Legal Super Mart to hold grand opening
The grocery store formerly known as the Legal Co-op will hold a grand opening Sunday under its new name — Legal Super Mart.
A trio of Edmonton businessmen officially took over the store June 8. A survey of residents found that 58 per cent preferred the name Super Mart.
“We’d like to introduce ourselves on that day,” said co-owner Syed Islam. “I’m thinking that we’ll provide some barbecue. For children we will provide popcorn.”
The new owners have already expanded the produce and meat sections. They are hoping to add a hardware section in the coming days and also hope to expand the bakery.
The grand opening is scheduled for 11 a.m. Sunday at 4743-50 Ave. It will include an appearance by Mayor Albert St. Jean and a draw for free groceries.
Insurance industry seeks 6.4 per cent hike
The Insurance Bureau of Canada will seek a 6.4 per cent increase to basic auto insurance rates in Alberta.
The bureau will present its case to Alberta’s Auto Insurance Rate Board today.
“We’ve seen a number of cost pressures. The insurance industry isn’t immune to increasing costs,” said vice-president Jim Rivait.
Up until last week, the bureau had been seeking a 40 per cent increase because a Court of Queen’s Bench ruling in early 2008 struck down an Alberta law capping soft-tissue injury payouts at $4,000. The Alberta Court of Appeal overturned that ruling Friday. The province quickly adopted a cap of $4,500.
Over two days of hearings Tuesday and Wednesday, the insurance rate board will hear a number of submissions from industry stakeholders. It has until Aug. 1 to make its decision, which will come into effect Nov. 1.
“We’re a ways off yet,” said executive director Del Dyck.
The rate board only regulates basic insurance rates, which include third party liability, accident benefits and bodily injury. This component makes up about 60 per cent of an individual’s premiums, Dyck said.
The Insurance Bureau of Canada’s members represent about 95 per cent of the property and casual insurance industry.
Sharply scaled-back spending on construction projects is contributing to Alberta’s steepest economic decline in 17 years, with the province’s real GDP forecast to contract by 2.5 per cent in 2009, says a new report from RBC Economics.
“The plunge in energy prices from peak levels last year and elevated construction costs have thrown several capital projects off course in Alberta since last summer,” said Craig Wright, RBC’s senior vice-president and chief economist. “Business capital investment has slowed considerably and weaker investment will weigh heavily on Alberta's economic performance this year.”
More than half of the $130 billion in proposed oilsands projects were on hold as of the end of April, Wright notes. The unemployment rate in Alberta reached a 12-year high of 6.6 per cent. New Employment Insurance claims experienced the steepest increase in the country, surging 145 per cent above last year’s levels.
RBC foresees a turnaround in Alberta’s economy in 2010, with real GDP bouncing back to a 2.9 per cent growth rate, bolstered by increased construction activity arising from new megaprojects moving ahead and the resumption of work on idled projects.