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November 20, 2017
August 28, 2017

Edmonton Headlines: Monday, August 28, 2017

Who we publicly praise

Written by Jeff Samsonow

Frank Oliver, namesake of the neighbourhood. image: Wikipedia

A rally at the Alberta Legislature over the weekend was responding to the Nazi-lead violence in Charlottesville, and also about combating white supremacy here in Edmonton. One of the main topics of the rally organizers is about the commemoration of Frank Oliver around the city, including the neighbourhood named for him.

While it was Frank Oliver who carried out a legislative attack on my Papaschase Cree ancestors, it was the citizens of Edmonton who stood by and watched them suffer and starve.”

Oliver is one of the first people from Edmonton’s past that is going to face greater scrutiny, in the wake of violence for removing statues and other public forms of recognition in the reality of our current world. He won’t be the only one.

It does sound like the City of Edmonton, and council, is open to having this discussion. It’s going to be an important part of reconciliation efforts with our Indigenous neighbours. The next city council elected this fall will likely face mounting pressure to remove public praise for individuals we wouldn’t regard very highly today.

Keep these people in our history books, and mark important and noteworthy places in our city, but we have to wipe names off our buildings and public spaces that are any sort of celebration of perpetrators of colonialism, racism, sexism and hate.


YegBikeParty, via Twitter

Were you at that big bike party on the weekend?!

The downtown bike network is officially open, with all eight kilometres fully functional to keep bike riders safer on city streets. If anyone ever says that Edmonton’s not a bike city, just point them at all of the social media love from Saturday’s events. We like to ride!

This is, as we continually say, great news for Edmonton. Protecting more vulnerable road users is the key to actually reducing deaths and serious injuries on our roadways. So far, cycle traffic has doubled through the downtown.

And, while downtown is getting all the attention, we’re also about to open multiple bike lanes through southside neighbourhoods of Strathcona and Queen Alexandra (with connections pending to Garneau, McKernan, Belgravia, Allendale and beyond).

Now, we can’t talk about getting around the city without talking about being stuck in traffic (or so it seems). We heard last week that the LRT being built to connect downtown to Mill Woods through our southwest might cause a few waits for people driving.

The mayor’s got the right approach here, though, since we have to build more public transit (and bike infrastructure) to get people out of their cars and trucks – which causes all that traffic – to make the whole city move smoother. This is especially important considering that Edmonton’s population is expected to keep booming for the next few decades.

Changing transportation mode eases congestion. photo: Cycling Promotion Fund via City Metric

Speaking of planning ahead, the testing and surveying continues along Jasper Avenue’s western stretches, ahead of re-construction in a couple of years. This summer is all about testing out how Jasper Avenue looks, feels and moves with a lane or two given back to people walking through the Oliver neighbourhood. There are, of course, some grumpy grumps hating on this. You’d think the traffic delays are longer than one minute. (Delays have literally been one minute or shorter… come on, people!)

It’s certainly fair to say the Jasper Avenue plans as they currently look might not work, but this is all being tested, so calling things a failure is a bit of a stretch. It also doesn’t really let the City try to figure out how to balance Jasper’s potential commuting future through the city’s most populous neighbourhood.

You know what, one more bike video!

 


Around the city

The need for more women to run the show was part of Fringe festivities. Women are only in charge of about one in three shows across North America. A number that appeared to hold up at this summer’s Edmonton fringe. More efforts are being pushed to talk about why that is, and how that can be changed.

An Alberta accounting and consulting firm has been named to investigate what happened before Edmonton fighter Tim Hague died because of a boxing match in our city.

A University of Alberta professor is a highlight speaker at a human rights conference in our city this week.

It’s likely going to be easier for group homes to open in St. Albert, once that city’s council removes a barrier to homes with more than three people.

It might just be me, but I am fascinated by the St. Albert library fight. There are thousands of people who signed a petition to keep St. Albert’s city council from borrowing money to build a new library, which it still sort of pushed ahead. But it’s also a plebiscite question in October’s election, and the political fight just keeps ramping up (and raising questions about third-party campaign advertising).


Public engagement

Edmonton City Hall. photo: Dean Smith (Creative Commons)

Today is the 25th anniversary of our current city hall! There’s an official ceremony at noon, followed by an afternoon of activities and celebration (until 6 p.m).

Edmonton’s city council has its meeting this week, beginning at 1:30 p.m. on Monday. You can see day one’s agenda online, and day two/three is also online. The meeting will stream live from council chambers.

Among the topics on this week’s agenda are reducing salaries for councillors and the mayor (to take effect after October’s election), creating a parental leave policy for city councillors, next steps for MacEwan University’s big orange building in the west end, exploring what it might look like to keep Edmonton’s accidental beach around, and approving the new green policy known as Breathe.

The summer of LRT consultation continues. After surveying and open housing about the future “Centre LRT” between downtown and Whyte Avenue and getting people signed up for feedback work on the Valley Line West, the City is now accepting applications for members of the Community Advisory Committee for the Capital Line South Extension (from Century Park to Ellerslie).

This post was updated on Tuesday, August 29, 2017

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