The Pulse: April 4, 2024

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

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  • 3°C: Increasing cloudiness in the morning. Wind up to 15 km/h. High plus 3. Wind chill minus 7 in the morning. UV index 3 or moderate. (forecast)
  • Purple: The High Level Bridge will be lit purple for National Dental Hygienists Week. (details)
  • 0-5: The Edmonton Oilers (45-24-5) lost to the Dallas Stars (48-19-9) on April 3. (details)

An artist poses in front of a large outdoor mural that depicts flowers, athletes, artists, and more.

KDays adds artist in residence AJA Louden

By Colin Gallant

Explore Edmonton has chosen AJA Louden as the first-ever artist in residence for KDays as part of its efforts to bring Edmonton's culture to the forefront of the fair.

"I had the idea last year to try and start an artist-in-residence program, but we weren't quite ready for it," Fawnda Mithrush, the program manager for arts at Explore Edmonton, told Taproot. "What I did feel was important was that we start figuring out how to do it, and to do it right."

That meant planting the seeds for a mural garden with Louden, Evan Rast, and Kayla Bellerose (a.k.a. bb iskwew). That resulted in Louden's mural The Celebration and his appointment as artist in residence for 2024. KDays takes place from July 19 to 28.

"I want people to walk through the fair, see the things they expect to see, like huge corn dogs or deep-fried pickles or whatever, and then all (of a) sudden get hit with something surprising," Louden said. "It's like art that's hidden in plain sight. Once you see it, you can't unsee it."

This year, Louden will create and curate more murals for the garden, including some on cubic structures that allow for multiple murals per cube. He said at least four other artists will participate. The cubes are portable and may travel to other sites after this year's KDays.

Louden will facilitate other art throughout the site, including "art hunts" where attendees can win original artworks, including Louden's works from his recently adopted practice in the fibre art medium.

"I don't normally sell those pieces, and don't take commissions for them at all," he said. "This will be one rare chance for people to be able to get their hands on one of those textile pieces for me."

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Headlines: April 4, 2024

By Kevin Holowack

  • Edmonton city council voted to ratify the City's new collective agreement with Civic Service Union 52, which union members voted to ratify on March 25. The four-year agreement includes a 0% general wage adjustment for 2021, 1.25% for 2022, 2% for 2023, and 3% for 2024, plus a $1,000 lump sum payment and a hybrid work commitment. "This agreement balances the needs of staff and Edmontonians," said Mayor Amarjeet Sohi.
  • Edmonton city council named Eddie Robar as interim city manager, following the departure of Andre Corbould, who left his position effective April 3. Robar, previously the deputy manager of city operations, is the most senior official in Edmonton's administration. He will fill the role until a council committee can recruit a new city manager. Robar told reporters his priority will be improving transparency and work culture at city hall.
  • Edmonton's administration is proposing an omnibus amendment to the business licence bylaw to change wording related to adult service industries. The proposal includes replacing the word "exotic" in three adult industry categories with "erotic" in response to concerns from workers that the term "exotic" has racist undertones and doesn't reflect the language used in the industry. The omnibus amendment also proposes changes to allow the City to collect member information from massage therapy associations and remove municipal restrictions on the operating hours of cannabis retailers. The changes will go to council's urban planning committee for approval on April 9.
  • Mayor Amarjeet Sohi pledged to find out more about two dogs that killed an 11-year-old boy at a home in south Edmonton on April 1, while one neighbour described the incident as "bound to happen" because the dogs were "basically a loaded gun." The City said animal control had been called about two recent attacks at the home, of which one was concluded without charges and one remains under investigation. Interim city manager Eddie Robar said the City will review previous complaints to see if there were gaps the City's response. The boy has been identified as a Grade 5 student at Osoyoos Elementary School in British Columbia.
  • University of Alberta students launched a campaign to promote social engagement and break barriers between peers. The "It Starts With Hello" campaign includes laminated posters with conversation prompts and QR codes to access games and other resources, which will be installed at communal tables across campus. "Despite the constant buzz of activity here on campus, many students go through their university years feeling disconnected, alone, and feeling isolated from others," said Daniel Clark, a member of Student Advocates for Public Health. About 65% of post-secondary students reported feeling very lonely in the past year, Clark said.
  • Edmonton's single-family detached home market was ranked among the most affordable in Canada by realty brokerage Zoocasa. The average price of a single-family detached home in Edmonton was $422,400 in January, compared to the national average of $659,395, while two-story homes in the most in-demand regions are about $660,000. Krystal Smith, a realtor with eXp Realty, said residents from other cities are now buying real estate in Edmonton, with "quite a few people" from British Columbia looking at houses in the $1-million range after selling homes for far more. Edmonton buyers, meanwhile, tend to look for price ranges significantly below the national average, according to market data from the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton.
  • Manjit and Ravinder Minhas, a pair of Calgary siblings and entrepreneurs, have acquired part ownership of the Edmonton Stingers, joining Taranvir 'Tank' Vander and James Burns as the team's managing partners and investors in the Canadian Elite Basketball League. The deal makes Manjit Minhas, known for her role on CBC's Dragon's Den, the first female owner of a team in CEBL history. The change will not affect day-to-day operations of the organization, the club said in a release.
  • CBC News spoke with Edmonton Oilers superfan Trevor Don Weal, known as "McMullet," who drives eight hours to and from Strathmore to watch every home game. By the end of the 2023-2024 season, Weal will have attended 104 home games in a row.
Artistic rendering of a busy urban park filled with trees and shrubs and adjacent to mid-rise buildings

Calls for public engagement: Old Strathcona, Rice Howard Way, Towards 40

By Kevin Holowack

Here are opportunities to shape city planning for the Old Strathcona Public Realm Strategy, a proposed entertainment district on Rice Howard Way, and street safety along 40 Street and Hermitage Road.

  • Old Strathcona Public Realm Strategy (Phase 3) — The City of Edmonton is accepting feedback on the final phase of the Old Strathcona Public Realm Strategy. The strategy re-envisions streets, sidewalks, parks, plazas, and parking in Old Strathcona, including bus-based mass transit on Whyte Avenue. The strategy will be presented to council's urban planning committee in August. Edmontonians can ask the project team a question or complete a survey until April 7.
  • Entertainment District in Downtown — The City of Edmonton seeks feedback on designating Rice Howard Way between 100 Street and 100A Street as an entertainment district. The designation would restrict the street to pedestrian-only access and allow outdoor entertainment, food service, and alcohol service during summer weekends. Anyone who works, lives, or uses downtown for recreation can complete a short survey before April 16.
  • Towards 40 – 40 Street and Hermitage Road — The City of Edmonton is inviting feedback on draft designs for 40 Street and Hermitage Road project areas as part of the Towards 40 Program, which aims to improve safety in areas where speeding and other street safety issues have been identified. Residents who walk, bike, roll, or drive in the project areas can attend an in-person public engagement session on April 9 or take a survey until April 16.

More input opportunities

Photo: Creating a park in a space that's currently a surface parking lot near the Old Strathcona Farmers' Market is one of seven actions recommended in the Old Strathcona Public Realm Strategy. (City of Edmonton)

A title card that reads Taproot Edmonton Calendar:

Happenings: April 4, 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.