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September 21, 2018
May 14, 2018

Edmonton Headlines: Monday, May 14, 2018

Affordable housing... probably

Written by Jeff Samsonow

 

Housing continues to be a proclaimed goal in Edmonton. We just don’t seem to be making many big strides toward providing that for everyone.

The latest update on Edmonton’s housing and homeless plans reminds us how important it is to make sure everybody in the city has a safe, warm place to call home. It also reminds us of how far we are from achieving that target. Not helping is that Edmonton is dependent on provincial and federal dollars to actually build most of the housing needed. And that money always seems to be delayed or “on its way”.

Part of the new(est) plan is to do a little marketing, to let people know that affordable and supportive housing is not only needed, it’s needed in all parts of the city. This, of course, has not always gone well when someone wants to create safe spaces for people to live.

‘The Terwillegar thing was an unfortunate explosion caused by multiple fuel sources: bad planning, lack of transparency, uncertainty about what kind of project would work on that spot,’ says Ward 10 Coun. Michael Walters.” I would add classism to that list too. We know there are (too) many who have aversions to the homeless and people with lower-income.

Progress is slow. image: endhomelessnessyeg.ca

Just about at the same time, there’s finally some real talk about getting a shelter on the southside. But the City says there’s no money for that. (so we’re never going to solve this, huh?) As someone who lives in the Old Strathcona area I know we need more services in the community for the homeless people who are already here. It was the same reason the community supported YESS moving into the old armoury and I hope the City finds the money to help people on the southside, many of whom have been finding themselves pushed away from the gentrifying downtown.

It goes without saying that we are well beyond talking about how we can solve homelessness and we need to start dedicating money to actually doing things to solve homelessness.

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Somewhat related… Four Directions is the best bank in Edmonton. This is the kind of service with dignity that more institutions and organizations can easily implement.


On the roads

Edmonton’s roads continue to be dangerous, for every kind of road user, and it doesn’t look like or city council is ready to take action.

The Metro Line. photo: City of Edmonton

The ongoing saga of the Metro Line is back in the news as the final, for-real-this-time deadline for signaling company Thales came and went. The City is beginning to take steps to end the contract, though the company has plenty of room left to keep trying to figure out how to get the train line running properly.

Thales is taking the approach that this is much ado about nothing, they’ve got things in hand, and aren’t the only ones to blame for delays. But if you check this story from Global Edmonton, problems keep happening, and trains keep almost ending up on the wrong tracks or headed for one another. Global’s also got some of the behind-the-scenes chatter from the City on the continual problems, and how badly it will all look in the news.

It’s almost all enough to make you want to give up on LRT and just build a series of gondolas around the city. No, wait, that’s still a terrible idea.

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It seems that as Edmonton actually builds bike lanes people are biking. That means we need to start thinking about where everyone is going to park their bike when they arrive at their destination.

If you drive, you might find yourself paying for parking at the new ePark machines. The good news is the City is working to reduce the number of machine errors. The bad news is they only work 99.0007% of the time.

If you want to help with new parking rules for private lots, for businesses and multi-unit housing, you can join the City’s crowdsourcing effort. The outcome here could be decreasing the minimum number of parking spots needed to open a business or build apartments or townhouses.

I have never seen one of these blue bristles in the wild, but some people happen to see them everywhere all winter. It’s a downside of sweeping snow away.

Postmedia has a new Facebook group to talk about transporation issues, if you’re into that kind of thing. Although I don’t really see Postmedia staff engaging in conversation yet, so I guess it’s just a more dedicated feed for these kinds of stories?


Social justice

The City is working on creating an anti-racism advisory committee, though there are questions about what it will be able to do and decisions it can influence. 

That’s a good segue to remind you there is no good reason – not a single one – for dressing up in blackface.

Similar to the anti-racism effort, the City may get an LGBTQ advisory committee. St. Albert is considering adding a rainbow crosswalk. LGBTQ church-goers sometimes (alright, a lot of the time) have to find new places to practice their faith. One church in Sherwood Park is more openly welcome to these communities.

Checking the stats… anti-semitism is on the rise. As are crimes against sexual minorities. This follows on last year’s news Alberta had the largest increase in hate crimes

It’s beyond time to talk about sexist, misogynist actions by men, which all too often end in violence. That’s the reason all these threats against our premier need to be taken seriously; angry men are prone to killing women.

Protest “bubble zones” are coming to abortion clinics, and will also provide protection for doctors and staff when they leave work. The opposition to such needed protections of women isn’t sitting well with Alberta conservatives, who have given rise to a protest of their own in the Handmaids.

The irony of asking for some distance from Handmaid protests at the conservative party convention is surely lost on all involved.

Dr. Ann Anderson, image: EPSB

New Edmonton schools will be named for three important women, including two Metis women.

Two bits of news related to the Sixties Scoop in the last week. There’s going to be an official apology from the Alberta government and a settlement will be paid to survivors.

Our city is home to the second-largest urban Indigenous population in Canada, with more people moving here all of the time. The New in Town service helps make sure people coming to Edmonton can find services, community and culture as they adjust to life in the city.

Indigenous art and history is going to be part of Edmonton’s new cultural plan. The Royal Alberta Museum is starting to give more artifacts back to Indigenous communities they were taken from.

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Also… parts of the 107 Avenue community have to do it for themselves. An inmate’s death has a fatality inquiry judge asking for major changes to culture at our prison. Variant Edition stands strong against hate in the comics world.


Sportsball

As Edmonton gets right back into the fights, records of those stepping into the ring or octagon will be better tracked. A boxer died because of a match last year and questions around his history of head injuries caused a short moratorium on combat sports events in Edmonton. We haven’t yet achieved all of the recommendations of the inquiry into Tim Hague’s death.

Clarke Stadium may get some soccer tweaks, though the football crowd is pushing back. This might be needed sooner than expected if a new Canadian soccer league is to get off the ground. Although there is a strict “no girls allowed” vibe. 

We’re also getting a new pro basketball team. Edmonton’s giant soccer dome is rising… And work continues on a regional sports facility in St. Albert.

Literally a man, myth and legend. image: U of A

And an Edmonton sports legend has passed away. Clare Drake died on the weekend. He was recently inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame and his is a name you’re probably familiar with if you follow Edmonton sports history, or University of Alberta hockey.

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