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June 25, 2017
May 7, 2017

Edmonton Headlines: Monday, May 8, 2017

The conflict in Edmonton's inner city

Written by Jeff Samsonow

 

This weekend saw a protest against Edmonton’s safe injection sites. The big issues for those in Edmonton’s Chinatown community are the locations – most will be in and around that neighbourhood – and what they say is a lack of direct consultation.

At this point, Edmonton City Council has asked the Alberta government to ask the federal government to grant the city exemptions for the sites to become safe places for people to use illegal drugs, surrounded and supported by medical staff when they are the centres. The federal government does have to give the approval for the sites, so this kind of protest has the potential to catch some attention in Ottawa.

Some residents from the Boyle and McCauley neighbourhoods were part of the protest too, as they also think there might be too many sites approved for their neighbourhoods. Certainly, it doesn’t make sense to approve just these sites, we’ll need some in other parts of the city, but this is Edmonton’s first step to providing what is proven to be a life-saving service.

And, as part of the mayor’s call to make sure this isn’t all we do, there are now more serious plans being hatched to turn our old remand centre into a large wellness centre.

Not too far from the protests, a priest who has conducted five funerals in the last month, repeated why this is such an needed service in Edmonton. And, yes, it has to start in our inner city and core neighbourhoods, as that’s where a real need can be served.

One criticism of that CBC story that includes the insight of the priest. They barely mention Chinatown and one of their main subjects from the opposition is a white guy. He certainly says something controversial (and, thus becomes newsworthy), but I don’t think it’s out of line to question his inclusion as a main story subject when there is a large protest happening from a racialized community directly behind the white guy. This isn’t to say other people from the Boyle and McCauley neighbourhoods weren’t part of the protest, their voices can be included, but it certainly comes across as whitewashing the protest to ignore such a large group.

Let’s not single out CBC though, since CTV’s story doesn’t mention the protest is Chinese-lead either. (They do have some Chinese inclusion in their video version although nobody names the community out loud.)

So, kudos to Corus Edmonton (Global TV, 630 CHED, iNews880) and Postmedia Edmonton (Journal and Sun) for not whitewashing this protest.


Around the city

For just 0.33 percent in property tax increase we could see our alleys and back lanes get up to just about the same standard as city streets. Sounds like a pretty good deal to me. (Especially if we want to consider more laneway housing.)

Here’s another good idea for the City; a skate park strategy. With more than half of the city’s skateboard facilities down for repairs this summer, there could definitely be more coordination of effort to make sure these, like other recreation facilities, are maximized for use.

Following up the latest Census information on age and sex, Alberta is not only younger than other provinces, we’re the only one with more men than women.

There’s a bit of a “gun fight” south of Edmonton over a new shooting range that’s part of a proposed multi-sport facility.

And, Edmonton Police officers who investigate human trafficking in our city don’t think they’re getting to more than a very small number of the cases. This one is a long read with some good information on the kind of work happening on these cases in Edmonton.


Public engagement

Edmonton’s got a city council meeting today, starting at 1:30 p.m. You can see the agenda online. And the meeting will stream live too.

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