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
Military under fire as thousands of troops face lost cost-of-living allowance
The Canadian Armed Forces is under fire for its plan to cut thousands of troops off a cost-of-living allowance without much notice.
Twitter: Parts of source code leaked online
Some parts of Twitter's source code -- the fundamental computer code on which the social network runs -- were leaked online, the social media company said in a legal filing on Sunday.
Court hearing for Prince Harry and Elton John's privacy case against U.K. publisher
The first hearing in a lawsuit brought by Prince Harry, singer Elton John and other high profile figures against the publisher of the Daily Mail newspaper over alleged phone-tapping and other breaches of privacy, is due to begin on Monday.
South Korea says North Korea test-fired another missile
South Korea's military says it detected North Korea firing at least one ballistic missile toward the sea off its eastern coast, adding to a recent flurry in weapons tests as the United States steps up its military exercises with the South to counter the North's growing threat.
Netanyahu fires defence minister for urging halt to overhaul
Tens of thousands of Israelis poured into the streets of cities across the country on Sunday night in a spontaneous outburst of anger after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu abruptly fired his defence minister for challenging the Israeli leader's judicial overhaul plan.
Is 'David' porn? See for yourself, Italians ask Florida parents
The Florence museum housing Michelangelo's Renaissance masterpiece the 'David' invited parents and students from a Florida charter school to visit after complaints about a lesson featuring the statue forced the principal to resign.
Singh 'not satisfied' with confidence-and-supply agreement
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says he's 'not satisfied' with his party's confidence-and-supply agreement with the Liberals — signed a year ago this week — because it's shown him he could do a better job running the country than the current government.
Ancient Egypt excavation uncovers 2,000 mummified ram heads at Abydos
At least 2,000 mummified ram heads dating from the Ptolemaic period and a palatial Old Kingdom structure have been uncovered at the temple of Ramses II in the ancient city of Abydos in southern Egypt, antiquities officials said on Saturday.
Ukraine demands emergency UN meeting over Putin nuclear plan
Ukraine's government on Sunday called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to 'counter the Kremlin's nuclear blackmail' after Russian President Vladimir Putin revealed plans to station tactical atomic weapons in Belarus. One Ukrainian official said that Russia 'took Belarus as a nuclear hostage.'
Big final weekend for amateur boxers, sledge hockey players in Calgary
The Calgary Scorpions sledge hockey team were victorious in their gold medal match against Team BC at the Western Canadian Sledge Hockey Tournament with a 4-0 win at Winsport Sunday.
Calgary's Buffalo Wild Wings locations shut their doors
Right in the middle of March Madness, Buffalo Wild Wings shuttered its doors Sunday.
KLM flight en route to Calgary following detour back to Amsterdam due to unruly passenger
A KLM flight bound for Calgary was delayed Sunday morning when an unruly passenger forced the airline to return to Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam.
Saskatoon Blades face Pats in opening round of WHL playoffs
The Saskatoon Blades' last two home games of the season have been against the Regina Pats, and with top NHL prospect Connor Bedard drawing big crowds wherever he's playing, almost 30,000 fans have come through the turnstiles at Sasktel Centre.
Get ready to see e-scooters all over Saskatoon
Up to 500 shared e-scooters could be available for rent in the city beginning in the spring, with the city currently finalizing rules for the service.
Suspicious death under investigation: Saskatoon police
Saskatoon police are investigating a suspicious death.
Sask. village loses arena in late night 'inferno'
The Village of Liberty is grieving the loss of its rink after it fell victim to a late night 'inferno' over the weekend.
'Be prepared to slow down': Construction on Highway 6 bridge in Regina set to begin
Construction efforts are expected to begin on the south section of Regina's Ring Road.
'We have to find a solution': W5 investigation explores risk of asbestos cement pipes in Regina
Over 500 kilometres of asbestos cement pipes run through Regina's water utility system, according to findings from a W5 investigation.
Messy mix of snow, ice pellets and rain Sunday into Monday
A low-pressure system moving up the coastline of Maine will cross Nova Scotia Sunday into early Monday morning, bringing a mix of snow, ice pellets and rain.
Emergency alert issued for woman with handgun in Indian Brook, N.S.: RCMP
RCMP in Nova Scotia have issued an emergency alert to warn the public of what they call “a dangerous female with a handgun” in Indian Brook.
HMCS Montreal departs Halifax for Indo-Pacific operation
A Royal Canadian Navy frigate departed Halifax today as part of the federal government's wider strategy of boosting its presence in the Indo-Pacific region.
Teen dead after 'unprovoked' stabbing at Toronto subway station
Police have identified a teenager who died after being stabbed in an ‘unprovoked’ attack at a Toronto subway station Saturday night, and have charged an adult male suspect with his murder.
Ontario woman's lost wedding dress found by thrift store volunteer after 'long shot' search
After making a 'long shot' plea to the public this weekend, a woman in southern Ontario has found her lost wedding dress, mistakenly donated by her father earlier this year.
Nearly 40 TTC routes changed today. Here’s what you need to know:
TTC riders may have to wait a bit longer for a bus, streetcar or subway starting Sunday.
Nine-year-old girl succumbs to injuries after snow fort accident
A nine-year-old girl has died after a snow fort collapsed Sunday in the woods behind a Saint-Ubalde home, in the Portneuf RCM.
Montreal police confirm fifth body found in rubble of historic building fire
Montreal police say a fifth body has been extracted from the rubble of a heritage building that caught fire nine days ago, leaving two others still missing.
Laval community calls on city to pick up garbage piling up on property
Jun Yao Wang and her mother, Qing Jie Li, say they are at their wit's end. The edge of their property on Chemin des Cageux near du Tremblay Street in Laval has become a dumping ground.
One person dead after fire in Hull apartment that lacked working smoke alarms
Gatineau firefighters are reminding residents about the importance of smoke detectors after a fatal fire in the Hull sector early Sunday morning.
Here's a look at eight things that will cost more in Ottawa starting April 1
CTVNewsOttawa.ca looks at eight things that will cost you more in Ottawa starting April 1.
Talks continue ahead of strike deadline for education workers at Carleton University
The union representing contract instructors and graduate and undergraduate teaching assistants is threatening to go on strike Monday if a deal is not reached with Carleton University.
Man charged with attempted murder in Cambridge
A 49-year-old man has been charged with attempted murder and assault with a weapon in connection to injuries suffered by a 50-year-old woman in Cambridge.
'I’ve really had to adjust': How one small Waterloo region business is fighting inflation and fear of a recession
Worries of a recession in 2023 got another jolt this weekend with former Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz warning the country’s economy is at a greater risk of a “hard landing” – a rapid economic slowdown following a period of growth and approaching a recession. For small businesses, it's a prediction that brings concern.
Top snowmobilers compete in Kitchener
Winter may be over, but there was still snow on the ground for hundreds of highflying snowmobilers at Chicopee Ski Resort this weekend.
Northern resources, the highlight of Ontario’s budget
Continuing to put the region's critical mineral supply in the spotlight, northern Ontario and its critical mineral deposits are front and centre in the provincial government's 2023 budget.
Risk of a hard landing for Canadian economy is up, former Bank of Canada governor says
Former Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz says Canada’s economy is at a greater risk of a 'hard landing' — a rapid economic slowdown following a period of growth and approaching a recession.
Hwy. 17 partially closed north of the Sault due to a commercial motor vehicle crash
A crash involving a commercial vehicle north of the Sault has completely closed Highway 17 from Highway 101 East in Wawa, Ont. to Frater Road before noon Sunday, the eastbound lane reopened around 7p.m.
'The next generation of climate champions': Conservation-centered spring break activities inspiring youth
School might be out for spring break for many Manitoba students, but that isn't stopping them from learning about important climate issues.
‘When are we going to see action?’: The changes needed for Manitoba’s cannabis rules
Nearly five years after the legalization of marijuana in Canada, one local cannabis retailer feels Manitoba should be more proactive and flexible when it comes to regulating pot sales in our province.
'Vinyl's actually better': Manitoba Music and Record Sale returns
Throngs of physical media collectors descended on the Caboto Centre Sunday afternoon for the 2023 Manitoba Music and Record Sale.
Nanny who was fired after cancer diagnosis awarded $45K in B.C. discrimination case
A temporary foreign worker from the Philippines who was fired from her job as a caregiver after a cancer diagnosis has been awarded over $45,000 by the BC Human Rights Tribunal.
Downtown Eastside crash sends 3 pedestrians to hospital
Three people were hospitalized after being hit by a car in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside Saturday evening, according to authorities.
2 seriously injured in 'targeted' Chilliwack shooting: RCMP
Two people were found with "multiple gunshot wounds" in Chilliwack Saturday, after a shooting police say may have been gang-related.
Vancouver Island farmers struggle to deal with threatened elk species
Farmers in the Cowichan Valley are losing crops and dealing with property and field damage caused by Roosevelt Elk, which have become a regular fixture on some farms in the area.
Victoria police say repeat offender wanted again
Victoria police are once again looking for William Watts, who they describe as "a high risk to reoffend."
Lack of staff leads to more BC Ferries cancellations
BC Ferries cancelled several sailings because of a lack of crew Saturday, including two trips between Greater Victoria and the Lower Mainland.