The Pulse: June 26, 2023

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

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  • 27°C: A mix of sun and cloud with 30% chance of showers. Risk of a thunderstorm in the afternoon. Fog patches dissipating in the morning. High 27. Humidex 30. UV index 7 or high. (forecast)
  • Yellow/Red: The High Level Bridge will be lit yellow and red for World Sickle Cell Anemia Day. (details)
  • 103-77: The Edmonton Stingers defeated the Brampton Honey Badgers on June 23. (details)
  • 88-93: The Stingers lost to the Montreal Alliance on June 25. (details)
  • 31-43: The Edmonton Elks lost to the Toronto Argonauts on June 25. It was the 19th consecutive home game loss for the Elks, who have yet to win a game during this year's regular season. (details)

A bird's-eye-view render of the proposed Mill 99 development in Ritchie

On the agenda: Audit work plan, towers in Ritchie, and more

By Mack Male

This week, a public hearing will take place on June 26, and audit committee will meet on June 27. Two private audit-related meetings will take place as well: the city auditor recruitment committee will meet on June 27, and the audit selection committee will meet on June 29. The next city council meeting is scheduled for July 4.

Here are some of the key items on the agenda:

  • Citing staff turnover and vacancies, the office of the city auditor would like to revise its 2023 work plan by removing four planned audits: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Workplace; Dedicated Accessible Transit Service (DATS); Data Governance and Management; and Capital Projects — Lessons Learned. Five audits have already been completed this year, seven are in progress, and three are to start later this year.
  • Evertrust, which purchased the final development site in the Muttart Urban District near Stadium LRT station last year, originally planned to build a 32-storey tower with up to 366 residential dwellings. A rezoning application, which administration supports, proposes increasing the number of dwellings to 600 and adds two publicly accessible greenways that will help to connect with the bike network.
  • Mill 99, a proposed development in Ritchie that includes one 19-storey high-rise and one six-storey building separated by a publicly accessible open space/plaza, would include up to 230 new residential dwellings, nine of which would have at least three bedrooms. The taller tower would feature a two-storey podium with stepbacks above to help it fit in with the surrounding area, which is primarily zoned for four-storey buildings. Administration supports the application, which has received extensive engagement over the past two years.
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Headlines: June 26, 2023

By Mariam Ibrahim

  • Edmonton's Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) are calling on all levels of government to work together to find solutions to social disorder and crime that are impacting small businesses, including more supportive housing, along with public washrooms and "hygiene hubs" such as the one run by the Mustard Seed. Todd Janes, chairman of the Edmonton BIA council, said small business owners are not equipped to handle social disorder and crime, and often don't know who to contact for help. "These people are here to run businesses. They're not emergency responders, they're not social workers," Janes told council's executive committee on June 23. The city provides multiple resources for BIAs, including storefront improvement programs and grants, and the Vibrant Streets program, which launched this year.
  • The Downtown District Energy Initiative was granted approval during council's executive committee meeting on June 23, giving the green light for EPCOR to design, build, finance, and operate the system. The first phase of the project will connect to three buildings but is expected to expand to about 50 buildings once fully operational. The system is "critical as part of our city's efforts to be a net-zero community by 2050," said Mayor Amarjeet Sohi. Executive committee also approved an additional $7.7 million in funding for the system to address the project's changing scope and inflation. The District Energy Building remains under construction at the Francis Winspear Centre of Music.
  • The City of Edmonton has banned TikTok on all city-owned mobile devices to proactively safeguard its IT assets and overall network security, according to a memo to council dated March 7. Kevin McKay, with the city's financial and corporate services department, said the decision came following a review of the city's cybersecurity, privacy, and social media teams. The city's ban is in line with recent decisions from the Alberta government, the federal government, and the House of Commons to also ban the popular video-based app from all government-issued devices due to security concerns.
  • Edmonton Centre MP Randy Boissonnault said in an interview with Postmedia that he is optimistic the federal government can work with Premier Danielle Smith's UCP government even as Ottawa pursues its sustainable jobs program. Boissonnault said his constituents expect the two governments to cooperate and "get the work done." The relationship between the two governments has been tense but Boissonnault said recent discussions between federal ministers and Smith, along with the child-care agreement made in November 2021 showed that they can work together.
  • The city announced it will host a fireworks show over the central river valley on July 1 at 11pm to celebrate Canada Day. The city said the holiday is an "opportunity for us to come together to learn, acknowledge and reflect on significant positive and negative actions in our country's history." The city is advising Edmontonians to expect traffic delays two hours before and two hours after the show. Edmonton Transit Service will offer additional service to the fireworks display, which will also be livestreamed by CBC Edmonton for those who want to watch remotely.
  • Last week's heavy rainfall caused part of a Westmount home's backyard to collapse into a neighbouring infill excavation. The Lalonde family's fence began to collapse on June 15, the same day that 40 millimetres of rain fell in the city. The owner of the infill building company, Euro Design Master Builder, said the incident was caused by the weather and not an error made by his crew, but noted the company will pay for the damage and restoration. The Lalondes told CTV News they remain supportive of residential infill but wondered if more preventative measures should be introduced for developments. A city supervisor said that while weather needs to be considered as part of the planning process, more comprehensive rules aren't in place because sites can be affected by many variables.
  • Two Edmonton-area parks, Rotary Park in Stony Plain and Jubilee Park in Spruce Grove, have added a Liberty Swing, which is a piece of playground equipment that lets wheelchair users safely ride on a swing set. The swings, which are made exclusively in Australia and cost around $50,000 each, have been open for around a month in the parks. Their installation was a joint effort between both municipalities and the Foundation for Cohesive Communities, a non-profit promoting inclusive play.
  • J'lyn Nye, a longtime Edmonton media personality and co-host of This Morning on 630 CHED was awarded a Queen's Platinum Jubilee Medal on June 22. Nye was honoured with the medal for her efforts to support military members and their families. She said her contributions began in 2003 following a trip to France to cover the opening of the Juno Beach Centre, which is the first Canadian World War 2 museum in that country. In 2015, Nye was named an honorary colonel of the Royal Canadian Air Force.
  • The Edmonton Humane Society held its 31st annual Pets in the Park festival at Buena Vista Park on June 25. The festival featured dog-friendly games and sports, a cat cafe, face painting, live entertainment, and a pet-friendly beer garden. The organization also hosted a new event called "Pet-ucation" to help festival goers learn more about their animal companions.
  • Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid has proposed to Lauren Kyle, his girlfriend of eight years. Kyle announced the June 22 engagement in an Instagram post, which drew a wave of congratulatory comments. "Thank you for the most thoughtful, picture-perfect proposal that I could never have imagined," she wrote in the caption.
A view of Edmonton's downtown core with a rainbow arcing over the glass towers

Coming up this week: June 26-30, 2023

By Debbi Serafinchon

Opportunities this week include a celebration of Edmonton theatre; a look at the future of downtown; explorations of health innovation, AI, and sustainable city planning; a gathering of nerds; and a screening of Indigenous short films.

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

Photo: NAIOP Edmonton, which represents commercial real estate developers, has convened a panel to discuss downtown. (Mack Male/Flickr)