HicksBiz Blog

Hicks on Biz: When it comes to transportation in Edmonton, stick to the tried, true and inexpensive By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, March 23, 2018

Edmonton transit buses make their way along 104 Avenue. File photoDavid Bloom / Postmedia By GRAHAM HICKS Gondolas!  NO! Prototype Magnetic-Levitation LRT!  NOOOOO! Bombardier’s Advanced Rapid Transit (Vancouver’s SkyTrain)!   Maybe, but NOT NOW! BRT (Bus Rapid Transit)!  PROBABLY! Smart roads! Smaller vehicles! Cleaner vehicles! And, one day, driverless vehicles! YES !  But by then I will be mouldering in my low-density urban grave. Hasn’t Edmonton city council and its senior management learned anything from the dismal failure of our broken-down Cadillac waste management system, from the not-fully operational NAIT LRT line, from  bridges built years behind schedule, from the soon-to-be financial fiasco of Blatchford? Don’t wing it with unproven technology!!! Use reliable and cost-effective technologies … like, golly, highways and private vehicles. Like old-fashioned buses! As the public hearings on expanding ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Vietnamese contrast – An Chay, Miss Saigon, Saigon Garden by GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN March 20, 2018

An Chay's vegetarian vermicelli special at $13 is excellent value. An Chay 11203 Jasper Ave. Facebook 780-752-2203 Weekdays, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Weekends, noon to 8 p.m. Closed Tuesdays Dinner for two, not including tip, tax or beverage:  Basic, $25; loaded, $50 Food – 4.5 of 5 Suns Ambience – 4.5 of 5 Suns Service- 4 of 5 Suns Miss Saigon 10375 78 Ave. misssaigonyeg.com 780-249-2220 Hours: Sunday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to midnight Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 a.m. Dinner for two, basic $30; loaded, $45 Food – 3.5 of 5 Suns Ambience – 3.5 of 5 Suns Service – 3.5 of 5 Suns *** Saigon Garden 9711 107 Ave. 780-428-8833 saigongarden.ca Hours: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Closed Tuesdays Dinner for two, basic $30; loaded $45 Food – 3.5 of 5 Suns Ambience – 2.5 of 5 Suns Service – 4 of 5 Suns Three Vietnamese eateries today, each worthy, but certainly illustrating the breadth and ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Edmonton’s broken-down Cadillac waste management system by GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN March 16, 2018

A contract worker sorts paper at the Edmonton recycling facility.Ed Kaiser / Postmedia By Graham Hicks Rarely has a city felt so betrayed, so let down, by one of its own departments. City Auditor David Wiun’s recently released audit of the Waste Services Branch is one of the most damning City of Edmonton public reports ever released. The once world-famous City of Edmonton Waste Services Branch had been fudging its reports, its numbers were not to be believed, its management culture had become “independent” (i.e. gone rogue), equipment and facilities were (and are) falling apart …   Waste Services has hopelessly failed in its long-touted goal of diverting 90% of waste from landfill. The best the city had done was diverting 49.5% of residential garbage in 2013, and had since been getting worse, down to 35.7% in 2016. Most of our garbage continues to be hauled to a landfill site near Ryley, 80 kilometres away. Nobody knows how much – or where &nda ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Downtown Dining Week offers a taste of Edmonton's core By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN March 13, 2018

Despite downtown parking regulations more complex than a Rubik’s Cube, I still recommend lunch or dinner this week at just about all (decent) downtown restaurants through Sunday, March 18. It’s the 15th annual Downtown Dining Week, produced by the Downtown Business Association. Cheap eats! Champagne at beer prices! At the very least, you’ll save 10% to 20% over regular a-la-carte prices, often more. After 15 years, most of the bugs have been worked out on this special offer. It’s designed to entice you back to the downtown to experience Edmonton’s terrific restaurant renaissance, a renaissance that is being recognized across Canada. Too bad downtown parking is so expensive and so sparse – see below. Each of the 37 participating restaurants can mix and match from three categories — $18 mostly two-course lunches, $30 for mostly-three course dinners, or $45 “executive dinners” on offer at the top-end eateries such as The Harvest Room, Hardware ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Alberta doesn't need wind farms by GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN March 9, 2018

By GRAHAM HICKS I have been to a wind farm, watched the blades on 80-metre-tall wind turbines turn lazily in the late-February sun. In a very gentle 5.4 km/h wind, 16 megawatts (MW) of electricity were being generated — wind converted to electricity at each tower, fed through underground cables to a substation, then fed into the provincial power grid. In that lazy wind at Capital Power’s Halkirk Wind Farm about 30 kilometres east of Stettler, 83 towers each generated 230 kilowatts (kW) of power ‑ enough to perhaps power my neighbourhood at that very moment. Halkirk is impressive — the 83 wind turbines scattered across 60 square kilometres of working farmland are so quiet (at least in low winds), so grey, so clean against the blue sky — dotting the landscape around the village of Halkirk like ghostly sentinels. The technology and know-how are all imported. The global wind-farm company Vestas Wind Systems, headquartered in Denmark, manufactures, assembles, maintains and ... Read the rest of entry »

Undercover at the Citadel Theatre, a comedic whodunit with more twists than a lemon in a martini: Review by GRAHAM HICKS

Undercover A Spontaneous Theatre production presented by the Citadel Theatre The Citadel Theatre Club space, April 4 to 29, 2018 Tickets Review by GRAHAM HICKS,  HicksBiz.com In a theatrical age dominated by ultra-serious political correctness, what a relief that Rebecca Northan knows how to have fun in a thoroughly professional way. Her touring show Undercover, on the Citadel’s cabaret stage through April 29, 2018, is a good old-fashioned murder mystery, a whodunit, complete with an old mansion, a dark and stormy night and black-outs in which the bereaved very suddenly, with much shrieking, becomes the bereaved. But it’s a whodunit with a fantastically fun twist. Every night, the show's assistant detective is an audience member, drawn at random to play the part. The script is cleverly written to let the latest and ever-changing member of the cast control the plot. As Northan says in thanking the audience/cast member at the end of the show, the second half of the show has never ev ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Montana’s BBQ & Bar offers tasty food in comfy confines by GRAHAM HICKS, first published Edmonton Sun, March 6, 2018

Montana’s BBQ & Bar 10330 G.A. MacDonald Ave. (Calgary Trail south of Whitemud Drive) Six other Montana’s locations in Greater Edmonton 780-434-2886 Sunday to Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Dinner for two, not including tip, tax or beverage:  Basic, $30; loaded, $50 Food – 4 of 5 Suns Ambience – 4 of 5 Suns Service – 3.5 of 5 Suns Edmonton hard-core foodies, this Weekly Dish review is not for you. Montana’s BBQ & Bar has close to 100 locations across Canada, seven in Greater Edmonton alone. Executive chefs do not create specialty dishes on location – line cooks make the same ribs and wings and fries in every single Montana’s. Montana’s market is about moms ‘n’ dads ‘n’ kids going out without dressing up, about ball caps and pick-up trucks and team gatherings after the game. Montana’s competition isn’t the fancy-schmancy downtown restaurants.  It&r ... Read the rest of entry »

Children of God proves to be excellent musical theatre - Citadel Theatre review by GRAHAM HICKS

Children of God Citadel Theatre, Shoctor Stage Edmonton, Alberta, Canada March 3 to 24, 2018 Tickets  Review by GRAHAM HICKS, Hicksbiz.com There’s all kinds of good news about the Citadel Theatre’s latest offering, Children of God. It’s a very good piece of theatre. Causes do not overwhelm characters. The plot carries itself admirably, never devolving into polemics. The acting, singing and music is of the highest standard. It does what “issues” theatre is supposed to do – presents its cause without losing its audience through too-much pounding upon our heads. All of which is an immense relief. The issue of Canada’s residential schools, where indigenous children were collected and sent for both education and assimilation from 1831 to 1996, has rightly been front and centre in Canada since the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2015. Corey Payette’s musical play – centred on six indigenous children who’d kno ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Alberta is no longer viable By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, March 2, 2018

As the federal and provincial governments make it more difficult for the resource industry to get things done, there's less incentive for those companies to develop infrastructure in this province.Ian Kucerak / Ian Kucerak/Postmedia I’m doing my best not to be ultra-cynical. But put yourself in the position of a major petrochemical/energy company CEO, reading the recently released report of the Alberta government-appointed Energy Diversification Advisory Committee. It is entitled, Diversification, Not Decline: Adapting to the new energy reality. “Really?” the CEO is saying to him or herself as he/she flips the pages. “Really?  The Alberta and Canadian governments have been pummelling my industry since 2015 when the Liberals came to power in Ottawa and the New Democrats in Alberta. “We (the energy sector) were flattened by the 50% drop in oil prices at the end of 2014.  And, ever since,  your governments have been kicking us while we& ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Wishbone is good, not quite a wish come true By GRAHAM HICKS, first published Edmonton Sun, February 27, 2018

The fried chicken sandwich is a Wishbone lunch highlight. By GRAHAM HICKS Wishbone 10542 Jasper Avenue 780-757-6758 Eatwishbone.ca Monday to Friday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. (1 a.m. Fridays) Saturday, 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Closed Sunday (Reservations at eatwishbone.ca) Dinner for two, not including tip, tax or beverage:  Basic, $25; loaded, $70 Food – 3.5 of 5 Suns Ambience – 4 of 5 Suns Service – 4 of 5 Suns Not that there was any fatal flaw, but two visits to the downtown Wishbone Restaurant and Oyster Bar left me disappointed. Open since July of last year, Wishbone is the downtown incarnation of the South-Side’s Three Boars on 109 St. south of the High Level Bridge, with the same ownership and same partner/executive chef Brayden Kozak. Three Boars was one of the first chef-owned bistros in town. When opened in 2013 it was a wildly inventive place. Chef Kozak would take whatever came through the kitchen door from his suppliers and ch ... Read the rest of entry »