Top 40 of ’14 City stories

The City of Edmonton makes the evening news almost every day and our communications team compiled a list of what we thought were the top 40 City of Edmonton stories of 2014 from each major area.

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  • (March) Truth and Reconciliation —  Edmonton hosted the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Alberta National Event to hear the stories of those who endured the Indian Residential School system. Edmonton has the highest number of residential school survivors than in any other urban Centre in Canada.The spirit of reconciliation began to be integrated in City activity with a new mural in the Grandin LRT Station. Later in the year, Alex Decoteau, an athlete, a soldier, and Canada’s first aboriginal police officer, is being honoured through the naming of a new park in downtown Edmonton.
  • (July) Zoo Enhancements — The Entry and Wander are the latest in a series of projectstransforming and renewing the Edmonton Valley Zoo. Visitors will notice a dramatic difference when arriving at the zoo and are sure to enjoy exploring a central corridor that interprets the plants and small animals of the North Saskatchewan river valley.
  • (August) Great Neighbourhood Investment — The City of Edmonton’s Great Neighbourhoods Capital Program invested $15 million into 18 neigbourhoods across the city in 2014, enhancing the quality of life for residents with access to new share-use pathways, sidewalk connections, streetscaping and improved green spaces.
  • (September) New Abbotttsfield Recreation Centre — Edmonton celebrated the opening of the Abbottsfield Recreation Centrein September. The $6.8 million facility now offers more space and amenities to better serve the Northeast Edmonton community.
  • (September) Borden is Back — The newly revitalized Borden Park is officially open, following four years of planning and construction. Established in 1906, the park renovations include new picnic shelters, gardens, playground, more than 200 new trees, approximately two kilometres of new walkways, and a new park pavilion.
  • (September) Free For All — nearly 40,000 citizens enjoyedFree Admission Day at facilities across the city. This year, the Edmonton Valley Zoo led the way with attendance as a result of its new amenities.
  • (November) Documenting Homeless Youth — Imagine the pain of life on the streets – the fear, loneliness, despair. Now, imagine facing it at 13 years old. That’s Melissa Bigstone’s story. She is one of several youth featured in the documentary film Through My Eyes, a project of the City of Edmonton Youth Council (CEYC), whose members created, directed and helped produce the film.
  • (December) New Community Recreation Centres — The addition oftwo new Community Recreation Facilities provides Edmontonians with a total of 18 recreation centres city wide, where people can enjoy the various recreation and fitness amenities. The Meadows Community Recreation Centre and The Meadows Library and The Clareview Community Recreation Centre Clareview Library opened in late 2014.

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  • (February) Heritage in Lights — Edmonton’s heritage became written in light, with the opening of the outdoors Neon Sign Museum. Twelve historic, restored neon signs from Edmonton organizations and businesses will be installed at the Telus building on 104 Street and 104 Avenue.
  • (February) New Civic Tower — The City announced plans to consolidate downtown employees into a new buildingin the heart of the city in 2016. In June, the groundbreaking began the construction of a LEED Gold office tower to house 65% of downtown City staff.
  • (February-May) First-Home Help — The First Place Home Ownership Program saw success in several communities as home buyers who have never before owned property in Alberta snapped up the opportunity to purchase their first home, as new properties opened in Tawa, Casselman,Caernarvon.
  • (March) Best in Conservation — Edmonton was crowned the Earth Hour Capital of Canada through the World Wildlife Fund’s 2014 Earth Hour City Challenge, beating out two other Canadian finalists. The social media campaign helped rally Edmontonians to vote their city to win top ranking, while also generating more ideas for Edmonton to develop green initiatives.
  • (May) Green Homes — In one morning, a maximum of Edmontonians participated in a public draw to allocate 40 lots in Oxford Phase II, where homebuilders are required to meet even higher eco-friendly guidelines for conservation and efficiency than the first phase, introduced in 2012.
  • (August) Smart Growth — The City established Edmonton’s Infill Roadmapafter an eight-month, city-wide conversation about neighbourhood change. Over two years, the City will pursue 23 actions to support more and better infill in our mature and established neighbourhoods, focussing on new housing in established neighbourhoods, including new secondary suites, garage suites, duplexes, semi-detached and detached houses, row houses, apartments, and other residential and mixed-use buildings.
  • (August) Bees and Chickens — Community Services and Sustainable Development departments kicked off two pilot projects—Keeping Backyard Hens and Urban Beekeeping to examine the practicality of these ‘farming’ activities in an urban setting, while ensuring Edmonton is a nuisance-free, healthy and attractive city.
  • (September) Seniors Housing — The City initiated a process for working with residents and community groups to design much-needed Seniors’ Residence in the Sakaw neighbourhood. The Province of Alberta supported the initiative with funding for Sakaw seniors housingon a surplus school site.
  • (October) Affordable Homes — new four-storey, 51-unit apartment complex called Baranow Estates will provide safe, affordable housing to more than 120 Edmontonians in north Edmonton.
  • (December) Keeping Taxis Safe — The City made it easier for Edmontonians to use their camera phone to photograph taxi decals to report problematic behaviour of licensed taxis.

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  • (February) Performance Transparency — Edmonton’s innovative Citizen Dashboard website wins a prestigious national public-sector leadership award.
  • (June) Waste to Biofuels — Edmonton celebrated the opening of the first industrial-scale facility to produce biofuels from municipal solid waste. Operated by Enerkem, the plant will convert 100,000 tonnes of municipal waste that would normally go to landfill into biofuels and chemicals.
  • (July) New Reuse Centre — The City of Edmonton Reuse Centre celebrated the opening of its new home on Argyll Road and 83 Street.
  • (October) Ugrading Drainage Backbone — Drainage Services initiated major work to upgrade systems in the downtown core, which has maintained the same network for a century, and in the Millwoods flood-prone areas, with a long-term (50 years) infrastructure plan, starting with the 2015 Utilities Budget. The downtown rebuilding of the network is funded through the downtown CRL.
  • (December) Budgeting for Growth — City Council approves the 2015 Operating Budget and the four-year 2015-2018 Capital Budget after intense scrutiny of the investments needed to maintain the City’s infrastructure and expand services to a population that has grown by 60,000 in the last two years.

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  • (July) Mobile Connection — The City released the Edmonton 311 App, which has been downloaded by 11,000 people who have reported nearly 3,000 service requests. The App came out with five reporting options and has seen upgrades to enable reporting on 28 issues.
  • (July) New Way to Engage — The City launched the Edmonton Insight Community, an online panel where Edmontonians can provide opinions and perspectives on a variety of topics that affect Edmonton’s future, on a range of devices, and whenever they like. Over 2,000 Edmontonians are now members of the community, which has had 30 distinct surveys deployed and over 450 questions answered about City programs and issues.
  • (August) Booming Growth — The 2014 Civic Census revealed Edmonton grew by more than 60,000 over the past two years to a total of 877,926. This is a steep increase in the rate that Edmonton is growing, a 7.39% increase over 2012. This year, the City rolled out the first ever online census with 28% of households completing the questions online.
  • (November) Admired Corporate Culture — The City of Edmonton is the first municipality to be recognized with the best corporate cultures of Canadian organizations.

Which of these did you think were most important? What stories did we miss? What will be big next year? You’ve heard from us, now let us know what you think with a comment to our team.