The Pulse: May 1, 2024

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

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  • 10°C: Periods of rain ending near noon then cloudy. High 10. UV index 2 or low. (forecast)
  • Red/Yellow: The High Level Bridge will be lit red and yellow for Bladder Cancer Canada. (details)
  • 8pm: The Edmonton Oilers play the Los Angeles Kings at Rogers Place for Game 5 of the NHL playoffs. (details)

Two people ride e-scooters on an Edmonton sidewalk

Where are Edmonton's e-scooters?

By Stephanie Swensrude

It feels like spring — temperatures are (mostly) up, the sun is (mostly) out, the snow is (mostly) gone, and the Oilers are in the playoffs. But one spring feature is still missing from the streets of Edmonton's core: E-scooters.

The e-scooters are out on streets in Calgary, Red Deer, Spruce Grove and St. Albert. The City of Edmonton, meanwhile, has not revealed which companies will be permitted to offer e-scooters and e-bikes this year.

"We do not have a concrete launch date for e-scooters and e-bikes as we are still in the final stage of the bidding process," Shewkar Ibrahim, the city's director of traffic operations for parks and road services, told Taproot on April 30. "We are planning on announcing the vendors in the coming days and (creating) a plan with the vendors to have units on the streets by the end of May."

Ibrahim said administration wanted to take time to evaluate the micromobility program based on data and public feedback and to put together a more comprehensive bidding process.

Still, more details about the popular e-scooter and e-bike program are offered in a report that's set to be presented at city council's urban planning committee meeting on May 2. That report outlines changes to the micromobility program.

Up to two companies will be engaged until 2027 in the latest shared mobility contract (all past contracts have been for one year), and the suppliers will be allowed to operate year-round.

"A three-year contract allows for more consistency from year to year and will also align with other city initiatives such as the active transportation network expansion," Ibrahim said.

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Headlines: May 1, 2024

By Mariam Ibrahim

  • The Edmonton Downtown Farmers Market is set to return to 104 Street on June 15, running every Saturday until Oct. 12 and featuring more than 75 local vendors. The Edmonton Downtown Business Association, which is managing the event with Foundry Events as the operator, hopes the market's return will help increase vibrancy and economic activity downtown. The market moved to an indoor location in 2020, but the pandemic caused a decline in vendors and visitors, leading the market to declare bankruptcy and close its doors earlier this year.
  • The Alberta government is withdrawing its annual funding contributions to the Low-Income Transit Pass (LITP) program, according to the mayors of Edmonton and Calgary. The program offers subsidized transit passes for low-income residents in both cities. Edmonton Mayor Amarjeet Sohi criticized the move, noting the program is used by 25,000 Edmontonians each month. "The decision to defund this program in Edmonton and Calgary shows that the province's priorities are in the wrong place," he said in a statement. In 2023, both cities received nearly $6 million each for the program.
  • Edmonton Public School Board trustees voted 5-3 at an April 30 meeting to reintroduce a "formal role" for the Edmonton Police Service in schools after the school resource officer program was suspended in 2020 due to concerns about its impact on racialized and marginalized students. Most of the 32 delegates who signed up to speak at the meeting opposed any police presence in schools, advocating for alternative methods to handle conflicts and improve safety. Board chair Julie Kusiek said it's too early to say exactly what role police will play in schools.
  • The City of Edmonton will once again host a series of Big Bin events from May to September, offering residents free disposal for large items like furniture and appliances that are not eligible for curbside pickup. A calendar of event times and locations is available online. The City is also organizing free Eco Station events on select weekends for residents to safely dispose of household hazardous waste.
  • Edmonton city council has officially passed the 2024 tax bylaw, finalizing an 8.9% property tax increase. The City will mail tax notices to property owners on May 24, and taxes are due by June 30.
  • A Global News investigation revealed ties between federal lobbyist Kirsten Poon and federal cabinet minister Randy Boissonnault, raising ethical concerns. Poon, who previously worked for Boissonnault's consulting firm before his election as MP in 2021, had meetings with high-level political staff in six federal departments that helped raise $110 million in federal grants for the Edmonton International Airport, Global News reported. Boissonnault's office said the minister followed all lobbyist and conflict of interest rules, but experts raised concerns about transparency. In a statement, Poon said Boissonnault was not involved in her lobbying and that she takes "all applicable laws, rules and ethics very seriously."
  • Recipients of the 2024 NAIT Celebrates Awards were announced on April 29. The annual awards celebrate the accomplishments of NAIT graduates and supporters. This year's recipients are Shreya Nandiraju, who was the first woman president of the International Society of Automation Edmonton, Compass Chocolates owner Priya Winsor, Nova Cannabis CEO Marcie Kiziak, Edmonton hip hop artist Arlo Maverick, media planner and buyer Robyn Dawson, and NAIT supporter Ray Pisani. Additionally, manufacturing company Sandvik Coromant was honoured for its longstanding partnership with NAIT.
  • A new political party called TapYeg has formed in Edmonton in response to the Alberta government's proposed Bill 20, which would allow political parties to form at the municipal level in Calgary and Edmonton. The legislation has led to concerns from local politicians who argue that introducing party politics at the municipal level could lead to decisions that do not align with community interests. Bill 20 would also give the province the power to remove local councillors from office and override municipal bylaws.
  • Former Edmonton Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft said he hasn't been following the team much since being fired in November after a weak start to the season. In an appearance on Sportsnet's Real Kyper and Bourne show this week, Woodcroft said he has spent time in February with two hockey teams in Europe. He is set to join Team Canada as an assistant coach for the 2024 IIHF World Championship.
  • The Edmonton Elks made two selections in the 2024 CFL Global Draft on April 30, choosing linebacker Eteva Mauga-Clements from the University of Nebraska as their first overall pick, followed by defensive lineman David Olajiga from the University of Central Missouri with the 10th overall pick.
A newspaper clipping that reads "Centennial Planning Week"

A moment in history: May 1, 1965

By Scott Lilwall

On this day in 1965, Edmonton was preparing to celebrate Canada's centennial.

With just two years to go before the country's 100th anniversary, plans were well underway in Edmonton by 1965. Like many cities and towns across Canada, the city was eager to capitalize on grants and funds that were offered for centennial projects. While some places in Alberta earmarked the money for a 30-tonne landing pad for extraterrestrials, Edmonton's project was a bit more terrestrial. It planned a new downtown library.

Almost all the funds the feds offered to Edmonton went to the library project, originally estimated at $3.5 million (it would rise to $4 million by the time it was finished.) The Centennial Library opened in May 1967, sandwiched between two other centennial projects: A large park to the north, and a smaller plaza to the south of the building. The park would later be renamed Sir Winston Churchill Square and redeveloped. (The library was subsequently renamed after Stanley Milner in the '90s. The plaza south of the library is still named Centennial Plaza, but it's different from the other Centennial Plaza that's a few blocks away on the Legislature grounds.)

The library isn't the only centennial legacy that survives in Edmonton. The provincial and federal governments had been working on a plan for a museum to showcase Alberta's natural and human history since 1950. But it wasn't until the early '60s that things moved into high gear and a site was chosen along the river valley. The museum opened in December 1967 as the Provincial Museum of Alberta with exhibits on Indigenous history and early European settlement. Over the 1970s and '80s, the museum expanded to cover more of Alberta's natural and ancient history. In 2005, it was renamed the Royal Alberta Museum (as part of Alberta's centennial year, in fact.)

In addition to receiving grants, the city offered its own funds to community groups to mark the centennial. Many were temporary, including dozens of events, brochures, books, and one really big cake. But others can still be experienced today. The Kinsmen Field House, which opened in 1968, is one such project.

It's been more than another half-century since the flood of centennial projects arrived to change the city. And many of the surviving centennial projects have changed significantly over the years. The downtown library was rebuilt and reopened in 2020 with a controversial new design. Likewise, the Royal Alberta Museum was moved to a new facility closer to the city core.

Changes continue. Work is now underway on a child-friendly revamp of Centennial Plaza south of the library, including the removal of its underused amphitheatre. Landscaping on the project is expected to start this month and finish in the summer.

This clipping was found on Vintage Edmonton, a daily look at Edmonton's history from armchair archivist @revRecluse of @VintageEdmonton.

Correction: This story has been updated with the correct reopening date for the Stanley Milner Library.

A title card that reads Taproot Edmonton Calendar:

Happenings: May 1, 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.