The Pulse: April 8, 2024

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

Sponsored by:

Want this in your inbox? Sign up to get The Pulse by email. It's free!


  • 14°C: Sunny. Becoming a mix of sun and cloud in the afternoon. High 14. UV index 3 or moderate. (forecast)
  • Yellow: The High Level Bridge will be lit yellow for Daffodil Month. (details)
  • 6-2: The Edmonton Oilers (46-24-5) defeated the Colorado Avalanche (48-23-6) on April 5. (details)
  • 4-2: The Oilers (47-24-5) defeated the Calgary Flames (34-37-5) on April 6. (details)

Garbage at an entrance to Central LRT station in downtown Edmonton.

On the agenda: Night mayor, lights for bikes, cleaning the core

By Stephanie Swensrude

This week, councillors are set to discuss a nighttime economy strategy, upgrades for lights on active transportation routes, and enhanced cleaning services in the core.

There is a community and public services committee meeting scheduled for April 8, an urban planning committee meeting scheduled for April 9, an executive committee meeting scheduled for April 10, and a special city council meeting scheduled for April 12.

Here are key items on the agenda:

  • A report created by Explore Edmonton and Night Time Economy Solutions recommends Edmonton should appoint a night mayor and a nighttime economy alliance as part of its night economy strategy. The recommendations are in a report scheduled to be presented at council's executive committee meeting on April 10. The strategy recommends the alliance collects data on bars, clubs, and businesses, counts the footfall traffic at these businesses, and identifies locations where street art could improve vibrancy, among other actions. The strategy also recommends the Edmonton Police Service consider stationing police in areas of dense nightlife activity and reported crime. Puneeta McBryan, executive director of the Edmonton Downtown Business Association, told CBC she believes the number of officers out at night has changed in recent years. "Our downtown beat officers are there during the day, but what that presence looks like at night has really changed since COVID," McBryan said. "I'd be really curious to find out, even compared to 2018, how many officers we have out on a typical Friday or Saturday night." Administration said council could start a night mayor and nighttime economy alliance with a one-time cost of $50,000, and an ongoing cost of $200,000 annually for the night mayor's salary and benefits.
  • Administration estimates it would need between $20 million and $65 million to upgrade the lighting on 86 kilometres of its active transportation routes to meet current requirements. The lower end of the range would see lighting improved on district connector routes, while the higher end of the range would include neighbourhood routes. Administration said council could fund the lighting upgrades through the $100 million active transportation fund that was approved in the 2023-2026 budget, but that could mean up to 60 kilometres of new active transportation infrastructure would be cancelled. A report detailing the lighting enhancement options is scheduled to be presented at the urban planning committee meeting on April 9.
  • Administration said it applied for roughly $13 million in provincial grants to continue its enhanced cleaning services in the core, but the applications were unsuccessful. The money would have enhanced the Centre City team's budget, which cleans and maintains the public realm in downtown and adjacent neighbourhoods. In a report scheduled to be presented at council's community and public services committee meeting on April 8, administration said the team responded to more than 10,000 issues between June 2023 and January 2024. Public engagement surveys, however, suggest people may not have noticed a difference. Administration conducted surveys in March 2023, before the enhanced service started, and in September 2023, about three months in. Results? The public perception of cleanliness was about the same and the perception of safety was worse in September. Administration said it plans to stretch the program funding to the end of October instead of July, as originally budgeted.
Continue reading

Headlines: April 8, 2024

By Mariam Ibrahim

  • An audit has revealed that the Blatchford redevelopment office in Edmonton may not meet the expected profits and timelines for the project because it "does not have an effective system to track whether it is achieving all of its goals." The office did not provide documentation showing how it changed its profit forecast from $45 million by 2038 to $39 million by 2042, and sales data has not met projected increases, the audit report says. It recommends improvements in tracking, measuring performance, and data analysis to enhance transparency and informed decision-making. City council's audit committee will review the report at its April 15 meeting.
  • Thousands of Edmontonians experienced rolling blackouts for about 30 minutes on the morning of April 5, after a natural-gas power generation plant failure led the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) to declare a province-wide grid alert due to "tight supply." EPCOR reported nearly 20,000 customers around the city were affected, though the situation normalized by 9:39am. The incident, which follows an emergency alert that was issued in January due to extreme cold, pressure on the grid, and some offline gas plants, has prompted renewed discussions about the reliability of Alberta's power grid.
  • Edmontonians came together at Churchill Square on April 7 to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Tutsi genocide in Rwanda. Those gathered highlighted the ongoing impact of the genocide, which claimed an estimated 800,000 lives in 1994. The event was organized by the Memory Keepers Association, a group of genocide survivors now living in Edmonton. Association president Jean Yves Rwibutso emphasized the importance of learning from the past to move forward together. Several other commemorative events are planned in the coming weeks.
  • Edmonton Public Schools and Edmonton Catholic Schools say they will keep students inside during the partial solar eclipse on April 8 to protect their safety. The eclipse is expected to last from 11:54am to 1:39pm. Edmonton's TELUS World of Science reminded sky gazers to use "special solar filters" to safely view the event. The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada and the science centre are hosting a telescope viewing of the partial solar eclipse from 11am to 2pm at the RASC Observatory in Coronation Park.
  • Postmedia profiled the work of veterinarian Daren Mandrusiak, who specializes in treating exotic pets at Edmonton's Harvest Pointe Animal Hospital and also volunteers at the WILDNorth wildlife rehabilitation centre. Mandrusiak highlighted the challenges of treating exotic creatures, which he called "an underserved community of animals." WILDNorth has been operating since 1989, rehabilitating more than 40,000 birds and small mammals since its work started.
  • More than 1,200 students from the Edmonton area participated in the Science Olympics at the Butterdome on April 7. The students took part in challenges designed to apply their critical thinking to real-world problems by having them develop solutions and prototypes for various tasks. The event, organized by the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA), aims to spark interest in science, technology, engineering, and math careers among students from Grades 1 to 12.
  • The NHL fined Edmonton Oilers forward Evander Kane $5,000 US for slashing Calgary Flames player Dryden Hunt during their April 6 game, marking Kane's second fine of the season. Kane was given a minor penalty for slashing after the incident, which happened at the 3:46 mark of the second period. The Oilers went on to win the game 4-2.
A photo of a surface parking lot just north of downtown Edmonton, with Rogers Place in the background

Podcasters ponder parking decision precedent

By Colin Gallant

Edmonton city council's decision to extend the Katz Group's agreement for a temporary gravel parking space could create both positive and negative ripples, the hosts of Episode 258 of Speaking Municipally said.

Council voted 8-4 (mayor Amarjeet Sohi was absent) to extend the agreement for lots adjacent to Rogers Place until 2029 on April 2. Hosts Mack Male and Troy Pavlek were split on Ward O-day'min Coun. Anne Stevenson's comments that a parking lot is better than a vacant lot.

Male thought the suggestion that these are the only options lacked creativity but found a silver lining in council's requirement that greenery and pedestrian pathways must be added to the lot. Pavlek, meanwhile, said council extending the Katz Group's agreement could encourage other developers to exploit other vacant lots for profit rather than encourage them to build.

"It incentivizes people to squat on land. It incentivizes people to purchase land that they don't have the financial capacity to develop at the moment," Pavlek said. "Then they get to turn it into a parking lot and make a killing for five years or 10 years in the interim because permits will continually get renewed."

Male countered that this already happens, as evidenced by the vast number of (unlicensed) gravel lots in the core. Requiring beautification for these lots could be a useful byproduct of the Katz Group decision, he said.

In previous podcasts, the hosts have wondered if the Katz Group's suit against Boyle Street Community Services could factor into the parking decision. But Pavlek referenced councillors Aaron Paquette and Andrew Knack's comments on X that explained they are forbidden to base decisions on land use on factors outside the application itself.

Mayor Amarjeet Sohi's response to Premier Danielle Smith about her offer to help manage city's finances. Sohi outlined nine ways the province could help without taking over, including paying more than $60 million in outstanding property taxes.

Hear more about this, the search for a new city manager, an app replacing EPark, public art, and more on the April 5 episode of Taproot's civic affairs podcast.

Continue reading
A title card that reads Taproot Edmonton Calendar:

Happenings: April 8, 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.