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Alberta

Revitalizing downtown Calgary: Province

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Alberta’s government is investing up to $330 million over five years to support the Calgary Rivers District and Event Centre and revitalize downtown Calgary.

In April 2023, Alberta’s government signed a memorandum of understanding with the City of Calgary and Calgary Exhibition and Stampede Ltd. to invest in infrastructure to support the new event centre while revitalizing Calgary’s Rivers District, the Stampede grounds and downtown. The provincial funding has now been approved by cabinet and Treasury Board.

“Calgary is a city of big dreams, big projects and big expectations. Our investment in the Rivers District is one that helps build Calgary and continues the momentum of revitalization in the downtown core. It’s one more shot of energy for Calgary’s culture, entertainment and business scenes, and the city and province will reap the economic benefits for decades to come.”

Danielle Smith, Premier

The funding will support land acquisition, site utilities and transportation infrastructure for the Calgary arena and entertainment district project. The investment will also cover 50 per cent of the construction costs of a new 1,000-seat community arena that will serve youth and amateur hockey. Once complete, the Rivers is expected to create 1,500 permanent jobs and welcome an estimated 8,000 new residents and three million annual visitors to the Culture and Entertainment District.

“Alberta is proud to be a key funding partner for this project to help ensure Calgary has the infrastructure it needs to support a vibrant events district, enhance the downtown core and promote economic development, now and in the future. This contribution is an investment in the long-term economic sustainability of Calgary’s downtown.”

Devin Dreeshen, Minister of Transportation and Economic Corridors

“This community rink will add to Calgary’s already vibrant downtown. It will provide a hub for athletes and their families to gather, share in a love for sport and make lifelong connections. And the increase in visitors to the area will help spur the local economy.”

Ric McIver, Minister of Municipal Affairs

“The Calgary Rivers District and Event Centre project will provide a tremendous boost to the local economy and create thousands of planning, design and construction-related jobs. Infrastructure will support our partner ministries in any we can to ensure the project is completed in an efficient and timely manner, and that Calgarians get the top-notch arena and entertainment district they’ve been waiting for.”

Pete Guthrie, Minister of Infrastructure

“Our province has a strong history of hosting major national and international events. I see great synergy and potential to grow Calgary’s reputation as a global destination for festivals and sporting events through our government’s continued investment.”

Joseph Schow, Minister of Tourism and Sport

The province’s investment in the project includes new transportation infrastructure and improvements to existing transportation infrastructure, indoor and outdoor gathering spaces, a community rink and demolition of the existing Saddledome. Once complete, the Rivers District project will add an estimated four million square feet of mixed-use development (homes, retail, hotels) in Calgary’s Culture and Entertainment District.

Agreements among all parties, including the City of Calgary, Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation and Calgary Stampede, have been signed and executed, paving the way for work to begin immediately.

“The completion of this project will bring benefits for all Calgarians, and we’re one step closer to its realization. We are fortunate to have partners, including the Government of Alberta, who realize the enormous potential that this district has for Calgary as a year-round hub of sports, arts and entertainment. It will attract commercial investment to our downtown core and contribute to our city’s vibrancy and economic growth.”

Sonya Sharp, Ward 1 councillor, City of Calgary, and chair, Event Centre Committee

“At this critical moment when we are seeing explosive population growth and increasing private sector interest in our city, the confirmation that our Culture and Entertainment District is proceeding to design and construction phases will generate strong investor confidence. This project will create better public gathering spaces, improved transportation networks, a downtown community rink and an arena to drive events that spur hosting and tourism opportunities, along with creation of jobs in the construction, retail and entertainment sectors.”

Jyoti Gondek, mayor, City of Calgary

Quick facts

  • The total project cost is estimated at $1.22 billion:
    • The City of Calgary will contribute $537.3 million (44 per cent).
    • The remaining $686 million (56 per cent) of the project costs will be covered by the Alberta government ($330 million, 27 per cent) and the Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corp. ($356 million, 29 per cent).

 

Alberta

Male suspect involved in tragic incident between Beaumont and Edmonton sought by police; EPS release photos of suspect

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News release from the Edmonton Police Service (EPS)

The Edmonton Police Service (EPS) is assisting the RCMP with the investigation into a tragic incident that claimed the life of an innocent woman last night on 50 Street.

Yesterday, Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024, at approximately 9:40 p.m. various EPS resources were deployed to the area of 50 Street and 22 Avenue SW at the request of the RCMP. It was reported to police that RCMP attempted to conduct a traffic stop on a suspicious U-Haul in Beaumont, when the vehicle fled. The U-Haul subsequently travelled north on 50 Street into Edmonton, where it struck and killed a woman inspecting the exterior of her vehicle. Moments later the U-Haul came to rest just outside a gas station off of 22 Avenue and 50 Street.

After crashing the U-Haul, the male suspect then reportedly stole a Honda Civic that was parked outside the gas station with a child inside. Police did consider an Alert to the public at the time, though thankfully the child was located unharmed in the area of 66 Street and 25 Avenue minutes later. The suspect then fled the scene in the Honda Civic. The stolen vehicle has since been recovered outside of Edmonton.

The EPS and RCMP continue to actively seek the identity and whereabouts of the male suspect described as being approximately 5’11” who was last seen wearing a black hoodie with white text on the front, brown shorts and black shoes. CCTV photos of the suspect are included below.

“We are incredibly saddened to hear about the tragic death of the innocent woman who was killed on 50 Street,” says Det. Nigel Phillips with the EPS Investigative Response Team. “Our hearts are with her family and friends who will now have to carry on with this unfathomable loss.”

“We are doing everything we can to track down the suspect and we trust the public will help us identify and locate him as soon as possible.”

Assist to identify and locate: Male suspect running in area of 50 Street & 22 Avenue SW
While the RCMP is leading this investigation, the EPS is assisting and working collaboratively with its law enforcement partners.

Anyone with information about the suspect’s identity and/or their whereabouts is asked to contact the EPS immediately at 780-423-4567 or #377 from a mobile phone. Anonymous information can also be submitted to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online at www.p3tips.com/250.

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Alberta

Low emissions, Indigenous-owned Cascade Power Project to boost Alberta electrical grid reliability

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The Cascade Power Project. Photo courtesy Kinetcor

From the Canadian Energy Centre

By Will Gibson

New 900-megawatt natural gas-fired facility to supply more than eight per cent of Alberta’s power needs

Alberta’s electrical grid is about to get a boost in reliability from a major new natural gas-fired power plant owned in part by Indigenous communities.  

Next month operations are scheduled to start at the Cascade Power Project, which will have enough capacity to supply more than eight per cent of Alberta’s energy needs.  

It’s good news in a province where just over one month ago an emergency alert suddenly blared on cell phones and other electronic devices warning residents to immediately reduce electricity use to avoid outages.  

“Living in an energy-rich province, we sometimes take electricity for granted,” says Chana Martineau, CEO of the Alberta Indigenous Opportunities Corporation (AIOC) and member of the Frog Lake First Nation.  

“Given much of the province was dealing with -40C weather at the time, that alert was a vivid reminder of the importance of having a reliable electrical grid.” 

Cascade Power was the first project to receive funding through the AIOC, the provincial corporation established in 2020 to provide loan guarantees for Indigenous groups seeking partnerships in major development projects. 

So far, the AIOC has underwritten more than $500 million in support. This year it has $3 billion  available, up from $2 billion in 2023.  

In August 2020 it provided a $93 million loan guarantee to the Indigenous Communities Consortium — comprised of the Alexis Nakota Sioux NationEnoch Cree NationKehewin Cree NationOChiese First NationPaul First Nation, and Whitefish (Goodfish) Lake First Nation — to become equity owners. 

The 900-megawatt, $1.5-billion facility is scheduled to come online in March. 

“It’s personally gratifying for me to see how we moved from having Indigenous communities being seen as obstacles to partners in a generation,” says Martineau. 

The added capacity brought by Cascade is welcomed by the Alberta Electrical System Operator (AESO), which is responsible for the provinces electrical grid. =

“The AESO welcomes all new forms of generation into the Alberta marketplace, including renewables, thermal, storage, and others,” said Diane Kossman, a spokeswoman for the agency.  

“It is imperative that Alberta continue to have sufficient dispatchable generation to serve load during peak demand periods when other forms of generation are not able to contribute in a meaningful way.” 

The Cascade project also provides environmental benefits. It is a so-called “combined cycle” power facility, meaning it uses both a gas turbine and a steam turbine simultaneously to produce up to 50 per cent more electricity from the same amount of fuel than a traditional facility.  

Once complete, Cascade is expected to be the largest and most efficient combined cycle power plant in Alberta, producing 62 per cent less CO2 than a coal-fired power plant and 30 per cent less CO2 than a typical coal-to-gas conversion.  

“This project really is aligned with the goals of Indigenous communities on environmental performance,” says Martineau. 

The partnership behind the power plant includes Axium InfrastructureDIF Capital Partners  and Kineticor Resource Corp. along with the Indigenous Communities Consortium. 

The nations invested through a partnership with OPTrust, one of Canada’s largest pension funds.  

“Innovation is not just what we invest in, but it is also how we invest,” said James Davis, OPTrust’s chief investment officer. 

“The participation of six First Nations in the Cascade Power Project is a prime example of what is possible when investors, the government and local communities work together.” 

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