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December 13, 2018
January 19, 2018

Edmonton Headlines: Friday, January 19, 2018

Let's go to the mall

Written by Jeff Samsonow

 

Lots to get to as another week wraps. Let’s start at City Hall. 

We were talking LRT on Tuesday (and will be again next week) and part of the discussion around where to build new mass transit connects to redevelopment and infill in mature neighbourhoods. A new report says there’s a lot of opportunity around our malls, not just around new LRT connections and stations. There are some places, like Mill Woods and Bonnie Doon, where we see the two colliding as well. 

Commercial hot spots, near existing malls. image source (PDF)

The key I see for all infill development is that the neighbourhood provides amenities for the new and existing residents. Whether that’s shops and stores and restaurants – and groceries! – on a main street, in mixed-use buildings near busy transit corridors or at existing commercial properties like malls, it doesn’t matter. Our infill and redevelopment plans ultimately hinge on providing people places to shop, to meet neighbours and friends and to buy food. Otherwise people will still need to drive or travel for everyday basics and we don’t solve the real problem in all of this, which is unsustainable urban sprawl.

Edmonton’s moratorium on new combative sports events might not last another week for wrestling (although I disagree there is “no room for injury” in even the most staged of wrestling), and it also appears to be about to be lifted in relation to fighters who train here but compete outside of the City. The overall moratorium is likely only around for another month too. It could have lasted the rest of this year, and it sounds like we’re still months away from overhauling the combative sports commission and processes that were investigated after a fighter’s death, but the pressure is mounting from athletes and promoters

The Katz Group’s request for a liquor store in the arena district may see the City of Edmonton change rules for how far apart liquor stores need to be in the downtown. It probably makes more sense to review the entire set of rules keeping stores 500m from each other, instead of just in one neighbourhood. And, oh my, do some folks prickle at the mention the City will do anything the Katz Group wants (so far it is batting pretty much 1000% though). 

There appear to be pockets of money available to corporate events in Edmonton we might not have known about before. This one looks to have slid right off the civic agenda, but it feels like there are some questions to be answered yet. 

City council is looking at whether to throw Edmonton (and a bunch of money) into a Canadian bid for the FIFA World Cup

Building on parkland, and near Edmonton’s river, river valley, creeks and ravines is always controversial. This house isn’t going to be any different.

We don’t have a strong record in Edmonton of saving buildings.” That could be a potential slogan for a City heritage preservation pamphlet. 


Around the city

Edmonton Police policies around officers with PTSD, and workplace harassment, are going to be part of an investigation related to a former officer. After the EPS response to racial profiling that no officers could ever be racist, we’re hearing here that none are sexist because they’ve all been weeded out. Obviously systemic racism and sexism are issues not talked about over at EPS headquarters – these defensive reactions don’t help create real change.

Coming out of the same Edmonton Police Commission meeting, the commission’s newest members are announced

Is 2018 going to be a year for Edmonton tech? Even if it is, it won’t include Amazon. The City should take their secret proposal to Amazon and offer as many of the incentives as possible to local tech companies (and new tech companies). Build up what we’ve already got here and maybe you end up creating a giant tech company of Edmonton’s own. 

Edmonton and St. Albert’s work to put together a regional transit agreement could influence other municipalities in the Metro Region. We’re probably nowhere close to seeing a regional transit commission or commuter transit partnership, but this work is important.

Banning plastic bags is being investigated in St. Albert. This idea has been popping back up in Edmonton too. (There’s even a petition to get this back on the agenda in Edmonton.)

St. Albert is getting a new neonatal intensive care unit. Meanwhile… some Edmonton medical facilities are on the shortened Alberta Health Services (AHS) wishlist for this year’s provincial budget.

A new program at the University of Alberta aims to get more students from more backgrounds to become doctors, helping to keep it from being a profession for the well-to-do only. 

The Beaumont councillor who was asked to resign by her city council colleagues, because she owed some money on a utility bill, is running again in the by-election to fill the seat she vacated.

The new CEO of the Edmonton Screen Industries Office (replacing our film commission) is looking at how to grow film, video and digital content business(es) here in Edmonton


Social issues

Consent between actors, and in theatre, sketch and improv in Edmonton, will continue to be an important discussion this year. Edmonton’s arts scene has been dealing with its own public #metoo moments, challenging sexist and male-centred systems. 

Related… the Africa Centre has removed its executive director while it investigates sexual harassment complaints.

The new women’s march is Saturday, 1 p.m. at the Alberta Legislature. While this was initially a reaction to the U.S. president last year, there’s so much work yet to be done and so many more rights to be won the march deserves to remain an annual event. (And the work a year-long endeavour.) 


Food stories

Chinatown dining week start this weekend. Check out some new spots in the neighbourhood!

Edmonton appears to be really taking to the booming food delivery industry. This has the chance to change so many things about the restaurant world.  

Fort Saskatchewan is adding organic waste pickup (and separation) to its garbage collection system.

Electric car owners have an Edmonton restaurant catering just to them.

We’ve finally arrived, Edmonton! I don’t know if it’s the arena, the recent Amazon pitch, or some other alignment of the stars, but we’re getting the first Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. in Canada. (At West Edmonton Mall, obvs.) 


Public engagement

The Audit Committee meets Monday morning, at 9:30 a.m. You can see the agenda online. They’ll be talking about pesticides!

City Council begins its meeting Monday afternoon, at 1:30 p.m. with the public hearing portion, focused on zoning and bylaw changes. You can see that agenda online too. 

Both of those meetings will also stream live.

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