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August 20, 2017
February 16, 2017

Edmonton Headlines: February 16, 2017

Parking lots or parks

Written by Jeff Samsonow

Downtown Edmonton is getting a new park, and we aren’t waiting around for the people who currently own the land that will become that park. Councillors on the Urban Planning Committee voted unanimously to buy the land from the property owners and get on with a park that’s been in the works for a few years now. If City Council agrees next week, this will happen by expropriating the land – paying the owners of the parking lots a fair price for the land but ultimately forcing the sale.

This is a good thing for people living downtown. Right now the land on 107 and 106 Streets is all surface parking lots. Not exactly the best thing if you actually want people to move downtown and enjoy it.

We talked a bit yesterday about these kinds of decisions in terms of building a downtown for people who live there or for people who visit. Putting a park in the middle of the neighbourhood encourages livability of the downtown. Let’s hope building of the park doesn’t take too many years.

Across this neighbourhood, the talks about a new 80-storey tower are on hold (again). Councillors talking about selling parkland on the top of the river valley want more time and more information before they make the decision. A public hearing on zoning for the land is also on hold.


Sixties Scoop

You may be hearing stories about the “Sixties scoop” right now. This is because a judge in Ontario ruled that the federal government breached its “duty of care” and will move one of the biggest suits on this to a settlement for victims and their families. Some of this will sound familiar, as it echoes what we saw with residential schools.

The “scoop” happened over a few decades actually, the 1960s into the 1980s, and involved child and family services workers taking Indigenous children from their homes and placing them with non-aboriginal families. There was not any consultation with first nations about how a child welfare system would work, and thousands of children were placed with people who couldn’t help them stay connected to their culture and communities.

There are other lawsuits at various stages in other provinces, including here in Alberta, so this decision may have an effect on those, and it certainly backs the case of those asking governments for an admission of harm done, and compensation.


Transit Talk

Remember this when conservative leadership hopefuls rail against “elites” on the left. Edmonton MP Amarjeet Sohi was laughed at by Conservative MPs in the House of Commons when he talked about his past as a driver for Edmonton Transit. When conservatives use the term “elite” they aren’t talking about rich or educated people who “haven’t worked a day in their life”, they’re talking about people they don’t agree with and trying to whip up populist appeal.

In nicer transit news, the long-delayed Metro Line will finally be running at full-speed next week. Hopefully. Probably. It still needs some more work to integrate completely with our other LRT track, the Capital Line.


Facebook Fight Fodder

Yesterday we included a note on a story that it would be helpful against anti-immigration rants you might encounter on Facebook. Today, it will be important to remind people about the difference between weather, which is warm in Edmonton, and climate, which is changing because of so many things we do.

I don’t know, maybe we’ll keep including these sorts of “Facebook fight” reminders… I mean, if you think there will be more Facebook fights in your future or something.


And the rest of it…

Edmonton is diversifying the economy and food manufacturing could be a big part of where we’re going. It’s pretty great to read about such a booming industry and how much of a part Edmonton and the capital region play in it.

Which reminds me, try not to throw out so much food.

Edmonton troops are heading to Ukraine. No matter what the U.S. president tells you, Russia did indeed invade that country and it may be vitally important for other countries to make sure the incursion into Europe doesn’t move forward.

Ending on a helpful not, if you find yourself on a jury that deals with serious and violent crimes, you’ll have an opportunity to talk to a counselor about it. This is such a good idea. We need as much mental health care as we can get in more places.