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December 16, 2017
June 22, 2017

Edmonton Headlines: Thursday, June 22, 2017

Celebrating and reconciling

Written by Jeff Samsonow

 

We’re starting right where we did yesterday, with National Aboriginal Day, or National Indigenous Peoples Day as it will be known as from here on out. Edmonton saw a huge gathering in Victoria Park to mark the occassion, among other events around the city.

The Alberta government marked the day by reiterating commitments it is making toward reconciliation with Indigenous people in our province. This includes a forthcoming apology for the Sixties Scoop which removed many people from their family homes, and putting money into housing and water safety. Those aren’t normally areas where a provincial government steps up, but the federal government hasn’t been acting, so it’s good to see one level of government moving beyond platitudes and planning.

Alright, maybe it’s not fair to say that the federal government hasn’t been acting. I mean, the Prime Minister did change the names of a couple of things.

We had talked earlier this week about funding for Indigenous entrepreneurs, and a new loan program has been announced to put money into the hands of 75 female Aboriginal business owners in the next 5 years.


School news

Both of Edmonton’s school boards passed their budgets before summer break. Both are digging into some savings to balance the books for the next year. One of the big changes the boards are dealing with is a reduction in being able to charge some school fees, thanks to new rules from the provincial government.

A little to the side of this, the new labour contract with teachers also means an additional $75M for classrooms this fall, which both of Edmonton’s school boards will see money from.

The Edmonton Public School Board also voted (almost unanimously) to join others in asking the provincial government to consider lowering the voting age to 16 for municipal council and school board elections.


Around the city

Future LRT crossings on Stony Plain Road and at West Edmonton Mall are sure to drive a lot of discussion, if only because some people really hate the idea of waiting for a train to cross an intersection. The low-floor LRT, which is more like a suped-up streetcar than our bigger current trains, could move through the west end completely on the street, or it could be raised at a couple of intersections or tunnelled under the busier spots. Moving things up or down will cost more, but could end up being preferred design options. I don’t think either option looks particularly pleasing visually.

If this sounds familar, it’s because city council did just look at raising the southeast extension of the LRT by Bonnie Doon mall. That was turned down, but it was also very late in the game, while the western line is still in design stages.

Edmonton’s new Mature Neighbourhood Overlay is not even in effect yet and people already want to see rules changed. You really can’t please ’em all.

You could save up to $10,000 if you install solar panels on your home (or even more on a business property).

Morinville town council is considering the idea of offering parents a cloth diaper tax rebate in an effort to be more environmentally friendly.

The City has just announced that you can swim at all the outdoor pools for free all summer, starting July 1. See you at the pool!


Public engagement

There’s an open house tonight about the development of Kinistinaw Park in The Quarters east of downtown, 4 – 8 p.m. at Boyle Street Plaza.

The City has two interactive workshops happening at City Hall, related to the Edmonton Seniors Centres Strategy and Advancing Age Friendly Edmonton, both running 4 – 8 p.m.

While we don’t yet know who will occupy the old MacEwan west campus, there is a meeting tonight about the zoning for the big orange building, 4:30 – 8 p.m. at the former school site.

The City’s got a drop-in session about the potential development of housing on a surplus school site in Keheewin, 5 – 8 p.m. at Keheewin School.

Ward 1 councillor Andrew Knack is hosting a community conversation tonight, 6 – 9 p.m., at Belmead School.

There’s also a fundraiser for women running for office this fall – they’ll all be in one place – which is happening at the Matrix Hotel, 7 – 10 p.m.

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