The Pulse: May 16, 2024

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  • 12°C: Periods of rain ending in the afternoon then cloudy. Risk of a thunderstorm late in the morning. Amount 5 to 10 mm. Wind becoming northwest 20 km/h gusting to 40 near noon. High 12. UV index 3 or moderate. (forecast)
  • Green: The High Level Bridge will be lit green for International Celiac Disease Awareness Day. (details)
  • 8pm: The Edmonton Oilers play the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena in Vancouver for Game 5 of their second round NHL playoff series. (details)

Mikayla Balfour models her outerwear apparel in a snowbank.

Nexarina founder carves a path for women in snow sports

By Stephanie Swensrude

Mikayla Balfour, the NAIT grad named Student Entrepreneur of the Year at the YEG Community Startup Awards, is about to start accepting pre-orders for her size-inclusive women's outerwear.

Nexarina has been selling sweatsuits and beanies, but the snow pants and jackets that Balfour has dreamed of will be for sale as of May 30, with delivery expected in October, just as the fresh powder starts to collect in the mountains.

The 25-year-old from Sherwood Park adores snowboarding, but as a shorter-than-average person struggled to find snow pants and jackets that fit, and sometimes had to shop in the kids' section.

"I've always hated being five feet tall, because every single time, even going shopping for regular clothes, it was so frustrating because I always have to get everything altered — nothing ever fit," she told Taproot.

She decided to create snow pants and ski jackets that come in short, regular, and long lengths, and with adjustable waistbands.

"It's built for a woman's body, but it's also built to adjust to us," Balfour said. "Our body shape fluctuates depending on the time of the day, the time of the month, so it's meant to move with you."

It wasn't just the sizing of women's gear that bothered Balfour. Men's gear typically has pockets and is made of high-quality, high-tech material, unlike women's.

"Stuff for women just isn't made to the same standard," she said, noting that her apparel will be made with top-of-the-line clothing materials such as eVent and Primaloft Insulation. "I wanted stuff that was going to move with you throughout seasons, but it would also stand the test of time."

Nexarina isn't just about snow pants that fit well — it's about helping women carve out a space in extreme sports, Balfour said. "Women have just been kind of forced to make do for so long, and we're all about challenging that and saying 'No, we deserve better.'"

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Headlines: May 16, 2024

By Kevin Holowack

  • The City of Edmonton said it expected to see up to 1,500 evacuees from Fort McMurray register at the Clareview Community Recreation Centre during the first day since it began accepting evacuees late on May 14. About 6,600 people have been forced from their homes in four Fort McMurray neighbourhoods as the nearby wildfire continues to grow. YMCA of Northern Alberta is offering free access to four YMCA centres in Edmonton, and the City of St. Albert said it is ready to help if called upon. For many, the emergency has brought back difficult memories of the 2016 Fort McMurray wildfires, which forced 80,000 people to evacuate.
  • A peaceful yet occasionally disruptive protest at city hall related to the police's handling of a protest encampment at the University of Alberta has prompted council members to reconsider security measures and public behaviour expectations during meetings. Coun. Tim Cartmell said he heard from police and police commission delegates who felt unsafe, and city solicitor Michelle Plouff told council she is "very concerned about the health and safety of our staff" because of the tense meeting. Mayor Amarjeet Sohi said members of the public who filled council chambers told him they felt unsafe due to heavy security.
  • The Alberta Crown Prosecution Service has decided not to lay charges against Edmonton Police Service officer Const. Alex Doduk, who shot and killed an unarmed man in June 2021. Despite an ASIRT report finding "reasonable grounds" for a criminal offence, the Crown's legal standard is "reasonable likelihood of conviction." The victim's family called the decision "devastating and heartbreaking." Similar outcomes occurred in the case of Pacey Dumas and the case of a St. Albert teen who ASIRT determined was unlawfully confined by the RCMP.
  • Edmonton experienced the most rapidly rising rent prices in Canada over the past year, according to Zumper. Despite this, Edmonton is ranked 21st out of 23 on Zumper's list of most expensive Canadian cities to rent. Average rent prices for a one-bedroom unit increased by 23.90% year over year, while two-bedroom rents rose by 15.9%. Only two Canadian cities saw similar spikes, including Calgary, where one-bedroom rents increased by 26% between October 2022 and October 2023.
  • The Canadian Real Estate Association's latest statistics show a steady increase in home prices in Edmonton, Calgary, and Saskatoon since the beginning of last year. This trend contrasts with the rest of Canada, where "prices are generally sliding sideways," according to the association.
  • The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation's latest data show a 62% increase in single-detached housing starts in Edmonton from April 2023 to April 2024, and a 64% increase in total housing starts. Additionally, Edmonton saw a 28% rise in the seasonally adjusted annual rate for housing starts from March to April this year, compared to the national average decrease of 1%.
  • The City of Edmonton has begun opening its spray parks, with most set to open within two weeks of the May long weekend. A map of all spray park locations shows their opening status and hours. By year-end, Edmonton will have 75 spray parks, with new ones in Windsor Park and Inglewood.
  • The HotSpot Parking App became available to Edmonton customers on May 14. The new system, which launched on April 29, initially allowed payment only via credit, debit, or QR code. The City of Edmonton chose HotSpot to replace EPark citing its ease-of-use and speed. Customers with less than $25 in their EPark account must request a refund before June 30, as funds won't transfer automatically.
  • The City of Edmonton and the Indigenous Sport Council of Alberta invite residents to attend this year's Moose Hide Campaign Day event at city hall on May 16. The Moose Hide Campaign challenges men and boys to stand against gender-based violence. Everyone is encouraged to attend and support the campaign.
  • The Vancouver bar Black Frog, located on Cambie Street in Gastown, is a "haven" for Oilers fans on the west coast. The venue attracted about 80 fans to watch Game 4 of the playoff series between the Edmonton Oilers and the Vancouver Canucks.
  • Chief Billy Morin of the Enoch Cree Nation is among the 40 people nominated so far to represent the Conservative Party of Canada in the next federal election, slated to take place on or before Oct. 20, 2025. Morin is running in the new riding of Edmonton Northwest, created by the latest electoral boundary changes.
A grassy field in a residential area, viewed from the street, with three small trees in the foreground

Calls for public engagement: Dunluce rezoning, St. Albert comms, shopping local

By Kevin Holowack

Here are opportunities to offer feedback on a proposed rezoning for affordable housing in Dunluce, Edmonton's local shopping scene and 311 services, and St. Albert's communication efforts. Please only answer surveys from municipalities where you are a resident.

  • Your St. Albert: Themes and Meanings Survey — The City of St. Albert is working with an advertising agency to develop ways to better communicate with the public. Residents can tell the city what information they need, how they want it, and their thoughts on existing communication efforts by completing an online survey before May 17.
  • May Mixed Topic Survey — The City of Edmonton's mixed topic survey this month includes questions about shopping locally and using 311 services. Residents can complete the online survey until May 21.
  • Dunluce Surplus School Site Rezoning Application — The City of Edmonton received 20 surplus school sites from Edmonton Public Schools in 2009, with council designating 14 for affordable housing. The public is invited to provide feedback on a proposed rezoning of the Dunluce site at 12030 162 Avenue NW from a parks zone to a medium-scale residential zone. Residents can share their thoughts on the application or ask a question until May 26.
  • District Planning Public Hearing — The City of Edmonton invites members of the public to register to speak at an upcoming public hearing on its proposed district policy and 15 district plans. Speakers are asked to register in advance. The public hearing is set for May 28.
  • A Place to Grow: Upcoming Engagement Events — The City of Beaumont is holding two community conversations as part of its initiative to plan for rapid population growth. An RSVP is required for both sessions, which will take place at the Beaumont Community Centre on May 29 and May 30.

More input opportunities

Photo: The City of Edmonton is considering rezoning a surplus school site in Dunluce for affordable housing. It is currently part of Herb Link Park. (Google Maps)

A title card that reads Taproot Edmonton Calendar:

Happenings: May 16, 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.