The Pulse: March 25, 2024

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  • -1°C: Cloudy with 30% chance of flurries. Wind becoming southeast 20 km/h in the afternoon. High minus 1. Wind chill near minus 10. UV index 2 or low. (forecast)
  • 3-6: The Edmonton Oilers (42-22-4) lost to the Toronto Maple Leafs (40-20-9) on March 23. (details)
  • 3-5: The Oilers (42-23-4) lost to the Ottawa Senators (30-36-4) on March 25. (details)

Alexander Circle, a park in Glenora.

City halts project to protect Glenora's character and starts city-wide strategy

By Stephanie Swensrude

The city has decided to stop work on a project that could have added even stricter development criteria in Glenora that, according to the city, would help "conserve the unique character" of the downtown-adjacent neighbourhood through "sensitive development."

Council's urban planning committee made the decision at a March 19 meeting.

The Glenora Heritage Character Area Rezoning project started in 2019 but the city paused it in 2021. Now, in a report, the city said it sees developing and implementing a heritage places strategy for the whole city as a higher priority than doing so only in Glenora.

That position has not sat well with Wendy Antoniuk of the Old Glenora Conservation Association. Antoniuk said what's proposed will not protect Glenora.

"(This policy decision) will mean the destruction of more heritage homes, and once they're gone there's nothing that can be done," Antoniuk told Taproot. "Currently, what happens is somebody buys a property, and they usually tear down a house, cut down all the trees, so more and more of that — we'll lose our urban (tree) canopy."

The city's inventory of historic resources lists 132 properties in Glenora, the largest concentration in the city. Three are designated as municipal historic resources. Buildings on the historic inventory "merit conservation" but aren't legally protected from demolition; meanwhile, those designated as municipal historic resources are, the city said.

Glenora's last municipal historic resource was designated in 2007 and there are currently no applications for more. In the last eight years, 12 properties on the inventory were demolished. The city said it anticipates this trend to continue.

Heritage advocates say Glenora, particularly the area that surrounds Alexander Circle, is an example of a garden city suburb, with its dense trees and curved streets.

The conservation association says heritage experts consider Glenora the best-preserved example of a garden city suburb in Canada. The garden city movement Wikipedia page and the International Garden Cities Institute's page about garden cities in Canada do not mention Glenora. Instead, Walkerville, Kapuskasing, and Don Mills in Ontario, and Churchill Park in Newfoundland, are featured.

Research identified three areas encompassing the part of Glenora south of Stony Plain Road as potential heritage character areas. Lynn Odynski, who also represents the conservation association, told the city committee that the areas themselves, not just individual homes, need to be protected. "If you allow big structures to come forward on the property and obliterate the ribbon of green that reflects the river valleys, you will obliterate the garden city streetscape," Odynski said. "If there is no guarantee that will remain, people are not going to designate their homes (as municipal historic resources)."

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Headlines: March 25, 2024

By Mariam Ibrahim

A person in business attire sits on a dais in front of a tiled wall.

Councillor conduct code may not make sense, podcasters say

By Colin Gallant

Coun. Sarah Hamilton's decision to attend a UCP fundraiser instead of a city council meeting raises questions about the effectiveness of the councillor code of conduct, said journalist Jeremy Appel on Episode 256 of Speaking Municipally.

"The code of conduct is something that you can point to, and the rules are the rules," Appel, who writes at The Orchard, said. "But the question is — are the rules reasonable?"

Appel and podcast hosts Troy Pavlek and Mack Male compared Hamilton's support for the UCP to Coun. Michael Janz's endorsement of NDP leadership candidate Sarah Hoffman, which Janz first presented from his position as a city councillor, but later adjusted to reflect his background as a school board trustee.

"Two things can be wrong at the same time, and they can be wrong in different ways, and one thing can be more wrong than the other," Appel said about Hamilton and Janz's actions.

The code of conduct does not include language about missing meetings or votes. "Councillors have a right to freely and fully participate in the political process in their personal capacity, including contributing personal money or real property, volunteering, or offering financial support of partisan political activity, provided that, when doing so, they disclose that such participation is not in their capacity as elected officials," reads the code.

Appel pointed to the timing of Hamilton's absence as significant. Hamilton chose to attend the UCP fundraiser on March 13 amid a labour dispute between the city and Civil Services Union 52, as well as news that the province wants municipal councils to affiliate with provincial parties.

Hear about Hamilton, plus the city's successful suit against the Coalition for Justice and Human Rights, shelter funding, and more on the March 22 episode of Taproot's civic affairs podcast.

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A title card that reads Taproot Edmonton Calendar:

Happenings: March 25, 2024

By Debbi Serafinchon

Here are some events happening today in the Edmonton area.

And here are some upcoming events to keep in mind:

Visit the beta version of the Taproot Edmonton Calendar for many more events in the Edmonton region.