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Edmonton’s funicular was a popular river valley ride in its first year: report – Edmonton

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The river valley funicular proved a “popular destination” in its first year of operation, according to a City of Edmonton report.

But it also faced a number of challenges.

Successes

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“As of Nov. 25, 2018, the funicular had made 114,038 trips, either up or down the track,” reads a report from the city’s citizen services and community and recreation facilities departments. “During point counts, staff recorded as many as 135 passengers using the funicular in an hour and as many as 28 trips in an hour.”

The report looked at who uses the funicular and found 22 per cent of its users ride it as part of their commute to work. Thirty-one percent of the funicular’s users take it to access the North Saskatchewan River valley.

The funicular, the top of which is located at 100 Street north of the river valley, opened to the public in December 2017. The project cost $24 million and received funding from all three levels of government as well as the River Valley Alliance.

READ MORE: Edmonton’s river valley funicular opens to public, on time and on budget

Watch below: (From Dec. 9, 2017) There is now a new way for Edmontonians to experience the biggest green space in the city. The river valley has its very own funicular, which officially opened to the public on Saturday. Julia Wong has more.






The report said it “has increased access to the river valley for Edmontonians and visitors and has created a landmark and connection between downtown
and the river valley. ”

While the report spelled out the transport method’s successes, it also highlighted ongoing challenges, including misuse of its emergency stop button, door malfunctions and system failures.

Challenges

In total, the funicular experienced 116 system failures in its first year and experienced an emergency stop 322 times. There were 112 instances of door, wind or overload issues and 15 elevator emergencies. The site experienced one emergency over its first 12 months, however, the report did not elaborate on what that entailed.

READ MORE: Edmonton funicular vandalism leads to questions about graffiti response

Watch below: (From August 2018) Broken glass and graffiti could be spotted at Edmonton’s funicular recently and some of the damage has been there for moths. As Fletcher Kent reports, some people want the city to do a better job of cleaning up after vandals.






“Staff responded to approximately 550 alarms during the funicular’s first year of operation,” the report reads. “It should be noted that this location experienced the second highest number of alarms reported for the City of Edmonton in 2018.”

According to the review, over 57 per cent of alarms were a result of the funicular’s users pressing pressing the emergency stop button.

“These incidents resulted in temporary stoppages until the system was reset,” the report says. Of the door, wind or overloading issues, the report found that the majority of those related to door problems, often tied to ice and snow buildup and sensor problems.

READ MORE: Edmonton’s funicular ‘sluggish’ when colder than -25 C

Costs

The report notes that the funicular’s annual operating budget was projected to be between $480,000 and $960,000.

“During the first year, the total operating cost for the funicular and site was $716,468, or three per cent of the total project cost,” the report reads. “As this infrastructure remains new to Edmonton, it is expected that there will be some fluctuations in the annual operating costs.

“A three-year comparison will be required to confirm long term operating costs.”

The lion’s share of the funicular’s costs in its first year were tied to “preventative maintenance and daily start-up.” That represented over $345,000 of the money spent. The second-leading cost associated with the mechanized river access infrastructure was “non-emergency breakdown response and repair,” at over $112,000.

The future

The city has taken efforts to enhance the funicular over the past two months. Some of the steps taken included installing a “heating loop” in the door sill to stop ice from forming at the lower doors, installing a glass roof over the lower doors to reduce issues caused by winter weather and installing markers at the staircase for people with visual impairments.

The report says that in its second year, the funicular’s operational efficiency will continue to be assessed and processes will be improved while community engagement about the infrastructure will continue.

READ MORE: Song sings praises of Edmonton’s funicular, becomes social media sensation

Watch below: (From Dec. 20, 2017) It’s Edmonton’s newest attraction and now, a song about the river valley funicular could become the city’s latest viral video. ‘Fun Funicular’ has received thousands of views on Facebook since it was posted a few days ago.






© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Anglais

‘We’re back’: Montreal festival promoters happy to return but looking to next year

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In downtown Montreal, it’s festival season.

In the city’s entertainment district, a musical act was conducting a sound check on stage Friday evening — the second day of the French-language version of the renowned Just For Laughs comedy festival. Tickets for many of the festival’s free outdoor shows — limited by COVID-19 regulations — were sold out.

Two blocks away, more than 100 people were watching an acoustic performance by the Isaac Neto Trio — part of the last weekend of the Festival International Nuits d’Afrique, a celebration of music from the African continent and the African diaspora.

With COVID-19 restrictions continuing to limit capacity, festival organizers say they’re glad to be back but looking forward to next year when they hope border restrictions and capacity limits won’t affect their plans.

Charles Décarie, Just For Laughs’ CEO and president, said this is a “transition year.”

“Even though we have major constraints from the public health group in Montreal, we’ve managed to design a festival that can navigate through those constraints,” Décarie said.

The French-language Juste pour rire festival began on July 15 and is followed by the English-language festival until July 31.

When planning began in February and March, Décarie said, organizers came up with a variety of scenarios for different crowd sizes, ranging from no spectators to 50 per cent of usual capacity.

“You’ve got to build scenarios,” he said. “You do have to plan a little bit more than usual because you have to have alternatives.”

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Anglais

MELS new major movie studio to be built in Montreal

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MONTREAL — MELS Studios will build a new film studio in Montreal, filling some of the gap in supply to meet the demand of Hollywood productions.

MELS president Martin Carrier said on Friday that MELS 4 studio construction will begin « as soon as possible », either in the fall or winter of next year. The studio could host productions as early as spring 2023.

The total investment for the project is $76 million, with the Quebec government contributing a $25 million loan. The project will create 110 jobs, according to the company.

The TVA Group subsidiary’s project will enable it to stand out « even more » internationally, according to Quebecor president and CEO Pierre Karl Péladeau. In the past, MELS Studios has hosted several major productions, including chapters of the X-Men franchise. The next Transformers movie is shooting this summer in Montreal.

Péladeau insisted that local cultural productions would also benefit from the new facility, adding that the studio ensures foreign revenues and to showcase talent and maintain an industry of Quebec producers.

STUDIO SHORTAGE

The film industry is cramped in Montreal.

According to a report published last May by the Bureau du cinéma et de la télévision du Québec (BCTQ), there is a shortage of nearly 400,000 square feet of studio space.

With the addition of MELS 4, which will be 160,000 square feet, the company is filling part of the gap.

Carrier admitted that he has had to turn down contracts because of the lack of space, representing missed opportunities of « tens of millions of dollars, not only for MELS, but also for the Quebec economy. »

« Montreal’s expertise is in high demand, » said Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante, who was present at the announcement.

She said she received great testimonials from « Netflix, Disney, HBO and company » during an economic mission to Los Angeles in 2019.

« What stands out is that they love Montreal because of its expertise, knowledge and beauty. We need more space, like MELS 4, » she said.

There is still not enough capacity in Quebec, acknowledged Minister of Finance, the Economy and Innovation Eric Girard.

« It is certain that the government is concerned about fairness and balance, so if other requests come in, we will study them with the same seriousness as we have studied this one, » he said.

Grandé Studios is the second-largest player in the industry. Last May, the company said it had expansion plans that should begin in 2022. Investissement Québec and Bell are minority shareholders in the company.

For its part, MELS will have 400,000 square feet of production space once MELS 4 is completed. The company employs 450 people in Quebec and offers a range of services including studio and equipment rentals, image and sound postproduction, visual effects and a virtual production platform.

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Anglais

Birdhouse Wingerie & Bar is the Latest to Hatch in West Island’s Bubbling Restaurant Scene

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Wings are the thing at the latest restaurant to make its mark on Montreal’s West Island: Birdhouse Wingerie & Bar.

At the buzzy new Dollard-Des Ormeaux eatery, the bird limbs come aplenty, with a menu listing eleven “wet & messy” wings, including smoked apple habanero, sriracha lime, and cherry cola BBQ; and four — cacio e pepe, ketchups chip, Nashville hot, and the garlicky, lemon pepper “vampire slayer” — dry rub flavours. They come 10 for $18 or 20 for $34, plus the option of ranch, parmesan, or blue cheese dipping sauce.

Tacos, nachos, poutines (one made with bone marrow, another with tater tots), smashed burgers, salads, and a classic buttermilk fried chicken dinner are just sampling of the other dishes that round out the offering. On the drinks side, there are cocktails, sangrias, and spiked milkshakes in popular chocolate bar flavours: After Eight, Skor, Bounty, or Reeses.

Opened on July 5, Birdhouse is among a recent influx of restaurants to grace the island’s western end, including birria taco slinger Tacos Don Rigo and barbecue joint Smoke Box — a double whammy in the same Pierrefonds area strip mall. That comes in addition to plans for Fairview Pointe Claire’s incoming “District Gourmand” (slated to usher in Tommy Café), and, of course, a number of the area’s longer-standing stalwarts — from southern belle Bistro Nolah to old-school casse-croûte Smoked Meat Pete — that have helped bolster the West Island’s culinary credentials.

The brand-new Brunswick Boulevard restaurant is the brainchild of Montreal entrepreneur Lorne Schwartz, restaurateur George Massouras (of Madisons and Arahova Souvlaki), and among the other partners involved, Brahm Mauer, son of the founder of beloved buffalo hot wings expert Wings ‘n’ Things. Mauer has tried his hand at reviving the original Wings ‘n’ Things recipe — the restaurant originally opened in 1986 — over the years, including with a Royalmount Avenue location in 2012, then as a roaming summertime food truck and NDG pop-up. That same truck has now been made over with a Birdhouse-branded livery to be deployed for private events.

A likely draw to many, Birdhouse is reprising the “famous flavours, untouched” of the once-upon-a-time NDG staple, represented on its menu as “The Legendary WNT Buffalo” chicken wing.

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