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November 20, 2017
November 6, 2017

Edmonton Headlines: Monday, November 6, 2017

What we're reading

Written by Jeff Samsonow

Education minister David Eggen meets with students about new GSA legislation. photo: Chris Schwarz

As we headed into the weekend the news in Edmonton, and Alberta, was all about new legislation the provincial government tabled to strengthen rules around gay-straight alliances (GSAs). 

The GSA bill will make it the rule not to out students to their parents. It also makes it clear to all schools receiving public education dollars that students are allowed set up GSAs as they would any other club or group at school. 

Advocates of gay-straight alliances say the final decision must always rest with the child because there is no way to be sure whether outing a child to their parents will lead to family ostracism or physical harm.”

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Somewhat related, this article talking about Catholic schools fighting irrelevance as public school bodies is a good take on some of the other recent issues around much-needed modernizations in Alberta schools.

And the group behind a new push to have a referendum on whether to keep funding Catholic schools is hosting an event later this month asking similar questions about what the future of our separate school system might be.  


The Metro Line is always slow

CBC has the story on our long-troubled Metro Line reducing train speeds, again. This, of course, follows on years of delays with the line not being able to run at full speed or full capacity

While the City struggles to get this train line running the way it’s supposed to, a final payment to the company responsible is being withheld. Although, final costs of all the problems, or what the City doesn’t end up paying for, may never be known publicly.

The Metro Line back in training days. photo: City of Edmonton


We all need to talk to someone

Edmonton writer Jana Pruden has put some story behind what happened before Venture Publishing CEO and president Ruth Kelly died by suicide earlier this year. And the story shows the big void Kelly’s death leaves in Alberta’s business and journalism communities. It’s an excellent longread that highlights the need for all of us to talk to our friends and family when we feel overwhelmed, when we’re hurting or when we don’t think we can face what’s going on. 

There’s no shame in needing help. There’s no shame in feeling like you can’t make something work, or can’t find success in ways you thought you needed to. We’re all so much more than one aspect of our personality, or one job, or one success/failure and if you feel like you need someone to talk to, I hope you can find a receptive listener nearby. 

If you need to, you can also reach out to Edmonton’s Distress Line by phoning 780-482-HELP (4357). I’m also a big proponent of the Psychologists’ Association of Alberta’s online referral tool to find a professional to talk to.


Urban design

Ritchie Market. photo: City of Edmonton

Here’s an assortment of stories that highlight what’s going on in Edmonton design and some of our city planning. 

The winners of Edmonton’s Urban Design Awards include the new Ritchie Market, which is an excellent example of bringing life to a forgotten corner of a mature neighbourhood. 

Another winner, the Enbridge Centre (formerly known as the Kelly-Ramsey Building) is bringing some smaller retail units to its main floor, instead of just one large retail bay. Smaller scale retail is so important to increasing walkability of a place. 

These examples show how important commercial and retail infill are to our older neighbourhoods, just as much as residential infill. 

The old Mountain Equipment Co-op building on 124 Street is about to begin a new phase, as a health and fitness-centred hub

The Harbin Gate is disappearing to make way for LRT construction, as Edmonton’s Chinatown community already feels disconnected from downtown and the city. 

Inconsistency through neighbourhoods with the new 30 km/h playground zones might be the best argument for 30 km/h on all neighbourhood roads all the time. Sure seems easier than changing speeds multiple times over a short distance. 


Art to check out

Another of those urban design winners, #YEGCanvas, continues with its third year of public art that allows more voices to be shared and more artists to get their work in front of people. 

Edmonton’s first Indigenous artist in residence is ending her term focused on Treaty 6, with an exhibit at city hall starting today. The program will also continue, with another Indigenous artist to follow Dawn Marie Marchand’s initial work. 


Public engagement

The Community and Public Services Committee meets today, beginning at 9:30 a.m. The agenda can be viewed online and the meeting will stream live from the River Valley Room. Items include an update on Edmonton’s sanctuary city policies, the Edmonton Police Service asking for more money to patrol pending annexed land south of the city, and increasing some parking fines

A reminder that you’ll need to show up early for council and committee meetings because of new security theatre procedures at city hall.

The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls is in Edmonton this week, Tuesday-Thursday.  The community hearings are open to the public, and will also be streamed live.

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