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October 22, 2017
March 19, 2017

Edmonton Headlines: Monday, March 20, 2017

Rossdale fire station will re-open

Written by Jeff Samsonow

A new (old) fire station will be opening in Rossdale next year, after a challenge from the neighbourhood’s community league was dismissed by the Alberta Court of Appeal.

This is a case that’s been challenged, and in the courts, for years, after the Rossdale Community League appealed the development permit for the fire station. That followed on City Council’s decision to move ahead with the re-opening of the station for river rescues and as a backup for downtown fire calls. (It’s rare a community league ends up going all the way to the Court of Appeal over neighbourhood decisions.)

The fight has hinged on the fire trucks that would be headed downtown, not so much the river rescues. The community league and neighbours have asked if their small community in the river valley is the best place for what could be a busy fire hall with trucks headed into the downtown frequently.

Certainly, the noise of living near a busy fire hall can be a concern for neighbours. But it also makes sense the City would try to save money by using an existing facility to increase emergency responses.

That all said, since there don’t appear to be safety concerns being raised over the last few years of not having the Rossdale station, it does possibly back the Rossdale neighbours pondering the location as the best for downtown support (or, the whole city, as Fire Chief Ken Block claims).

Either way, river rescue operations will be increased with the Rossdale Fire Station, trucks will be housed there for central Edmonton calls, and the community league says it will not further challenge the decision.


In school

There’s some learning happening over how Edmonton Public schools should handle the N-word appearing in classic literature, that is taught in classrooms. This is especially important in consideration of students of colour who may feel uncomfortable with how the word (and other racial slurs) are discussed by teachers and the context of it no longer being appropriate.

An innovative education program for Indigenous girls is in need of a space and some funding to keep providing a needed form of schooling. For a program attracting international acclaim, and helping to build on what we learned in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, it seems like something government, education institutions or other organizations could keep open.


Welcome to Canada

This kind of story can never be mentioned enough, as we see from a lot of anger and hate that is fueling too much political debate. “…refugees—as with most immigrants to Canada—commit less crime on average than those already here.” (This was a truth at the heart of our look at Edmonton newsrooms including a refugee status in a story about sexual assaults.)

There was also some fanfare this weekend as new Canadian citizens were sworn in at Rogers Place™️ downtown.


Unite the right

The Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta has a new leader, and you’re going to hear even more about how right-leaning politicians and voters are trying to “unite” now that Jason Kenney is in charge.

Of course, campaigning on a platform of “repealing everything the NDP has done” is terrible policy that would hurt a lot of people, so let’s hope we hear some actual details between now and 2019 to give people a better idea of whether these new right-of-centre options make sense for them. I mean, “uniting the right” can’t be the only idea, right?

And, while it could be argued that Alberta’s NDP is more in the centre of the political spectrum than the left, voters who aren’t on-board with that party are going to have to choose where they go as the PCs look to join forces with the Wildrose (hopefully not in “lake of fire“).

Again, this could all be very good for political discussion in Edmonton and Alberta if policies and ideas lead the debate.

And let’s hope we see policy and idea-driven stories in local and Alberta news too. If it all just becomes personality and tweet-driven, or focuses only on “taxes bad” quotes or left vs. right, then journalists didn’t learn anything from the U.S. election.


In other news…

St. Albert is exploring what they can “sense” as a smart city. There are some really interesting things that sensors placed around a city could help determine and drive.

The Ritchie Market begins to open this week, which is great for that neighbourhood and everyone who is nearby and lives a walkable lifestyle (or could live a more walkable lifestyle with the Market open).


At City Hall

City Council’s meeting begins today, at 1:30 p.m. You can see the agenda online. Watch or listen to the meeting live from wherever you are with the City’s streaming service.