Author Archives: mastermaq

Episode 59: Alberta goes orange, new life for the Galleria, the Rush might be gone, dead streetscapes downtown

In our fifty-ninth episode, we discuss the big NDP victory in the Alberta election, the latest Council decision to support the Galleria project, the risk that the Edmonton Rush might be leaving Edmonton after this season, and the vast swaths of downtown that remain either?vacant or unfriendly toward pedestrians.

How did the NDP go from 5 seats to more than 50? Where did Prentice and the PCs go wrong? What does this mean for the NDP going forward? Who will the cabinet ministers be? On the Galleria project, why is Council now supporting it? Do we really need this project? Is it a social enterprise, or should the private sector really be taking this forward if it is actually needed? With such a successful season, why are the Edmonton Rush at risk of leaving the city? There’s a lot of great things happening downtown, but why are there so many vacant storefronts still? Will the new stuff be more pedestrian-friendly?

We discuss those questions and more.

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Episode 58: Oilers clean house, Notley wins the debate, Council lowers tax increase, The Walrus Talks Aboriginal City

In our fifty-eighth episode, we discuss the major changes underway at the Edmonton Oilers, the Alberta leaders debate and other election news, the lower tax hike that Council has approved, and the Aboriginal City event hosted by The Walrus.

All of a sudden Oilers fans have reason to be excited again! With a new GM and Connor McDavid, things are looking up. Will we get a new coach? Do we really have reason to be excited? With the polls predicting an NDP victory, what are our predictions for the election? Who will form government and who will serve as the official opposition? How was Council able to lower the tax increase for 2015? What will they spend the extra money on? What were the takeaways from the Aboriginal City event?

We discuss those questions and more! We close with a short update on placemaking.

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Episode 57: City Branding, New Casino, Funicular, Revitalized Varscona Theatre

In our fifty-seventh episode we discuss the City’s ongoing branding efforts, the new Baccarat Casino downtown, the funicular proposed to improve access to the river valley, and the revamped Varscona Theatre.

Why is city branding important? What has Make Something Edmonton been up to? Why is it taking so long to get some sort of result? Could we have done it more quickly? What can we learn from other successful branding efforts, like ATB Financial?

We finally have some news about what’s happening with the Baccarat Casino, so what’s the story? What other kinds of announcements should we expect about the arena district? The City says the funicular is going to happen this year – what do we think about that? Will it be enough to get people into the river valley? The Varscona Theatre is being revamped from the ground up and looks to be a beautiful new arts facility.

We discuss those topics, questions and more! We close with a few thoughts on the provincial election.

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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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