of a single detached home in February was $459,600, which represented a 9% drop over last year.
  • Radio Control Racers Edmonton, a non-profit group of miniature car enthusiasts, has opened a permanent space in Bonnie Doon Mall. The group previously only had a dedicated outdoor track, but its new space will allow it to host meet-ups and events year-round. "To have a place where we can race in the wintertime is everything," Randy Van, club president, told CTV News.
A plate with a cut of beef ready to be served]

Coming up this week: March 6-10, 2023

By Debbi Serafinchon

This week offers a multi-campus celebration of queer joy, a deeper look at inclusive education, an address by Finance Minister Travis Toews, an exploration of gender equality in innovation and tech, a kickoff party for the Junos, and a taste of Alberta beef.

Find even more things to do in Taproot's weekly roundups.

Photo: Chartier and Redtail Farms are teaming up to offer four courses prepared by Chef Tamara Solon.(Chartier/Facebook)

The sign for Alex Decoteau Park in downtown Edmonton

On the agenda: Recruitment

By Mack Male

This week, executive committee will meet on March 6 and urban planning committee will meet on March 7.

There are no public agenda items scheduled for either meeting. Instead, committee members will continue recruitment activities for a variety of boards and committees, including the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board, the Edmonton Design Committee, the Edmonton Transit Service Advisory Board, and the Energy Transition Climate Resilience Committee, among others.

The city began recruitment for about 45 open positions across 15 civic boards in December. Council is expected to make appointments in April for terms beginning May 1.

Also this week, the city manager and city auditor performance evaluation committee will meet on March 10 to receive a private consultant update.

Photo: The city's Naming Committee is among the bodies that council's urban planning committee is recruiting members for. (Mack Male/Flickr)