The Pulse: April 7, 2023

The Pulse will be off on Monday, April 10 for the Easter holiday. We'll be back in your inbox on Tuesday, April 11.

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  • 12°C: Sunny. Wind becoming southeast 20 km/h gusting to 40 in the afternoon. High 12. UV index 4 or moderate. (forecast)
  • Green: The High Level Bridge will be lit green for Green Shirt Day, held to raise awareness about organ donation and commemorate Humboldt Broncos defenceman Logan Boulet. (details)
  • 2pm, April 8: The Edmonton Oilers (47-23-9) play the San Jose Sharks (22-39-16) at SAP Center at San Jose. (details)

An LRT train at Century Park station

On the agenda: Encampments, development, and LRT

By Mack Male

After the Easter long weekend, community and public services committee will meet on April 11, urban planning committee will meet on April 12, and executive committee will meet on April 14. There's also a non-regular city council meeting scheduled for the evening of April 12.

Here are some of the key items on the agenda:

  • Encampment-related calls to 311 have increased by 1,075% since 2016, rising to 9,300 in 2022, and administration says the issues associated with encampments have been "further deepened by the simultaneous impacts of the economic downturn, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the drug poisoning crisis". An enhanced encampment response plan that will guide the city and its partners over the next two years will focus on increasing the number of people shifted from encampments to housing, reducing the time it takes for unsheltered people to be housed, and improving the coordination, communication, and efficiency of encampment response processes. Additional funding will be required, as council only approved about $1.4 million of the $4.89 million Encampment and Unsheltered Homelessness Response package in the 2023-2026 budget.
  • Establishing a Municipal Development Corporation could make land development more nimble while reducing risk exposure to the City of Edmonton, but the idea would take time to set up and faces potentially significant startup costs. An MDC may also reduce alignment with city goals, might have a limited ability to borrow money, and is "poorly suited" to undertake existing land development work such as Blatchford and the Exhibition Lands, administration says.
  • Major construction on the Capital Line South LRT extension from Century Park to Ellerslie Road is expected to start in spring 2024, but administration cautions that estimated project costs "have escalated" due to "significant economic pressures and market uncertainty." Potential cost-saving measures include deferring the planned Heritage Valley Park and Ride expansion, reducing the number of light rail vehicles to exclude spares, and reducing the storage garage capacity. The 4.5-kilometre extension will include two new stations and is expected to attract an additional 9,100 daily riders in 2030.
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Headlines: April 7, 2023

By Kevin Holowack

Correction: This file has been updated to more accurately reflect Carrie Hotton-MacDonald's response to the provincial government's request regarding transit peace officers and the police service.

A warmly dressed child wearing protection in a man's arms

Weekend agenda: April 7-10, 2023

By Debbi Serafinchon

This long weekend offers a downtown dance party, choral music, Easter activities, Mexican-flavoured jazz, and a chance to make sporty art.

Find even more things to do in the Arts Roundup.

Photo: Louise McKinney Park will be turned into a family-friendly dance party on Friday and Saturday to celebrate the end of winter. (Downtown Defrost)