Episode 56: Budget 2015, Little Brick, Galleria, Best Streets in Edmonton

In our fifty-sixth episode, we discuss the Alberta budget, the incredible growth taking place downtown especially around the arena, Riverdale’s new cafe Little Brick, the Galleria project’s apparent demise, and the best streets in Edmonton.

We start with an interesting discussion about the buildings going up around town. Some of the new buildings going up will bring a splash of color to an otherwise beige array of structures. How do we feel about that? (hint: we love it). There’s also some great public art with the Alex Janvier’s selection for the winter garden and we share our thoughts on that too.

Then we get into the budget. Why was everyone so disappointed in the budget? What could Prentice have done differently? What does this mean for the election? Has the PC strategy backfired? The Galleria is not mentioned in the budget, so it looks like it won’t receive any funding required to go forward. What does that mean for the project?

We both like Little Brick, but what is it that we like about it? What could other local business owners learn from them? Metro has listed Edmonton’s best streets. Do we agree? What others should have been considered? We discuss those questions and more.

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Episode 55: Laurie Blakeman, Pick & Pay TV, The Decline of Vancouver

In our fifty-fifth episode, we discuss Laurie Blakeman’s interesting move to be the nominee for the Liberal, Green, and Alberta parties in Edmonton Centre, the CRTC’s decision to unbundle TV channels, and an interesting article about the decline of Vancouver.

Is Blakeman’s move a one-off or the start of something more in Alberta? Will it be worth it to pick individual TV channels? Will it matter with the way everything is transitioning to online? Why is it so expensive to live in Vancouver? What can we learn about their situation here in Edmonton? We discuss those questions and more.

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Episode 54: Crashed Ice, Celebrate Edmonton, Wetlands, Energy Transition Strategy, Whole Foods

In our fifty-fourth episode, we discuss the Red Bull Crashed Ice event, the loose business coalition calling itself Celebrate Edmonton, wetlands in Edmonton, the Community Energy Transition Strategy, and share a few quick thoughts on Whole Foods coming to town.

Was Crashed Ice a success? The party reminded us a little of the Grey Cup back in 2010. Was it a good investment? Will the event return to Edmonton in the future? A group of local businesses calling itself Celebrate Edmonton sponsored the VIP area of the event. What’s that group all about? Haven’t we seen this before? What’s the deal with the changing wetland policy? The City is working on a Community Energy Transition Strategy that is supposed to make Edmonton more sustainable and environmentally friendly. Is such a strategy required? Will it be worth the cost? We discuss those questions and more.

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Episode 53: #PrenticeBlamesAlbertans, River Valley Oleskiw Trail, Transit App, Welcome Signs

In our fifty-third episode, we discuss Premier Jim Prentice’s comments that led to the #PrenticeBlamesAlbertans hashtag, the recently approved River Valley Oleskiw Trail, the newly updated Transit App, and we talk about what should happen, if anything, with Edmonton’s welcome signs.

What do we think of the premier’s comments about looking in the mirror? How could he have handled the situation differently? What will this mean for future comments from the Premier? Will it impact the release of the budget on March 26? Will it have a lasting impact beyond that?

Graham is excited about the new trail and another link in the river valley system, but will the City be able to maintain all of these trails? What’s the story for the downtown portion of the river valley? ETS is working on live transit information but people haven’t been happy with the app story, so Transit App took matters into their own hands. Is that bad? What can we learn from this? Is ETS intentionally holding data back? Once again Council is talking about replacing or changing the welcome signs that greet drivers as they enter the city. Why are we talking about this again? What should we do? How can we put this issue to bed? We discuss all those questions and more.

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Episode 52: McDougall United Church, 2015 Best Restaurants, Jasper’s Crimson Hotel, Online Voting

In our fifty-second episode, we discuss the fate of the McDougall United Church, we look at Avenue Edmonton’s 2015 Best Restaurants list, we get an update on the new Crimson Hotel in Jasper, and we briefly discuss online voting.

We agree we want to save old buildings, but how can we fund it? How can we find the necessary budget to keep the McDougall United Church? What about foundations? What about crowdsourcing? Tax credits? What about a tax levy to build a heritage fund?

Congrats to all the restaurants who made the 2015 list! Do we agree with the picks? What about all the restaurants that didn’t make the cut? The list does seem to honor the new kids on the block, so should there be a category for “classic” restaurants?

With the redone Crimson Hotel in Jasper and a new plan to fly 737s into Edson, what will the impact be on Edmonton? Online voting has come up again at City Council, will we be able to vote using our devices in the next election?

We discuss those questions and more!

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Episode 51: West Edmonton Mall Terror, Aging Clock Towers, Character & the Oilers, 311 Explorer

In our fifty-first episode, we discuss the terror threat made against West Edmonton Mall, problems with our two downtown clock towers, the latest round of news about how hockey players don’t like to play in Edmonton, the new 311 Explorer, and a couple of interesting upcoming events.

How can we deal with terror threats like the one made against West Edmonton Mall and other shopping centres? Is it a serious threat or is it marketing? What action should we as citizens take? Our downtown clock towers are not keeping time very well and need some maintenance. What can do we do about that? Why don’t we budget for this sort of thing? How else could we fund improvements? Why don’t hockey players want to play in Edmonton? Do they not like the city or is the team the problem? Why didn’t any of the current players stand up for Edmonton? What’s the deal with the 311 Explorer? Why should citizens care?

We discuss all those questions and more! We also discuss the upcoming Red Bull Crashed Ice event and the Magna Carta Tour.

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Episode 50: Sun News Network, Commonwealth Games Bid, Galleria Survey, 5th Largest Urban Area

In our fiftieth episode, we discuss the demise of Sun News Network, the demise of the Commonwealth Games bid for 2022, we discuss the biased survey on the Galleria project, and we chat about Edmonton officially becoming the 5th largest urban area in Canada.

Graham is sad to see Sun News Network disappear from the TV lineup, but Mack is less bothered. Graham argues it was a refreshing alternative voice that is now lost, while Mack argues that they too often went too far. Do the naysayers just have “a CBC view of the world” or did Sun News actually cross the line? Have we lost an important viewpoint?

What does ending the bid to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games bid mean? Is it really realistic for the City to shift its attention to 2026? What else could we have spent that money on? Are we just too dependent upon the price of oil to tackle these big projects? What about the Galleria project? If we’re cutting elsewhere, how can we be considering that project?

Is there any benefit to being the 5th biggest urban area aside from bragging rights? We’re right behind Calgary and slightly ahead of Ottawa-Gatineau.

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Episode 49: Salary Hikes & Cuts, Winter Cities Shake-Up, Rossdale Canal

In our forty-ninth episode we discuss the provincial MLA salary cuts and the City Council increase, the WinterCity Shake Up, the proposal for a canal in Rossdale, and an update on construction hoarding. This episode was recorded on January 30, 2015.

Very interesting timing for the Prentice announcement about a salary cut, just days after City Council approved an independent committee’s increase of their own wages. But is that really what the announcement is about, or is it more about the unions? What is going to happen with taxes in Alberta? Does our City Council need to make any symbolic cuts like the Province is? When might a provincial election be called?

We also discuss winter, from a variety of angles. People enjoy winter all over the world, why can’t we enjoy it here? Do we have to stay locked indoors during the winter? When can I get some mulled wine outside? Why is this canal idea for Rossdale coming forward now, if we already have Touch the Water? We agree Edmontonians should be able to enjoy access to the river, but what’s the best way to do that? With all the construction happening downtown, what changes are needed to improve construction hoarding? We discuss those questions and more.

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Episode 48: Makerspace, Metro Line LRT, CP Redevelopment, Uber

In our forty-eight episode, we record in the new Makerspace Studio at the Stanley Milner Library downtown! We discuss the latest delay with the Metro Line LRT extension, the proposed redevelopment of the southside CP railyards, and we once again cover Uber.

How could the LRT extension to NAIT be delayed again? Was the approach to the signaling system thought through? It’s unacceptable that the opening of the LRT has been delayed until May, the fourth such delay, and we try to make sense of it. Oh, and how do you pronounce the name of the contractor? We gave it our best shot.

We discuss CP Rail’s plans to redevelop its southside rail yards. That’s a big piece of land, which could be really valuable. Will the City extend streets like 76 Avenue that currently stop at the railyards? If so, the development could have a unifying effect on the area.

And we once again discuss Uber. It was a hot topic at Council recently, with the decision in the end being to declare them illegal until such time as the Vehicle for Hire bylaws can be updated to allow services like Uber. Since we recorded, Uber has launched a petition to urge City Council to allow Uber in Edmonton.

We end with a brief discussion about disruptive TV and movie services.

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Episode 47: Bike Lanes, Pedways, Uber, and Falling Oil Prices

In our forty-seventh episode, we discuss the decision by City Council to fund the 102 Avenue bike lane, the interest in Uber locally and around the world, and what falling oil prices could mean for the province and for Edmonton.

Should Council have funded the bike lane project in this Capital Budget? Why haven’t we spent more money on pedways? Are bike lanes just symbolic or do they reflect the changing desires of Edmontonians? What’s so great about Uber? Could it be part of the transportation mix in Edmonton? What about late night bus service? Instead of the “bitumen bubble” we’re now in the “oil trough” – will Edmonton be impacted? We discuss those questions and more.

Since we recorded this episode, Uber has now launched in Edmonton and the City of Edmonton says they’ll treat them as bandit taxis.

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