I’m hopping on that end-of-the-year story train. Above you can see a Wordle of our most-used tags. Ignoring the people noted (like me and Sally, Gregg Beever, Mack D. Male, etc…), and a few events venues, we can get a sense of what the heck we talked about the most.
And, for a change, it’s not just about ourselves.
churchill square – Now, this one is also an events venue, but I wanted to tie it into the downtown, and street food.
Downtown made news again and again this year because of the arena proposal. That’s going to come to a head in 2011. Zoning has been approved by the planning team at the City of Edmonton. Councillors will talk about that in January.
But Edmonton’s downtown is also seeing a rising population. That’s right, people actually live there now. And companies like ProCura are changing the face of downtown (ProCura is especially into 109 Street and Jasper with new buildings, like the old Mayfair Hotel, and more planned).
As for street food, we saw the Eva Sweet Waffles truck take 107 Street by storm, before moving over to Churchill Square with some other food vendors. There’s been talk of making street food a more permanent fixture in Edmonton’s downtown during our warmer months. I like to think waffles were the tipping point, and we’re in for a bunch of great lunch options on the street next summer. Also: best waffles ever.
city centre airport – If I had done this kind of look at news in 2009 I think the airport would have been a hot topic that year too. That’s because, even if people didn’t like it, city council decided last year to close the airport in stages. The airport petition brought forward by Envision Edmonton made it an election issue, though not on our ballots (because their petition bid to get a question on our election ballots). The City Centre Airport is closing. There are some court issues that may slow things up, but it should be a neighbourhood by the time we all retire.
Wouldn’t you know it, that election on October 18 is another one of our most talked about items. Yes, city hall is hard to keep out of the news. Edmontonians turned out in slightly larger numbers to elect most of the same city council. It was the first time we had 12 wards, instead of 6, so we chose two new councillors too. Overall, however, we seemed to like the direction our council was taking.
That doesn’t just include what was happening with the central airport. No, we’re looking at the largest LRT project since, well, since we got LRT. In the next decade we should see our single LRT line become 4, with extensions to Mill Woods, the west end, and NAIT, all connected in the downtown. It’s a lot of work for the ETS but they’ve been planning it for a couple of years and don’t think losing out on federal government support for the Expo 2017 bid (and money that might have come with it) will affect the timeline a whole lot.
Also in the news, according to our post tags, healthcare and the oilsands.
Good luck keeping those out of the news any year.
Healthcare became big news when emergency room troubles started making the headlines. Then the governing Tories tossed Dr. Raj Sherman, and the head of Alberta Health Services refused to talk while eating his cookie.
There are some new plans in place to help ease emergency room waiting, but 2011 will probably be an important year for the decades-old rule of Alberta’s Tories.
As for the oilsands, it didn’t make our provincial government as much money as it did a few years ago, so the deficit bulged. (Again, 2011 is going to be an interesting year in provincial politics.) And more groups, organizations, individuals, and businesses took aim at the oilsands as a polluting mess. That happened even with BP’s oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. I think we’ll see more oilsands-targetting in 2011.
Though, I’ll admit, 124 Street is pretty damn cool.
Other things I bet we’ll see in the news in 2011:
Complaints about the 2012 tax hike (both the predicted hike and the actual number it ends up being). It will be too high for the usual critics. But it shouldn’t matter much since John Cusack told me the world ends in 2012.
Keep your eyes on Carl Benito. After not really creating the scholarship fund with his salary he promised during the election, and not paying all of his taxes, watch for Edmonton-Mill Woods Conservative MLA Carl Benito to do something else hilarious. (Note: It’s only hilarious if you don’t live in his riding.)
ETS will head to the Edmonton International Airport. Leduc’s C-line is a great starter option, but ETS needs to kick things up a notch.