Sohi, DBA want to bring more businesses downtown as Sport Chek leaves Edmonton City Centre
The city and other stakeholders in downtown Edmonton say more help is needed to address social issues in the area.
On Thursday, Sport Chek announced it’s closing its store in Edmonton City Centre (ECC) in March.
The mall’s general manager Sean Kirk responded with a statement saying the ECC’s ownership group was hesitant to invest any more money into downtown because of “significant safety issues.”
On Friday, Kirk issued a new statement clarifying his comments.
“Continued investment to upgrade and improve Edmonton City Centre, maintain a first class shopping centre for our tenants and guests, and attract new and exciting retailers and businesses remains a priority,” Kirk wrote.
“When the ownership group invested in Edmonton City Centre in 2019, they had the full intention of adding more density to the existing site that could include residential towers and additional commercial spaces. However, due to many factors, including safety in downtown, any expansion plans have been delayed until downtown market conditions improve.”
'THIS IS A CRISIS'
The mayor says safety is a concern in the downtown core, but it’s not an issue that’s unique to Edmonton.
“Every major urban centre in Canada is facing the implications of not investing enough in ending houselessness and tackling mental health trauma, the addictions trauma. And we see the ramifications of that in our streets,” Mayor Amarjeet Sohi said, adding mental health, addictions, and houselessness are provincial responsibilities.
“I’m glad the province is stepping up a bit, they need to do more, we are dealing with the ramifications. We have to increase more enforcement, we’re dealing with encampments, we’re dealing with disorder in our communities, we see people die every day because of cold weather or drug overdoses, so this is a crisis that our communities are facing, and all of us need to work together.”
Puneeta McBryan of the Downtown Business Association is also looking for the province to do more.
“The province has a big role to play because the problems are so much bigger than any of us can do on the ground,” she told CTV News Edmonton.
On Thursday, the city received $4 million from the province for live events, promotion, graffiti removal, cleaning, and snow removal.
An additional million was granted to the DBA for marketing and festivals.
McBryan is quick to point out that money can’t be used to make downtown safer.
“This was an economic development grant, so the province was very prescriptive in saying this was not money that could be used for any social services or any safety initiatives,” she said.
“I want to make sure our businesses and the public don’t have the impression that we don’t think safety and social disorder are the top priorities, because they absolutely are.”
Brian Jean, minister of jobs, development, and northern development says the provincial government will invest in ways to make downtown safer.
“We need to make sure that we make people feel safe, make people feel secure, and some of those things we can do are investments in lighting, investments in security, ensure that there are no options for people to do crimes and to live on the streets, which means they have to have alternative opportunities and that means that this government has to invest in that, and we are investing in that.”
Despite the challenges, McBryan is still hopeful the money will help attract new retailers and consumers to the downtown core.
The DBA will use a portion of the funds from the province to launch a retail attraction initiative.
“It’s basically going to allow us to select retailers that are really, sorely needed downtown, where we know residents and office workers are looking for this type of retail and de-risk it for retailers who do want to come and open downtown, and just make it as easy for them to succeed as possible.”
While details are still being worked out, she says they will be looking at ECC when they scout out locations.
In addition to securing new retail, McBryan says the money will be used to pay for three large-scale murals and fund the Downtown Spark festival, a live music and arts festival at the end of May.
“We were not sure if we’d be able to do it again because it was COVID recovery funding from the federal government that funded it the last two years,” she said.
“It really helps bring downtown back to life in the spring. It’s great for residents, we see lots of families, it’s a great excuse for people to come out of the office on those days.”
WIth files from CTV News Edmonton's Nicole Weisberg and Nahreman Issa
Edmonton Top Stories
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
Canada makes amendments to foreign homebuyers ban – here's what they look like
Months after Canada's ban on foreign homebuyers took effect on Jan. 1, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation has made several amendments to the legislation allowing non-Canadians to purchase residential properties in certain circumstances.
'Leave this with me': Alberta premier heard on call with COVID-19 protester
Alberta Premier Danielle Smith, in a leaked cellphone call, commiserated with a COVID-19 protester about his trial while divulging to him there was an internal dispute over how Crown prosecutors were handling COVID-19 cases.
What is the grocery rebate in federal budget 2023? Key questions, answered
To help offset rising living expenses, the Government of Canada has introduced a one-time grocery rebate for low- and modest-income Canadians. Here is what we know about the rebate.
RCMP arrest 5 while executing search warrant at Wet'suwet'en protest camp
RCMP officers executed a search warrant at a protest camp on Wet'suwet'en traditional territory near the under-construction Coastal GasLink pipeline Wednesday.
'Compostable' food packaging may contain hazardous 'forever chemicals': Canadian study
As Canada phases out single-use plastics, more restaurants are opting to use 'compostable' takeout containers. But a new study suggests some of these supposedly eco-friendly containers may pose hazards to our health and the environment.
Could Usain Bolt outrun a 900-pound dinosaur? Physics professor poses the question
A new academic paper pits legendary sprinter Usain Bolt against a 900-pound dinosaur to see who could run a 100-metre distance the fastest.
Recalled in Canada: Change tables over entrapment hazard, hoodies due to risk of choking
Health Canada has issued two recalls, one for change tables over an entrapment hazard and another for bamboo nursing hoodies due to a risk of choking.
Many Canadians like to tell 'white lies' about home-cooked meals: survey
Have you ever had to lie about the quality of a home-cooked meal to protect someone's feelings? According to a new survey by Research Co. you’re not the only one.
Spending to increase economic capacity is fiscally responsible, Freeland says in post-budget defence
Defending her latest federal budget, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said spending that increases economic capacity is fiscally responsible.
‘I started breaking down:’ Friends remember 15-year-old homicide victim
A 15-year-old girl shot to death in the community of Martindale early Tuesday morning, has now been identified by friends and police as Sarah Alexis Jorquera.
Woman in custody, charges pending following Lions Park LRT station stabbing
Calgary police say they've arrested a woman in connection with a stabbing at the Lions Park LRT station that stemmed from a fight between several people.
Lethbridge UCP candidate Torry Tanner's claims against teachers disputed
A United Conservative Party candidate in Lethbridge claims teachers are exposing students to pornography and gender reassignment without parental knowledge.
Saskatoon police release video of 3 people placing 'large container' in dumpster where body was found
Saskatoon Police Service is asking for the public’s help in identifying three individuals they believe are connected to a suspicious death.
Saskatoon murder trial on hold as police investigate new revelations
A Saskatoon murder trial is being adjourned to allow police to follow-up on "significant information" that just came to the Crown prosecutor's attention Wednesday.
Dog that attacked five-year-old Saskatoon boy involved in three other attacks
CTV News has learned a dog that attacked a five-year-old boy last week had been declared dangerous in February 2022, but the city had lost track of the owner a year ago.
City council waiting for next steps in Experience Regina rebrand
The City of Regina is waiting for an update regarding the next steps for the Experience Regina rebrand.
Regina's Dewdney Avenue strip to undergo 2 year renovation project
The Dewdney Avenue strip between Broad Street and Albert Street is about to undergo a major two year renovation project.
Saskatchewan to spend $6 million for some hip and knee surgeries in Calgary
The Saskatchewan government is set to spend up to $6 million to send patients to Calgary for hip and knee surgeries.
N.S. mass shooting inquiry report must deliver 'clear commentary': family lawyer
A lawyer who represents Nova Scotia mass shooting victims' families said in an interview they are hoping "for clear commentary on what things went wrong and what things ought to have been done better or differently."
Cold front to sweep mix of snow, rain across the Maritimes Thursday
A low-pressure system moving north of the St. Lawrence River valley will sweep a cold front across the Maritimes on Thursday.
How Portapique residents past and present are dealing with reminders of the 2020 mass shooting
The eve of the release of the final report from the inquiry into Nova Scotia’s 2020 mass shooting is a reminder for residents of Portapique of their small community’s traumatic past.
BREAKING | Man pulled from house fire in Toronto's Junction Triangle dies in hospital
A man is dead after being pulled from a fire at a home in Toronto’s Junction Triangle neighbourhood.
A rare weather phenomenon strikes southern Ontario again
Thundersnow has struck southern Ontario for a second time this month.
Why is there no cell service on the TTC? Riders say it could increase safety
The Toronto Transit Commission signed a deal in 2012 to provide cellular service on the subway network, but over a decade later, few are able to make a call in an emergency—something the TTC board members, riders and parents say has to change in the wake of the death of Gabriel Magalhaes.
Bill 15: Quebec tables legislation to overhaul health system
The CAQ government has unveiled its long-promised plan to improve Quebec's public health network. Tabled at the Quebec legislature Wednesday by Health Minister Christian Dubé, Bill 15 promises a major shakeup.
'I lost a brother': Funeral held for teen who died in Old Montreal fire
Almost two weeks after his death, a funeral was held in Laval Wednesday for a teenager who died in the fire in Old Montreal.
Flooded and fed up: St-Leonard homeowners file class-action suit over heavy rain damages
A group of homeowners in St-Leonard has filed a class-action lawsuit against their borough and the City of Montreal, claiming municipal authorities are to blame for repeated floodings during heavy rain.
LRT | Stage 2 of Ottawa LRT faces further delay
The long-awaited southern extension to Ottawa's light rail network is facing a further delay, a city committee heard Wednesday.
Truck held together with bungee cord pulled off the road in eastern Ontario
Quinte OPP says officers stopped the vehicle on Trenton-Frankford Road on Wednesday with a bungee rope stretching across the back of the truck.
Migrants' influx helps Cornwall, Ont. labour shortage
Hundreds of migrants, who have crossed the Canadian border at Roxham Road in Quebec and have settled in Cornwall, were on the hunt for jobs on Wednesday.
'Fairly emotional for everybody': Teen struck by LRT visits emergency crews who rescued him
Several weeks after a teen was stuck under an LRT train in Kitchener, he’s now up and walking and visited the emergency crews who helped rescue him.
Cambridge municipal election candidate suing city after names left off ballot
A retired political science professor says he was “stunned” by the way the Cambridge municipal election unfolded.
Businesses weigh in on government’s plan to reduce credit card fees
The federal government is touting plans to help small businesses by reducing credit card fees, but some local merchants say while they welcome the measure, the actual impact it will have on their operations will be minimal.
Northern Ont. family ‘ecstatic’ as 25-year-old murder mystery finally solved
Robert Steven Wright was convicted Wednesday of murdering Renee Sweeney, a little more than 25 years after her brutal killing shocked the community.
B.C. man pleads guilty to northern Ont. shooting, Crown drops attempted murder charge
A man who admitted to shooting up a home in Greater Sudbury in 2020 over a drug theft pled guilty Wednesday to reduced charges.
Driver caught travelling 200km/hr on major Ontario highway
A 20-year-old has been charged with careless driving after travelling double the speed limit on a major Ontario highway.
Manitobans should prepare for a gas price hike according to an expert
Come the weekend, Manitobans will be paying more for gas and the price could climb even higher in the coming weeks and months according to a gas expert.
Brandon pauses public engagement on 30-year vision over 'inappropriate and unsafe behaviour'
The City of Brandon has paused its public consultation on its 30-year plan for the city due to 'inappropriate and unsafe behaviour' from some residents.
Manitoba family launches lawsuit over COVID-19 vaccination
A Manitoba family has launched a lawsuit alleging their 23-year-old son had a stroke days after receiving a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, leaving him legally blind.
'I made it': Inside the addiction and mental health treatment ongoing at old Riverview Hospital site
The Riverview Hospital itself has been closed for more than a decade, but 289 people are currently receiving treatment for mental health, addictions or both at the old site.
City of Vancouver considering requiring grant recipients to be 'respectful' in order to get funding
Vancouver city council has asked staff to shape a policy that would require grant recipients to engage with officials in a "respectful manner," a move that one political scientist says suggests an attempt to prevent or punish criticism.
'A freeze response of shock': Expert weighs in on bystanders not stepping in during fatal Vancouver stabbing
After a man was fatally stabbed outside of a Vancouver Starbucks in front of dozens of witnesses, video of the attack is circulating on social media, raising questions about why nobody stepped in to help.
IIO investigating after man driving construction vehicle shot, seriously injured by police in Duncan, B.C.
A man was taken to hospital with serious injuries following a police shooting in Duncan, B.C., on Tuesday evening.
Vancouver Island non-profit calls for more support for women with brain injuries from violent partners
A Vancouver Island non-profit is calling for more support for women who suffer a brain injury at the hands of a violent partner.
Police investigating 'targeted' attempted arson at home in Saanich
Police are investigating what they believe was a targeted arson attack at a home north of Victoria.