The Pulse: Nov. 16, 2023

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  • 4°C: A mix of sun and cloud. Wind becoming southwest 20 km/h gusting to 40 late in the morning. High plus 4. Wind chill minus 10 in the morning. UV index 1 or low. (forecast)
  • Light Blue: The High Level Bridge will be lit light blue for National Children's Grief Awareness Day. (details)
  • 4-3: The Edmonton Oilers (5-9-1) defeated the Seattle Kraken (5-8-4) in overtime on Nov. 15. It was the team's third consecutive victory. (details)

Six people gather around a table at the edge of a kitchen.

Allard forms community league, Blatchford wishes it could

By Colin Gallant

The southwestern community of Allard will become Edmonton's 163rd community league later this month, a feat accomplished in record time.

"I made sure that we were always doing what needed to be done in the current step, but we were always looking ahead," Steve Pittis, chair of the Allard Community League steering committee, told Taproot. "I found that definitely kept us going because it always gave us something else to think about."

Allard, whose southern boundary is the edge of the city at 41 Avenue SW, will reach the last of 15 steps required to become a community league on Nov. 22 when it holds its first annual general meeting and board election. It reached Step 12, "Incorporate as a Society," after about eight months of work.

"Usually, groups take about two years," said Laura Cunningham-Shpeley, executive director of the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues. "It is a tremendous amount of work."

Meanwhile, in the central neighbourhood of Blatchford, efforts to establish a league haven't even reached Step 1. The EFCL requires a population of at least 5,000, and Blatchford isn't there yet.

"There was genuine frustration at the 5,000-person benchmark that they've set. That's pretty ridiculous. It seems really arbitrary," said Heather MacKenzie, the president of the non-profit Blatchford Community Society. "If you have the volunteer capacity to establish a full board — as we have with over 10 people — and a high-functioning executive, I really don't think there should be a specific quantity of people residing in your neighbourhood for you to be allowed to formally exist as a community league."

Allard had the opposite problem. Residents were informed about two years ago that they were being ejected from the Blackmud Creek Community League due to a growth in population that the league could no longer accommodate. The maximum size of a community league is 15,000.

Pittis spearheaded the formation of Allard's steering committee earlier this year. He's a maintenance carpenter who has spent most of his career in commercial construction. His background in navigating permitting and paperwork gave him an edge when it came to steps such as writing a letter of intent to the city, registering as a society, and creating a needs assessment, bylaws, and objectives.

"The actual steps were not difficult," he said. "The hardest part that I found for this whole thing was figuring out who could do what."

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Headlines: Nov. 16, 2023

By Kevin Holowack

A market with booths set up for vendors to sell items.

A roundup of holiday markets and craft sales

By Debbi Serafinchon

There are a lot of holiday markets in November and December (and by a lot, we mean more than 50). Each offers a treasure trove of unique gifts for those you love. Find home-baked goods, authentic crafts, decorations, novelty items, and more.

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Traffic control box on a downtown street with a design featuring Cree syllabics.

Calls for public engagement: Alley renewals, park amenities, public art

By Kevin Holowack

Here are some opportunities to offer your input on civic initiatives, including renewal projects in Glenwood and Lansdowne, Valley Line West LRT communications, Castle Downs Park plans, and the Vibrant Street Art Contest.

  • Glenwood Alley Renewal (pre-engagement survey) — The City of Edmonton is preparing for the Glenwood East renewal project, which is expected to enter construction in 2025. The city is now asking residents, property owners, and businesses how they prefer to receive communications from the city. The survey is open until Nov. 20.
  • November Mixed Topic Survey — This month, the City of Edmonton is asking residents about services and amenities and is seeking input to help shape communications related to the Valley Line West LRT project. The online survey closes on Nov. 21.
  • Castle Downs Park (concept plan) — The City of Edmonton is seeking input from residents about how they use Castle Downs Park in northwest Edmonton and what amenities they would like added. An online survey is available until Nov. 21.
  • Vibrant Streets Art Contest (voting) — The City of Edmonton invites residents to vote on their favourite submissions for art to decorate traffic control boxes. The top 12 works from local artists will be announced in January and installed in the spring of 2024. The voting period ends Nov. 22.
  • Lansdowne Alley Renewal (pre-engagement survey) — The City of Edmonton is holding a drop-in event at the Lansdowne Community League from 6pm to 8:30pm on Nov. 22. Residents can also complete an online survey about the current state and function of Lansdowne's alleys until Nov. 26.

More input opportunities

Photo: A decorative traffic control box at 124 Street and 106 Avenue. (Decorative Traffic Control Boxes map)