Happening Today

Powered by Eventbrite See more >
November 14, 2018
July 2, 2018

Edmonton Headlines – Monday, July 2, 2018

New reports and research

Written by Jeff Samsonow

The Edmonton Police will be changing the way they do street checks. Somewhat.

A new review of the practice took a look at when police stop people randomly and collect their information, but found a lot more confusion over the practice than clear answers. You can see more on the report in a separate article we’ve posted.

In related news, the EPS is working on Indigenous engagement and relationships. And the Pride protest was very much related to what’s going on today in policing of vulnerable and minority communities.

While Edmonton begins the search for a new police chief, we’ve seen new leadership in RCMP detachments around the Metro Region recently, including in St. Albert, Spruce Grove and Devon – most are women*.

Three people have died at the Edmonton Remand Centre, in just over one month. It’s the only provincial jail where someone has died every year for the last five.

A security guard has been convicted in the death of man found sleeping outside a downtown business. (This was a case mentioned in another story recently, looking at the massive growth of private security in Alberta and the lacking oversight.)


At city hall

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

New parking enforcement is on hold while the City figures out how to allow people with disability placards ways to park, both for free for two hours (as is the current practice) and in more places. If only City staff had been listening to its own Advisory committee for the last two years. How can disability communities have their voices heard before something is about to be voted on by city council?

The cannabis bylaw blitz continues!

Leduc passed its cannabis bylaws, treating public consumption like that of alcohol and limiting where retail stores can open. Stony Plain oped for larger distances between shops than it needed by provincial rules. St. Albert looks to be going with alcohol-like rules too. Sturgeon County has a new bylaw but hasn’t yet defined where businesses can operate. The Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) is looking for the provincial government to share more of the cannabis tax money to help with costs cities and towns will incur with this new industry.

Back in Edmonton, the City is considering banning smoking in shisha bars. This comes as one shisha bar owner claims racial targeting in enforcement. It also comes as another industry, that of electronic music events, narrowly avoided a ban of its own.

A pair of former regional mayors like where the new regulations for municipal election funding are going, particularly around third-party spending. You can fill out a survey related to these changes right now.

Funding will continue for revitalizing the Alberta Avenue neighbourhood. City staff were recommending shifting the money to other neighbourhoods, but that’s on hold after Alberta Avenue said it isn’t quite revitalized yet. Certainly, we’re going to need some clear definitions of when money like this has accomplished its goals.

Speaking of revitalization… The Katz Group is back at City Hall asking for money. I get it, half-a-billion just isn’t enough to pay the bills. Wait, aren’t we always touting how well this project is doing? How it completely invigorated the downtown and flooded it with private investment? Nobody but the City can help pay for a plaza (that’s been part of the plans all along)?

Over in Morinville, residents won’t get a plebiscite on rec centre funding after the new council voted to scrap that promise. I’m not a fan of plebiscites and referendums for every single item a government has to deal with, but I do find it interesting that sports and rec facilities often cost more than originally promised and/or include plenty of perks to developers or are always seen as a public good and it never raises any eyebrows around council and government tables (or not enough eyebrows).

Strathcona County council is considering dealing with complaints in private which is, uh, not a great idea for transparency and ethics and all.

In other bad ideas, St. Albert city council is moving ahead with a new electricity fee, which isn’t a bad idea itself, but since it’s supposed to offset property taxes it becomes a bad one. This fee goes to everyone, whether they own residential or business property or just rent. And since it’s supposed to offset cuts to property taxes, all those renters don’t see any benefit. Not unless landlords drop rents accordingly, which will be confusing to calculate since the offset won’t be a rebate, just the difference between taxes and the fee. At least people who don’t have Internet might not be charged for receiving a paper bill.

I get what mayor Don Iveson and Councillor Scott McKeen are saying here but eight years, with at least one more to come, is too many for construction outside of someone’s home without some sort of relief and compensation. At that point it’s basically a permanent fixture.

Fort Saskatchewan is talking about cutting its transit program, two years after it began. They didn’t make the cuts, but it doesn’t bode well the program is under such intense scrutiny already.


Sportsball

Via Wikipedia

Edmonton’s football team is back in the news as the team’s President and CEO flies north as part of fact-finding related to the team name. We’ve got a little more to say about all that in another article as well. Spoiler alert: the team name is still racist.

FC Edmonton is coming back. So is pro basketball. We’ll also be a getting a baseball all-star game. And maybe the World Cup will come here?

Tied to Edmonton’s involvement in the World Cup announcement was the local Free Footie program, that has helped a lot of kids play the game.

One event that won’t be returning is the Tour of Alberta. There’s a new story that takes a deep dive into the operations of the bike race, and its legacy of debt.


Also read these stories

Edmonton’s safe injection sites have already helped save up to 112 people’s lives. Anybody fighting these sites is putting people in danger. Now, if we could expand some services to more parts of the city, we could even save more lives.

The same time the carding review was being released, the provincial government released its own long-awaited report on racism. Along with confirming we have it in Alberta, the report offers a number of initiatives to undertake to educate more people, combat hate and build a more diverse and inclusive province. One of the new items is a hate crimes unit.

*

A number of people are alleging harassment from the head of a centre for newcomer Francophones. The centre appears to be standing behind the man, offering him help with his legal defense. 

Station on Jasper has officially taken over the venue last known as The Needle, which closed after allegations of sexual harassment and assault last year. There are some connections between ownership of the old bar and the building it calls home, but it also appears the venue’s new ownership is really embracing the idea of being a safe workplace and place to visit.

*

Leduc’s population doubled in the last 12 years. And Fort Saskatchewan’s population keeps growing too with that city starting to see a clash of growth against housing options in that city. I thought it was interesting that most people working in Strathcona County don’t live there. Building a wider Wye Road won’t do anything to stem that kind of influx every day and convince people moving in makes more sense.

*

Boyle Street keeps evolving its programming to help people get off the street, now with a food truck.

Solving the social deficit largely depends on the deployment of inclusive, equitable and environmentally friendly economic policies.” While this article centres on a pitch to bring charities into the discussion of ecomonic policy, it’s also a good look at how much we depend on charitable organizations now, which should feel shameful for governments.

All employees of the Alberta government will receive Indigenous awareness training. The Terra Centre, long an important place for young mothers, is now offering training to dads. MacEwan’s got its first social entrepreneurs in residence.

*

Canada Day usually means two things.
People becoming Canadian. And fireworks.


Correction: We had intially mentioned that Spruce Grove’s RCMP detachment was now lead by a woman, but that was an error. They do have a new top cop though.

This post was updated July 22, 2018

Why, yes - we do have a newsletter you can sign up for.

Subscribe