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December 13, 2018
December 15, 2017

Edmonton Headlines: Friday, December 15, 2017

Recommendations made

Written by Jeff Samsonow

 

One of the biggest stories of the week, if not the biggest, happened Thursday as a review of a boxer’s death was released publicly.

The review was called after Tim Hague died two days after a fight where he suffered a pretty heavy beating, and his previous head injuries became an issue after the fact. The review raises questions as to why his fight history wasn’t a bigger issue before he was allowed into the ring. The review also makes 18 recommendations, including the continued push to have Alberta create a provincial commission to license and regulate the combative sports industry. (You can see the report for yourself, with volume one holding just about all the history, details and the recommendations. There’s also a volume two.)

So far, the provincial government hasn’t seemed interested in following the lead of all other provinces and taking this on as a responsibility. Perhaps this death review will give them the opportunity to see why standard rules and regulations might be needed.

Concerning, of course, is that the review also notes “…certain ECSC policies related to medical suspensions were not followed.” The ECSC is the Edmonton Combative Sports Commission and is the body that is responsible for licensing, and safety, for events like boxing and MMA fights. As we noted in our Tuesday Headlines, CTV has dug into a lot of questions people have about the ECSC’s operations and this review is only going to increase those.

There should be more on this when the Community and Public Services Committee meets in January to discuss this as part of the agenda, perhaps even hearing from the ECSC then. There’s also a moratorium on new fight events for next year. 


Valley Line Update

Design of a Valley Line station. image: City of Edmonton

While we’ve been talking a lot recently about the Metro Line (and by recently I mean for years), work continues on the new Valley Line LRT from downtown to Mill Woods, with a lot of construction coming up in 2018. The contractor working on that LRT line provided an update this week on how things went in 2017 and what’s planned for 2018

Basically, expect a lot more disruption as track starts to get laid and things move forward above-ground on most of the line, including plenty of work downtown. This is why Churchill Square will be unavailable for festivals next summer.

It’s also why the City Hall fountain will close and undergo a revamp. Provincial water health regulations might mean the depth of the fountain’s pool drops, although that’s being investigated, as is adding more ice-making ability for winter months.

Update: Sounds like things aren’t going so smoothly to end the year, with a stop-work order on the tunnel work downtown. The LRT construction company left that out of their original year-end update.


THE FUNICULAR!!! 

Yes, Edmonton’s new funicular is now running up and down the hill beside the Hotel MacDonald, connecting everyone to a new platform and walking paths. The best part about this is how much more accessible our central river valley is to people with disabilities or who could use more help getting up and down the hill (without taking steep stairs). Let’s hope this trend continues so everyone can enjoy our river valley.

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Speaking of accessibility issues… Alberta now has more organizations to train service dogs, which will help cut down on the waiting lists for people who need a service animal. 


Edmonton Catholic School District

Edmonton’s Catholic school trustees held their final meeting of the year this week, with a few items of note on the agenda.

The trustees have voted to press the provincial government to kick in more money to cancel the already-approved modernization of Ben Calf Robe-St. Clare School and instead build an entirely new school. The ECSD thinks the money will be better spent this way, serve more students, create more Indigenous and cultural opportunities and programming and cause less disruption during the construction. It will be interesting to see how the provincial government responds, since major spending like the modernization tends to come only after a lengthy process where school boards submit lists of their top priorities and why they should get that money. Sure, the new ask isn’t huge in terms of money, and probably makes sense, but it does also call into question how capital requests are being planned. Or maybe it raises questions about whether school boards feel they can really ask for the things they need every time.

The Edmonton Catholic School District’s board also heard how great — integral even — armed police officers are in their schools. This report comes after Toronto’s school board turfed officers, after questions about stigmatization and criminalization of some communities, particularly students of colour, schools in lower income neighbourhoods and newcomer populations. Edmonton is wrestling with the same kinds of questions related to racial profiling. 

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Sticking with education… school boards and post-secondary schools are being told to find some efficiencies. But don’t call them education cuts!  

EQ content is brought to you in part by:

It’s Fine Here 

The map to help visitors enjoy Edmonton like a local is out, and you can get yourself a copy today. This was created in response to less than glowing descriptions of Edmonton in the Lonely Planet guide. 

Let’s keep the “it’s fine here” vibe going with some stories about good stuff in our city. 

Like Bob’s Christmas lights display. Our secret best restaurant hiding in plain sight.  “…the largest net-zero-energy multifamily development in Canada.” A new Edmonton fashion company helping women in Uganda. The local company with a fashion app doing big things. Our burgeoning back lane business scene. The growing distillery industry, and new markdowns making it even cheaper to pick up a bottle of Alberta craft alcohol at a farmers market or at the distillery. And Edmontonians doing nice things to try and help others.


Post updated Friday, December 15, 2017 with the additional LRT story from CTV Edmonton.

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