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May 26, 2022
June 4, 2017

Edmonton Headlines: Monday, June 5, 2017

People are dying without social housing

Written by Jeff Samsonow

Boyle Renaissance Tower is one example of social housing that has been built. Photo: City of Edmonton

We keep talking about how important social housing, and more affordable housing in general, is to people living in Edmonton. A stark reminder of what two decades of inaction means for us is the deaths of more than 100 people on our streets. That’s actually double the average number of people who have died without a home every other year, in the last decade. It’s not clear yet if there are any specific reasons 2016 was such a terrible year, so right now it’s being viewed as an outlier to the trend.

Still though, our trend is that 50 people die each year in Edmonton because of exposure to the elements, violence, overdose and other causes. That’s a terrible statistic for a city that has much opportunity and wealth as ours.

There are a lot of people using Edmonton’s food bank each month, which is another not-so-great trend we have. One way to help, is to buy a new veggie pack available at Sobeys, IGA and Safeway which equals a contribution of fresh produce to the food bank. People can’t live on canned goods alone. (Or, they shouldn’t have to, until either the zombie apocalypse or Judgement Day.)

Speaking of food… Local food is big in Alberta and our hunger for it is only growing.

Making plans

Multi-use trail. photo: Edmonton Parks

Edmonton’s got a lot of multi-use trails – those are the ones for walking, biking, anything that’s not a car – and if more people are using them in busy places like our central parks and river valley, we might want to think about how to ensure multi-use doesn’t mean crowded and crash-prone. This might be one time that we want to create some induced demand.

New schools being built in Edmonton won’t create fundraising headaches for parents who want to include a playground. And, new money announced by the provincial government also means schools built in the last few years are also eligible to recoup costs for playgrounds. This is such a smart, simply move by the Alberta government to keep schools, and parents, from having to put money into the nice-to-haves and being able to focus on core elements (or even bigger playgrounds, I guess).

Edmonton’s mayor is thinking about using the new Infrastructure Bank to help fund green energy and similarly-minded projects in the city.

I think I just realized that Kingsway is a roadway without a suffix like street, avenue or boulevard.

In other news…

Good news, bad news. The good news is the Edmonton and Area Land Trust is getting $110,000 from rail company CN. The bad news is it’s because of an oil spill.

Edmonton’s Pride celebrations begin this week (the big parade is on Saturday) and it’s the perfect time to think about how we can continue to shape our city into one that can tap into LGBTQ tourism. The work, of course needs to go beyond just image-remaking branding and actually see us create the kind of city, and province, that everyone can feel welcome in.

On the topic of people making Edmonton an unwelcome place, a committee working to monitor hate crimes and hate incidents was just talking about how difficult it is to find a hateful act to be criminal in nature.

The blanket exercise can be a powerful, yet simple, way to learn about Canada’s Indigenous history, and the history of cultural genocide that’s been reality for hundreds of years.

One of the young voices headed to Indigenize our Senate is going to focus on building tech capabilities within and for Indigenous communities to create jobs and build better futures.

The Alberta government is trying to get rolling on how it’s going to handle legalized marijuana. You can fill out a survey to help, as the government contemplates rules for next year’s legalization.

Animal news

Edmonton is going to try using weed-eating goats to help in Rundle Park this summer.

If you’re looking to get up close and personal with some animal lawn control, head to Fort Saskatchewan and hang out with their sheep who graze in city parks up that way. It’s lots of fun!

Meanwhile, in Terwillegar… there are some angry beavers defending their turf and making dogs think twice about invading their space.

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