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Title: Proposed Secondary Suite Reform

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COCShortDescription: Secondary Suite Process Reform

COCDescription: <p> <strong>Secondary Suite Process Reform</strong></p> <p> The City has proposed changes to improve the process for Secondary Suites and Backyard Suites for Calgarians, which will be debated on <strong>March 12, 2018</strong>. These changes mean that applications will no longer be considered by council in a public hearing, they will instead be reviewed by planning staff. Under the existing bylaw, if you wanted to develop a suite in your basement or in your backyard or above your garage you would have to ask City Council for permission through a land use redesignation. The proposed changes would mean property owners would have the ability to develop a suite without City Council approval, but would still work with Planning and Development staff at The City of Calgary to obtain Development and Building Permits. </p> <p> Land owners who are directly affected by these changes will be receiving a letter in the coming days but Calgarians can search their address immediately on calgary.ca/suitereform to see if they are impacted. Citizens who feel like they would like to attend the Public Hearing to voice their opinion on the changes on <strong>March 12</strong>. Written feedback can also be included in the Council Agenda package, citizens may provide submissions by noon, <strong>Tuesday March 5, 2018</strong>.</p> <p> The proposed changes are expected to directly affect 170,000 land owners in Calgary. Letters notifying land owners of the changes and the upcoming hearing have been mailed in February, inviting them to provide written submissions <strong>before March 5th</strong> or attend the public meeting and present to <strong>Council on March 12th</strong>. The City has also built an online search tool for Calgarians to check their address on <a href="/suitereform" target="_blank">www.calgary.ca/suitereform</a> to see if they are impacted.</p> <p> On March 12, Council will also discuss proposed changes that would require all existing and new suites to be part of The City’s Suites Registry Program which would allow renters to confirm whether a suite they are looking to rent is meeting safety standards.</p> <p> For information about the proposed changes and how you would be affected or if you are unsure what your land use designation is please go to the following website: www.calgary.ca/suitereform </p> <p>To find out more about the current rules regarding Secondary Suites and Backyard Suites, and what the steps are to build a new suite, or bring an existing suite into compliance visit the following website: <a href="/secondarysuites" target="_blank"><img width="16" height="16" class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/cocis/icon_externalLink_s.png" alt="" /> www.calgary.ca/secondarysuites</a> </p> <p> If you do not have access to the internet please contact the City at 403-268-5311 for more information or visit in person the Planning Services Centre, 3rd floor of the Municipal Building 800 Macleod Trail S.E., Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.  </p> <p> For <strong>frequently asked questions</strong>, view <a href="/citycouncil/ward-1/Documents/Secondary%20Suites%20Reform%20Q+A%20-%20Updated%2015%20February%202018.pdf" target="_blank"><img width="16" height="16" class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/cocis/icon_pdf_s.png" alt="" />Secondary Suite Process Reform Notice of Motion Q</a>. </p>

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Back | February 20, 2018

Secondary Suite Process Reform

The City has proposed changes to improve the process for Secondary Suites and Backyard Suites for Calgarians, which will be debated on March 12, 2018. These changes mean that applications will no longer be considered by council in a public hearing, they will instead be reviewed by planning staff. Under the existing bylaw, if you wanted to develop a suite in your basement or in your backyard or above your garage you would have to ask City Council for permission through a land use redesignation. The proposed changes would mean property owners would have the ability to develop a suite without City Council approval, but would still work with Planning and Development staff at The City of Calgary to obtain Development and Building Permits. 

Land owners who are directly affected by these changes will be receiving a letter in the coming days but Calgarians can search their address immediately on calgary.ca/suitereform to see if they are impacted. Citizens who feel like they would like to attend the Public Hearing to voice their opinion on the changes on March 12. Written feedback can also be included in the Council Agenda package, citizens may provide submissions by noon, Tuesday March 5, 2018.

The proposed changes are expected to directly affect 170,000 land owners in Calgary. Letters notifying land owners of the changes and the upcoming hearing have been mailed in February, inviting them to provide written submissions before March 5th or attend the public meeting and present to Council on March 12th. The City has also built an online search tool for Calgarians to check their address on www.calgary.ca/suitereform to see if they are impacted.

On March 12, Council will also discuss proposed changes that would require all existing and new suites to be part of The City’s Suites Registry Program which would allow renters to confirm whether a suite they are looking to rent is meeting safety standards.

For information about the proposed changes and how you would be affected or if you are unsure what your land use designation is please go to the following website: www.calgary.ca/suitereform

To find out more about the current rules regarding Secondary Suites and Backyard Suites, and what the steps are to build a new suite, or bring an existing suite into compliance visit the following website: www.calgary.ca/secondarysuites

If you do not have access to the internet please contact the City at 403-268-5311 for more information or visit in person the Planning Services Centre, 3rd floor of the Municipal Building 800 Macleod Trail S.E., Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.  

For frequently asked questions, view Secondary Suite Process Reform Notice of Motion Q.

Categories: Councillor

Back | February 20, 2018

Roads Snow and Ice Control (SNIC) operations update for February 20, 2018:

P1 routes and cycle tracks are completed. P2 routes will be completed today and we will continue to work on our steps, walks and pedestrian overpasses. Currently, there are 28 dedicated staff and 13 pieces of small equipment working on pedestrian facilities and there are 31 sanders and 8 graders working on roadways. We are on Day 3, hour 3 of the 7 Day Snow Plan. 

Our priority system consists of Priority 1 - 4. The current status is:

  • P1 - 100% complete
  • P2 - 96% complete
  • Cycle Track - 100% complete
  • Bike Lanes - 84% complete
  • P3 and P4 – 6% complete
  • Steps and Walks – 40% complete

Click here to see completed routes and current progress.

The cost so far to respond to Snow Event #21 was $1.4M.

The 7-day forecast is calling for chances of flurries today and mainly sunny conditions during the week.

Get municipal and community updates, sign up for the Ward 1 report at www.WardSutherland.com

Categories: Councillor; Snow and Ice

Back | April 10, 2018

Get the latest news on cannabis legislation, secondary suite changes, waste and recycling financial reporting changes and more!

If you haven't already, sign up to receive municipal and community updates at www.WardSutherland.com.​

Categories: Councillor; Developments and Projects; Ward 1 E-Newsletter

Back | September 20, 2018

Annual Ward 1 Traffic Safety Meeting

Please join Councillor Ward Sutherland, The City of Calgary Roads + Calgary Police Service for the Annual Ward 1 Traffic Safety Meeting.

This meeting will give citizens an opportunity to share information concerning traffic safety with both The City and CPS and to hear feedback on The City’s traffic safety initiatives based on previously expressed concerns. Come and have the opportunity to speak directly to City of Calgary traffic experts and officers from the Calgary Police Service’s Traffic Section.

Ward 1 Traffic Safety Meeting

Thursday, October 4, 2018

7:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Silver Springs Community Centre

5720 Silver Ridge Drive NW

Get the latest municipal and community updates! Sign up to receive Councillor Ward Sutherland’s monthly e-newsletter at www.WardSutherland.com

Categories: Community; Councillor; Traffic; Police Safety

Back | May 03, 2018

The City of Calgary – Preparing for flood season

With a higher-than-average snowpack, overland flooding affecting several Alberta communities and the five-year anniversary of the 2013 Southern Alberta flood, we know that river flooding is top-of-mind for Calgarians. It is our priority at the City of Calgary to monitor, manage and reduce flood risk, and to ensure citizens understand their risk and have the resources available to prepare.

City is monitoring Calgary's watershed

River flooding impacts all Calgarians who live, work, commute or recreate in the city centre or along the Bow and Elbow Rivers. River flooding is most likely to occur between May 15 and July 15. We actively monitor river, weather and snow pack conditions to prepare for potential flooding. It is important to note that:

  • Heavy rainfall upstream of Calgary has the biggest influence on river flood risk. These events are challenging to forecast because we are so close to the mountains. We can sometimes see potential rain events 5 to 7 days ahead, but by the time we know how high river flows may be, we may have less than 24 hours to respond appropriately.
  • A high snowpack alone can cause high flows, but does not cause our rivers to flood. The snowpack in the mountains has been higher than average this year, however, lower spring temperatures in the mountains means the snow is melting slower than on the prairies, where snowmelt is causing flooding in other municipalities.
  • The City and Province continuously monitor for conditions that can develop into flood events.

Working together

Since 2013, together with the Province, we have committed more than $150 million towards projects that will reduce our risk of river flood damage. We have also strengthened our understanding of the flow of the Bow and Elbow Rivers, how rivers change, flood modelling, forecasting, preparedness and response. 

While we are working to reduce our risk of river flood damage, we cannot eliminate the risk of flooding entirely. Citizens have a critical role to play in preparing for river flooding.

Stay updated

Please visit calgary.ca/floodinfo for more information, sign up for our e-newsletter and download our Flood Readiness Guide.

We invite you to attend one of these upcoming events to learn more:

Flood Preparedness Open House for Bow River Communities

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Start time: 7:00 p.m.

Foothills Academy

745 37th Street N.W.

Categories: Councillor

Back | May 04, 2018

Spring Clean Up

Spring Clean-up is a city-wide street sweeping program that takes place in Spring every year. The City sweeps over 16,000 lane kms of paved roads in a planned effort to keep the city clean and safe for pedestrians, motorists and cyclists. Spring Clean-up also reduces water pollution by preventing the run-off of sanding materials and debris from entering our water system.

Community Parking Bans

A parking ban is in effect when Street Cleaning Community Signs with “No Parking” symbols are placed around a community during Spring Clean-up. Any vehicle that has not been removed from the street in the area is subject to $120 parking ticket.

Vehicles are subject to be ticketed and towed if the small three feet high "No Parking" signs are placed along the road. They will be placed at least 12 hours prior to street sweeping. If vehicles are towed:

  • The City of Calgary pays for towing if the vehicle can be taken to a nearby space.
  • The vehicle owner pays the ticket, tow, and impound fee, if taken to a lot.

Watch for signs in your community indicating when your road is scheduled for sweeping. A live map of the sweeping is available here. It is important to check daily, as the schedule will be updated regularly.

Tips

  • Remove vehicles from the road during the posted dates and times so that the road can be swept. Vehicle owners may have to park outside the area of the road being swept.
  • Blue, black and green carts left on the street can interfere with Spring Clean-up. Place your cart on the sidewalk or grass boulevard next to the curb on collection day when your street is scheduled for sweeping.
  • If your cart is picked up from a back lane, put it in the same place as normal. Make sure to leave at least one metre between the cart and surrounding objects. The City relies on the cooperation of vehicle owners to watch for street cleaning signs and remove their vehicles, as well as garbage or recycling carts, from the roads being swept. This is a short-term inconvenience for the greater good of the city. Thank you for your cooperation.

Sign-up to receive an email notification 24 hours before your street is scheduled to be swept! Sign up for the email notification.

Categories: Councillor

Back | April 06, 2018

Waste and Recycling Changes

I would like to take this time to discuss the factual background and future for Calgary regarding service fees and financial reporting. Before we address moving to actual service fee costing instead of the current subsidized service from the general tax pool, I need to discuss the upcoming Budget 2019-2022. 

Background - Budget 2019-2022

City budgets have mostly been by department, which does not reflect the actual cost of delivering specific services. This previous accounting structure and software did not support the ability to provide true cost of services. Being without structure and tools to determine actual costs is not in the best interests of Calgarians because if you cannot compare costs accurately, how then can you improve efficiency and maintain best value costing?

As the previous Vice Chair of Priorities and Finance for the past three years, I can speak of improved accounting practices and software that were undertaken over the past three years to prepare for the Budget 2019-2022. This upcoming budget will be a completely new structure of accounting. It will be a service-based budget, which means Calgarians will know the actual cost of services delivered by the City. This will give you the opportunity to better understand what exactly the City does and what services are delivered. Additionally, it gives citizens the opportunity to decide if they are getting value for that specific service.

Zero Base Reviews

In the past three years, The City has conducted Zero Base Reviews (ZBR) of various departments. A ZBR is a program that reviews through an independent consultant, all the best practices and efficiency of the department and makes recommendations to Council for consideration. I am pleased to say that this process has resulted in millions of dollars of permanent savings, which in turn reduces tax implications in the future.

Within the current budget process, there are many different “revenue” sources. I have always advocated that several of these revenue sources are actually hidden taxes and that we need to be more transparent to citizens, such as Enmax contributions, commodity fees, and gasoline. I’m a strong advocate for looking at opportunities to compare services with private industry and whether or not it makes sense to move forward with the best outcome for Calgarians. In fact, I have pushed for having one third of Calgary’s waste removal services to move to private industry to create a competitive environment and allow comparative costing and service. A report will be coming forward this year to address this proposal.

Political Spin and Sound Bites

In light of a recent opinion article about The City’s black cart fee, I would like to bring clarity into this matter. I find it unprofessional and opportunistic to say “administration hides information or chooses not to give it”. As councillors we have thousands of pages of preparatory documents to read.  Council has specifically given City Administration direction to limit the information, with the understanding that we would contact them for any details or ask at Committee. This is how most work gets done in committees and this is where councillors get into the weeds.  An effective councillor is involved in a Committee before, during and after they contribute towards exploring solutions for better levels of service and more cost efficiency.

Transparency

The City’s conversion to a direct service fee for waste, recycle and compost bins reflects the actual cost to deliver those services. Currently, the costs are being subsidized through a general tax pool, which is a hidden cost. The City wants to make the fees fair and clear. The City is changing how residents are paying for their waste and recycling services. Currently, for single family households, black cart program are paid through property tax. Thirty percent of green cart program are paid by property tax and the remaining 70% is paid through waste and recycling fees. The blue cart program are paid through waste and recycling fees. For multifamily condo households, black bins are paid through property tax. For blue and green services, residents pay a fee to a private sector server. The City believes the current method residents use to pay for waste and recycling is confusing. The City would like to make the payment process easier to understand for all households. They propose that all the waste and recycling fees for the black, blue and green cart programs be paid through your utility bill.

Do overall taxes go up?  The answer is no. Overall, the same money in is the same money that goes out. It’s interesting that when other levels of government do something with taxes, the same councillors say “It’s all the same tax-payers”. However, in this case, somehow money in and money out is not the same tax-payers? 

Moving Forward

Councillors should be working on solutions to maximize the value for the services delivered. The municipal election was decided months ago. Now is the time to get into the weeds and deliver. I believe the golden rule in business is - “Praise in Public, Criticize in Private”. I have been able to implement positive changes for business and Calgarians by working in the background with Administration and other councillors. Isn’t this where should our energy should be spent?

Stay up-to-date with municipal news! Sign up for the Ward 1 report at www.WardSutherland.com

Categories: Councillor

Back | May 23, 2018

Please read the following letter from the Calgary Police Service, explaining the closure of the Market Mall Community Station:

"Closure of Market Mall Community Station

After a thorough review, the Calgary Police Service is planning to close the Market Mall Community Station, located at 3625 Shaganappi Tr. N.W., effective June 30, 2018.

The decision to close the Market Mall location was made as part of an effort by the Service to review the number of calls for service to this station. The review found that the number of calls for service did not support the need for full-time positions at this location. The Service will temporarily reallocate the positions to support the District 7 office and the communities we serve, including Market Mall and the surrounding area. We are also working with volunteers at this location to find other volunteer opportunities within the Service.

How police officers interact with the community has evolved since the Market Mall Community Station opened. In addition to attending the District 7 office at 11955 Country Village Link N.E., you can also report several crimes online, and ask police-related questions via social media.

Members of the public can contact police in many different ways:

  • Attend the District 7 office, located at 11955 Country Village Link N.E., or the District 3 office, located at 4303 14 St. N.W.;
  • Call the Calgary Police Service non-emergency line at 403-266-1234. Always call 9-1-1 in an emergency;
  • File a report online for several types of crime through our website or mobile app; and 
  • Citizens can also receive additional information via social media. Search Calgary Police Service on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram @calgarypolice."

To reiterate, the closure of the Market Mall Community Station was based on calls for service review.

Remember to sign up for all Ward 1 updates by visiting www.WardSutherland.com.

Categories: Councillor

Back | February 28, 2018

The Ward 1 monthly report is here!

If you haven't already, sign up to receive municipal and community updates at www.WardSutherland.com​.​

Categories: Councillor; Ward 1 E-Newsletter

Back | May 22, 2018

The City is updating the Calgary and Area Pathway and Bikeway Plan. It was originally approved in 2000 and is now out-of-date as our city has changed over the years. Many of the pathways and bikeways proposed in the original plan have been built, or are now obsolete because of new developments.

We’re looking for your help in determining how we should prioritize the build out of our network. You can share your feedback by participating in our online survey from May 14 until June 8, or by coming to one of our pop-up events on June 1 or 3. The survey and details about our pop-up events can be found at calgary.ca/pathwaybikeway.

Categories: Councillor

Back | May 14, 2018

Bowness Flood Barrier

Being so close to the Bowness River means that there is always a risk of flooding, and there is a 12% chance of one happening in the community each year.
 

In 2016, The City hired external consultants to update the Provincial Flood Damage Assessment study for Calgary, and to assess and recommend future resiliency and mitigation measures. The resulting document, the Flood Mitigation Measures Assessment (FMMA) report, was approved by Council in spring of 2017. Recommendations include a combination of watershed-, community- and property-level mitigation solutions to create a flexible and adaptable flood risk management program. The Bowness flood barrier project was one of the recommendations from this study.

Project Details
 
This project is still in the early preliminary design stage. Once a design consultant has been hired, it will be their role to gather detailed information about each property, and consult with homeowners and community members to develop recommendations for exactly what the barriers could look like. The City is proposing building permanent flood barriers that will extend from the CP Rail tracks to the Shouldice Bridge.
 

Conceptual work has been completed, however, detailed design has not yet started. Input from citizens is an important piece of the detailed design process. Engagement with residents began in early 2018 and will be ongoing through to the completion of the project.

Frequently Asked Q & A
 

The following are frequently asked questions regarding the Bowness flood protection measures and the proposed flood barriers.

What is a flood mitigation strategy?
 
A flood mitigation strategy represents The City’s overall approach to ensuring that our city has the right measures in place to reduce our risk of flooding. A flood mitigation strategy brings together research, technical studies, citizen perspectives and expert advice to develop the right mix of elements in the right areas. Our strategy guides our actions and the future projects we pursue. 
 

How did The City develop its river flood mitigation strategy?

The 2013 flood caused $400 million in damages to public infrastructure and about $1 billion in damages to private property and businesses. After the flood, The City invested in a comprehensive Flood Mitigation Measures Assessment, several technical studies, a social-economic-environmental assessment and captured input from citizens to develop a solution for reducing Calgary’s flood risk.   

 

Options for reducing flood damages can include physical infrastructure (such as reservoirs, flood barriers, canals, tunnels), as well as things like education and policies or bylaws that can help reduce the risk of damage during a flood. Many of these options were investigated for Calgary, such as dredging the reservoirs and rivers, a tunnel to take flood water from the Elbow River to the Bow River, the feasibility of upstream reservoirs, and new bylaws regulating development in flood prone areas.

The City enlisted an external consultant, the IBI Group, to create a list of options that would be feasible in Calgary, and then assess combinations of options. They compiled 13 scenarios using a combination of watershed level, community level, and property level mitigation, as well as some non-structural measures. 
 

All the scenarios were then compared against the existing level of flood risk, which accounts for existing flood protection projects that were already underway, to see how effective they would be at reducing flood risk. The scenarios were also subjected to a comprehensive sustainability analysis that considered environmental, social and economic factors, and citizens were engaged to provide feedback on the scenarios. 

The final recommendations approved by Council reflect the technical assessment’s cost-benefit results, sustainability analysis ranking, and citizen feedback, to form The City’s flood mitigation strategy.
 

What options did the Flood Mitigation Measures Assessment (FMMA) report identify for the Bow River?

The report indicated that a combination of options were required for the Bow River. These included a new upstream reservoir, modified operations of the Ghost reservoir, and flood barriers in the neighbourhoods of Bowness, Sunnyside, and Pearce Estates Park in Inglewood. These pieces would work together to to reduce flood risk to citizens, private property, businesses, critical infrastructure, public property, and community services.
 

Was the public consulted as part of the strategy development process?

Yes. The City sought input from the public when developing the flood mitigation strategy. Citizen feedback was gathered through several methods:
  • Community Advisory Group (CAG): A 19 member citizen group was formed to review mitigation measures, examine the trade-offs and provide input into optimizing solutions to meet community needs. The CAG was not a decision-making group nor was it expected to reach a consensus on solutions. The input from the CAG was used to help The City confirm, modify or enhance the assessment of flood mitigation options.
  • Telephone Survey: A telephone survey was conducted by IPSOS Public Affairs in April of 2016 to gauge citizens’ opinions on the value of the river to our community and flood mitigation. A survey sample of 300 citizens from the general population and an additional 200 citizens from flood-affected communities was used.
  • Community Events and Online Engagement: The City held community events and online engagement to gather input from citizens on proposed flood mitigation concepts. Input was gathered between 2016 October and 2016 November at:
  • Six community workshops,
  • Two open houses,
  • Online engagement 
  • Feedback was gathered on how the proposed flood mitigation measures would:
  • Affect the way their communities would look, feel, and move
  • Reduce damages from river flood and impact personal property, business operation, and Public safety
  • Impact the amenities and services in communities
  • Protect Calgary’s economic core
  • Affect the city as a whole.
Over 3400 comments were received from 1000 citizens through the worskhops, open houses and online engagement participants. When the river flood mitigation strategy was presented at Council in spring 2017, several citizens attended and delivered their thoughts. This feedback is incorporated into ongoing work planning and communication. 
 

Why does the strategy include a flood barrier in Bowness? 

The report proposed several recommendations that would work together to support flood protection efforts on the Bow River. These include a new upstream reservoir, modified operations of the TransAlta reservoir, and flood barriers in the neighbourhoods of Bowness, Sunnyside, and Pearce Estates Park in Inglewood. Each piece of the strategy provides great benefits independently, but together, they ensure the most effective flood protection strategy.
 

Without a new reservoir, the barrier serves to protect the community from smaller floods that are more likely to occur every year. The river banks in Bowness begin to overtop when the river flows at about 600 m3/s. The flood barrier will protect buildings, streets and infrastructure up to flow rates of 1200 m3/s. There is a 5 per cent (or 1 in 20) chance that such floods will occur in any year. 

Once Bowness is protected by the barrier so that flows of 1200 m3/s can pass through Bowness without damage, the upstream reservoirs (including the existing Ghost Reservoir) can be operated to provide better flood mitigation for all downstream communities. In combination, upstream reservoirs with the Bowness flood barrier can mitigate much larger floods than the reservoirs could alone.
 

How will the strategy, and specifically a barrier, help Bowness with groundwater and basement flooding?

The land in Calgary’s river valleys is generally composed of gravel, with patches and layers of silt, clay, or sand. When water levels in the river rise, this also causes water levels in the groud to rise, with the water moving through the spaces between the soil and rocks. Where there are cracks in foundations or basement walls, window wells, etc., high groundwater can seep into basements. 
 

Groundwater seepage can be reduced by using a sump pump. It is a good idea to have a back up power source to run the sump pump when power is shut off to a flooded community. 

Basement flooding can also be caused water backing up storm and sanitary sewer systems. This is often a result of river water entering manholes and catchbasins (street drains) which forces water backwards into the storm and sanitary system. Sewer backup into basements can be reduced by installing backflow preventer valves in sewer pipes on your property or in your basement. 
 

Groundwater was modelled during the development of the barrier concepts. This was a high-level study based on generalized soil types. During detailed design, the soil types and groundwater will be investigated in more detail. The barrier design will incorporate consideration of groundwater to ensure structural stability of the barrier and nearby structures. The barrier is not intended to completely prevent high groundwater during a flood, but may have modest influence on local groundwater conditions. This will be characterized and addressed as part of the design. By preventing overland flooding for river flows up to 1200 m3/s, the barrier will help reduce basement flooding due to sewer backup, as floodwater will not be entering manholes and catchbasins.  

Why aren’t we just pursuing an upstream reservoir?
 

Through studies and analysis, it has been determined that there isn’t one single project that will provide adequate flood protection on its own on the Bow River. Each piece of the strategy provides great benefits independently, but together, they ensure the most effective flood protection strategy.

An upstream reservoir is a very important piece of the strategy, but further work is required before a reservoir is approved and funded. In the meantime, the barriers proposed in the strategy and the TransAlta agreement will provide some mitigation against Bow River flooding. Once a reservoir is built, the barriers would allow the upstream reservoirs to be operated in a way that has a greater flood mitigation potential.
 

What is this I heard about a new upstream reservoir?

The Province of Alberta created the Bow River Working Group (BRWG) to explore ways to improve flood resilience and manage water in the Bow River basin. The BRWG is comprised of municipalities, First Nations, Irrigation Districts, watershed stewardship groups, and other key stakeholders to reach the best possible solutions.
 

The BRWG’s report, released in August 2017, assessed the feasibility of a new upstream reservoir on the Bow, among other actions that can increase the flood and drought resiliency on the Bow River. The construction of an upstream reservoir is a provincial initiative, so please visit aep.alberta.ca for a copy of the Bow River Working Group’s report, visit.

What will The City do if upstream mitigation efforts don’t happen on the Bow?
 

The City’s current strategy is designed to be flexible and adaptable to future Provincial decisions and will be reassessed as new information from the Province and Federal government becomes available.

What is the TransAlta agreement, and how effective is it?
 

The Province has an agreement with TransAlta to draw down the water in the Ghost Reservoir every spring to create room for flood water, should a flood occur. The agreement provides significant flood mitigation on the Bow River by reducing the risk of flood damages on the Bow by as much as 20-40 per cent, depending on the size of the event.  

The TransAlta agreement will help most significantly for smaller floods that have the potential to happen more frequently. The original agreement is in place for 2016-2020. The City considers an ongoing agreement a key component of flood resiliency in Calgary. 
 

How is the barrier project being funded?

To date, the Province has committed $150 million over ten years through the Alberta Community Resiliency Program (ACRP) for flood mitigation projects within the city. 
 

The City has included flood protection projects in Bowness, the downtown core, Sunnyside and Pearce Estates Park as part of its 2018 funding application through this program. The City is required to match a portion of the funding that is acquired through the program. The application was submitted September 2017.

Has The City’s flood risk been reduced since 2013?
 

Yes. The FMMA determined that Calgary’s flood risk, if no mitigation were in place, is about $170M per year. Mitigation that has been previously completed and currently underway will reduce Calgary’s flood risk to $115M. This does not include any of the future flood protection work that will happen in Bowness, Sunnyside or Pearce Estates Park, which will lower our city’s flood risk even further. 

The following completed or underway projects have made Calgary more resilient to flooding: Glenmore Dam Improvements (gates on the crest of the dam) Permanent flood barriers: 
  •  Heritage Drive, Centre Street bridge;
  • Bonnybrook Wastewater Treatment Plant,
  • West Eau Claire Park
  • Memorial Drive at 19th Street NW, 
  • Deane House
  • Calgary Zoo
  • Stormwater system upgrades
Bowness Project-Specific Questions
 

What is the Bowness Flood Barrier project?

The Bow River is an integral part of the Bowness community. Being so close to the river means there will always be a risk of flooding. In Bowness, flooding can happen when the flow rate is approximately 850 cubic metres per second (m3/s), which has a 12 per cent chance of occurring each year. For context, the ‘normal’ spring flow rate ranges from 70 - 400 m3/s. 
 

In 2016, The City hired external consultants to update the Provincial Flood Damage Assessment study for Calgary, and to assess and recommend future resiliency and mitigation measures. The resulting document, the Flood Mitigation Measures Assessment (FMMA) report, was approved by Council in spring of 2017. Recommendations include a combination of watershed-, community- and property-level mitigation solutions to create a flexible and adaptable flood risk management program.

The Bowness flood barrier project was one of the recommendations from this study.
 

Much of the riverfront property is privately owned in Bowness and The City will work with individual property owners to gather their input, and discuss their concerns and ideas as the detailed design work gets underway. 

Why does the strategy include a flood barrier in Bowness? 
 

The report proposed several recommendations that would work together to support flood protection efforts on the Bow River. These include a new upstream reservoir, modified operations of the Ghost reservoir, and flood barriers in the neighbourhoods of Bowness, Sunnyside, and Pearce Estates Park in Inglewood. 

The river banks in Bowness begin to overtop when the river flows at about 600 m3/s. The flood barrier will protect buildings, streets and infrastructure up to flow rates of 1200 m3/s. There is a 5 per cent (or 1 in 20) chance that such floods will occur in any year.
 

Once Bowness is protected by the barrier so that flows of 1200 m3/s can pass through Bowness without damage, the upstream reservoirs (including the existing Ghost Reservoir) can be operated to provide better flood mitigation for all downstream communities. In combination, upstream reservoirs with the Bowness flood barrier can mitigate much larger floods than the reservoirs could alone.

What stage is the project currently in?
 

A barrier concept was developed to assess the viability, costs and benefits of the project. Currently, a Request for Proposals (RFP) to select a consultant to do the detailed, technical design work has been issued. The RFP closes May 4, 2018.

After the consultant is selected, they will do studies to verify geotechnical and groundwater conditions, site drainage, and other technical information that will be incorporated into the barrier design. The City would like to work with property owners to create a solution that will protect the community, while maintaining the well-being of property owners. A consultant to to lead community engagement work is also being hired.
 

How is the project being funded?

A detailed project plan is in the process of being developed, but it looks like the project will be funded 70/30 between the Province and City, respectively.
 

The City is also actively working to determine Federal funding opportunities to support any flood mitigation work, which would have similar cost share obligations for The City.

Is a barrier a cost-effective solution?
 

The completed conceptual design work included a high-level cost-benefit calculation. Estimates of the economic benefits of the barrier were calculated based on the amount of flood damages that will be prevented once the barrier is in place. 

As we proceed through the detailed design stage, the cost-benefit will be refined and confirmed. The final cost-benefit of the project will depend on complexity of the final design (e.g., location, extent and type of barrier), property easement agreements, and construction costs. 
 

What studies have been done on groundwater? 

Groundwater was modelled during the development of the barrier concepts. This was a high-level study based on generalized soil types. During detailed design, the soil types and groundwater will be investigated in more detail. The barrier design will incorporate consideration of groundwater to ensure structural stability of the barrier and nearby structures.  
 

The barrier is not intended to completely prevent high groundwater during a flood, but may have modest influence on local groundwater conditions. This will be characterized and addressed as part of the design. By preventing overland flooding for river flows up to 1200 m3/s, the barrier will help reduce basement flooding due to sewer backup, as floodwater will not be entering manholes and catchbasins. 

How will the barrier deal with local and private lot drainage?
 

Study of local lot drainage will be conducted as part of the technical design process and the barrier will be designed with detailed consideration of local topography. 

What level of protection is the project trying to achieve?
 

The river banks in Bowness begin to overtop when the river flows at about 600 m3/s. The flood barrier will protect buildings, streets and infrastructure up to flow rates of 1200 m3/s. There is a 5 per cent (or 1 in 20) chance that such floods will occur in any year. 

Once Bowness is protected by the barrier so that flows of 1200 m3/s can pass through Bowness without damage, the upstream reservoirs (including the existing Ghost Reservoir) can be operated to provide better flood mitigation for all downstream communities. In combination, upstream reservoirs with the Bowness flood barrier can mitigate much larger floods than the reservoirs could alone.
 

With the three part plan in place, Bowness would be protected from flood events up to the 200 year return period flood event. 

If the detailed design work hasn’t been completed how do you know that barriers are the right choice?
 

Technical studies have shown that even with a potential new upstream dam, local flood protection is also required to protect Bowness. The location, type and extent of the final structure will be determined during the detailed design. 

Once a design consultant has been hired it will be their role to gather detailed information about each property, consult with home owners and community members, conduct geotechnical and groundwater studies, and provide their recommendation in terms of what the best flood barrier for Bowness will look like.
 

Does The City really need to build all of the planned barriers? Can’t it just build some?

Although the detailed, technical design work has not yet been completed, we know that the final solution will need to be fully constructed in order to provide adequate flood protection for Bowness.  
 

When will I know where and how my property will be impacted?

It is too early to provide details about specific properties with any certainty. We have not yet entered the detailed design phase, so while we have an idea of which properties will be affected, we don’t understand the full extent to which they would be affected.
 

How many homes will be affected by this project?

The work that has been completed to date identified 94 riverfront properties within the proposed barrier alignment. That said, because the technical design work has not yet been completed, this number could change.
 

What is the proposed height of the barriers?

From then conceptual design, we have an idea of potential barrier heights. However, the unique elevation (height) of the riverbank is a key factor in determining the height and location of the barrier for each property and this be refined during the technical design phase. 
 

Our initial conceptual work reflected that barriers may range anywhere from 0.5 metres (1.5 feet) in height in some areas to 2.0 metres (6.5 feet) in height in other areas. The average barrier height over the length of the project is 0.8m (2.62 feet).

What will the barrier look like?
 

The City’s conceptual work looked at earthen berm barriers as well as floodwalls. Once we enter the detailed design phase, we will analyze where those barriers should be placed, how they function, how tall they are, and aesthetics.

It’s important to note that because much of the riverfront property in Bowness is privately owned, The City will work with individual property owners to gather their input, and discuss their concerns and ideas as the detailed design work gets underway.    
 

How do I find out if a barrier is planned for my property? 

The flood protection work in Bowness focuses on the area along the river’s edge, roughly between the CP Rail tracks and the Shouldice Bridge. 
 

Once detailed design work has begun, The City will be reaching out to private property owners to have conversations and explore potential flood protection opportunities.  

Citizen and community engagement is going to be a critical piece of this project. We realize the potential impacts and are committed to working with you to ensure that you have the information you need and the right channels for sharing your thoughts, concerns and ideas. 
 

What process does The City use to engage with property owners?

The City had an initial information session with citizens in January 2018 to inform them about the project. Moving forward,The City will be seeking input from property owners and the community on a regular basis, as the detailed, technical design portion of the project gets underway. 
 

A plan of how to gather property owner input and address their concerns is currently being developed. The City would like to work with private property owners to create a solution that will protect the community, while meeting the needs of private property owners.

Will the process be the same as it was for the Inglewood Flood Barrier?
 

The Inglewood Flood Barrier project occurred between, approximately, 1998 and 2011. It protects the community of Inglewood from river flooding. The barrier is located on public land and 12 private properties. As the local context, geography, design requirements, community, land owners and economic context are all different, this project will draw on lessons learned from the Inglewood project, but will not be the same. 

Would a barrier on my property reduce my privacy?
 

The purpose of a barrier is to provide flood protection. Unlike barriers on public property that might be suitable for recreational access, The City recognizes that privacy is of concern to property owners along the river. Therefore, public access in Bowness is not being considered. We will work to maintain privacy and security on private property as part of the design process.

Would a barrier incorporate public access for recreation along the riverbank?
 

The City has no plans to create public access or encourage recreation along the barrier or riverbank in front of private property in Bowness.

How do I find out if my property is at risk of flooding?
 

There are a number of maps that are available on The City’s website that can help citizens determine their flood risk. For more information, visit Calgary.ca/floodinfo and click on the ‘Mapping’ section to view maps that can show you whether your property is at risk. 

What if I am planning on selling my property?
 

What can I tell prospective buyers who ask about the Bowness barrier project? Homeowners are free to discuss the project with potential buyers, using The City’s website as a resource. Since the project is still in the early stages of planning, the website will be the best resource for up-to-date project information.  

Why is The City not buying out the properties at risk of flooding?
 

From a financial perspective, it was deemed impossible to purchase all properties in the current flood hazard area. The buy-out costs have been estimated to be up to several times greater than the cost of developing new upstream mitigation. 

The costs that would be associated with building demolition, conversion of properties to parkland, and incentives to assist homeowners to relocate make this too costly an option. Property buy-outs are also very disruptive to communities and have significant impacts on property owners.
 

Would barrier design include river bank erosion protection? 

Erosion potential of the adjacent bank would be assessed during the barrier design. Where required to create a stable barrier, erosion protection will be incorporated into the design.
 

Would a barrier increase flood levels on the opposite bank or in downstream communities?

Part of the design process includes verifying the impact that any potential flood protection measures could have on flood levels both upstream and downstream. Studies to date show that the impacts of a barrier would be negligible. 
 

How would barriers affect riparian areas or aquatic habitats?

Protecting the riparian habitat in all of our rivers and streams is important to The City. The City has a Riparian Action Program, which aims to protect riparian habitat. The impact to the riparian areas of all projects are carefully considered and where possible, riparian restoration is undertaken.  
 

With the exception of 2013 and 2005, Bowness hasn’t flooded in a long time. How great is our risk to flood again?

It’s true that Calgary had several decades without a flood event, however, with a changing and warming climate, extreme rainfall and floods are expected to happen more frequently. 
 

What do I do if I need more information?

For more information or specific questions about the project, call 311 or email BownessBarrier@calgary.ca. You can also visit the Bowness Flood Barrier Project engage page, for updated engagement information and a more detailed project timeline.
 

General Flooding-Related Questions

What can citizens do to protect their property?
 

Flooding can happen at any time in Calgary. The period between May 15 and July 15 is when we are most likely to experience flooding since historically this is when we receive the most rainfall. 

To make sure you and your family are as prepared as possible in the event a flood occurs, follow the steps below:
  • Read The City’s Flood Readiness Guide
  • Create a 72 hour kit
  • Get the latest alerts and notices from Alberta Emergency Alert and Alberta Rivers apps
  • Create an evacuation plan
  • Visit Calgary.ca/floodinfo for more information.
The City is also able to provide recommended flood elevations for your property if you are constructing flood proofing measures or rebuilding.
 

What is the City doing to educate home owners about flood readiness and being prepared for flood season?

The City holds an annual Flood Readiness Campaign between May 15 and July 15 to help citizens, property managers and businesses to prepare for a flood event. There are a number of resources for citizens can use to prepare for flood season and to stay aware of potential flooding:
 
What other measures is The City taking to protect citizens from flooding?
 

A variety of additional non-structural flood mitigation measures are currently being reviewed to evaluate which are the most effective and make the most sense for our city. Options being investigated include education, policy, land use, building regulations for undeveloped, developed or re-development areas. 

What other mitigation options were considered? 
 

The following measures have previously been researched and ruled out as they were not technically, economically, environmentally, or socially practical:

  • Dredging of the Glenmore Reservoir, Elbow River or Bow River.
  • Full barrier fortification of the Elbow and Bow Rivers.
  • Temporary barriers along the Bow and Elbow Rivers
Why do we have dams? Aren’t they being decommissioned elsewhere? 
 

In addition to controlling the flow of water through the city during a flood, a dam offers storage capacity as an adaptive means of addressing the need for water as our population, along with the risk of drought, increases in the future.

Why don’t we build higher barriers now?
 

Community barriers are intended to work together with upstream mitigation to achieve protection from a 2013-level flood event on the Bow River. The upstream mitigation is a critical piece for the long-term watershed protection for our community, potentially providing flood and drought mitigation.

Stakeholder engagement on The City’s flood mitigation strategy identified that many residents were against high barriers throughout Calgary that could provide flood protection to a level equal to what a reservoir could provide . They cited community disruption, restricted views and access to the river as key reasons for not wanting higher barriers. 
 

How will residents be protected until barriers and upstream mitigation is in place?

The City has been consistently working on flood protection projects since 2013. Studies determined that Calgary’s flood risk, if no mitigation were in place, is about $170M per year. Mitigation that has been completed and currently underway will reduce Calgary’s flood risk to $115M per year.  
 

Until mitigation is constructed in Bowness, The City continues to refine its emergency response measures to maximize safety during a flood event, including our flood forecasting and warning systems. 

What about the remaining risk?
 

There will always be a risk of flooding in Calgary. We cannot prevent flooding entirely but we are working to reduce its impact. The City is doing what it can to address risks to the best of its ability and resilience to flooding is a shared responsibility. As part of The City’s flood mitigation strategy, it is recommending further investigation of some non-structural policy measures to help further reduce risk.

Should I be inquiring about flood insurance?
 

The Flood Mitigation Measures Assessment noted that insurance may be helpful to repair flood damages, however, insurance does not reduce the risk of a flood occurring and should not be relied upon as a form of flood mitigation. The availability, amount of coverage and costs of insurance varies considerably. Contact your Insurance provider for more information.

For project details, please visit calgary.ca/BownessFloodBarrier
 

Other Important Resources

Please visit calgary.ca/floodinfo for more information, sign up for our e-newsletter and download our Flood Readiness Guide.
 

We invite you to this upcoming event to learn more:

 

Flood Preparedness Open House for Bow River Communities

Tuesday, May 15, 2018
Start time: 7:00 p.m.
Foothills Academy
745 37th Street N.W.        

Categories: Councillor

Back | January 30, 2018

Categories: Ward 1 E-Newsletter; Ward update

Back | April 10, 2018

My Position on the Olympic Bid 

Ward Sutherland

April 10th, 2018

In today’s Priorities and Finance Committee (PFC) meeting, the amendment to vote on whether to proceed or not with the Olympic bid passed 9-1. This means Calgary Council will vote on Monday April 16th on whether or not to continue to explore a possible 2026 Olympic bid.     

On April 16th, I will be voting to discontinue the bid.  PFC meeting only served to reconfirm that answers are missing, and at times provided convoluted information. It now seems we are chasing a moving target from the International Olympic Committee. Unfortunately, I am not confident in the process moving forward.

Ward

Categories: Councillor

Back | January 30, 2018

The City of Calgary is launching the Main Streets initiative’s planning phase for Bowness Road in February 2018. The engagement will focus on policy and land use improvements for Bowness Road and surrounding streets. Please visit the project’s page for more information about the project and engagement opportunities. Please note the upcoming event below:

Main Streets Information Session

February 22, 2018 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Irish Cultural Society - 6452 35 Avenue NW

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Categories: Councillor

Back | January 29, 2018

Roads and their contracted partners are beginning work on bridge deck replacement and structure strengthening of the Sarcee Trail bridge over 16 Avenue N.W. in early February. During this time, there will be reduced lanes that will have an impact on traffic.

Sarcee Trail bridge reconstruction

Beginning on Thursday, February 1, 2018, there will be various daily single lane closures on 16 Ave N.W. at Sarcee Trail N.W. for pre-construction work related to the bridge deck replacement project beginning in mid-February. The project continues until late October 2018.

  • Single westbound lane closure on 16 Avenue N.W. at Sarcee Trail N.W. daily from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Single eastbound lane closure on 16 Avenue N.W. at Sarcee Trail N.W. daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • 16 Avenue N.W. will be reduced to a single lane in each direction at Sarcee Trail N.W. nightly from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.
  • These closures accommodate pre-construction work to install scaffolding on the Sarcee Trail bridge over 16 Avenue N.W.
  • During construction, there will be various single lane closures on the Sarcee Trail bridge over 16 Avenue N.W. in both directions.
  • Watch for reduced speeds in the construction area. 

These closures are necessary to prepare for the commencement of work on bridge deck replacement expected to begin in mid-February (weather permitting). Sign up for Councillor Sutherland's monthly Ward 1 reports! Visit www.WardSutherland.com

Categories: Councillor; Traffic

Back | January 10, 2018

Bowness Community Flood Protection Planning

In 2017, Council approved the Flood Mitigation Measures Assessment. It supported small scale flood barriers to work with the existing TransAlta Ghost Operations Agreement and a new reservoir that the City considers essential on the Bow River upstream of Calgary. The City is still in the early planning stages for proposed flood barriers in Bowness and other communities. As they move forward, The City will seek input from property owners and the community on how to integrate the proposed barriers into their community. Their goal is to work with the community in general but especially river front property owners to create a solution that is both technically sound and respectful of their concerns.

The first step in their plan for engaging with residents is the sharing of more information outlining the overall flood mitigation strategy for Calgary. It includes an overview of the proposed plan for Bowness. This was delivered to all Bowness residences by mail in December 2017. It included an invitation to a community information session held in partnership with the Bowness Community Association in mid-January, 2018. This initial information session will include a presentation by The City, and a number of displays. City staff will be on hand to speak with Bowness citizens at this event. The meeting will address the content of the overall flood mitigation plan that City Council endorsed in spring of 2017 and identify the reasons for each of the parts of the plan. Additional engagement with the Bowness community as part of more detailed design phase will be taking place in 2018 through to the first quarter of 2019. Construction is expected to begin in 2020 through to 2024.

Since the design for the local barriers is in an early stage, The City is not yet in position to address detailed concerns about detailed layout or planning for individual properties, but as design progresses the City will meet with all property owners along the barrier alignment. This will give property owners the opportunity to ask detailed questions about the design and land ownership/access arrangements, as well as share information and concerns about their property. This work is essential to the barrier’s design, and will be done as part of the detailed design phase.

The barrier is to provide flood protection only. The City recognizes that privacy is of concern to property owners along the river, and has no plans to include features for public access or pathways along the barrier or riverbank.

Categories: Flood Mitigation

Back | December 04, 2017

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Categories: Developments and Projects; Councillor; Community; Ward 1 E-Newsletter

Back | December 13, 2017

Calgary Transit Winter Service Changes – Frequently Asked Questions

The Winter Service Changes will be in effect on Monday, December 25.

Every quarter The City of Calgary looks at their routes and schedules and make adjustments based on a number of factors including feedback from our customers and operators, ridership levels and changing traffic patterns. These adjustments are made to help improve service across the city, increase reliability and ensure the best value for the service they provide.

Council’s recent vote to continue to invest in Calgary Transit service allows them to maintain most transit service levels and invest in other routes to optimize the transit network. Some bus routes are still being adjusted for efficiencies, and they will continue to monitor customer demand and feedback on each route and make adjustments as needed.

Calgary Transit has posted a summarized list of the changes on their website and have been actively advertising the changes on all our rider tools, including Twitter and their app. Click to see the same list with the addition of the impacted ward.

Categories: Councillor; Transit

Back | December 15, 2017

Secondary Suite Process Reform

City Council approved the notice of motion for Secondary Suite Process Reform and directed Administration to bring forward amendments to the Land Use By-law to include secondary suites as discretionary uses within R-1, R-C1, and R-C1L land use districts no later than the first quarter of 2018. Council further directed City Administration to bring forward changes to the Secondary Suite Registry that make enrolment in the Registry mandatory (with a visible registration tag) for new secondary suites.

What does the new Secondary Suite Notice Of Motion approval mean?

  • In addition to the 10-5 vote to make secondary suites discretionary across the city, council voted 12-3 to make enrolment in a secondary suite registry mandatory for all new suites; 9-6 in favour of reinstating fees for basement suite applications; and 10-5 for reinstating fees for laneway unit applications, a charge expected to be under $470 per application.
  • Monday's vote means administration will have to draw up a new bylaw (report back to Council in Q1 2018), which will then be debated by city council, likely in March.
  • “While nothing is finalized until the bylaw is done, it’s expected the bylaw will take effect early in 2018”
  • Neighbours who are opposed will still be able to provide their input to City Admin, and those who wish to appeal will do so at the Subdivision Development and Appeal Board

Want to learn more about Council's recent direction on secondary suites? Check out the Secondary Suite Process Reform Q.

Categories: Councillor; Secondary Suites

Back | December 21, 2017

Categories: Councillor; Ward 1 E-Newsletter

Back | November 16, 2017

TransCanada Highway – Sarcee Trail Interchange Completion Update

Sarcee Trail Interchange is open and fully operational! For more information, visit www.trinityhill.ca . To view the actual traffic patterns and to see how the lanes work, click here.

Categories: Developments and Projects

Back | September 07, 2017

2017 Complete Streets Corridor Project

Bowness Phase 2

Upcoming Activities:

  • The City of Calgary will be installing an additional guard over Shouldice Bridge for bike protection. The work will be completed by late October. The install takes approximately 3-4 weeks so expect some delays as there will be construction flaggers during the working hours who will direct traffic.
  • North side concrete work has been completed along the corridor. Angled parking has been restored on the north side. Currently working to pour the rest of the concrete swales on south side in the next 2 weeks. Angled parking should be opened shortly once the concrete is fully cured.
  • The underpass work continues along the north side of Bowness Road. The north side of the underpass will be open to pedestrians shortly with temporary guard rails. The south side of the work with retaining walls will begin shortly after. The completion of the underpass is estimated to be completed mid-October.
  • The traffic calming measure along Bowwood Drive is estimated to be completed mid-October.
  • 5 medians will be placed along Bowness Road and this will commence when the curb work has been completed.
  • Pavement rehabilitation is anticipated to be completed in the beginning of October, with line painting and signage to follow, weather permitting.
  • During Pavement rehabilitation, there will be disruptions to traffic and parking temporarily.

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Categories: Councillor

Back | November 14, 2017

Responsible Dog Ownership in Royal Oak

I have been recently advised that there have been several off-leash dog incidents in the green space between the Royal Oak School and the W.O. Mitchel School. Apparently dog attacks have occurred, a student’s safety was put into jeopardy, and a lock-down was executed when a dog entered inside one of the schools.

Please be a responsible dog owner. This green space is not an off-leash area, neither officially nor unofficially.  The constant disregard for dog leash bylaws has direct safety implications on our community’s students and members. Responsible dog ownership is an important part of avoiding dog-related disputes with your neighbours, and leads to having a happy, healthy dog. Being a responsible dog owner means complying with Calgary’s dog-related bylaws  – please ensure that you lead by example.

Regards,

Ward Sutherland

Categories: Councillor

Back | August 25, 2017

After two years of construction, the new Trans Canada Highway (TCH) and Bowfort Road N.W. interchange was officially opened today.

“This is the last of four interchange-related projects the City has opened this summer—four projects that are a $255 million investment in connecting Calgarians with their communities, jobs and destinations,” said Mayor Naheed Nenshi. “With the downturn in the economy and accelerated funding for projects like this, we’re creating jobs, taking advantage of lower prices, and building critical transportation infrastructure that will reduce congestion on our roads.”

“This new interchange, a gateway into our city, along with the 20 other projects we’re finishing this year, will certainly make life better for citizens travelling around Calgary.”

Ward 1 Councillor Ward Sutherland added, “The interchange is a game-changer for the area. It makes it easier for people heading to Winsport and the Trinity development to the south, and the businesses and our communities to the north. It’s becoming a really active area for citizens and guests visiting the city. “

The previous intersection was not capable of handling the traffic volumes generated by large scale events at Winsport, including the increasing numbers of people walking and cycling in the area, nor the 60,000 vehicles that pass through the area every day.

The new interchange includes six lanes on the TCH, which travels under the Bowfort Road bridge, which allows for dual left turns in all directions. It’s now a free-flow uninterrupted entrance to Calgary.

Improvements were also made to Bowfort Road, 83 Street N.W. and Canada Olympic Way. Sidewalks and pathways in the area have been improved to allow safer movements for people walking and cycling.

Total investment in the project is $71.7 million.

The City is grateful for the patience and understanding of the many Calgarians and area businesses that have been impacted by the significant detours and lane restrictions over the past two years.

For more details, go to www.calgary.ca/tchbowfort.

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Categories: Councillor; Developments and Projects

Back | August 16, 2017

In the spring of 2015, the Montgomery Community Association Board voiced concerns about the appearance of the 16th Avenue corridor (TransCanada Highway) and how it portrayed Montgomery to anyone entering the City from the West.  There were concerns about unsafe sidewalks and crosswalks for pedestrians, and vehicles making illegal or unsafe left turns into parking lots along 16 Avenue. To address these concerns, The City and the Board prepared a preliminary design that was shared with the community for feedback. It proposed upgrades in the study area that would improve safety and connectivity for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists, while also enhancing the look of the streetscape. The planned improvements were also meant to improve traffic operations by directing vehicles to follow designated traffic lanes, increase the safety of pedestrians trying to cross 16 Avenue N.W. at Home Road, and prevent motor vehicle and pedestrian accidents from occurring.

The following improvements are currently underway:

  • Upgraded traffic signal structures at the intersection of 16 Avenue and Home Road, including signal functionality which provides additional ‘green light time’ when there are spikes in traffic
  • Installation of a median along 16 Avenue N.W.
  • New and upgraded sidewalks in select locations
  • Installation of larger pedestrian islands and improved wheelchair ramps
  • Re-grading of the area in front of Safeway to decrease water pooling
  • Adjustment of business entrances that are close to intersections for safer access
  • Installation of curb extensions on Home Road to accommodate bike lanes and improve the visibility and safety of people who walk and cycle at intersection crossings
  • Installation of a new pedestrian crossing and geometric improvements at the 49 Street and Home Road intersection in response to safety concerns heard at past engagement events (see page 2 )
  • Installation of a new bike connection at 52 Street to improve the safety of people who cycle and want to connect to the cycle track (see pages 3 & 4)
  • Improvement of the existing bike route (shared lanes) on Home Road into painted bike lanes to promote safe accessibility and connectivity to the Bow River Pathway System
  • Beautification of the area (new trees, new rock features and grass plantings in the median along 16th Avenue N.W., new light standard with banner in the median along 16th Avenue N.W.)
  • The comments received at engagement events came in as a 50/50 split for and against an advanced left-turn arrow to help motorists turn north onto Home Road from eastbound 16 Avenue N.W. Based on these comments and a review conducted by The City, an advanced left-turn signal is not being installed as part of this project. The city will continue monitoring safety at this intersection and further study will take place once the 16 Avenue N.W. and Bowfort Road interchange is completed and open to traffic. A decision regarding the installation of an advanced left-turn arrow may be made at a later date.

Summer/fall 2017 construction is being staged as follows:

  • new traffic signal structures will be installed at 16 Avenue N.W. and Home Road;
  • on 16 Avenue N.W. curbs, pedestrian refuges, sidewalks, and medians will be constructed and crosswalk lines will be painted;
  • curb extensions will be constructed on Home Road;
  • the pavement overlay will be done on Home Road; and
  • pavement markings (including bike lanes) will be painted on Home Road.

 

Categories: Councillor; Developments and Projects

Back | August 15, 2017

The North Crosstown BRT is a key part of Calgary Transit’s primary transit network and is identified as a high priority in RouteAhead.

The new BRT will operate mainly in regular traffic lanes, with potential for bus-only or High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes on 52 Street N.E. Transit vehicles will be given signal priority at intersections along the entire route. This is known as curbside service and has minimal infrastructure requirements while supporting active, pedestrian-friendly streets.

The North Crosstown BRT will benefit transit customers by providing more reliable, direct, faster service and an overall improved customer experience. The new BRT will benefit all Calgarians by providing sustainable, affordable transportation that helps accommodate current and future growth. The BRT service also supports Area Redevelopment Plans for several bordering neighbourhoods by providing a transportation service to accommodate growth and vibrancy in those communities.

The North Crosstown BRT route will improve:

  • East-west connectivity across the city as an efficient, reliable alternative to other routes
  • Service to major destinations like Foothills Medical Centre, Alberta Children’s Hospital, SAIT, University of Calgary, McMahon Stadium, North Hill Centre and the Genesis Centre
  • Service to numerous schools, recreation/sports facilities and shopping centres
  • Connectivity between Brentwood and Saddletowne LRT Stations without going downtown, reducing the number of downtown transfers to cross the north side of the city
  • Transit service reliability and passenger capacity in north Calgary and along 16 Avenue North

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Categories: Councillor

Back | August 15, 2017

As per the Government of Alberta, the Southwest Calgary Ring Road (SWCRR) is going ahead, as was originally planned, but the West Calgary Ring Road (WCRR) isn’t expected to begin construction until 2020-2021.

The West segment of the Calgary Ring Road (CRR) will run South along the West side of the city from Highway 1 (16 Avenue NW) to West of 69 Street SW on Glenmore Trail/Highway 8. The West Calgary Ring Road (W-CRR) is approximately 9 kilometres long. It will be located primarily on the existing Transportation Utility Corridor (TUC) already owned by the provincial government, with some additional small parcels of land being purchased. An additional 5 kilometres of connector road upgrades will be included in the overall CRR project.

This is a Provincial project and not under the City’s direct control, and there have been meetings with Alberta Infrastructure to stress how critical the completion of this leg is to the ongoing construction and development of various projects within the adjacent wards, and the City, and how the delay in completion would escalate the costs of upgrading Sarcee Trail and its connector roads to handle the increased traffic.

The Provincial position is that market research indicated that it would be more manageable to deliver the remaining section as two separate projects rather than as one. In their opinion, building the last leg of the ring road as two projects is expected to make the bidding process more competitive and allow contractors of all sizes to pursue the projects.

Here’s what this new direction means to the work The City has undertaken:

West Calgary Ring Road

Frequently Asked Questions - Calgary Ring Road

Southwest Calgary Ring Road

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Categories: Councillor

Back | August 15, 2017

Tesoro in northwest Tuscany is being developed by Avi Land Corp. Inc., part of the Homes by Avi Group of Companies. Tesoro has 128 lots (32 to 38 feet wide) and a builder group consisting of Homes by Avi (93 lots) and Albi Luxury by Brookfield Residential (35 lots). It’s the first single-family home development by Avi Land, and is one which creates an opportunity for people to build their new move-up homes in the highly sought after, established community of Tuscany.

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Categories: Councillor

Back | August 15, 2017

The City of Calgary has approved an Outline Plan/Land Use Amendment Application to redesignate (rezone) and subdivide lands referred to as “West Campus,” located immediately to the west of the University of Calgary's Main Campus, in northwest Calgary. The application was by West Campus Development Trust, a trust created by the University of Calgary to oversee the development. The proposal consisted of two parts: a land use redesignation and an outline plan. The West Campus project has been approved to redesignate (rezone) the land to various land use districts including: M-G Residential - At Grade Housing District, M-2 (Multi-Residential - Medium Profile District), and Direct Control Districts for the commercial core, park, residential and office.

The approval of this application allows the developer to develop 75 hectares of undeveloped land into a mix of commercial and residential space, including approximately 6,100 multi-family homes (such as apartments, condominiums, townhouses and row houses), 1.5 million square feet of office space and 250,000 square feet of retail space. The developer has the intention of building a community that integrates and enhances the university experience while harmonizing with the surrounding communities and Calgary as a whole, and anticipates the construction will take 15 to 20 years to complete.

Stripping, grading and deep-servicing are now complete. The existing road infrastructure, which served to provide access to the Alberta Children’s Hospital and the Ronald McDonald House, has now been enhanced with a new intersection on to Shaganappi Trail, south of 32nd Avenue. The outline plan identifies a basic subdivision pattern and addresses infrastructure needs, financing agreements and development-related issues. It includes the location and size of roads, the distribution of park and school sites, and location of various land use districts.

The plans for this area must follow the guidelines of other plans for the area. In this instance, the Municipal Development Plan provides high level policy guidance for the site’s development, which includes identification of the site as a major activity centre, which is an area designated for high job and population growth because of its strategic location. There is also a recently approved (July 2011) local area plan, the South Shaganappi Communities Area Plan, that provides more detailed policy direction for the site’s development.

The West Campus application was presented to the Calgary Planning Commission on July 31, 2014 and City Council on September 8, 2014. Both the commission and council approved the application.

University District  

Categories: Councillor

Back | August 14, 2017

The Silver Springs Outdoor Pool has been a well-loved fixture in the community since 1974. The City of Calgary and the Silver Springs Community Association (SSCA) work diligently each season to ensure the pool is accessible, reliable and safe for users.

In 2013, The City of Calgary and the SSCA brought forward a design for the redevelopment of the pool. Although the available budget did not allow for replacement of the diving tank, which was at the end of its useful life, community members expressed their desire to retain it, and the Silver Springs Outdoor Pool Fundraising Foundation (SSOPFF) was formed. The City and the SSOPFF agreed to a deadline of April 30, 2015 to raise the funds, after which time The City would proceed with redevelopment of the pool to ensure the continued use of this asset.

New designs for the redevelopment of the pool were presented to the community at an open house in April of 2015. The designs extended the width of the lap pool basin to better accommodate lane swimming and extend the length of the pool to include a deep end with diving features. It will also have a switchback ramp at the shallow end to make it easier for people with reduced mobility to use the pool.

Demolition began in the summer of 2016 with an aggressive schedule targeting a completion date of summer 2017. While every effort was made to complete the project within the projected timeline to reopen the pool for the 2017 season, an intermittent presence of groundwater delayed the contractor’s ability to complete the final stages of waterproofing and painting of the basin. Accordingly, the Silver Springs outdoor pool is expected to open in time for the 2018 season.

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Categories: Councillor

Back | August 14, 2017

Market Mall in Varsity is undergoing renovations in order to make room for several new retail clients. CF Market Mall is one of Canada’s most productive shopping centres, according to a recent Retail Council of Canada shopping centre study. The mall is nearing sales of $1,000 per square foot annually, making it the region’s second-most productive mall after CF Chinook Centre.

Mall officials confirmed that both Zara and Sporting Life will be opening this year, with plans for Saks Off 5th to open in 2018. Zara will open one of its largest Canadian stores all this fall, with 30,000 square feet over two levels and Sporting Life will be opening a 40,000 square foot store. Saks Off 5th will be 26,600 square feet, and will be located where HomeSense currently sits. HomeSense will move into the part of the mall’s upper level which formerly housed American retailer Target.

The existing Sport Chek location will expand to become a 60,000 square foot flagship store on two-levels. The expansion is expected to be completed in August 2018.

In addition to the new stores, Market Mall is also adding 83 additional underground parking spaces.

Categories: Councillor

Back | August 14, 2017

The Calgary Fire Department is building a new fire station at 345 Tuscany Way N.W., just west of the corner of Tuscany Way and Tuscany Valley Park. The design of the station has been confirmed and the construction of the two-storey building is well under way. The new building will be clad in brick on the south side, where the fire station will be housed. This traditional design was chosen to stay true to Calgary’s traditional red brick fire station look. The north side of the building will house a community room, which can be booked by residents for community programs or meetings. This part of the building will have many large glass windows to allow everyone a view of the green space and fields and ensure the space is bright and open.

This will be a multi-use building, with not only a meeting room for the community, but also a bay/facilities for AHS-EMS and 4-6 hotelling stations where City Staff can stop in and file reports on secure data lines. Just like all City of Calgary buildings, the new fire station will be built to LEED standards, to reduce environmental impact.

In order to limit the inconvenience to any neighbours, the fire station will enact its noise abatement program when the Tuscany Fire Station is operational. This means that fire department vehicle sirens are only activated when necessary and for a short period. As well, firefighters are able to pre-empt the traffic lights before they leave the station, which often prevents the need to turn on any sirens.

Fire is now meeting with the Tuscany Community Association to begin planning for an outdoor fitness area in combination with a pathway and natural area, in the green space. A community survey resulted in a close vote from Tuscany residents to develop the space into an outdoor fitness park. Plans for the outdoor fitness park also include a pathway and natural area and so we hope the majority of residents will find this a good use of the area that everyone will enjoy.

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Categories: Councillor

Back | August 11, 2017

The City of Calgary's acquisition of the former Klippert gravel pit presented an outstanding opportunity to restore the ecological integrity of the area, while at the same time enhancing the recreational and educational value of the east side of Bowmont Park.

The redevelopment of the Bowmont Natural Environment Park will include stormwater wetlands, wildlife habitat, trails for cycling and walking, and lookout points across the scenic river valley. Participating as members of the infrastructure design team, the lead artists on The City's innovative Watershed+ program have been contributing to the project design, working alongside the engineers and consultants to create an engaging space for Calgarians to renew their relationship with the Bow River watershed.

The park's location in the floodplain offers a rare opportunity to protect the Bow River by incorporating green stormwater treatment as a functional element of the park. The stormwater elements will also provide a major park amenity that contributes to visitors' experience in the park.

Work began in November 2015 and is expected to be complete in winter 2017. In April 2017, part of Bowmont Park was renamed after former alderman Dale Hodges, who served for 30 years as the area’s representative on city council. Councillor Ward Sutherland, who won the seat vacated by Hodges called him “a great steward for the parks.”

To see the Storm Water Design Objectives and the Storm Water Quality Management Concept, please click on the undernoted links - 

Storm Water Design Objectives

Stormwater Quality Management Concept

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Categories: Councillor

Back | August 11, 2017

The FrancoSud School Board was created in August 2013, following the merger of the Southern Alberta Catholic and Francophone School Board and the Southern Alberta School Board. There are more than 3,400 students attending fourteen francophone schools, four of which are Catholic and ten which are public.

Students learn in an environment where the first language of communication is French. In francophone schools, students "live" their francophonie, which is an integral part of the identity construction of the student.

Attending a francophone school allows students to identify with the French language and culture, in addition to learning English. Students complete their program of study in French while following the same first language curriculum of English Language Arts as every school in Alberta.

Developing francophone pride is one of the priorities at Conseil scolaire FrancoSud. French culture is valued not only as a way for students to express themselves, but also as a way to be part of a vibrant and dynamic community. Students are encouraged to be active members of the francophone community, as the Board works in partnership with several francophone community organizations.

Students have the chance to participate in large gatherings of Francophone students. This allows them to make new meaningful encounters. Students can also grow through sport and physical activity in French.

The Scenic Acres FrancoSud opens Fall 2017. 

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Categories: Councillor

Back | August 04, 2017

This summer, Bowness Road N.W. is being re-paved between 70 Street N.W. and 60 Street N.W. as part of The City’s regular maintenance program. At the same time, several mobility improvements are being made for all travel modes. They include: 

  • Pedestrian improvements along the entire corridor: new curb ramps, sidewalk repairs, curb extensions, pedestrian crossing lights and refuge islands
  • Extending the on-street bicycle lanes from 70 Street N.W.
  • Adding dedicated left-turn lanes at 32 Avenue N.W. and 33 Avenue N.W. to improve traffic flow
  • Pathway improvements and connections
  • Improved waiting areas for transit users
  • CP Rail underpass repair and pathway upgrades
  • Intersection improvements and traffic calming measures at Bowwood Drive N.W. / 33 Avenue N.W. and Bowwood Drive / 64 Street / 36 Avenue N.W.

The City used public input, technical analysis and cost considerations to select and refine the final plans. These plans have been updated since the fall 2016 workshops. Bike lanes will not be implemented through the BIA at this time. The City will study how people driving and biking use the new configuration before deciding how to best accommodate both travel modes.

Construction is underway and is expected to be complete in fall 2017. Concrete work to build the curb extensions, curb ramps, sidewalk repairs and pedestrian refuge islands will be ongoing throughout the summer. Some temporary sidewalk and lane closures may be required for this construction. Paving will begin once concrete work is complete (expected to begin in August) and will take approximately one month to complete. Road marking and signage changes will happen after paving is complete. This is also when parking changes will be implemented.

Parking is currently permitted along both sides of Bowness Road N.W. for the majority of the project area. There are approximately 195 existing parking spaces on Bowness Road N.W. The City conducted a parking study in November 2015 (weekday study from 7-8:30 p.m.) and found that parking is extremely well-used in the BIA, with more than 90 per cent occupancy during peak hours, which were from 2-3:30 p.m. Outside of the BIA, parking occupancy was approximately 57 per cent during the peak period (2-3:30 p.m.) and 51 per cent throughout the rest of the day. Parking on the majority of side streets was underused.

Data from the parking study, along with public input and further detailed design helped to inform the parking changes. Between 66 Street N.W. and 65 Street N.W., parking will be removed on the north side and six spaces will be removed on the south side of Bowness Road N.W. Six new parking spaces will be added on the north side of Bowness Road N.W. between 67 Street N.W. and 66 Street N.W. to help offset the parking removal between 66 Street N.W. and 65 Street N.W.

The City is communicating with residents and landowners where other parking changes are required to meet road standards and to accommodate bike lane transitions and curb extensions.

For additional detail, please refer to the following City website.

Categories: Councillor; Police Safety; Traffic; Tranportation

Back | August 04, 2017

The City of Calgary is studying possible future land uses along the Trans-Canada Highway (16 Avenue N.W.), west of Canada Olympic Park. The area is partially developed with the communities of Valley Ridge, Greenwood/Greenbriar and Crestmont, but it also contains a significant amount of undeveloped land.

Please note that this development is contingent on the upgrade of the Valley Ridge Interchange. Only with the upgraded infrastructure on Stoney Trail will there be development. The Alberta Government announced funding for the West Calgary Ring Road project on July 5, 2018. This is the last section of construction work needed to complete the Calgary Ring Road, which, when completed, will provide more than 100 km of free-flow travel around the city.

Construction is expected to start in 2019 and be completed in three parts:

  • the north project (between Highway 1 and Old Banff Coach Road
  • the south project (between Old Banff Coach Road and Highway 8)
  • twinning the bridge over the Bow River

Alberta Transportation is holding three public information sessions to answer questions about the project, and to explain strategies to minimize impacts for adjacent residents. For more information about the project, and to sign up for email updates, visit w-crr.ca.

In 2011, The City of Calgary received an Outline Plan/Land Use Amendment Application to redesignate (rezone) and subdivide lands located immediately to the east of the community of Crestmont, in southwest Calgary on the Trans-Canada highway.

The proposal Calgary West, submitted by SHAPE properties, would allow for the development of 56.5 hectares of undeveloped land into a mix of natural green areas, retail/commercial, office and residential spaces, including approximately 1,000 multi-family homes, such as apartments, condominiums and townhouses. Prior to the application, the property was undeveloped. An easement across Shape’s site currently provides access to the Crestmont Community. The developer is proposing a mixed use community that integrates with the natural topography and the west entranceway into Calgary. The developer anticipates the construction of the initial phase would take three years to complete. This Outline Plan and Land Use Amendment Application were approved by City Council in November 2014.

For more detail, click here

Categories: Councillor; Developments and Projects

Back | August 04, 2017

This year the Calgary Board of Education opened the Christine Meikle School at 3525 - 50 Street NW in Varsity. It is a school for students in Grades 7 – 12 who have moderate to severe developmental disabilities, delays with complex learning, or medical, sensory or emotional needs. The school currently serves approximately 80 students and has room to accommodate 125.

Prior to the opening, and for almost the last 60 years, the program was run out of a building in Bridgeland. As the student population grew, and the program took on children with more complex needs, it was decided the school needed a new home.

The new building has wider halls to accommodate wheelchairs and medical equipment, and specialized spaces that combine educational and health-care facilities for the kids. It is brighter and more open, with lighter, higher ceilings and walls that the children feel are more inviting. 

There is a high-tech multi-sensory room where children with behavioural and emotional control issues can calm down. The school also has a warm, wheelchair accessible salt-water therapy pool, which offers personalized therapy by a pool therapist who develops programs in conjunction with their physiotherapist and their occupational therapist for each class and each student. The school playground is an integral part of the children’s learning, as it features accessible equipment, a wheelchair track and specialized workout machines.

Categories: Councillor; Developments and Projects

Back | August 04, 2017

This year was the opening of the Eric Harvie Elementary School at 357 Tuscany Drive in the community of Tuscany. This CBE school has a capacity of 600 children, and offers Grades K – 3 in its first year of operation, followed by Grades 4 or 5 in its second year. The school was named after Calgary citizen, Eric Harvie, a noted community minded-citizen with a legacy of philanthropy and generosity. He is best remembered for making his fortune in the oilfields in Leduc, and as the founder of the Glenbow Museum, which opened in 1966. The Eric Harvie School, by virtue of its location near a major intersection, warranted the placement of an RRFB (Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon), one of the very first installed near a school.

Categories: Councillor; Developments and Projects

Back | August 03, 2017

Project Summary

The intersection at Bowfort Road N.W. and the Trans Canada Highway (TCH) is a major highway commercial junction, a well-used stopping place and mustering point for travelers heading west out of the city. Bowfort Road is a major road servicing Canada Olympic Park/WinSport to the south and businesses and communities to the north. A significant amount of stakeholder and public engagement took place from 2007 to the present, and included land owners, businesses, developers, Canada Olympic Park, community associations, and the general public. In July 2014, City Council approved the refined Bowfort Road/TCH Interchange functional plan including the updated roadway plans and property requirements. Further small group stakeholder meetings were held in 2015 to provide more details on the construction of the interchange and associated road works.

Project Scope

As part of the Council approved Investing in the Mobility Plan, the City’s Transportation Department has proceeded with the design of the interchange at Trans Canada Highway (TCH) and Bowfort Road along with related roadwork. Construction of the Bowfort Road/TCH Interchange is a highly complex undertaking. The project design includes a six-lane cross-section for the TCH and a single-point urban interchange at Bowfort Road, with a six-lane bridge accommodating dual left turns in all directions and two through lanes in each direction on Bowfort Road. The design also includes enhancements to Bowfort Road, 83 ST N.W. and Canada Olympic Drive. Bowfort Road has been reconstructed into a four lane road with two roundabouts, and 83 Street N.W. into a two-lane reconstructed roadway. Enhanced pedestrian and bicycle pathways are also included as part of this project. 83 ST N.W. is being upgraded to change the elevation in order to ensure it is up-to code, to ensure the safety of all drivers and passengers.

Project Budget

• $71.7 million capital budget

Categories: Councillor; Developments and Projects; Traffic

Back | July 25, 2017

12 Mile Coulee NW Update

Attached here is a drawing showing what exists and what is proposed for 12 Mile Coulee NW. For 2017, half of the road will be twinned from approximately Tusslewood Dr to 300m south of Tuscany Way.  The remaining road will be twinned to 80 Ave in 2018. 

The high level construction schedule is as follows:

  • Tusslewood Drive N.W. South to Tuscany Way N.W.
    • Pathway complete by July 10th
    • Pre-grading, communications, tie-in to existing – August 2017
    • ENMAX relocation Sept 1 – Oct 10
    • Retaining walls and surfacing – Oct to Mid-November o Landscape and Guardrail – Late November
  • Tuscany Way N.W. South to 100 metres North of Watermark Villas
    • Pre-grading and detour - June 26 to July 8th
    • Underground – Week of July 10th
    • Surfacing Mid July to end of August
  • 100 metres North of Watermark Villas South to 80th Avenue
    • 2018 Construction
  • 80th Avenue – Surfacing
    • to be completed by July 8th

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Categories: Councillor

Back | August 04, 2017

In 2011, The City of Calgary received an Outline Plan/Land Use Amendment Application from Qualico communities. The developer proposed to redesignate (rezone) and subdivide lands referred to as Crestmont Stage 4, located immediately to the west of the built community of Crestmont, in northwest Calgary on the TransCanada highway. This section of land is part of the Calgary West Area Structure Plan.

The application allows the development of 35.74 hectares of undeveloped land into residential space. Within this space, there will be approximately 516 dwellings ranging from single-detached, semi-detached and townhouses. The developer anticipates the construction would take three years to complete. For full details of the proposed development, please refer to the application details.

The Outline Plan was approved by Calgary Planning Commission in August 2015. The Land Use Amendment Application was approved by Council in October 2015.

Categories: Councillor; Developments and Projects

Back | July 24, 2017

Bowmont Park Naturalization

Calgary Parks is excited to bring forward a naturalization project - Bowmont Park Naturalization - to portions of the off-leash area parallel to Silverview Way NW. The goal of this naturalization project is to enhance native grassland habitat that supports wildlife in this important corridor. Activities will focus on reducing non-native weeds (such as thistle and smooth brome) and establishing plants native to this area. Naturalization in this location aligns with the Bowmont Park Management Plan and will improve the overall health of the park. This portion of the park will remain as an open grassland environment and off-leash area.

Schedule

Weed control: July 2017 – September

2018 Planting and seeding: August – September 2017

Completion: October 2018

What is Naturalization?

The naturalization initiative is a city-wide program that will increase the diversity of landscapes within our parks and green spaces by reintroducing native species to open spaces. This practice will create sustainable landscapes that help support plant, animal and insect life (biodiversity); and also help control weeds and pests. Because naturalized areas are well-suited to Calgary’s climate, they will likely reduce long-term maintenance costs associated with mowing, fertilizing, applying pesticides and irrigating. As outlined in Calgary’s 10-year biodiversity strategic plan, we aim to restore 20% of Calgary’s open space by 2025. Naturalization is one of several actions being used by The City to achieve this target.

Please visit calgary.ca/biodiversity or contact 311 for more information.

More information about this project is enclosed here.

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Categories: Parks

Back | July 06, 2017

16 Avenue & 29 Street NW Intersection Upgrade - Construction Update

Due to ongoing construction on 16 Avenue and 29 Street NW project, the following lane reductions this weekend are as follows:

Friday, July 6 from 9 a.m. to Sunday, July 9 at 6 a.m.:

  • Reduced two-way traffic

Sunday, July 9 from 6 a.m. to Monday, July 10 at 5 a.m.:

  • Eastbound 16 Avenue lane closure at the right turn onto 29 Street NW
  • Southbound traffic on 29 Street will be reduced to 1 lane for a portion of the roadway

Map - Phase 1 Closure

Map - Phase 2 Closure

If you have any concerns or questions, please contact 311.

Categories: Councillor; Traffic

Back | July 25, 2017

16 Avenue & 29 Street NW Intersection Upgrade

Construction Update

The City has completed the underground aspects of the 16 Avenue and 29 St NW intersection upgrade. The next step is the road work portion of work. In an effort to expedite the construction timeline, the City is implementing a road construction strategy at the SW corner of 16 Avenue & 29 Street that will have the majority of the corner built within a week.

The City is in the process of working on a lane closure plan that would close the eastbound lane of 16 Avenue to the southbound turn lane (highlighted in blue on the attached map), and create a temporary lane over the existing island (which was to be removed and reconstructed for the final design). The official Roads detour plan is attached here.

The temporary right turn will divert traffic on 29 Street to 3 lanes on the east side of 29 Street. With the ability for Foothills Medical Centre to divert traffic in the p.m. to the interchange, Roads has proposed that there be two lanes going southbound (for a.m. traffic) and one lane going northbound. This work will start just after morning rush hour at 9am on Wednesday July 26th. The road would open back up to its full width by the end of the weekend on July 30th.

Please note on the attached map, you will notice a small triangular section marked by a red arrow on the right-hand side of the page called ‘25mm Gravel on Existing Asphalt with Design Asphalt Structure’. To complete this work, an additional lane will be required over the span of one evening such that traffic will run one lane in each direction. The work to construct this portion of road will likely take place on Friday night to avoid any traffic congestions.

In conjunction with the City’s on-going efforts to communicate detours and lane closures, they will also be setting up road signs to encourage people to utilize the interchange during this work.

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Categories: Councillor; Traffic

Back | June 30, 2017

Silver Springs Outdoor Pool

On June 26, The City of Calgary and the members of the Silver Springs Community Association met to discuss the Silver Springs Outdoor Pool completion date. Though every effort has been made to complete the project within the projected timeline to reopen the pool for the 2017 season, an intermittent presence of water has delayed the contractor's ability to complete the final stages of waterproofing and painting of the basin.

Calgary Recreation is aware of the significant impact of continued closure of the pool, however it is important that The City deliver a long-term, reliable community amenity that will meet the needs of users for years to come.

For commonly asked Q&A, please click here

Categories: Community; Councillor

Back | June 29, 2017

Ward Sutherland focused on moving forward

Integrity Commissioner finds that Ward 1 Councillor did not violate Code of Ethical Conduct

June 28, 2017

Ward Sutherland, City Councillor for Ward 1, was pleased to be cleared of any and all wrong-doing by Allen Sulatycky, City of Calgary Integrity Commissioner, in regards to allegations put forward against him by a fellow councillor on May 12, 2017.

“There are important decisions that need to be made and Calgary is counting on all Councillors to stay focused on the issues that matter most to ensuring we live in a strong and thriving community,” explains Councillor Sutherland. “My colleagues and I made a decision to hire the Integrity Commissioner to address code of conduct claims and ensure the process is non-political. I was disappointed that certain colleagues chose to make a media story out of these false claims before receiving a ruling from the Integrity Commissioner. I knew the findings would absolve me”.

The footage from the May 12, 2017 Council meeting was reviewed, as well as an under-oath testimony from Councillor Sutherland, and it was found that his actions were not directed at the Councillor Member in question and there was no violation of the Code of Ethical Conduct for Council.

“Respect is something that is deeply instilled in me. When false allegations are made public before due-process, it hurts more than just the person accused – I’d like to thank my family, friends, residents and past business colleagues for standing by me through this. I treat all people with equal respect and my reputation speaks for itself,” reiterates Sutherland.

Sutherland says, “I am glad we can get back to business. My hope is that all Council Members can put politics aside in the future, follow protocol, and stay focused on the issues that Calgarians are trusting us to deliberate on.”

Media Contact: Ward 1 Office

Christine Louie, Communications

Office of Councillors, City of Calgary

P: 403.268-2430

E: ward01@calgary.ca

Categories: Councillor

Back | June 20, 2017

Below is the current summary year to date results ending April, 2017

Account ($ Million)
Total City YTD Variance (in the graph) $9.9
Minus: Utilities (Self-supported) YTD Variance -$4.8
Equal to Total Tax-Supported YTD Variance $5.1


Total Tax-Supported YTD Variance is made up of:

Account ($ Million)
Business units favourable variances $0.8
Corporate Programs favourable variances $4.3
Total: $5.1
Minus: Contribution to Business Savings Account -$1.5
Total Tax-Supported YTD Variance After Contribution to BSA $3.6


Fiscal Stability Reserve (FSR)(Rainy Day Fund) Balance

Account ($ Million)
YTD Balance $557.8M
Estimated Interest Income $9.0M
Less: outstanding commitments $227.6M
Uncommitted Balance $339.2M
Percentage of Tax-supported Net Expenditures 10.7%
Balance of FSR Flood Commitments - Unspent * $115.5M


*Included as part of "outstanding commitments"

Our favourable variances are decreasing throughout the year so far, uncertainty remains for the rest of the year.

On the Capital Budget side:

  • 2017 Budget $2.358B
  • 2017 Spend $323M
  • 2017 Send % 13.7% (on track) * spend increases Q2-Q3 due to seasonal weather.

Categories: City Finances; City Finances Blog; Councillor

Back | May 15, 2017

The following is from the Calgary Sun article, "Calgary city hall brass want a tax hike in 2018 with a final tab beyond the advertised 2% increase" by Rick Bell, published on May 12, 2017.

'No wonder we didn't get this report from the big blue playpen until just before city hall's Friday quitting time. No wonder we didn't get this report from the big blue playpen until just before city hall's Friday quitting time.

Look like we're probably getting another tax hike in 2018 and some other costly chickens could come home to roost on your property tax bill next year.

After the October election.

But first let's remind everybody what city hall has done to you in the past.

Starting in 2011 and ending in 2017, in the seven years of the self-styled "real fiscal conservative" Mayor Nenshi, the total increase in property taxes is quite the number.

With your tax hikes compounding as each year's tax increase is laid on top of the last one, the total property tax bill is up just shy of 51%.

Let's say it again. All together now. 51%. A 51% tax increase.

Actually 50.98%, to be exact.

The average yearly tax increase for the seven years is just over 6% a year.

Actually 6.06%, to be exact.

On Monday, city council will tell the city brass to build a budget based on a certain tax hike.

The brass are suggesting a 2% tax increase.

In the fine print of a city report we didn't receive until late Friday, there is more information.

The city's financial wizards admit the hit on your 2018 tax bill will look different than the 2%.

You see, there was a 1.5% tax hike this year but you didn't pay it. You got a rebate.

In 2018, you will likely pay.

Then the province left millions on the table and city council gave you the break. For one year.

If they take the tax break in 2018, that's a 1.4% increase.

Now you're looking at what amounts to about a 5% hike.

While we're on the subject of increases, utility rates are expected to go up 2.5% but in 2019 and beyond we'll likely see "higher increases than previously indicated."

So there you have it.

City higher-ups say making the 2% into a zero "could have some significant service impacts."

Just in case you didn't get the message, they say if the politicians try to cut the 2% tax hike "administration will be required to reduce services further and have a reduced ability to manage unfavourable costs."

This is meant to scare you.

No mention is made of city hall's complete unwillingness to bring in a wage freeze.

The union folks know what's up. They walk into the room and the city hall stiffs roll over, get a belly rub and the unions walk away with higher wages.

This year, it's a 4% pay increase. Don't blame the unions. They're fighting for their members. City hall represents the rest of us. God help us.

The city bigshots tell us a tax hike will help pay the interest on the Green Line LRT.

You're already paying for this shortened version of the Green Line, the one not going to the city's far north or deep south.

Remember the $52 million provincial tax break the city scooped from you? That went to this shorter Green Line.

Coun. Ward Sutherland has a bagful of buttons ready for the council meeting Monday when all this stuff is being discussed.

The button reads Mind The Gap, inspired by the London Underground's warning to passengers to look out for the gap between the train door and the station platform.

The button, looking like the London Underground logo, points to minding the gap between the city's revenue and its spending.

The city's revenues have gone down.

"It's basic economics. Revenue and expenses. You have to mind the gap between the two. Revenues are down and therefore expenses have to come down," says Sutherland.

"We can't afford to be jacking up the revenue through taxes so therefore we're going to have to do cuts. We need to reduce the size of city government."

Sutherland says it's high time the city looked at contracting out services to private companies to save dollars.

He suggests doing that with waste removal in one-third of the city.

Labour talks are about to start. Sutherland would like to see city contracts with a wage reduction in the first year and then some zeros.

As for what city council requires in these trying times.

"We need more people who astutely understand finances and can actually really take a look at our finances.

" You got that right.'

(Bell, R. 2017, May 12. Calgary city hall brass want a tax hike in 2018 with a final tab beyond the advertised 2% increase. Calgary Sun. Retrieved from http://www.calgarysun.com)

Categories: City Finances; City Finances Blog; Councillor

Back | May 03, 2017

Chat with Chief Chaffin
 
Councillor Ward Sutherland is inviting the residents of all Ward 1 communities to come out on May 11, 2017 to meet Chief Roger Chaffin and some of his key staff. Do you have a question for the Chief or want to meet him? Here’s your opportunity to hear him discuss policing issues in Calgary and ask him questions.
 
This “fireside chat” style event is open to all residents of Bowness, Crestmont, Greenwood/Greenbriar, Montgomery, Rocky Ridge, Scenic Acres, Silver Springs, Tuscany, University Heights, University of Calgary, Valley Ridge, and Varsity.
 
If you have any questions relating to the meeting, please contact Councillor Ward Sutherland’s office at ward01@calgary.ca or call (403) 268-3240.
 
Chat with Chief Chaffin
May 11, 2017
Silver Springs Community Association
5720 Silver Ridge Dr NW
6:30 p.m.-9:00 p.m.
Hosted by Councillor Ward Sutherland
 
If this is an event you would like to attend but have disability issues, please contact 311 to request an accommodation or service. Please provide at least two weeks’ advance notice so the City of Calgary can coordinate the service you need to access the building.
 
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Categories: Community; Community Building; Councillor’s initiatives; Events

Back | April 28, 2017

2017 April 24

Re: Update – Potential Residential Parking Zone Expansion – Zone NN

Dear Community Member,

To address parking issues in Bowness in the area near Bowness Park, the City of Calgary has been working on a potential expansion of Residential Parking Zone NN. The existing zone and the potential expansion are shown on the attached plan.

Previous Engagement

An open house was held on January 30th at the Irish Cultural Hall to provide information to residents regarding the potential expansion of the Residential Parking Zone. There were 68 comment forms filled in at the Open House.  40 of those who completed the form are in favour of the zone expansion and 26 are not in favour. Two of those who completed the form did not express an opinion.

Based on the majority of the comment forms completed, there is support to undertake the zone expansion. We recognize, however, that there are also a fair number who are not in favour.      

Next Steps

A report will be presented at the 2017 May 17 meeting of the Transportation and Transit Committee recommending that the existing residential parking zone (NN) in Bowness be expanded west of 85 Street NW. Members of the public are welcome to attend the meeting and provide feedback to the Committee. The meeting commences at 09:30h and will be held in Council Chambers, located in the Calgary Municipal Building, 800 Macleod Trail SE.

What does this mean to residents?

If the recommendation to expand the existing zone NN is approved, this does not mean that parking on roads within the expanded area will automatically be restricted.

  • When residents of a particular street/block determine that there is a need to establish a parking restriction on their block, a petition will need to be requested through 311.
  • The type of restriction (2 hour parking, parking by permit only, etc.) is at the discretion of the residents of each street/block. 
  • A minimum of 80% support on the petition is required to proceed with the desired parking restriction.
  • Should residents of a particular block believe that there is not a need for a parking restriction on their block, a restriction will not be implemented. The current situation will be maintained.

For further information, please contact Minh Huynh of the Traffic Division at 403-268-5520.

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Categories: Councillor; Parks; Traffic

Back | April 18, 2017

Construction has now resumed on the new interchange at Trans Canada Highway (TCH) and Bowfort Road N.W.

Crews are working on a staged approach to completing the various components of the new TCH roadway and the overpass, which will provide access to Canada Olympic Park to the south and Bowfort Road to the north. Anticipated completion is summer 2017.

Access to Bowfort Road from the TCH continues during construction, and motorists can enter Canada Olympic Park through a temporary intersection, located 500 metres west of the original intersection. Speed remains at 50 kms/hour on the temporary TCH (16 Avenue) detour near Bowfort Road N.W.

Lane restrictions and detours related to the partially completed roundabout remain in effect on Bowfort Road until the work on that roadway is complete.

16 Ave NW / Bowfort Road Interchange Improvements

  • Beginning at 7 p.m. on Sunday, April 23 there will be a new traffic pattern on eastbound 16 Avenue N.W. at Bowfort Road N.W. Motorists wishing to access Bowfort Road should remain in the left lane, all other traffic will be diverted under the bridge.
  • Daily lane reductions on Bowfort Road N.W. and 16 Avenue N.W. through the project limits from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. until further notice.
  • For more information on this project, visit the project page

Categories: Councillor; Traffic

Back | March 22, 2017

I am pleased to be the advocate for an improved securities process for the construction and development activity in the City of Calgary. In order for projects to proceed, businesses must supply the City of Calgary with securities for the construction phase. This is necessary to ensure there is no liability to the City of Calgary (i.e. taxpayers). The downside of the previous policy was that a significant amount of capital monies was tied up, which in turn may have prevented further investments in the development as it moved forward. Additionally, the new process will help ensure an improvement in the targeted timing for returning the security.

I have some good news on the increased effort to release securities, in advance of a better process being implemented. Through an intentional effort, the City has released over $28.6M in development security on completed infrastructure year-to-date. This represents a 129% increase in security released over the same period in 2016. We anticipate that accelerating the release of this money will allow the development industry to reinvest in additional projects in the City. 

For your information, we currently hold approximately $325M in total development security; however, much of that is required to ensure outstanding construction obligations are met on incomplete projects. This is just one more process improvement that reduces red tape and encourages investment from business in our city. Best of Business,

Ward Sutherland

Councillor, Ward 1

Categories: City Finances; City Finances Blog

Back | February 24, 2017

There are tough decisions for Council coming in the next few months. Council will have to decide on the indicative tax rate for 2018 and how to properly invest over $600M in capital dollars (dollars are not borrowed). I would like to revisit some points from my VC blog in June, 2016 titled “Just the Facts on our Taxes (Let’s get rid of the Rhetoric)”. This post and all my past blogs are available on my City of Calgary website. 

The previous 2010 Council (of whom 11 are still in the current 2013 Council) passed tax increases of an average of 9.8% and to a high of 13%. The three year average tax increase approved by the current Council is 2.98%. Although this is the lowest tax increase in over 11 years, I believe we can go lower.

In March, 2016, I sent a memo to the Mayor and Council outlining how we could get to a zero increase in 2017 without service reductions. Additional ideas came forward and I was very pleased with the support from Council, which resulted in a zero tax increase over 2016 being passed unanimously. A significant amount of work by Administration has been done to reduce operating costs and finding savings. City Manager Jeff Fielding and his team should be commended for the ongoing reductions, which truly make our job as Council much easier when it comes to deciding the tax rate.

The Zero Base Reviews have been very effective in terms of creating efficiencies and permanently cutting over $80M from the operating budgets. Now, we are focusing the project to look at the overall corporate cost of running the departments. 

As a council we still need to pursue and discuss what businesses the City should be and should not be in. I hope this will occur with the next Council. There have been a number of discussions regarding 2018 and the existing wage agreements. The breakdown of the current four year contact that will be ending this year is as follows: 2014-1.8%, 2015-3.2%, 2016-3.5%, 2017-4.0%, with the average being 3.1%. Note that out of the 3.5% tax increase in 2016, 3.04% was for contract labour increases. It’s also important to iterate that City Council does not have the legislative authority to cancel contracts.

Unions have accused me of “campaigning” for publicly discussing what direction I believe wages negotiations should go in. My response has been consistent over the last few years - it’s simple math and a fact of the current economic environment. Wages are a significant portion of tax increases and there must be a shared responsibility in our current situation.

As we have all seen over the past two years, there have been increased taxes and new taxes, which has resulted in additional revenues for other levels of government, and yet we still have higher debt? As a municipality, we cannot run a deficit - our revenue has decreased significantly and we have added no new taxes. In fact we’ve delivered a zero increase budget, with the help of many people. 

What does that mean?  Reduced revenue means you should reduce spending (i.e. operating budget). Let’s look ahead to 2018 -  less revenue is expected, inflation pressures (operating) will still exist, the additional burden of the Carbon tax (which is a double tax) will continue, and I anticipate yet-to-be-determined wage negotiation challenges. The obvious elephant in the room is: REDUCED OPERATION COSTS. We can debate how to get there, but it will have to be addressed in the coming months. These ideas will be addressed in a future blog. 

To illustrate the spirit of good budgeting practices for any business or government, I have created a logo that reflects this principle. If you Mind the Gap between your Revenue and Operating (expenses), it will create solid value-added decisions. In terms of the City of Calgary, it will result in the best value for the services delivered. This is my goal!

Ward Sutherland

VC Finance Blog

Categories: City Finances; City Finances Blog; Councillor

Back | March 14, 2017

The Calgary Police Service has a message for residents living in apartments, condos or any shared space building. Do you know who you are letting in? Be cautious. Let's look out for each other.

Categories: Councillor; Police Safety

Back | January 23, 2017

Vice-Chair Blog - Non-Residential Tax Announcement

As a previous entrepreneur and senior manager in various corporations, I can certainly appreciate the struggles businesses have been experiencing the past few years. With the existing tax assessment system (directly through the Municipal Government Act – Provincial), an anomaly has occurred due to the significant decrease of assessment values in the downtown core ($6B). This in turn pushed extreme increases onto businesses outside the core, some +30% or more.

In the current economic environment, this scenario is untenable. I voted early this year against previous recommendations to assist businesses because I analyzed them and they would not have achieved the desired outcome. I can now support this initiative, as it’s effective, pragmatic and the base has increased significantly. Will this save all the businesses ? No. It is not a silver bullet; however it will have a positive impact overall. It is unfortunate the other levels of government have introduced policies that have hurt business, rather than helped. Moreover, this program will be nullified if the Province does not match our zero tax increase on their portion of the property tax.

This $45M non-residential tax-phased assistance will reach all businesses throughout Calgary equally, and will result in a maximum tax increase of 5% (municipal part of tax bill). This addresses over 6000 properties, which in turn helps over 9000 businesses. The question was asked – “Why not commit to two years ?” My answer is - We are not sure of the position the City of Calgary will be in, in terms of budget and revenue. Additionally, we do not know the assessment outcome. The new Council will know this information and can decide according.

The money for this program is coming from the savings/surplus of 2016 ($30M) and the previously committed $15M (in November) put aside from the FSR (rainy day fund).

As a reminder, Council has committed a total of $228M from the FSR (rainy day fund) over the 2016 and 2017 budget. More than half of this money has been committed to residents (non-residential tax is much higher than residential).

After all the Council-voted commitments ($228M), the current balance of the FSR is now $277M (8%). The FSR target from Council is (5% to max 15%). Continuing to commit to the current Council decisions in the near future is not sustainable. We are going to have to look at our financial position differently in the near future.

The existing Council will decide the initial indicative tax rate for 2018. The newly elected Council will have to decide the parameters for the upcoming 4 year wage contract and the final tax rate for 2018. 

Another question posed was – “This is an election year, is this why you are doing it ?” My response is - we did not chose the current economic environment, and we are fortunate that by managing the budget the opportunity to help residents and businesses of Calgary exists. You will know from my previous VC blogs that I have always been pragmatic, and I approach all items from a logical and business perspective.

My commitment and position has been consistent for almost 4 years now; we need to focus on permanent operating budget-targeted reductions. This will address the overall tax burden for all Calgarians.

Ward Sutherland

Categories: Budget; City Finances; City Finances Blog

Back | January 17, 2017

Budget Update Summary November 2016

In recent Council discussions regarding the overall ongoing City financial position, it was clear to me that there was a lack of awareness and understanding of the monthly financial report (Executive Information status report).

I thought it would be beneficial to post the monthly summary with a very brief synopsis of the year-to-date results. It’s important to note that some specific results in some departments may vary depending on the timing of the expenditures.

Rest assured, the City Administration management has been adjusting budgets and expenditures all year long, finding over $180M in ZBRs (Zero Based Reviews) and cuts (list to follow from Admin).

As of November 30,2016, the total City of Calgary position was a positive (under budget/savings) of $41.9M.

Total business unit savings of $20.3M were recognized. This was a combination of $5.9M (SNIC), lower fuel costs, less overtime - $4.4M, staff vacancies savings - $4.8M, Councillors’ Office - $1.7M, LED lighting - $1.0M, and misc. various small savings - $1.3M.

Corporate Programs contributed a total savings of $21.6M (higher investment return - $5.3M, lower employee benefits - $9.2M, return on applications - $7.0M, lower franchise fees -$.1M offset).

Again, a reminder that the $41.9M savings is year-to-date; this can change upon receipt of the last month of December’s financial results. As it stands now, the PROJECTED year end variance is $39.6M.  

All positive variances are automatically directed to the Fiscal Stability Fund – known as the “Rainy Day Fund”.

Regards,

Ward VC blog

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Categories: Budget; City Finances; City Finances Blog

Back | December 22, 2016

Thanks Danielle Smith for discussing my idea to change annual property tax assessments to three-year reviews, which would result in a more balanced assessment and would save Calgarians money. I'm open to chat with Ward 1 residents if you want to learn more. Contact ward01@calgary.ca and my staff will arrange for a telephone call.

To listen to Danielle discussing the 3-Year Plan, click on the highlighted audio file from her talk show on News Talk 770 here.

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Categories: City Finances; City Finances Blog; Councillor; Tax

Back | December 07, 2016

The information below was copied from Trinity Hills News website. Want to subscribe directly? Sign up at TrinityHills.ca

Trinity Hills News

First store openings anticipated for late 2018. Trinity has submitted the first development permit application to The City of Calgary for the south portion of the Town Centre. 

The Town Centre is the development area closest to Sarcee Trail. The proposal includes main street retail facing Na’a Drive with residential above. Further south, Calgarians will be able to shop at larger retail stores, including Save-On-Foods. Save-On was announced earlier this year as an anchor tenant for the development.

Customers will be able to choose between surface and underground parking to access their favourite stores. Trinity is targeting the second quarter of 2017 to begin construction with store openings anticipated in the third quarter of 2018.

Work has also begun on preparing drawings for the second phase of development on the east half of the Gateway Centre located at the new Bowfort Road interchange, near Canada Olympic Park. The proposal will include restaurants, retail, a fitness centre and will be anchored by the outdoor lifestyle store MEC (Mountain Equipment Co-op). 

The majority of parking will be structured either above or below grade with additional opportunities for on-street parking. The proposal will include a bridge linking both east and west halves of the Gateway Centre over Canada Olympic Drive. Submission of the development permit application is expected in early 2017.

Sarcee Interchange on track for full completion by fall 2017

Construction on the Sarcee Trail – TransCanada Highway (TCH) Interchange is ongoing with no permanent full road closures anticipated over the winter season.

Over the winter there will be a decrease of roadwork activity and temporary lane closures will be minimized until the spring.

The new northbound to eastbound ramp is now open. The new east and west bridges require only the finishing surface treatment and are expected to open with the northbound and southbound by-pass ramps in spring 2017.

Full project completion is targeting Fall 2017.

Bowdale Crescent traffic changes

In response to discussions with the community of Wilson Gardens, regarding the current construction access onto Sarcee Trail – TCH , the project team has made the following improvements:

  • The currently designated community exit location was relocated to the final, ultimate location and allows residents to leave the community without conflicting with vehicles entering the community as of December 2, 2016. The community entrance location will remain in the same location.
  • A deceleration lane will be added to the current ‘U-turn’ on Sarcee to ensure normal flow of traffic is maintained while allowing vehicles to slowly leave the main roadway prior to accessing the turning area.

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Categories: Developments and Projects

Back | November 22, 2016

The Ward 1 office has received inquiries regarding the new fence at the Off-Leash area in Bowmont Park, located at the end of Sarcee Gate. Since 2013, this area has been an off-leash park. The only thing changing is the new fence and the boundaries of the off-leash park. Please note that there are no plans to limit the off-leash area to just the fenced part of the park. The fenced off-leash area will be an additional amenity in response to the Off-leash Management Plan (2010) , which highlighted that Parks will build additional fenced off-leash areas in the city. In addition Parks has added to the amount of off-leash area that there is in the park but also have reconfigured it, as per the new Bowmont Management Plan. For frequently asked questions and more detailed background information, please visit Bowmont Park Fenced Off-Leash Area FAQ

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Categories: Parks

Back | November 03, 2016

During the summer of 2015, the Ward 1 office began receiving increasing complaints about southbound traffic congestion at the intersection of 85th Street & 48th Avenue NW during the morning peak traffic period. The backlogs to this 3-way stop were partially attributable to traffic that would normally use the Stoney Trail & TransCanada Highway route to the inner city finding out that the construction of the Bowfort Road/TransCanada highway interchange was slowing their commute down, and opting to finding alternate routes that did not take as long. One of the alternate routes was through Bowness. Councillor Sutherland relayed these concerns to The City of Calgary, Roads Traffic Division, and in response they conducted an extensive safety and operational review for that intersection. They found the following –

  • A three-way stop control warrant review was completed, and based on traffic counts from April 23, 2014, it was determined that a three-way stop control was not warranted at the intersection
  • A review of collision history revealed that 9 collisions were reported near the intersection of 85th & 48th in the past 9 years and that there were no fatalities or injury collisions. All 9 were property damage only and no pedestrians or bicycles were involved in the collisions.

Based on results from the review, it was determined that a 3-way stop control was not warranted due to the relatively low traffic volume on 48th Avenue. In an effort to enhance traffic operations and minimize traffic congestion on 85th Street at 48th Avenue, the Traffic Division recommended the following intersection improvements:

  • Remove the 3-way stop control from the intersection. 85th Street traffic would be free-flow, and 48th Avenue would be stop-controlled 
  • Install a pedestrian crosswalk on the north side of the intersection, crossing 85th Street
  • Install “Ladder” pedestrian crosswalk road markings, and Rapid Rectangular Flashing Beacons (RRFB’s) at the crosswalk to enhance pedestrian safety crossing 85th Street.

Councillor Sutherland has been continuing to follow up with the Roads Traffic Division ever since the stop signs were removed. Throughout this challenging time he has been sensitive to the complaints and concerns of the citizens most affected by the removal, especially those residing on, or adjacent to 48th Avenue. The re-opening of Bowness Park, while a positive event for Bowness, has unfortunately added to the local traffic situation, especially on the weekends during the summer. With the long-anticipated opening of the splash park next spring, it is projected that the amount of traffic will become even more challenging for residents, and vehicles coming and going to the Park will face even more frustration.  Please know that Councillor Sutherland is working on the parking/traffic situation within and outside the Park as a “separate but connected” issue, through a joint task force between the City Parks and Roads Departments. Watch for a localized public engagement notice to residents in the affected area later this year.  

After a second review of traffic data, it was determined the intersection does not require a 3 way stop; however, it continues to fail during busy weekends. After much deliberation and review of alternatives, the Roads Division believe they have found a viable solution which will meet all the stakeholders’ requirements and expectations. Councillor Sutherland was able to source the funding for a new traffic signal (also known as traffic light or signal light) which will be installed at the intersection of 48th & 85th  in Spring 2017. In order to best serve the needs of through traffic and still protect the needs of the local residents, the traffic signal will be what is called an actuated traffic signal. Through the use of pedestrian pushbuttons and vehicle detection cables embedded in the road surface, the signal will be able to respond to actual vehicle and pedestrian demands. For example, at times when there are no vehicles on 48 Avenue at the intersection or no pedestrians wishing to cross 85 Street, the signal will remain green for 85 Street to reduce delay for vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians travelling along that roadway. This way, exiting vehicles on 48th will only have to wait for the sensor to detect them before the lights will automatically be programmed to change. When there is no traffic leaving, the through traffic on 85th will have a constant green, and will be able to flow through without any backlogs forming.

Categories: Councillor; Traffic

Back | November 02, 2016

What does a City of Calgary Councillor really do?

Over the past 3 years, many residents have asked me - “What do you actually do”? From their feedback and questions, it was apparent their understanding of the job of a councillor was very mixed. As the election year is approaching (October 2017), several individuals have “thrown their hats in the ring” and begun making comments regarding their goals, if elected. Some of the candidates have announced goals that pertain to provincial or federal government levels rather than the municipal level. Thinking back on how I would have appreciated a more detailed insight into the job I was taking on, I have recommended to our City clerks that they provide a detailed orientation for candidates, one that outlines a Councillor’s job description, responsibilities and the commitments that are part of the job. Let’s hope that all candidates really understand what the job entails. Accordingly, I have listed some personal observations and experiences, compiled over a one year period, to give them my perspective of the councillor’s job. 

Time management - Critical to getting through the sheer volume of preparation for, and attendance at, numerous meetings and events. Below is a sample of my most recent year:

  • 30 council meetings
  • 71 committee meetings
  • 7 Business Planning & Budget meetings
  • 105 Administration meetings regarding Ward 1 issues
  • 130 Administration meetings regarding city-wide issues
  • 60 committee-related issues meeting
  • 102 Councillor /Deputy Mayor events
  • 196 Community/Ward meetings (CA, Open Houses, public engagements, stakeholder meetings, etc.)
  • 203 personal call back to residents
  • 10,993 emails to the office

Balancing roles and priorities

As councillors, we wear three different “hats”; one when representing the community, a second when representing the ward, and a third when representing the City of Calgary (governance). At times, the interests of these three stakeholders do not align and many issues have to be decided on the basis of what is best overall. A Councillor’s job reaches many different aspects of city life and at times very contentious issues that residents are very passionate about. While I feel confident my decisions are based on the most accurate, current and balanced information I have at the time, dealing with opposing views and balancing the needs of what is best for Calgarians can be challenging. Most people do not realize an average Ward is almost the same population (90,000 people) as the City of Lethbridge, which is governed by a Mayor and 7 councillors.

Committee work

In the committees and council meetings numerous topics are discussed, such as land use, planning, businesses & licenses, parks, roads, infrastructure, recreation, safety, transit, budgets – operating and capital, bylaws, water and environment. Councillors must serve on 2 standing committees, with no extra compensation for doing so. Committees include -

  • Standing Policy Committees (Can serve as Chair or Vice Chair)
  • Planning and Urban Development
  • Transportation & Transit
  • Community & Protective Services
  • Utilities & Corporate Services

Councillors must also serve on a minimum of 2 other special committees, again with no extra compensation. (Can serve as Chair or Vice Chair)

  • Land & Assets
  • Audit Committee
  • Priorities and Finance
  • Gas, Power & Telecommunications

Board work

Additionally, there are several boards various Councillors serve on (no compensation)

Police Commission - Enmax- Calgary Economic Development - Stampede Board - Public Library Board - YYC Housing - Company - Convention Centre - YYC Parking Authority - Federation of Canadian Municipalities - Calgary Arts Development Authority- Silvera for Seniors - Attainable Homes - YYC Homeless Foundation - Inter-Municipal (District of Foothills) - Family & Community Support Services - Legacy Parks Fund - YYC Regional Partnership - Legislative Task Force -Inter-Municipal (District of Rocky View) - AB Urban Municipal Association

I currently serve as Vice Chair – Priorities and Finance, Vice Chair – Land & Assets, Member - Planning & Urban Development, Member - Utilities & Corporate Services. Additionally, I serve on the Police Commission (commissioner), Board of Directors- Calgary Economic Development and Board of Directors-Silvera for Seniors.

Normal workload

The hours vary, but typically I put in between 60-75 hours/week. The above committees/council meetings involve significant reading. As an example, it’s normal to finish reading the council agenda for Monday’s meeting on Sunday night, and then call other councillors for clarification on different items. Community Association meetings are in the evenings, as are most open houses. Many community events fall on weekends. We also serve one month a year as Deputy Mayor, attending city-wide events. Hours for councillors can vary between individual Wards, depending on the development/growth of individual communities.

A typical day

Monday- October 03 – Day:                                                                            

7:10 AM - Calgary Opener interview on location

8:00 AM - Breakfast with Olympians and interaction

9:00 AM - Meeting with Ward 1 staff for urgent matters

9:30 AM - Begin Combined (public) Council Noon - Council break - lunch, made phone calls and followed up with staff on various issues

3:15 PM - Council break – made phone calls, misc. paperwork reviewed

6:00 PM - Dinner break with Council – made phone calls and continued paperwork

7:15 PM - Resume Council meeting

10:15 PM- Council ends

There are not enough hours in the day for me to attend every community meeting or reply to every phone call; I could not do my job without my three team members of Ward 1:

  1. Executive Assistant: Gateway to office, schedules all meetings and appointments, screens phone calls, maintains organization of office, files and information flow, and main archivist.
  2. Communications and Research Analyst: Social Media, Newsletters, responses to Resident inquiries, Communications (news review) and research on various city-wide topics/issues.
  3. Community Liaison: In the “field” in Ward 1, dealing with various issues on-site and attending meetings on my behalf when I am double-scheduled or not available. Below is a list of the Community Liaison’s time (YTD):
  • 48 CAB, BRZ,CMS, SSAPG type meetings
  • 18 Community Engagement or Stakeholder type meetings (in the field, usually after hours)
  • 24 In-house training or information sessions
  • 34 in-office meetings with Councillor and other City or outside persons
  • 68 in-the-field meetings, engagements, etc. (either alone representing Councillor, or accompanying Councillor)
  • 130 reconnaissance, investigative, confirmation, etc. type of in-the-field visits, either in direct contact with individuals, or as an observer
  • 200 “problems” resolved (direct e-mail, phone call, CRMs from Ward residents, Councillor-initiated, self-initiated), all not including any crosswalks, schools, etc. type issues

Are you ready to serve Calgarians?       

Categories: Councillor

Back | September 08, 2016

Bearspaw Sediment Management Site

The City of Calgary, Water Services would like to share information on an upcoming storm pond maintenance project in Ward 1. The City will use the site located west of Bearspaw Water Treatment Plant (WTP), on the future expansion lands, as a temporary site to dry sediment dredged from storm water management facilities in Calgary. For this site, the proposed design includes the construction of three cells (areas) that will be used to dry soil that is brought to site.

Project Description

The construction project will consist of stripping topsoil and grading to construct three cell. Each cell will be enclosed within a berm. The grading will be towards a water collection area where any collected water from the drying process or rain events will evaporate or be absorbed into the ground. Once construction of the three cells is complete, sediment will be brought to the site to be dried (expected late fall 2016). Sediment will be dredged from various storm water ponds throughout Calgary and trucked to one of the cell locations. Once the sediment has been placed within the on-site berms, the sediment will be turned by equipment so that it will dry via evaporation or infiltration, helped by the warmer temperatures and winds in the spring and summer. Finally, the sediment will be worked until it is dried enough to be classified as a soil, stockpiled, and then transported off the site. This process will be a continuous cycle for the duration of the site’s existence, no greater than 25 years.

Construction Impacts

Noise and dust impacts will be monitored to fall within bylaw limits

Work hours are Monday – Sunday, 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Construction Duration

Construction of the area will take place from early September until the end of October 2016. Use of the site to dry soil will take place immediately following construction. For more information, visit calgary.ca or contact 311.

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Categories: Councillor; Water Services

Back | September 13, 2016

Disclaimer: Please note that all opinions expressed here are my personal views. To keep up-to-date on City of Calgary finances, sign-up to receive my monthly e-newsletter here.

Capital Budget – Strategic investment & putting people to work

As we pass the mid-year marker, the economic numbers for the City of Calgary unfortunately continue to decline. Recorded unemployment has reached a decade high of 8.0% (you can normally add 1 ½ % to 2 ½% to the existing EI rate, i.e. - individuals who no longer collect EI and still are not employed). More than 4100 businesses have closed this year already, compared to 3500 in 2015. Housing starts are down 36% year-to-year. In January, the introduction of the Carbon Tax will add $7M to the City operating budget and will burden businesses, homeowners and renters. As well, the outcome of additional costs of the litigation with Enmax by the Province of Alberta is unknown. This will ultimately affect the City of Calgary and residents, as Enmax is owned by Calgarians.

In March of 2016, I had sent a memo to the Mayor and Council outlining how we could reach a zero tax increase for 2017 and 2018, and freeze fares on transit and recreation without any significant cuts. I truly appreciated the support of Council when they voted unanimously in June for a zero increase for 2017. As Vice Chair of Priorities and Finance, I spend time with the CFO & team and the City Manager reviewing and discussing various aspects of the operating and capital budgets. As a reminder, Council may not run a budget deficit. I encourage and challenge the provincial government to match our zero increase on the provincial side of the property tax.

It was announced that as a city we have almost $8B in capital dollars. This accumulated capital dollars came mostly from projects that were approved; however, when the projects went out for tenure the bids were significantly higher, so the projects were shelved over several consecutive years. Now that the economic environment is soft, the infrastructure costs are significantly lower and taking advantage of these lower costs is advantageous for all Calgarians.

There are several key considerations in reviewing the Capital budget and spend rates (burn rates). Are projects approved years ago still relevant today and in the near future? Should the “red flag” outdated projects be cancelled and the funds redirected to more relevant new projects? The approach to the Capital budget must be undertaken in a very strategic manner. Investment dollars spent, and return on private dollars participation, should be key considerations. Maximizing the value of the dollars spent and putting people to work is the over-arching mandate.

Additionally, how funds are allocated and invested to maximize returns to Calgarians is another key component that requires review and action. Council can contribute to reducing the negative impacts of our local economy by executing a strategic investment capital plan that maximizes value and puts people to work. The 2016 Capital Budget Recast and Other Capital Revisions report is going to Priorities and Finance Committee on September 20th and is scheduled to arrive at Council on October 3, 2016. The capital re-positioning will be part of the capital budget report going to Council the week of November 21, 2016.

Ward Sutherland

Categories: Budget; City Finances; City Finances Blog; Councillor

Back | July 14, 2017

Bowness Wading Pool Update

July 24, 2017

The Bowness Wading Pool should be open for this upcoming weekend. Councillor Sutherland will confirm shortly.

July 13, 2017 Councillor Ward Sutherland attended a follow-up site visit at the Bowness Wading Pool. The cement was poured after the pipes were replaced. It will take three days to dry and then a round of tests. Once more information becomes available, this post will be updated.

July 10, 2017

The Ward 1 office is working with Calgary Parks and the City's contractor to resolve several issues that have delayed the completion of the Bowness Wading Pool. The delay is disappointing but it is important that the wading pool be built properly rather than have continual problems year after year.

On July 10th, Councillor Ward Sutherland attended a site visit. He would like to report that the last of the pipe replacement was completed. After cementing and further testing, The City estimates the wading pool may open as early as July 21, 2017. The Ward 1 office thanks you for your patience. When more information emerges, Councillor Sutherland will post the information on his website.

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Categories: Parks

Back | June 19, 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE- June 19, 2018

Event Centre Assessment Committee Announces Chair, Vice Chair

Calgary, AB – The Event Centre Assessment Committee (ECAC) today announces that Councillor Davison has been named the Chair of the Committee. The Committee also announces that Councillor Sutherland has been named the Vice Chair.

The new Committee, formed by Council on May 28, 2018, consists of Councillor Davison (Chair), Councillor Sutherland (Vice Chair), Councillor Keating, City Manager J. Fielding, Calgary Municipal Land Corporation President M. Brown, Calgary Economic Development Chair S. Allan, and Calgary Municipal Land Corporation Chair, L. Edwards.

The five voting members of the committee are the three City Councillors, the City Manager, and the President of the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation. The others join as non-voting advisory members. The committee may add advisory members as needed.

“It is now time for us to explore the best options for our key stakeholder: the citizens of Calgary,” said Councillor Davison. “I am very pleased to see this committee established and ready to go.”

“I’m excited about getting to work”, said Councillor Keating. “It’s time to leave the past behind us and focus on moving forward. What matters now is outcomes, and I believe we can find an outcome that works well for all parties involved.”

“Our committee’s mandate is to determine the development of a new Event Centre, a multi-purpose building that fits the goals of the City of Calgary,” said Councillor Sutherland. “I look forward to engaging all the partners necessary to accomplish a successful outcome for all.”

The Committee will meet monthly to discuss its exploratory work. -30-

Media contact:

Frano Cavar, Communications and Policy Liaison to Councillor Jeff Davison

E: Ward06@calgary.ca T:403-519-6046​

Categories: Councillor

Back | July 24, 2018

West Calgary Ring Road

On July 5th, 2018, The Province held an announcement regarding funding for the West Calgary Ring Road.

The Calgary Ring Road is one step closer to completion, with the final leg of the project getting underway. The procurement process will begin this year, with construction starting in 2019 and completion targeted for 2022, one year following the anticipated 2021 opening of the South West Calgary Ring Road.

The completed ring road will connect people to places so they can move around the city faster, improving traffic flow across Calgary and the region. It will also improve connections and the movement of goods.

Other benefits include:

  • It completes a 100-plus km free flow highway that connects people with communities, work and major destinations.
  • It allows for better movement of goods to Calgary, Alberta and western Canada. 
  • It connects Calgary’s major roads.
  • It connects to the Provincial highway system that surrounds the city.

This segment of the ring road completes the full ring road, linking communities in Wards 1, such as Valley Ridge and Crestmont into the ring road network. This will provide additional travel choices for communities on the west side of the city.

Want to know what the West Calgary Ring Road will look like when it's open? Click here to watch an interesting video from the Province on what to expect. ​

Categories: Councillor; Ring Road; Tranportation

Back | September 06, 2018

West Wing Road

Alberta Transportation is holding three public information sessions about the West Ring Road to answer questions about the project and planned strategies to minimize impacts for adjacent residents.

Representatives from The City will be there to provide information about the Bow Trail widening, intersection improvements and the connection to the West Ring Road.

The information sessions are drop-in and will be held in three locations:

  • Sept. 11, 5:30 - 8 pm, Strathcona Christie Aspen Community Association, 277 Strathcona Drive SW
  • Sept. 12, 5:30 - 8 pm, Pinebrook Golf and Country Club, 166 Pinebrook Way
  • Sept. 29, 9:30 am - 12 pm, Valley Ridge Golf Club, 11618 Valley Ridge Park NW

More information about the Ring Road and the information sessions is available on Alberta Transportation’s website at https://www.alberta.ca/west-calgary-ring-road.aspx

Information on the Bow Trail project is at

http://www.calgary.ca/Transportation/TI/Pages/Road-projects/Bow-Trail-Widening-and-Intersection-Improvements.aspx

Win a $75 gift certificate to Angels Drive In

Never miss another municipal or community update! Sign up to receive Councillor Ward Sutherland's monthly report at www.WardSutherland.com. Sign up before September 30, 2018 for a chance to win a $75 gift certificate to Angel's Drive In! ​

Categories: Councillor; Ring Road

Back | August 02, 2018

Sanitary Lateral Lining Program in Silver Springs

Water Services is conducting a pilot project in Silver Springs called the Sanitary Lateral Lining Program. This project will take place from April to November on select streets in the communities of Silver Springs. Please note that on the week August 10 – August 18, 2018, the streets that will be affected are Silver Hill Cres NW, Silverthorn Rd NW and Silver Hill Road NW

Program Summary

The Sanitary Lateral Lining Program is an innovative program that will install liners inside existing sanitary service pipes to extend the life of these assets. This trenchless process means that Water Services can rehabilitate these sanitary service lines without digging up streets and sidewalks. The contractor for this program is LiquiForce who have 9 years’ experience performing this work in Canada. 

Why this program is necessary? Aging sewer infrastructure in older communities in Calgary is vulnerable to tree root intrusions, sewage backups, and costly repairs. The Sanitary Service Lining Program is a pilot to rehabilitate the existing pipe by using trenchless technology to install a liner. This method is less costly overall and less disruptive to the community rather than traditional dig and replace methods. 

Impacts on residents Liquiforce crews will give impacted residences project information and an estimated start date 2-3 weeks prior to installation beginning. On the day of installation LiquiForce will notify residents in person 30 minutes prior to work starting. Homeowners and residence will be required to refrain from flushing their toilets, showers, bathtubs, washing machines and dishwashers for approximately two to three hours. That will help ensure that work can be completed efficiently, and reduces the risk of a sewer backup into the resident’s home. Residents may experience smells like plastic or glue coming into their homes. This will be a temporary issue and the smell should fade quickly. We are advising residents who have asthma or other respiratory issues of this scenario and asking them to take precautions during the work. We are asking residents to do two things before work begins in their neighbourhood:

  1. Please pour about four liters of water into every floor drain, laundry tub, bath tub and shower drain in your home. This may help eliminate fumes from entering your home. This can be done around 2 weeks after the homeowner or resident receives the estimated start date or the morning of if they are home when they receive their 30-minute notification of installation. 
  2. If the homeowner or resident is home during the installation, they cannot flush toilets, use the shower, bathtubs, dishwashers and washing machines. Homeowners or residents could experience sewer backup in their homes if appliances are used during the installation window. Water Services in working with the Contractor will do our best to make sure sewer backups do not happen. In case they do happen, to limit The City’s liability, Water Services has worked with Law to incorporate the following statement in the literature, “Any resulting damage that occurs at or to the home form the homeowner or resident failing to follow the instructions in this Notice, will be at the sole cost and expense of the homeowner.” 

This information will be made available to residents through notices, 311 and online at calgary.ca/waterprojects. If you have any questions or concerns about this pilot program, please feel free to contact me. 

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Categories: Water Services; Councillor

Back | September 27, 2018

Monthly report from Councillor Ward Sutherland - October issue

Welcome to October! In this issue, the Ward 1 Report has updates on:

  • legalization of cannabis
  • Vote 2018 - Vote of the Electors for the Olympic 2026 Bid
  • Ward 1 Traffic Safety Meeting for ALL WARD 1 RESIDENTS on Thursday, October 4th
  • Valley Ridge Pond Sendiment Cleanup
  • Bowmont West Fish Habitat Enhancement Project
  • contest for a $100 gift certificate to The Bownesian Grocer - the only grocery store in Bowness that supplies all your grocery needs

Enter The Bowensian Grocer contest now​! If you are already signed up, all you have to do is tag a friend on Ward’s Facebook page to sign up for the monthly Ward 1 Report. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/ward4ward1.​

Categories: Councillor; Councillor’s initiatives; Traffic; Ward 1 E-Newsletter

Back | April 23, 2018

2017 Corporate Annual Report

2018 April 23

Description

The City of Calgary’s 2017 Corporate Annual Report, featuring the audited consolidated financial statements along with highlights of significant accomplishments, will be presented to Council for approval on April 23. The City expects to receive an unmodified opinion from the external auditor, meaning that the consolidated 2017 financial statements are presented fairly, in all material respects, and in accordance with Canadian generally accepted accounting principles.

The consolidated financial statements have been prepared in accordance with principles and standards established by the Public Sector Accounting Board of Chartered Professional Accountants Canada.

This briefing note explains the differences between the consolidated financials presented in the 2017 Annual Report compared to figures in the Accountability Report and other publicly released reports.

Key Contact

Public Inquiries

311 Operations

Phone: 311 [outside Calgary: (403)268-2489]

Email: 311 ContactUs@calgary.ca

Current Status / Next Steps

  • The external auditor, Deloitte LLP is expected to be in a position to render their unmodified audit opinion following approval of the financial statements by City Council and completion of the final audit procedures.
  • A summary Report to Citizens will be placed in the Calgary Herald on 2018 April 26. The full annual report will also be available for stakeholders to access by entering ‘annual report’ in the search bar at www.calgary.ca .

Summary

  • The report’s title – Delivering value for citizens – underscores our common purpose in serving more than 1.2 million Calgarians we take pride in serving. The report shows that although this downturn has been difficult, The City continues to be financially stable and fiscally responsible.
  • It acknowledges that although 2017 was a year of recovery, Calgary’s most recent economic downturn has had a significant impact on the community. The report also shows how The City delivered value for citizens by quickly switching its focus from accommodating rapid growth to supporting the economy, keeping Calgarians working, and reducing the cost of local government:
  • Managing our costs and making our organization as efficient as possible
  • Strategically managing our infrastructure projects and investments
  • Ensuring we provide services that are of value to citizens and collectively strive to make life better every day for Calgarians.
  • The Annual Report is part of The City’s commitment to provide effective governance, increased accountability, transparency, and a well-run City. It provides a comprehensive view of the 2017 consolidated financial statements consistent with Canadian best practices applicable to municipalities.
  • The Canadian Public Sector Accounting Standards reporting model prescribes five indicators of performance. Together, these indicators help the reader understand how well The City has managed its finances in the year and where it stands in terms of resources held and debts owed at the end of the year.
  • Despite the changing economic environment, The City’s 2017 consolidated financial statements continued to reflect a strong financial picture of a municipality investing in infrastructure to facilitate economic growth, stimulate job creation, prepare for growth and build a more resilient city.
  • Strong fiscal management is confirmed by The City’s current credit ratings - identified among the best for Canadian Municipalities by Standard & Poor’s and the Dominion Bond Rating Service.
  • In 2017, The City was able to implement its business plans and budgets essentially as expected. The City is entering 2018 as the fourth and final year of a four-year plan and budget cycle that reflects its long-term goals, and continues to monitor its financial performance so that it can address local effects resulting from the recent economic downturn.

City/Stakeholder Roles

  • The role of Council is to govern The City of Calgary, Calgary’s municipal corporation, to ensure it provides the civic services Calgarians need and want.
  • The Audit Committee plays an integral role in financial and governance matters at The City and oversees risk management, internal controls and the integrity of the annual financial statements. It is comprised of seven independent members appointed by City Council, with the Mayor serving as an ex-officio member. The Committee meets regularly with the independent external auditors and the City Auditor to review financial controls and reporting matters.
  • Deloitte LLP, are the independent external auditors appointed by Council to audit the financial statements and provide assurance The City’s annual financial statements and reporting processes are carried in accordance with Canadian Generally Accepted Auditing Standards.
  • The City Auditor’s office reports directly to Council through Audit Committee and executes the audit program to ensure internal controls and their application are reviewed and financial information is tested and independently verified. 
  • Administration is responsible for preparing the consolidated financial statements in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles established by the Public Sector Accounting Board of Chartered Professional Accountants Canada. Management is responsible to maintain accounting, budget and other controls to provide reasonable assurance that transactions are appropriately authorized, assets are accounted for and financial records are reliable.

Questions & Answers

1. What is the difference between the information provided in the Annual report and the other publicly released reports such as the Accountability report?

The figures in the Annual report versus the Accountability report and other Budget reports are due to the following:

  • The Annual report is based on the results of the City of Calgary business units and the consolidated results of the City’s controlled entities (approved by board of directors of the City’s controlled entities).
  • The Accountability report reflects the results of the City of Calgary business units excluding the consolidated results of the City’s controlled entities.

Although the two reports have a similar purpose as far as providing transparent communication to Citizens around the City’s financial results, the inclusion of controlled entities within the Annual report makes the figures being presented different than the Accountability report. However, the results City Administration included in the Accountability report and referenced in other publicly release reports are accounted for in The City’s portion of the Annual report. For example, in the 2017 Annual report, the consolidated 2017 actual salary, wage and benefits amount is $2.013 billion (2016 – 1.976 billion) of which $1.936 billion (2016 -1.886) is The City Administration portion within that number.

In addition, Council approved budgets are prepared on a modified cash basis which differs from budget amounts reported in the annual report which are prepared using the accrual method in accordance with Public Sector Accounting Standards (PSAS). PSAS requires that originally planned budget information be presented in the annual report, however where the scope of financial activity reported in the fiscal plan is not the same as that reported in the financial statements, a reconciliation is required between the fiscal plan and the financial statements. This has been included as note 16 on page 57 of the annual report.

2. What has The City done to reduce the cost of local government and support the local economy?

Reducing the cost of local government has been a significant contributor in The City’s efforts to support Calgary’s economy. The City has intentionally managed costs and focused on making our organization as efficient as possible by finding ways to deliver high quality services at a lower cost, evaluating what services are truly needed by citizens and how to deliver services more efficiently. Since Council’s approval of the 2015-2018 Budget in late 2014, The City has achieved approximately $523 million in savings and efficiencies.

Strategically managing infrastructure projects and investments has also enabled The City’s continued efforts to support the local economy. In 2016, Infrastructure Calgary (IC) was directed by Council to identify capacity for reinvestment of The City’s continued efforts to support capital investment. This capacity was identified from capital reserves, off-site levy funds, unallocated and relinquished capital funds and grant funding. As a result, IC recommended 25 programs/projects that Council approved in principle in March 2017. This reinvestment of capital enabled The City to support needed infrastructure which provided short term economic stimulus, added resilience in the community including flood protection, maintained and preserved existing infrastructure and community assets through lifecycle funding, built a great community through legacy investments, and leveraged public and private investment. 

3. What makes up the $523 million in savings and efficiencies?

The $523 million is a combination of base and one-time cost reductions achieved between 2015-2018 to date and it reflects the results of several corporate programs and initiatives, such as

  • the Workforce Planning project,
  • the Budget Savings Account,
  • the ZBR program, and
  • Other initiatives undertaken by individual business units or services to bring their costs down.

Of the $523 million savings and efficiencies through operating cost efficiencies, labour cost containment, intentional savings (one-time) for tax relief, community services, low income transit pass, and utility rate reductions.

It also includes budget reductions that were possible because some of the expected growth in service volume did not materialize, and because inflation for some costs was less than originally expected.

Many of the cost reductions were achieved with no significant negative service level impacts – these can be considered true efficiency gains. However, these cost reductions did include some instances that reduced service levels – these were laid out for Council in the business plan and budget adjustments reports. Efficiency gains will continue to be part of our strategy going forward, although it’s important to note that this will be increasingly difficult going forward, given the costs that have already been taken out of the organization over the past four years.

4. Where can I find the $523 million in savings and efficiencies in the 2017 Annual Report?

The City is currently in the last year of the 2015-2018 business plan and budget. Throughout this cycle, there has been substantial effort by both Council and Administration to manage costs in response to the changing economic conditions of the Community. The $523 million in efficiencies and savings reflects the results achieved from 2015 and up until the 2018 budget adjustment process. The 2017 Annual report reflects the actual audited consolidated financial results for the fiscal year end December 31, 2017 and reflects the savings specific to the 2017 year. The highlights of the 2017 efficiency and savings is specifically reflected in the 2017 Financial Statement Discussion and Analysis section of the Annual report.   

5. What was the scope and objectives of the Corporate Workforce Planning project?

The scope of the Corporate Workforce Planning project was limited to City Administration only and it excluded Calgary Police Service, Legislative (City Auditor’s Office, Mayor’s Office, Office of the Councillors), Civic Partners, and Calgary Parking Authority. The objectives were to: 1) find savings in the base budget to reduce the 2018 tax rate increase; 2) align current workforce numbers and composition to service priorities and budget; 3) reconcile ongoing work with our workforce.

6. What did the Corporate Workforce Planning project accomplish?

City Administration achieved the following results from this initiative:

  • Budget savings - Savings of $20.2 million in the base operating budget were achieved by reducing previously approved permanent growth no longer required as our population did not increase at the rate anticipated when the Action Plan was adopted. As of December 2017, $14.5 million had been transferred to the budget savings account as a result of reducing the summer student program, delaying or not filling vacancies, and one-time savings from reducing growth no longer required.
  • City Administration Employee Headcount - one of the goals of the corporate workforce planning initiative was to reconcile the information contained in City systems to reflect the number of employees working at The City (in Administration) and their employee status (for example, permanent, temporary, seasonal and on-call). As a result of that work, between October 2016 and October 2017, City Administration reduced employee headcount by 420, from 15,476 to 15,056. During the same timeframe, there was a .5 per cent increase in permanent employees and a 29 per cent decrease in temporary employees as leaders made decisions on which work was permanent and temporary in nature.
  • Reconciling City Administration with budgets and service needs - another goal of the workforce planning initiative was to reconcile our workforce with current service needs and budgets. To do this, leaders examined each position and current service needs and determined whether funding was available to allow that work to continue. Vacancies that did not need to be filled were not filled or were used elsewhere for critical service delivery and a hiring freeze with limited exceptions was instituted. The result is that 427 FTEs have been contributed to a corporate pool and allocated on an as needed basis. Many were allocated to employees who have been in limited term positions that have been extended over and over because the work they are doing is ongoing in nature and capable of being funded within existing budgets.

7. Why are the FTEs shown in the annual report different than other figures referenced by City Administration? Sometimes when referring to The City’s workforce, the number of people employed by the City or headcount is referred to, as it better represents the workforce data. A Full Time Equivalent (FTE) represents a budgeted full time permanent position and those that are seasonal employees and/or limited term employees would not have an associated FTE but would be considered as part of the headcount.

References to headcount normally includes The City of Calgary business units and excludes headcount from controlled entities, whereas the annual report reflects the consolidated FTEs for The City of Calgary, including City business units and controlled entities (related authorities note 1 and 21 of the annual report). These entities are required to be consolidated into The City’s financial statements under Public Sector Accounting Standards (PSAS) issued by the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada.

Total City Administration headcount includes employees in City Administration who are permanent, permanent/trial, on probation and temporary, seasonal, on-call and student.

8. Why did salaries and wages increase from 2016 to 2017?

The 2017 increase in City Administration salaries and wages compared to 2016, correlate to the changes in FTE’s from 2016 to 2017 and to increases realized in December 2016 for civic employees who are members of the unions bound by the collective bargaining agreements. Also, during 2017 additional security measures were required to ensure continued safety of City employees working in the municipal building as a result of the truss structural issue which increased salaries and wages. In 2017, Calgary Police Service hired to fill new growth positions, Fire hired to fill new growth positions and incurred salary settlements, Calgary Housing Company hired to fill new growth positions to execute strategic projects, Parks and Recreation incurred wage settlement costs, all of these resulted in increases to salaries and wages. These were partially offset by workforce planning and review by City Administration to ensure that costs were reduced while maintaining service levels to citizens.

9. Why were City revenues lower than budgeted in 2017? Total City revenues (before external transfers for infrastructure) were approximately 1 per cent lower than budgeted for 2017, mainly as a result of lower than anticipated net municipal taxes, sales of goods and services, and lower equity in earnings of ENMAX partially offset by higher than budgeted investment income, licences, permits and fees, provincial government transfers, and miscellaneous revenue.

10. What does the five year revenue trend show? Average population growth + the City’s inflation has been about 5.6 per cent over the past five years (growth +CPI = 4.5 per cent). Overall revenues have not quite kept pace with The City’s growth and inflation. Some significant revenue sources (Franchise fees & returns) have averaged an annual decrease over this period. For example, the five-year annual average change in franchise fees is -1.6 per cent, revenue in lieu of property tax is -1.9 per cent, return on utilities and subs is – 2.2 per cent.

11. How does the City fund its operations other than property taxes? The City’s non-tax revenue sources include:

  • Sales of goods & services
  • Licenses, Permits & Fees
  • Franchise fees
  • Return on Utilities & ENMAX
  • Investment income
  • Government grants

12. Why does the report show a tax-supported operating surplus for 2017?

The $81 million tax-supported operating surplus reflects the actual costs which are largely reflective of lower than expected employee benefits costs, higher investment income, full reimbursement of the 2016 Fort McMurray fire costs from the Province, and lower corporate contingency expenses net of transfers to the Community Economic Resilience Fund to provide tax relief under the Phased Tax Program to assist non-residential property owners, Economic Development Investment Funds, and the Municipal Complex Structural Upgrade - Truss Recovery, partially offset by lower franchise fees.

13. What is The City’s debt position at the end of 2017? The City’s long-term debt component of liabilities (including self-supported and excluding ENMAX) decreased by $150 million in 2017 to $3.066 billion, from $3.217 billion at end of 2016. The Municipal Government Act (MGA) requires The City comply with two separate debt related limits which are expressed as a percentage of revenue:

  • The MGA Debt Limit - stipulates the maximum amount of debt principal that The City can have outstanding, including loan guarantees, and is calculated at two times revenue. At December 31, 2017 The City had used 40 per cent of its MGA debt limit.
  • The MGA Debt Service Limit - sets out the maximum amount of annual debt servicing (principal and interest) that The City can incur and is calculated at 35 per cent of revenue. At the end of 2017, 26 per cent of the MGA debt service limit has been used. Decisions made about capital investments could significantly impact The City’s debt position in the future.

14. Why does The City have reserves and what was the reserve balance at the end of 2017?

The City allocates funds to reserves to meet specific future operating and capital expenditure requirements and to provide for emergencies. Maintaining financial reserves is considered good management, allowing funds to be collected as available and spent judiciously to ensure service levels to Calgarians are maintained.

The reserve balances totaled $2.044 billion at the end of 2017 (2016 – 1.976 billion); of which there are commitments placed against the balance such as funding for flood projects, the newly established Economic Development Investment Fund, tax relief for non-residential property, Council approved one time funding, Community Economic Resiliency Fund, and funding for the low income transit pass. The net increase in the balance was primarily the result of increases in the Lifecycle Maintenance and Upgrades reserve, Budget Savings Account, and Utilities and Waste and Recycling Sustainment reserve, partially offset by reductions in reserves for Future Capital projects, Community Investment and Fiscal Stability.

15. How much did The City spend on capital projects in 2017? During 2017, The City spent $1.857 billion on capital projects (2016 – $1.763 billion), which included $1.548 billion for tax-supported projects (2016 – $1.406 billion). Spending on capital projects was primarily on roads and water infrastructure projects, the composting facility, and the Green Line LRT project.

16. Do we know how many jobs were created from The City’s 2017 spend on capital projects? The number of jobs created on a capital spend of $1.857 billion is estimated to be about 10,000 total temporary jobs, of which about 5,100 are expected to be indirect jobs. The numbers are calculated using the Calgary regional industry multiplier based on the latest data provided by Statistics Canada. The numbers are a rough average of the impact and the spinoff may be larger or smaller depending on the type of investment – as some investments may be more labour intensive than others.

17. What is the Fiscal Stability Reserve and why is it necessary? The purpose of the Fiscal Stability Reserve is to provide a contingency for urgent situations with significant financial implications and a source of funding for one-time operating projects. The reserve must maintain a minimum balance of 5% (with the target balance set at 15%) of The City’s annual tax-supported gross expenditures (net of recoveries), excluding the utilities. At 2017 year-end, The City's fiscal stability reserve balance was $493 million (2016 - $519 billion), which is 15.7% of total tax-supported gross expenditures (net of recoveries) before commitments. After outstanding commitments the balance is 10.8%.

18. What do the financial highlights for revenues and expenses indicate? The City had consolidated revenues of $3.756 billion in 2017 before external transfers for infrastructure (grants and revenue sharing from other governments plus funds and tangible capital assets from developers totaling $1.055 billion) (2016 — $3.766 billion, before external transfers of $1.177 billion). City consolidated expenses were $3.821 billion (2016 — $3.673 billion) before net ENMAX adjustments in the amount of $0.101 billion (2016 - $0.065 billion). Included in expenses is depreciation in the amount of $0.629 billion (2016 — $0.596 billion) as the estimated annual cost of owning and using The City’s capital assets. For 2017, net revenues including external contributions to infrastructure funds and tangible capital assets totaled $0.990 billion (2016 - $1.270 billion).

19. What needed to be restated in 2016 and why? In 2017, as a result of continued usage and refinement of capital asset accounting and management systems, certain prior year asset balances were identified that required correction and the financial statements have been retrospectively adjusted. These tangible capital asset balances primarily consisted of land, land improvements, engineered structures, buildings, and machinery and equipment. As a result, approximately $11.0 million in net adjustments was restated for 2016. The change represents less than 0.1 per cent of tangible capital assets.

In addition, The City identified an adjustment to their land inventory and miscellaneous revenue amounts due to an intercompany transaction that required correction. This correction has been reflected in these financial statements as a prior period adjustment to 2016 figures, resulting in an increase to land inventory, miscellaneous revenue and accumulated surplus of $12.4 million. These restated amounts had no effect on The City’s cash balances, property tax revenues or any other balances influencing The City’s grants received, property assessments, or any other related balances.

20. What is The City doing to address prior year restatements with regards to Tangible Capital Asset?

TCA reporting is being addressed by establishing a program to ensure consistent, compliant and simplified TCA processes across the organization and implementation of a costing system in 2017 to automate the processes where possible. This is intended to address current capitalization activities but is also identifying historical capital issues and making the necessary corrections.

21. Where can I find more detailed information about City operations pertaining to business plan and budget commitments and performance measures and targets?

The 2017 Year-End Accountability Report is a companion document to the Annual Report which provides more information on major elements of department business plans and budgets including: the status of all Council priorities, key challenges and accomplishments related to business plan commitments, updates on department budget performance (operating and capital budgets), and information on selected department performance measures.

Background

The City’s 2017 consolidated financial statements are prepared by management in accordance with Canadian generally accepted accounting principles for local governments established by the Public Sector Accounting Board (PSAB) of the Chartered Professional Accountants Canada.​​​

Categories: Councillor

Back | July 24, 2018

Snow and Ice Control Program Update

Improving accessibility and reducing injuries through Snow and Ice Control reform.

The Calgary City Council has approved one-time funding of $9.5 million to improve clearing of ice and snow from city-owned sidewalks for the 2018/19 winter. Council accepted the recommendations presented by administration, including amendments to the Street Bylaw 20M88 to improve, enhance, or expand the snow and ice control services for pedestrians.

Council will have the opportunity to discuss and provide direction around funding emphasis areas ahead of November 2018 budget deliberations at the July and September Strategic Council Meetings.

Watch the Motion on Monday, June 25, 2018 - 7.14 Improving Accessibility and Reducing Injuries through Snow and Ice Control - TT2018-0467. Click here. ​

Categories: Councillor; Snow and Ice

Back | March 14, 2018

Approved Amendments to Secondary Suite Application Process

Message from Ward Sutherland

The recent March 12, 2018 Council meeting regarding secondary suite engagement was extensive, with over 900 hundred written submissions received and many citizens coming to Council to give their perspective on secondary suites becoming discretionary.

I have always been supportive of secondary suites - in terms of needs and where appropriate; however, I have never supported blanket zoning of secondary suites.

The new Bylaw now makes secondary suites discretionary in all RC1 areas. The good news is, with this new Bylaw, there will be a mandatory secondary suite registry. This will create better controls and ensure these suites are safe. Additionally, it will give our Bylaws the ability to deal with illegal and unsafe secondary suites, and we have established fines in order to reinforce and address these issues.

I encourage you to read the details contained in the article below, and on the city website.

Calgarians to benefit from streamlined secondary suite application process

Calgarians to benefit from streamlined secondary suite application process On March 12, 2018, City Council approved amendments to the Land Use Bylaw to allow secondary suites as a discretionary use within R-1, R-C1, and R-C1L land use districts. Council also directed Administration to return with new rules for backyard suites in these districts before the end of 2018.

Now, instead of applying to Council, home owners will file a development permit with the planning department. Applications will be reviewed by planning staff and a decision made based on its planning merits and whether it follows the requirements for secondary suites. Community associations and neighbours are also given the opportunity to provide comments during the review process, and a decision on a discretionary development permit may be appealed.

Owners of illegal suites will now have an easier time applying for the proper permits required to bring their suites up to safety standards. “With these changes, we anticipate more owners of illegal suites coming forward with applications to upgrade their suites, to make them safer,” says Lisa Kahn, Growth Strategies Coordinator at The City of Calgary. “The proposed changes mean that property owners have the ability to develop a suite without having to go through the lengthy City Council approval process, but will work with Planning and Development staff at The City of Calgary to ensure that all the requirements – like off-street parking, window sizes and safety codes – are met.”

The mandatory suite registry was also approved along with a 2-year amnesty period (until June 1, 2020). This will allow the City to work with owners of existing illegal suites to make them legal and safe. As part of the amnesty, the development permit fee and the registry fee will be waived for all applicants. Applications made after June 1, 2020 will be required to pay the development permit fee and the suite registry fee.

The mandatory registry will contain a list of all legal and safe secondary suites in Calgary, allowing potential tenants to verify if a suite has met the life safety requirements under Alberta Safety Codes before renting. Legal suites not currently on the registry can voluntarily register from now until June 1st 2020 for free. Council has asked administration to come back with further details and requirements on how the registry could function as a monitoring tool for safe and compliant suites before June 1, 2018.

While the addition of backyard suites to these land use areas was approved, Council directed not to accept applications for these uses in these districts until administration comes back before the end of the year with guidelines and recommendations on design.

More information, and updates on these changes, can be found online at www.calgary.ca/suitereform.

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Categories: Councillor; Secondary Suites

Back | September 11, 2018

Hustle for the House (formerly Rock the House Run)

On Saturday, September 16, 2018, Hustle for the House begins at 8:30 a.m. at Market Mall – Hudson’s Bay North Parking Lot. The event includes a 1K McDonald’s Go Active! Walk, a 5K Walk/Run, and a 10K Run. For more information about the event, visit Ronald McDonald House Charities.

A special event for families and our younger athletes. Join us at the Family Festival area for complimentary snacks, balloon twisters, bouncy castles, caricature artists, food trucks, games & activities, a petting zoo, face painting, photo booth and a live band.

Click to view Roads Special Event routes and no parking and a map of community access restriction information signs.

Please contact our Events Manager should you have any questions or concerns. Morgan Scott: mscott@rmhcsca.org or 403.240.3000 Ext 174.

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Categories: Community; Events

Back | July 19, 2016

Please note that there is an upcoming closure of the Bowness Bridge between Bow Crescent and 52 Street N.W. This closure will occur from 12:01 a.m. until 5 a.m. on Thursday, July 21. The reason for the closure is to remove two existing high mast streetlights that have reached the end of their life. The new lighting plan will reduce light pollution in the area.

Motorists who use this bridge are asked to find an alternate travel route until the bridge can be re-opened at 5 a.m. Appropriate signage and safety precautions will let motorists know about the work and detour.

Thank you for your patience while this essential work is being completed.

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Categories: Councillor; Traffic

Back | August 02, 2018

New All-Way Stop – Tuscany Blvd & Tuscany Drive NW

Councillor Ward Sutherland is pleased to announce the implementation of a new all-way stop at Tuscany Blvd and Tuscany Drive NW.

Previously, residents had raised their concerns about the intersection because the Drive was straight through and residents of the condo complex -Toscana Gardens – did not feel safe entering the Drive. This all-way stop should now address that problem. 

Councillor Sutherland would like to thank the Tuscany Community Association Board for endorsing this improvement, and the City Roads Department for reviewing this intersection and implementing the solution.

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Categories: Councillor

Back | May 28, 2018

ENMAX Projects

 

ENMAX Power Corporation (ENMAX) has started engaging stakeholders in Ward 1 regarding two upcoming projects in the Tuscany and Varsity communities. All changes will occur on existing ENMAX property.

 

Tuscany - ENMAX No. 36 Substation Project

The current proposal is to replace an autotransformer with one of higher capacity at ENMAX No.36 Substation located in the Tuscany Community, at 10202 Bearspaw Dam Road NW. This project includes adding and modifying any associated equipment required for the transmission development. The proposed project aims to improve reliability of the substation and electricity services.

 

Proposed Schedule

 

ENMAX plans to file the Facility Application in July 2018. The application will be going to the Province through the Alberta Utilities Commission and The City will have no involvement in the public engagement and appeal processes. If approvals are granted, construction is expected to begin in September 2018, followed by a proposed in-service date of December 2018.

 

Varsity - ENMAX No. 16Substation Project

The upcoming project is to upgrade the ENMAX No.36 Substation located in the Varsity Community, at 5430 53 Ave NW. This project consists of installing new switchgear and associated protection controls, and the construction of a new control building and expansion of the current fence. The proposed project will mitigate safety concerns and improve substation and electricity services.

 

Proposed Schedule

 

ENMAX plans to file the Facility Application in June 2018. Like the no. 36 Substation project, the application will be going to the Province and The City will have no involvement in the public engagement and appeal processes. If approvals are granted, construction is expected to begin in March 2019, followed by a proposed in-service date of July 2020.

 

More information will be available for each project, once the respective application processes are completed.

 

For more information about these proposed projects, please contact ENMAX with all inquiries and concerns:

 

ENMAX Power Corporation

 

Phone: 403-514-1471

 

Email: transmissionprojects@enmax.com

 

Website: enmax.com/transmissionprojects

Categories: Councillor

Back | September 24, 2018

Valley Ridge Pond Sediment Cleanup and Oil-Grit Separator Construction Project Water

Background

Over the past few years, Water Services has been active in the community, conducting pond sediment removal on the golf course near hole #12 and most recently, installing an Oil & Grit Separator (OGS) in 2017. To finalize this work, Water Services and its contractor will be in your area to clean sediment from the storm pond near hole #13 and to install another Oil & Grit Separator (OGS) northwest of the Valley Ridge Drive N.W. and Valley Ridge Boulevard N.W. intersection.

Benefits of an OGS

An OGS is an underground pre-cast concrete structure that captures sediment, screens debris and separates oil from storm water runoff and snowmelt. The major environmental benefit comes in the form of improved downstream water quality by preventing contaminants and sediments from entering our streams and rivers through the storm drainage network. Additional benefits include the reduced chance of flooding in your area due to sediment buildup and backups in the pipes; as well, it can extend the life of a storm pond, thereby eliminating costly pond dredging and accompanying construction activity in your neighborhood.

Project Timeline

The project starts mid-October and is expected to be completed by mid-December 2018. This map identifies the work areas on Valley Ridge Drive N.W. as well as impacts to the overall community.

Construction Impacts 

  • Approximately 150m closure of westbound lanes on Valley Ridge Drive N.W. at the intersection with Valley Ridge Boulevard N.W. Eastbound lanes will accommodate two-way traffic.
  • Temporary traffic signs and barriers will be installed to control traffic flow.
  • Residents in the impacted area may be affected by traffic lineups and delays.
  • The pedestrian sidewalk will be closed within the construction area temporarily, during the sediment removal.
  • Speed limit through this area will be reduced to 30 kph.
  • Increased traffic to site (construction crews, trucks hauling materials to and from site).
  • Construction noise, vibration and possible dust during work hours (7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Saturday)
  • Note: No service disruptions to water or sewer. 

Project Information

A Questions + Information Session will be held in the River Room at the Valley Ridge Golf Course on Monday, October 1 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Information will also be available by calling 311 or on the website www.calgary.ca

To view a close-up of the work areas on Valley Ridge Drive N.W. as well as the impacts to the overall community, click here.

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Categories: Councillor; Water Services

Back | July 31, 2018

New skatepark in Bowness

The City of Calgary Recreation is happy to announce that a new skatepark was awarded to Bowness, and it will be located in Queen Elizabeth Park at 4324 77 St. N.W. The City would like to acknowledge the support from the Bowness Community Association, the Bowness Legion #238, the local branch of the Boys & Girls Club of Calgary and Councillor Ward Sutherland. Ward is pleased that he was able to help bring this much anticipated community amenity to the youth of Bowness.

Being sensitive to the location and its significance in the community, The City engaged the Local Legion #238 and received their endorsement of the skatepark. The design of the skatepark will complement the historic relevance of Queen Elizabeth Park and have design elements that honour our veterans. It will also incorporate what was heard during The City's 2014 and 2016 participatory design sessions.

Construction of the Bowness skate spot will begin in late September or early October 2018. This park will take 12 weeks to construct and is anticipated to be complete and open to the public by January of 2019. Seasonal deficiency work, such as landscaping, will be completed at this site in the spring of 2019. City liaisons will continue to work with the community stakeholder groups to support the development of the park, the public art program delivery, and are planning for grand opening ceremonies to be held in 2019. We want to thank the community volunteers and supporters for their time an effort to bring this project into the Bowness Community.

To view the concept drawings for the new skatepark, click here.

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Categories: Councillor

Back | June 20, 2016

Please note that all opinions expressed here are my personal views.

City of Calgary Tax Crisis - Danger or Opportunity?

When you are in a crisis, the situation can be approached from two different perspectives - Panic (Danger Reaction) or Pragmatic (Solution-based Opportunity). The Danger approach tends to be more emotionally based. It lacks in-depth research and understanding of the City's finance structure, throw politics in the mix and it is much easier to use "sound bites" to address the topic.

We have an opportunity to look at things pragmatically - utilizing various financial buckets (reserves, contingency funds, etc.) such as Pay as you go, current dedicated tax room allocations, and temporarily reallocating them. The Fiscal Stability Reserve could be used in a combination or substituted for one time or fill the gap in reserves, however, one time payments lead to tax room showing up the next year. We need to focus on continued improvements, etc. and yes, even some minor cuts ( which would be the last resort). The budget differences between 2017 and 2018 are significant and now the gap needs to be addressed.

It is important to think further ahead than just 2017. These decisions may have impact on others years and all influences must be reviewed. As mentioned in my last blog, labour contracts (4 years duration) renew in 2018. This is a critical component of the property tax increase (currently 3%).

I talked to hundreds of people in the past few months who have been either laid off or forced into reduced work weeks or straight wage decreases (up to 15%). Our four year labour contracts have been very generous (+3.1% Average per year) in light of the current economic environment. I appreciate that these contracts were agreed upon in early 2013 when the economy was very strong. From my perspective, the contracts must be honoured with no demands for roll backs or layoffs; however, in moving forward we need understanding and cooperation to move taxes lower. This is for the sake of the Corporation and all Calgarians.

I have been criticized by the unions as being "political" about discussing wages. This is the furthest thing from the truth - it is simply "math and finances", which is my job. We cannot afford to continually increase our operating budget at the same pace as we have over the last 6 years. The cumulative effect of 2010 (three year average of 9.8% increase in property tax) has surfaced.

The last two years of Zero Base Reviews have found over $56M in savings/efficiencies. This is only five departments so far, but we will continue to execute these reviews in various other departments over the years to come. City Administration understands the current economic environment and continues to find savings and support efficiencies in its departments. They have found over $86M in savings the last two years and will not stop there. Are they at the bone? No, the ZBRs still have usefulness and should be continued. Additionally, 470 positions are still being held vacant over the last two years.

We also need to review and consider what areas of business the City should be in. An example is waste collection - should it be 50% private and 50% City ? We need to create a competitive environment which benefits all parties. Golf courses are another area that have been a financial drain. Should we look at different delivery models? We currently contract out the operations of our recreation centres with good results. I believe there are several opportunities to contract out, and other areas that make sense to keep in-house.

I believe it's important to have a balance between government and private services. This is not an argument about choosing between unions or private enterprise as sole providers. Both parties must deliver services at a strong level and at a competitive cost. This is simple - the City's job is to deliver good, consistent service at the best price. Our Customers are the residents of Calgary, businesses, various industries, and visitors.

Our businesses are carrying a heavy burden made up of taxes, CPP increases, tax increases and an upcoming Carbon Tax. We will address our responsibility at the City level by reducing our taxes in the upcoming tax year and implementing our infrastructure program; however, we do not have the resources to solve all the businesses's economic issues. Unfortunately, more businesses will go under in the near future. Businesses should be challenging the other levels of government regarding the policies that they consider counter-productive.

Council has some very serious considerations in many different areas of the Corporation this upcoming strategic meeting. On June 27th, Administration will bring forward an additional cut to approximately 1.5% or so. I am confident Council can show leadership and achieve the zero tax target without any significant cuts to services. I intend to continue championing this reduction as I have the last three years. For others to imply it’s because of an election year is insincere; my track record for reduction has been consistent from day one. Residents and businesses need to “catch their breath” and we have the opportunity to deliver.

We are at a critical "Crisis Point on Taxes" and I see great opportunity!

Ward

Vice Chair

Priorities & Finance

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Categories: Budget; City Finances; City Finances Blog; Councillor; Councillor’s initiatives

Back | September 10, 2018

Re: This weeks’ Notice of Motion: Street Safety and Neighbourhood Speed Limits

Hello everyone, I’d like to share my thoughts on the captioned Notice of Motion. I can appreciate the desire to make our streets safer for pedestrians; however, I do have concerns regarding the approach and recommendations of action in the Notice of Motion itself.

In determining an outcome, it’s important to address both the core issues and the details of the current outcomes. The current number of accidents that occur in non-intersections is extremely low and tends to be consistently distributed throughout the entire day.

The data reveals some interesting outcomes, such as 67% of pedestrians injured were impaired while crossing the street without the right of way, compared to 28% for all collisions. Fifty-one of pedestrians who were impaired were struck at non-intersection locations. Drivers under the influence who struck pedestrians was 3.1%. When looking at pedestrians’ accidents, 24% of them were distracted in some manner. Sixty per cent of pedestrian casualty collisions in intersections occurred at locations with traffic signals.

When you take the actual data into consideration, I am not sure how a 30KPH mandated speed limit would resolve the core issues. Secondly, why would we not have public consultation? I cannot dispute that at 30KPH an injury is less traumatic; however, according to the data, this is not the core issue.

Additionally, the criteria for determining which roads should have what speed limit and which should not, is complicated, and I am not sure how we are going to make it simple for Calgarians to know “what road is what speed”?

Lastly, the recommendation of moving forward for traffic calming and infrastructure costs is currently estimated between $200M-$500M. This is an unrealistic fix. Even a temporary infrastructure fix may run $25M-$50M for major locations ($16M is a 1% tax increase).

Personally, I think that 50KPH is too fast in residential areas (not including boulevards, etc.). Whether the speed limit should be 30KPH or 40 KPH is debatable. What I think is more appropriate is to have extensive public consultations that address the core issues and determine long term recommendations that can be phased in over time.

Ward Sutherland ​

Categories: Councillor

Back | July 30, 2018

Water Resources Projects in Rocky Ridge and Royal Oak

The City of Calgary is partnering with the University of Alberta to study stormwater runoff, sediment and nutrient loading in four storm ponds in various Calgary communities. Storm ponds capture and retain stormwater, allowing it to slow down water and settle out sediment and other pollutants. This helps return cleaner water to rivers and streams. The purpose of this study is to help understand how these stormwater ponds are performing in preventing sediment and other pollutants from entering Calgary’s rivers and streams.

In the spring of 2018, researchers started collecting water samples.

Residents in Rocky Ridge and Royal Oak may see a project scientist wading into these pond or using small boats to take samples over the summer of 2018 and 2019.

The location of the ponds in Rocky Ridge and Royal Oak are:

  • 100R Rocky Ridge LD NW
  • 10602 Rocky Ridge Rd NW

Keeping our waterways healthy is a priority for The City of Calgary. The results of this study will help inform The City’s Total Loading Management Plan, which aims to reduce pollution from entering the rivers.

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Categories: Councillor

Back | August 21, 2018

Rocky Ridge – Community Park Initiative

The Community Park Initiative (CPI) seeks to inspire residents to enhance their local park system by allowing them to prioritize which amenities and services their parks receive. Calgary Parks is in the process of implementing the recommendations from the Sport Field Strategy. Through a review of the bookings and booking procedures, the strategy identified that there are multiple fields across the City which have low to no formal usage. One of these fields is located in the community of Rocky Ridge at 33 Rockyvale Green N.W.

The CPI program will work with the community of Rocky Ridge and various user groups to determine what the future intent of the site should be. Calgary Parks will be reaching out to the Rocky Ridge Community Association in the coming months regarding this site. For more information about CPI or to view the Rocky Ridge Project map, click on the links below.

Resources

Community Park Initiative Overview

Rocky Ridge Project Map

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Categories: Councillor; Parks

Back | September 12, 2018

Olympic Bid - Vote 2018

On July 31, 2018 Council approved a Vote of the Electors in respect to Calgary hosting the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Vote 2018 will take place on Tuesday, November 13 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The question on the ballot will be:

Are you for or are you against Calgary hosting the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games?

__ I am for Calgary hosting

__ I am against Calgary hosting

Vote Day is November 13, 2018

Voters must vote at their designated voting station on Vote Day. Voting stations will be open from 8a.m. to 8 p.m. on Vote Day. The locations of designated voting stations will be available on October 1, 2018.

Advance Vote is November 6 – 7, 2018

Voters must vote at their designated voting station. Voting stations will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. for the Advance Vote. The locations of designated voting stations will be available on October 1, 2018.

Mail-in ballot requests

You may request a Mail-in Ballot if you are unable to vote during the Advance Vote or on Vote Day because:

  • of physical incapacity; or
  • you are absent from the city; or
  • you are working Vote Day as a vote worker or volunteering/working on a campaign.

Mail-in ballot request will open October 1, 2018.

Mail-in Ballots must be received by the Elections & Census Office no later than 4 p.m. on Vote Day (November 13, 2018).

What’s new this year?

For the first time in a Calgary municipal election, vote tabulators will be used. This will help speed up the ballot-counting process. The City has also reviewed their voting subdivision areas (the area each voting station serves), voting station locations and the voting station process. This will help speed up the voting process.

For more frequently asked questions, visit www.Calgary.ca/vote2018

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Categories: Councillor

Back | October 03, 2018

Coming Soon – New Public Art at Rocky Ridge YMCA

The installation work for Ascend is scheduled to start on Tuesday, October 2 and will continue until the end of November. Laura Haddad and Thomas Drugan from Haddad | Drugan are the artist team behind Ascend. With over twenty public art commissions throughout North America, Haddad|Drugan’s work is widely published and honored with a variety of awards. Their most well-known works include:

  • Emerald City, an environmental artwork at the entry to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport,
  • Sun Spot, an iconic set of sculptures for the Denver Animal Shelter, and
  • Water Mark, large-scale sculptures and earthworks that both control and enhance perception of flood events in Scottsdale, Arizona’s Indian Bend Wash.

The call to artists that was sent out in 2013 was open to Canadian and international artists. The jury process chose who they thought was the best candidate.

Budget

The budget for the Rocky Ridge Recreation Centre Public Art Project (which produced the Flock and Ascend artworks) was the per cent for art resulting from the capital budget for the recreation centre construction.

How much did the artwork cost?

The cost of the Ascend artwork is approximately $911,000 CAD. This includes actual spend plus estimates for upcoming expenditures, so the final amount may be less. This does not include administration costs. The total public art project budget, including administration costs (which may not all be spent) is $1.49 million CAD for both Flock and Ascend.

What were the artists asked to do?

The artists were asked to create an artwork that would:

  • Be responsive to the natural environment, and
  • Create memorial, iconic experiences that reflect the identity of the community, landscape, and facility.

What is it supposed to be? This form was inspired by the changing shapes of flocks of birds ascending and descending; horns; the movement of herds; the curves of Chinook clouds; and animal nests and dens.

As people move around or between the sculptures, the two forms will appear to combine and separate, depending on the view. Each sculpture on its own may evoke the shape of a cornucopia or the horn of plenty. From another angle, the shape may look more like bison horns or mythical creatures.

The artwork consists of two monumental sculptures, each about 14 metres (45 feet) high, 6 metres (20 feet) wide and 10.5 metres (34 feet) long. The two sculptures are mirror images of each other.

Composed of an open matrix of stainless steel tubes set on larger stainless steel columns, the design creates visual structures that are both strong and light. Acrylic prisms will be placed at the end of some of the tubes, which will break the sunlight into spectrums of iridescent colour.

Through input from the community process, there was interest that the art should embrace the natural environment and views of and from the site. To achieve this, the hill on the northeast portion of the site was chosen as the most appropriate location to install Ascend.

The hill is a very unique and special art opportunity. It is believed that the artwork will be visible from surrounding locations and the new centre. An important goal was to draw people to the top of the hill, where they will be treated to not only a close-up experience of the art but also an immersive environmental experience and views out to the Rocky Mountains. The artwork will be a destination overlooking the recreation centre and inviting visitors.

Naming Contest

Details are still being worked out, but starting in fall 2018 The City is planning a contest where the public has the opportunity to propose a new name for the monumental sculptures on the knoll to the artists.

For details, visit www.Calgary.ca/publicart website. Got questions? Call 311.

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Categories: Councillor

Back | May 12, 2016

Vice Chair Blog – Provincial Budget Analysis

Attached is an informative chart that represents the general outcome of the recently announced provincial budget and the impact to the City of Calgary and Calgarians. At council, during the mid-cycle budget we will need to address the specific impacts and prioritize our finances. I will provide an update after the debate. Sincerely, Ward Sutherland Never miss another municipal or community update!

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Categories: City Finances; City Finances Blog; Councillor

Back | June 07, 2018

Damaged trees

The snowy and cold winter made it difficult for local wildlife to search for sources of food. In some communities, local jackrabbit populations have damaged trees by eating the bark off them through the winter months. For example, in Tuscany, 75 trees were damaged.

With the high snow levels this winter, hares were able to access higher parts of the trees, often on trees with protective wire. Many of the young trees that have been stripped of bark will not recover and will need to be removed. The City is redirecting tree planting funds to supplement planting in areas that have been severely affected by the hares.

Tree replacements

Calgary Parks intends to replace the impacted trees and are in the process of updating their Urban Forestry work plans. They will also monitor to see how many trees survive and then focus efforts on tree replacements. Calgary Parks will update our office on the progress and final tally of replacement trees. The goal is approximately 200 replacements this year with the remainder planted in 2019. Please be aware The City intends to remove a select number of trees this year and not replace them until next year.

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Categories: Councillor

Back | June 13, 2016

Just the Facts on our Taxes (let’s get rid of the Rhetoric)

It’s interesting to note, given the significant recent backlash and press coverage, Zero tax increases now seem acceptable to many of the Council members. When I started as Vice Chair of Priorities and Finance, I made it my mission to dive into “the weeds” of the City’s corporate finances and structure. I wanted to be sure that I understood the various “buckets”, allocations and accounting practices that were in place. In addition, I invested significant time analyzing the Zero Base Review process and examining the gaps in the process of the review system (benchmarking performance). I truly believed then, as I still do now, that our taxes have been too high for years.

The previous 2010 Council (of whom 10 members are still in the current 2013 Council) passed tax increases to a high of 13% and an average of 9.8%. Additionally, there were two significant opportunities to decide what to do with tax room ($52M in Transit and $42M in Recreation). These were voted on by Council and went to projects, rather than being used to lower the base tax rate. 

Defaults on credit cards and car loans are rising; this is normally a forecast of mortgage default next. Unfortunately, it is recognized that the Calgary economy has not reached the bottom. We will see more businesses go under and unemployment continue to climb in Calgary. (Note - some people will migrate to Ft. McMurray for jobs in the recovery process and this will affect the numbers). The addition of the Carbon Tax, corporate tax, and potential $15/hour minimum wage is counter-productive and only serves to accelerate even more small businesses going under.

The current Council’s tax increase average is 4.24% (which is half of the last Council’s average increase), and which is still too high under the circumstances. Although this has been the lowest tax increase in over 11 years, we can go lower. After the recent capital budget in March, I sent out an email the same month to all of my Council peers, with detailed information on our major cost factors and various options on how to get to zero. As I continue to go through the numbers with other Councillors, there have been several additional good ideas on how to reduce taxes without any significant impact in services. We have room in Pay As You Go (the Transit room). Also in 2018, $10M in tax room will become available.

We can get to zero WITHOUT significant impacts to service. We do not have to close libraries, nor reduce police, etc. When you throw these types of scenarios out to the public, it does become political (and unfortunately, it is often without factual basis). We need to be firm in our 2018 negotiations, because it will be a 4 year contract. The breakdown of the Current 4 year contract is as follows: 2014-1.8%, 2015-3.2%, 2016-3.5%, 2017-4.0%, with the Average being 3.1%. (Note - out of the 3.5% Tax increase in 2016, 3.04% was for contract labour increases).

We have an obligation to listen to our citizens and deliver the best services at the lowest cost possible. We also need to understand the long term impacts of our decisions. The other two levels of governments are increasing taxes and adding fees, and do not support an environment of growth. We will need to address the Carbon Tax add-on of $7M to our operating budget in 2017. Council has an opportunity to reduce taxes and provide a “Seed Multiplier” with our capital dollars. This means providing various modes of financial investments (infrastructure, etc.) that will create more (multiplier) investment dollars from private industry. This has two significant benefits to Calgarians – 1). smart direct job creation and 2). catching up on overdue infrastructure at a lower cost. It’s important to note, we will NOT be borrowing any money on our capital fund budget.

We need to work together to minimize impacts, and we do not need to fear monger. This is Finance budgeting, which is operations and capital; they are both intertwined and have implications in the future in terms of taxes. 

Let’s get rid of the rhetoric.

Get engaged, let your Councillor know your point of view.

Ward Sutherland

Vice Chair

Priorities and Finance

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Categories: Budget; City Finances; City Finances Blog

Back | April 21, 2016

Vice Chair Priorities and Finance

There have been some inaccurate statements from the provincial government regarding the education tax. Please see the facts below:

There are two factors that affect the amount that Calgary property owners pay in provincial education property taxes – the increase in the total cost of education to be paid by property tax, and the change in property assessments.

  1. The total cost of education to be paid by property tax increased in 2016 from 2015. The Province of Alberta reported that for 2016/17 they will collect about $2.414 billion in education property taxes. This was reported as an increase of about $153 million (6.8%) over 2015/16.  In short, more property tax is required by the Province to fund education.
  2. The change in the equalized assessment base in Calgary, in relation to the change in the total provincial equalized assessment base, increased greater than the overall equalized assessment base for Alberta. In short, Calgary property owners “picked up” more of the overall education property tax requisition. It should be noted that the provincial calculated equalized assessments have a one-year lag when compared to municipalities’ assessments.

The interplay of these two factors affects the change in the provincial education tax rate for Calgary property owners. For residential property owners, the increase in the provincial education tax is 10.2%.

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Categories: Councillor; City Finances Blog; Tax

Back | June 17, 2016

The City is committed to making Calgary a safe, flood resilient community. The 2013 flood caused significant social and economic disruption and unprecedented damages. The road from recovery to resiliency is a complex, long term process over many years with short, medium and long term milestones.

Since the 2013 flood:

  • We’ve Recovered: We are building back stronger from the 2013 flood. 75% of the 217 flood recovery projects have been completed and many of them have flood resiliency improvements.
  • We’re Prepared: To make Calgary more resilient to future events, The City is implementing the 27 recommendations from the 2014 Expert Management Panel Report on River Flood Mitigation.
  • We’re Moving Forward: We recognize the significant scale of impact and the considerable investments needed for further flood mitigation. To ensure we have the best suite of mitigation measures and adequate funding The City is working with Calgarians, stakeholders and other orders of government.

The City is pleased to provide an update on how we are building resilience to flooding in Calgary.

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Categories: Flood Mitigation; Councillor

Back | March 21, 2016

Interested in learning about the City of Calgary's Economic Resiliency strategy to support declining oil prices? Read Economic 2016 Economic Resilience - March Update

Highlights include:

  • Economic Resilience 2015 initiatives
  • Economic Resilience 2016 KRAs
  • Calgary Economic Development
  • Corporate Economics – Historical and current indicators
  • Resilience 2015 Initiative Highlights

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Categories: City Finances Blog; Economics; Ward 1 E-Newsletter

Back | April 01, 2016

TransCanada Highway (TCH) – Sarcee Trail Interchange Update

Site preparation for the new interchange at Trans Canada Highway (TCH) and Sarcee Trail is scheduled to commence the week of April 4, 2016.

The interchange project starts with tree removal and the transplanting of some rare grasses to a protected area. As Calgary is experiencing an extremely mild winter, this important first step is necessary to prevent birds from nesting in the development area.

Every effort has been made to maintain the natural environment and to minimize tree removals. The area was surveyed and a value was assigned to the trees being removed which will be used to replant trees within the surrounding community.

The TCH-Sarcee Interchange is a joint project between The City of Calgary and Trinity. For continued updates on the project, please visit www.TrinityHills.ca/TCHSarcee.

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Categories: Councillor; Developments and Projects

Back | February 17, 2016

I have reviewed feedback from Ward 1 constituents who have contacted my office in support of Uber operating in Calgary. In response, I am pleased to report that The City of Calgary is working to propose new changes to the Livery Transport Bylaw that will create the opportunity for Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) such as Uber to legally operate in Calgary.

I would also like to address Uber's publicly stated concerns with The City's proposed amendments with a few facts. In December, The City and Uber issued a joint agreement stating that they would work together to develop solutions for new transportation options that are safe and reliable for Calgarians. However, on February 8th, Uber told Calgarians that the City's proposed bylaws are unworkable.

Fact and fiction

Uber has stated that the fee structure is prohibitive.

The proposed annual licensing fee of $220 per driver is a reasonable cost to help with the operational cost of enforcement. This fee ensures Calgarian tax payers are not paying the costs of the administrative fees required to process licences. Calgarians should not be expected to subsidize profitable private businesses. TNCs have the opportunity to subsidize these fees or pay for them outright to support their drivers. The City proposes a vehicle safety inspection fee, which ranges from $140 - $179. This inspection fee is necessary to ensure vehicles meet the proper safety standards. Other fees include a Calgary Police Services (CPS) criminal history check ($30) and a vulnerable sector check ($25 only if finger prints are required).

Uber is opposed to the comprehensive Calgary Police Service (CPS) criminal history check and would like to perform its own background checks through a third-party company. Uber insists that the 8-day turnaround required for a CPS check is unreasonable.

CPS checks are the most comprehensive available and look into pardons for previous sexual offences as well as national police information. Currently, Uber uses a private third-party check, which has limited access to many criminal history databases. Note that Calgary taxi drivers must undergo the CPS check to qualify for a license.

Uber opposes the proposal for provincially-approved vehicle inspections every six months.

Mechanical inspections ensure the safety of passengers, drivers and citizens. All TNC vehicles should undergo a provincially-approved vehicle inspection every six months, a regulation that the taxi industry already complies with. The proposed inspection is a 134 point inspection, which is far more comprehensive than Uber's preferred standard. Uber would also like to see a one-month delay from the time of licensing to the requirement of an inspection being conducted. However, if a vehicle is unsafe, this would open up Calgarians to unnecessary risk.

Uber's desire to not comply with the province's standards will save the company money. A comprehensive safety inspection fee that The City recommends ranges from $140 to $179 and is conducted by a mechanic. The less comprehensive Uber safety check costs between $69 and $100 and can be conducted by a technician. Is the company's savings worth the risk, particularly in light of Uber's current stance on insurance.

The City has been informing drivers, passengers and the general public about risks involved in using private for-hire vehicle services. The Government of Alberta has issued an advisory notice on ride sharing services and the insurance risk they currently pose to drivers and the public, noting any third party involved in an accident in or with one of these vehicles may not have insurance.

Uber has stated that Calgary should consider the same regulatory framework that Edmonton has approved. Uber has also stated The City's proposal is unworkable for their business model.

Though there are differences between the two frameworks, I disagree that Calgary's proposal is unworkable. Below is a comparative breakdown between Edmonton's framework and Calgary's proposal. See for yourself if you think the differences are comparing apples to oranges or if The City is seeking an acceptable standard of safety for the benefit of Calgarians.

Comparable Bylaw Sections
Calgary's Proposal

Edmonton's Bylaw
Municipal Drivers Licence Requirements
  • TNC must electronically submit to City copies of documents validating application credentials and qualifications at the time of application including;
  • Commercial Insurance
  • Vehicle Registration
  • Drivers Licence Class 1,2,4
  • Driver Licence Abstract (9 points max)
  • CPS criminal history check *
  • Proof of eligibility to work in Canada
  • Mechanical Inspection **
  • TNCs will be providing a list of drivers active on platform that meet the bylaw requirements. TNC self manages credentials and qualifications.
  • Edmonton to conduct periodic audits to confirm accuracy of credentials and qualifications.
  • Commercial Insurance - Drivers Licence Class 1,2,4
  • No drivers abstract restrictions
  • Third-party criminal history check *
  • No proof of eligibility to work in Canada
  • Mechanical Inspection **
* Criminal Background
Check
  • TNC Driver must obtain criminal Background check from Calgary Police Service, including pardoned sexual offenders.
  • TNC will use its third party service provider to complete (* limited) criminal background checks.
  • No check for pardoned sexual offenders
** Mechanical Inspections
  • TNC must obtain a provincially approved mechanical inspection form.
  • Mechanicals due every six months.
  • Mechanicals required prior to licensing TNC driver.
  • 134 point inspection, consistent with a provincial standard of inspection and consistent with requirements for other livery vehicles.
  • TNC Permitted to use its own mechanical inspection form.
  • Mechanicals required to be completed annually.
  • 26 point inspection completed by a technician.
Fees
  • Proposed municipal licensing fee of $220 per driver, per year to cover administration and enforcement
  • Calgary Police Services criminal history check of $30
  • A vulnerable sector check of $25 (only if finger prints are required)
  • A 134 point vehicle safety inspection cost estimated at $140 to $179.
  • TNCs have the opportunity to subsidize these fees and costs or pay for them outright to support their drivers
  • TNC licence fees $70,000 per year for all drivers for a TNC plus $0.06 per trip
  • Estimated cost per driver for a licence including TNC portion equals $40.
  • Administration seeking bridge
  • Estimated cost per driver for a licence including TNC portion equals $40.
  • Administration seeking bridge funding from City to increase enforcement staff until fees can be amended later this year.
  • Fees based on TNC trip volumes
  • A 26 point vehicle safety inspection cost estimated at $60 to $90.
Trip Data
  • Requiring TNCs to submit GPS data, trip start and end times
  • Enable monitoring of customer service levels, such as peak period availability.
  • Assist with police investigations and bylaw compliance
  • Informs decisions on livery policy and regulations and fosters continuous improvement
  • Data submission requirements to be determined
Rates
  • App-based rates (taxis and TNCs): unregulated rates
  • Street Hail and Phone Dispatch (taxis only): regulated rates
  • Same
Cameras
  • Cameras required for taxis
  • Cameras not required for TNCs
  • No Camera requirements for Taxis or TNCs Fleet Size
Fleet Size
  • Limit on number of Taxi Plates and Accessible Taxi Plates
  • No Limit on TNC drivers
  • Same


The City of Calgary believes these proposed bylaw changes will allow TNCs to operate in a fair and competitive market. They address citizen, driver and passenger safety and support accessibility, reliability, fairness, competition and customer service. More options for getting around the city are on the way to Calgary, if Uber wishes to work together with The City to provide a safe mode of transportation. On February 22, 2016 City administration will present proposed bylaw amendments to Council. These amendments would create an environment where Uber could legally operate in Calgary. To stay updated on the outcome, sign up here to receive my monthly e-newsletter.​

Categories: Uber

Back | July 04, 2018

City of Calgary Services and Residential Property Tax

Today in council, we looked at long-term finance and the upcoming budget cycle for 2019-2022. We also discussed recent surveys from Calgarians and the demands of providing services that meet citizens needs and expectations.

Calgary is a large service provider, with over 67 services. What causes city costs to go up? Here’s an everyday example. For every one cent increase in gasoline prices, there is a $250,000 yearly increase. Just last night, gasoline increased by 15 cents, which alone increased the Calgary Transit budget by 3 million dollars.

The numbers in the chart below represent what you would pay as a taxpayer, if your property was assessed at $450,000. Please note that the average tax rate of our neighbours are provided by the corresponding city, and variances may occur. Compare Calgary with our sister city – Edmonton. Calgary is one thousand dollars less in residential property tax than Edmonton.

As the previous Vice Chair of Finance, I always try to keep all costs down. Over the last year and half cut, we cut half a billion dollars off our budget. I will continue to be firm with spending and I will look for further operational efficiency opportunities.



*Note that the average tax rate of our neighbours are provided by the corresponding city/town, and variances may occur.

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Categories: Budget; City Finances; Councillor

Back | February 25, 2016

Uber Update

There has been a lot of controversy swirling around Uber’s intention to move into the Calgary market. Unfortunately, there have also been a number of misconceptions and misinterpretations about how the City of Calgary is responding to that initiative. I would like to set the record straight and give you the facts about what Council is asking from companies like Uber and Lyft (ride sharing), in terms of ensuring your safety and well-being. There has been a lot of controversy swirling around Uber’s intention to move into the Calgary market. Unfortunately, there have also been a number of misconceptions and misinterpretations about how the City of Calgary is responding to that initiative. I would like to set the record straight and give you the facts about what Council is asking from companies like Uber and Lyft (ride sharing), in terms of ensuring your safety and well-being.  

Today Council approved bylaw amendments that will allow Transportation Network Companies (TNCs), such as Uber and Lyft, to operate in Calgary. With an amended bylaw in place the only outstanding item is the Province’s approval regarding insurance policies that cover TNC drivers.

These bylaw changes create the foundation for a robust transportation network. The City’s mandate is to support innovation while accounting for safety and reliability, with a customer focus. We know that our fellow Calgarians welcome this new and safe option to our city and we are excited to go on this ride together.

The Government of Alberta has issued an advisory notice on ride sharing services and the insurance risk they currently pose to themselves and the public, noting any third party involved in an accident in or with one of these vehicles may not have adequate or appropriate insurance. Additional risks relate to the level of vehicle inspections on private for-hire vehicles and the level of training and security checks drivers undergo.

In collaboration with citizens, the taxi and limousine industries and TNCs, The City and Council have moved quickly to develop and approve these bylaw changes. Going forward, TNC drivers can operate in Calgary if they have:

  • A Valid Class 1, 2 or 4 driver’s licence
  • An annual operating licence from The City of Calgary
  • An Annual Calgary Police Service (CPS) criminal background check
  • Proof of valid commercial insurance as required by the Government of Alberta
  • Proof of eligibility to work in Canada
  • Proof of a provincially-approved 134-point mechanical inspection, conducted annually or 50,000 km, whichever comes first

I hope that this clarifies the efforts of my fellow Council members and myself to ensure that any private transportation offerings available to the citizens of Calgary are safe, responsible, and fair to any of the companies providing them. To stay connected on future updates, sign up here for my monthly e-newsletter.

Ward Sutherland

Categories: Councillor; Tranportation; Uber

Back | June 18, 2018

Dale Hodges Park

A lot of people have been asking me – When is the Dale Hodges Park going to be completed?

Most of the site development was completed in 2017. Fine grading and seeding, and the storm water infrastructure commissioning will be completed, weather permitting, in the spring of 2018.

The site currently has newly planted trees and shrubs, and large amounts of newly seeded areas. These areas need to successfully germinate before the site can be opened to the public to avoid risk of damage to the site. By late spring, The City will have been able to determine the success of the seeded areas and provide an update on a potential opening date.

In addition, there is work underway to improve the health of Bowmont Park through naturalization work. Invasive plants have been removed and native species were planted to enhance the sensitive grassland habitat, reduce weeds, and improve the important wildlife corridor.

Slope stabilization work also continues and there will be some drilling this year to prepare for a new trail and staircase that will help slow erosion in the park. Users won’t be impacted by this work during 2018, but are asked to please obey signs and avoid newly naturalized areas to let the plants grow.

Lastly, a section of the off-leash area near the Silver Springs entrance will remain closed until late fall to allow more time for the new plants to establish. A detour is in place.

Further details on these projects can be found at www.calgary.ca/bowmontpark

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Categories: Councillor; Parks

Back | June 11, 2018

Bowness Overflow Parking

Now that summer is officially here, Calgarians will be heading out to enjoy our beautiful Bowness Park with activities such as a picnicking, cooling off in the wading pool and spray park or enjoying a ride on a paddle boat provided by the park.

Did you know there is overflow parking for those busy holidays and weekends when finding parking can be difficult? Located in Baker Park just down the road, there’s even a shuttle bus during peak periods that will take you over to Bowness Park, which is ideal for large groups, such as wedding parties and BBQs. Bowness Overflow Parking Lot is located on Scenic Bow Road NW. The free shuttle runs from 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m., Friday to Sunday.

The new overflow parking came out of residents’ parking concerns regarding congestion in an area near Bowness Park. Although there are approximately 550 parking stalls available on the park grounds, the City of Calgary Parks department knew it was essential to provide more parking options so everyone can enjoy a sunny afternoon at the Bowness Lagoon or Seasons Café.

Click to view instructions to find the Bowness Overflow Parking Lot

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Categories: Councillor

Back | May 07, 2018

2018 Pavement Rehabilitation Program

The City of Calgary's Roads Business Unit has finalized the annual Pavement Rehabilitation Program for 2018. There are roadways in Ward 1 that have been selected for pavement rehabilitation and repair throughout the summer months.

On Street From Street To Street Road Classes Ward No. Community Paving Crew
40 Avenue NW 42 ​Street NW Brentwood Road NW Arterial 1, 4 Brentwood and Varsity City Forces


Roads strives to keep Calgarians moving, and infrastructure operating efficiently. This year, the focus of the program is primarily on major roads. As part of the prioritization process, roadways selected for pavement rehabilitation throughout Calgary are determined through an extensive evaluation process which includes various road condition surveys, inspection and pavement testing.

As The City prepares for the 2018 construction season, Roads is improving how the Pavement Rehabilitation Program schedule is communicated and coordinated with stakeholders. The Roadway Activity Map, launched last year, provides real-time information on locations and schedules.

The Pavement Rehabilitation maps and schedule along with frequently asked question (FAQs) will be posted on Calgary.ca/paving before the program’s start date in June. Please note that paving schedules are subject to change due to weather and emergency road work.​​​

Categories:

Back | June 07, 2018

Trinity Hills/Medicine Hill

Curious about the progress of the Trinity Hills/Medicine Hill development? Get the latest updates at www.liveintrinityhills.ca

Categories: Councillor

Back | April 16, 2018

Continuation of the 2026 Olympic Bid Process

Firstly, I am sure there will be some people disappointed in my decision today. This has been an extremely divisive issue for many Calgarians. I would appreciate that you invest the time to read this post explaining my rationale for my decision today. It cannot be a simple sound bite and needs a pragmatic thoughtful approach and explanation. Thank you.

From Day One, my approach to the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Olympic Bid has been based on sound financial decisions. My priorities have never changed. On Tuesday, April 10th in our latest Priorities and Finance Committee meeting, I was very concerned about the lack of answers and ‘red flags’ that were raised by my colleagues. I publicly stated that would not support the reconfirm vote on the Olympic bid process to continue on Monday, April 16th.

Since April 10th, I have talked to hundreds of people, many who hold a wide variance of opinion on both sides. I also found it compelling that the Calgary Chamber of Commerce, representing thousands of businesses, formally supports moving the Olympic Bid forward. At the same time, I am concerned about overly aggressive lobby groups and whom they truly represent, as well as their tactics of misinformation.

I have tried to apply business practices to most items before council, as it is very concerning when the narrative is not accurate. This is a disservice for all Calgarians on both sides. Again, my vote is to see the Financials in June and decide if we should continue. If it is an unwise financial investment for Calgarians, I am confident it will not gain support to move forward. If it makes sense, then the process would proceed with a plebiscite. With the creation of a sub-committee with four councillors, I am more confident in the process now.

I agree there have been many missteps in the process to date, which have caused me to question my confidence in the future process. Today, an amendment was put forward which addresses my concerns. It resolved:

  • Council will strike a subcommittee consisting of four Councillors plus the Mayor to oversee the Olympics process (with a Councillor as the Chair)
  • Administration will draft the terms of Reference for this committee and the City Clerk’s Office to be directed to solicit Councillor interest in serving on the committee, returning directly to Council on 2018 April 23rd.

I believe the prudent action is to see the what the actual financial deal will be in June. If the deal does not benefit Calgarians, then we stop the process. If the finances makes sense to move forward, then we proceed with a plebiscite. The cost to wait until June will be less than $1M. If the bid process is stopped, the $30M will be returned to the appropriate orders of government.

I encourage you to read the five founding conditions that were established last year and which I have supported from Day One:



 

There has been significant misinformation regarding the contributions of other orders of government and what their money can and cannot be used for. I will address this separately in a follow-up posting.

For future updates, please visit www.Calgary.ca/ward1 or sign up for my monthly e-newsletter at www.WardSutherland.com 

Categories: Councillor

Back | March 21, 2018

Water service line or waterline leaks usually happen due to corrosion from pipe age, pipe materials, surrounding soil conditions, ground movement and/or the growth and shrinkage of the service pipe from temperature changes.

Want to know how to find water leaks and what to do when you find them? For everything you need to know about water leaks, read How to find water leaks and how to fix them

For more information, visit the City’s website at www.Calgary.ca

Categories: Water Services

Back | January 30, 2018

Roads Snow and Ice Control (SNIC) operations update for January 30, 2018:

This recent snow event was declared at 4:00 a.m. and ended at 6:00 a.m. Calgary had windy conditions resulting in some minor drifting. The City is working on P1s, bike lanes and will be focusing on finishing Day 1 priorities. Currently, there are 26 dedicated staff and 5 pieces of small equipment working on pedestrian facilities and there are 41 sanders working on roadways. The City has reset the Snow and Ice Control clock to Day 1, hour 7.

The City’s priority system consists of Priority 1 - 4. The current status is:

  • P1 - 80% complete
  • P2 - 50% complete
  • Cycle Track – 100% complete •Bike Lanes - 70% complete
  • P3 and P4 – 0% complete
  • Steps and Walks – 30% complete

Click to see completed routes and current progress on: https://maps.calgary.ca/RoadConditions/?redirect=/roadconditions

The cost to respond to snow event #14 was $786k including $40k in contractor costs.

Material usage during snow event #14: 2,300 tonnes of salt, 1,500 tonnes of pickle mix and 44,000 litres of calcium chloride.

Total 3-1-1 SR’s (Service Requests) since the beginning of snow event #14 was 144 SR’s.

The 7-day forecast is calling for more snow until next week.

Categories: Councillor

Back | March 07, 2018

Storm drain information for pending snow melt

Is snow and ice plugging your storm drain?

If it's safe and possible to do, The City recommends that you clear ice and snow that's blocking your storm drain to help water flow. If you are unable to clear the ice and snow yourself, please call 311 or fill out the online 311 request here.

Water - Storm Drain Concerns

Please note: Do not attempt to clean a catch basin if it's submerged in water, if the drain is full of debris or if the grate is damaged. Please call 311.

Pooled water on your street

In some areas, The City installs inlet control devices in the drain to control how fast water flows. They are designed to keep water on the road until the system can accept the extra water.

These devices prevent the storm system from being overwhelmed, causing water backups or flooding to houses, garages and businesses.

Pooled will drain once water volumes lower. If the water has not drained after two hours, please call 311.

More tips:

  • Ensure that catch basins that are close to your home are clear of snow and ice.
  • Roads crews work proactively to ensure these are clear as resources allow.
  • If you experience flooding, please contact 311 and Water Services crews will attend locations.
  • For ice on sidewalks, a free sand-salt mix for easier shoveling called pickle is available for individual use on sidewalks bordering private properties. Pickle helps breakdown snow and ice, making it easier for you to comply with the bylaw regulating snow and ice removal. This pickle mix is available at city-wide locations and can be found here: http://www.calgary.ca/…/Sanding-material-pick-up-locations
  • Water Services is presently working with CEMA now on a communication campaign for the warmer temperatures.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact 311 for assistance. Never miss another municipal or community update! Sign up for Councillor Ward Sutherland's monthly report at www.WardSutherland.com

Categories: Councillor; Water Services

Back | January 11, 2018

City of Calgary - Snow and Ice Update

Brr, it’s cold outside! Wondering what’s going on, city wide? The City of Calgary Road’s department has provided our office with a Snow and Ice Control (SNIC) operations update for January 11, 2018.

On January 10, snow stopped at 22:00h. Extreme cold temperatures made conditions difficult. Roads suspended snow removal activities yesterday as they were removing windrows related to key corridors, pedestrian crossings and high activity parking areas. Roads is in Day 1, hour 12 and their focus after Day 1 will shift to P2s and bike lanes.

Priority system consists of Priority 1 - 4. The current status is:

  • P1 - 43% complete
  • P2 - 0% complete
  • Cycle Track – 65% complete
  • Bike Lanes - 0% complete
  • P3 and P4 – 0% complete
  • Steps and Walks – 10% complete

Click here to see completed routes and current progress.

The cost so far to respond to this snow event was $200k. Material usage include: 1,000 tonnes of salt, 1,300 tonnes of pickle mix and 3,500 litres of calcium chloride.

Total 3-1-1 Service Requests since the beginning of snow event was 205 SR’s.

The extreme cold warning is still in effect. Temperatures will be warmer starting tomorrow based on the 7-day forecast with chances of snow flurries on Jan 14, 2018.

Categories: Councillor; Snow and Ice

Back | December 07, 2017



Categories: Councillor; Councillor’s initiatives

Back | February 12, 2018

The snow route parking ban will end today at 6:00 p.m.  

Approximately 1800 tickets have been issued so far during the parking ban. P1 routes, Cycle Tracks and parking ban areas will be completed today. Due to heavy snow accumulation, The City is conducting snow removal at certain locations. They will continue to work on steps, walks, and pedestrian overpasses.

The 7 Day Plan has been active for 15 consecutive days due to multiple snows events. Big thanks to the City crews for their dedicated efforts during this time.

For more information, click here.

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Categories: Councillor

Back | September 07, 2017

53 Street N.W. Improvements

2017 pathway construction

In summer 2016, construction was completed on the majority of 53 Street N.W. Bikeway Review improvements, including:

  • An off-street pathway connection and bicycle ramps at the Crowchild Trail roundabout
  • Improved pathway connections at Valencia Road N.W. and Valhalla Circle N.W.
  • A new, formalized parking lane and new painted bicycle lane buffers between Varsity Drive N.W. and Valiant Drive N.W.
  • Improved delineation for the parking lane and bike lane on 40 Avenue N.W., between 53 Street and 52 Street N.W.

Pathway connection at Varsity Estates Park

A pathway connection at Varsity Estates Park was planned for 2016 as a part of these improvements, but due to utility work in the area, construction was postponed until 2017.

This summer and fall, the new pathway will be built on the east side of 53 Street N.W. to improve connectivity between Varsity Estates Park and Varsity Estates Drive / 53 Street N.W.

At the same time, a stop sign will be added to the east side of the intersection to provide a safe connection for people biking through the intersection.



 

Construction will begin early September and is expected to be complete by October 2017.

Temporary sidewalk and pathway closures may be required during this work. The City will make every effort to minimize disruptions.

For more information, please visit the project page.

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Categories: Councillor; Developments and Projects; Traffic

Back | February 05, 2018

Snow Event Declaration - February 5th at 9:00 am

A snow route parking ban started at 9am this morning. For more information, please click here.

During this parking restriction, vehicles must be moved from all designated Snow Routes. Vehicles that remain parked on a snow route during the ban may be ticketed and towed. This message will be updated when the parking ban is lifted. Thank you for helping us to keep our roads safe this winter.

For more information visit calgary.ca/snow or press the pound key to speak to a 311 Representative.

Snow & Ice Control Update for Feb 5, 2018

A snow event was declared on Feb. 2 and the 7 Day Snow Plan clock has been reset as more snow fell overnight. A total of 12.5cm of snow has fallen since Feb. 2. Crews are presently working on P1 routes, steps and walks, cycle tracks and pedestrian overpasses. Additional staff and contractors have been called in for this event. The City will continue to work based on their priority system, including pedestrian facilities. There are currently 20 dedicated staff and 8 pieces of small equipment working on pedestrian facilities and 43 sanders working on roadways.

The City is on Day 1 of the 7 Day Snow Plan

The priority system consists of Priority 1 - 4. The current status is:

  • P1 - 10% complete
  • P2 - 0% complete
  • Cycle Track – 0% complete
  • Bike Lanes - 0% complete
  • P3 and P4 – 0% complete
  • Steps and Walks – 0% complete

Click to see completed routes and current progress here.

The cost so far to respond to this snow event was $750,000.

Material usage during Snow Event #17: 672 tonnes of salt, 7,895 tonnes of pickle mix and 30,582 litres of calcium chloride.

Total 3-1-1 SR’s (Service Requests) since the beginning of Snow Event #17 was 327 SR’s.

The 7-day forecast is calling for chances of flurries on Wednesday and snow on Thursday this week.

Never miss another municipal or community update! Sign up for Councillor Ward Sutherland's monthly report at www.WardSutherland.com  

Categories: Councillor; Snow and Ice

Back | January 15, 2018

Brr, it’s cold outside! Wondering what’s going on, city wide? The City of Calgary Road’s department has provided our office with a Snow and Ice Control (SNIC) operations update for January 11, 2018.

On January 14, snow stopped at 23:30. Calgary received 4.4 cm of snow during this period. Roads crews are presently working on P1 routes and cycle tracks. The focus today will be on completing P1 routes, cycle tracks and then addressing P2s and bike lanes. Roads is in Day 1, Hour 10. Currently, there are 2 graders and 43 sanders working on roadways. 

The City’s priority system consists of Priority 1 - 4. The current status is:

  • P1 - 80% complete
  • P2 - 15% complete
  • Cycle Track – 20% complete
  • Bike Lanes - 20% complete
  • P3 and P4 – 0% complete

Click here to see completed routes and current progress.

The cost so far to respond to this snow event is $316K.

Material usage include: 1,225 tonnes of salt, 147 tonnes of pickle mix and 5,810 litres of calcium chloride.

Total 3-1-1 SR’s (Service Requests) since the beginning of snow event #13 was 42 SR’s.

The temperatures this week will be warmer based on the 7-day forecast.

Categories: Snow and Ice

Back | January 22, 2018

Good news! Effective Monday, January 22, 2018 Route 158 will be changed to service the new Rocky Ridge Recreation Centre. The bus route will be routed through the recreation centre site itself with a new stop opened up at the northwest end of the building. This change will help better connect users of the Rocky Ridge Recreation Centre with convenient transit service. See below for routing details and map.

A service alert has been posted on the Calgary Transit website and stop cards advertising this change are being posted on the route.

Route 158 will be changed as follows:

  • North on Rocky Ridge RD NW
  • East into northwest entrance site
  • South through the site along the main service road
  • East on Country Hills BV NW, and return to existing routing

A new stop will be added at the following location:

  • SB @ Rocky Ridge Recreation Centre (#3451)

Categories: Councillor

Back | August 15, 2017

Attainable Homes Calgary Corporation (AHCC) is a non-profit social enterprise and wholly-owned subsidiary of The City of Calgary. We work closely with Calgary Housing Company, Horizon Housing, Norfolk Housing Association and other housing providers that will help coordinate your transition into an attainable home.

If you have a steady income, a decent credit rating, and you can save up $2,000 of your own money for a down payment, you may qualify for the program. Through our Attainable Home Ownership Program, we connect builders, developers, lenders, lawyers and others to bring down the upfront costs of ownership so qualifying Calgarians can buy their very own home with a $2,000 down payment. Furthermore, when you decide to buy an attainable home, you're also choosing to pay it forward to help another family in the future. When you eventually decide to refinance or sell your home on the market, a share of the appreciation goes back into the program to fund more developments that will help even more people get a foot on the property ladder.



 

One of the most recent sites the City of Calgary has approved is for an apartment building on the corner of Varsity Drive and Shaganappi Trail which includes 26 apartment condos, a garbage enclosure, underground parking, two surface visitor parking stalls, and a bike rack. Access is via the rear lane. Half of the homes will be sold to hardworking Calgarians who can afford a mortgage but need a little support with the down payment, which is one of the solutions to the current housing crunch in our city. The balance will be market-priced units.

Details can be found at: http://attainyourhome.com/varsity

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Categories: Councillor

Back | August 15, 2017

The Rocky Ridge Recreation Centre, located at 11300 Rocky Ridge Road NW, opened early 2018 and it is operated by the YMCA. New software called the Build Information Model was used to ensure everything was placed in exactly the right location. Through the use of this cutting edge technology, contractors were able to place roof beams up to 125 feet long perfectly into place.

Described as a "building within a park", the centre features views of the mountains and faces a wetland. The 285,000 sq. ft. facility will sit in the middle of a natural park. The building, including its curving roof structure and its naturally ageing exterior, was designed to complement the surrounding rolling prairie landscape.

Teams, individuals and families of all ages and abilities now come together to enjoy this unique outdoor and indoor recreation experience. The list of indoor and outdoor amenities includes:

  • 25m, 8 lane competition pool
  • Spectator viewing area
  • Leisure pool with a wave system and water slides
  • Hot tubs and steam room
  • 1 multi-purpose ice rink
  • 1 leisure ice rink
  • 3 full gymnasiums with multi-purpose flooring
  • Fitness centre with cardio and strength training equipment
  • Fitness/aerobics studios
  • Running/walking track
  • Large and small rooms for use as studios, classrooms and meeting spaces
  • 3,000 sq. ft. library with access to print and digital materials, hold pick up, public seating and study space
  • Art studio and gallery space
  • 300 seat theatre (approximate)
  • Childcare/child-minding facilities
  • Food services
  • Physiotherapy/medical clinic
  • Outdoor basketball court
  • Pathways and nature trails/interpretative
  • Outdoor play structures & Skateboard park

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Categories: Councillor; Developments and Projects

Back | August 16, 2017

The City has prepared the Haskayne Area Structure Plan, which will guide development in the northwest corner of the city. The Plan Area is located in the city’s northwest and is bounded to the north and west by Rocky View County, the Bearspaw Reservoir is along the south boundary, to the east are existing and future water treatment facilities and The City’s Operations Workplace Centre, and to the northeast is the community of Tuscany.

The preparation of the Haskayne Area Structure Plan was undertaken using a developer-funded process. This new approach streamlined the process, allowing the plan to be prepared over the course of just one year. Several foundational documents provided guidance and direction for the form the plan area will take. These documents include the  Municipal Development Plan and the Calgary Transportation Plan.

Now that the Area Structure Plan has been approved, the next stage of planning for the Haskayne area can begin. The City of Calgary is collaborating with plan area landowners to develop the area structure plan: Brookfield Residential; Glenbow Ranch Park Foundation; Damkar's; Marquis; Bearspaw Tree Farm and Jenlin Ltd.

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Categories: Councillor; Developments and Projects

Back | August 16, 2017

The completion of the redevelopment of Shouldice Park has been achieved years in advance of the anticipated schedule. This is a long-awaited, highly anticipated achievement, as the park is a significant public space for Calgary’s sport community. Designated by Council as the home of amateur football in Calgary in 1986, the park serves an estimated 6,000 football players of all ages and skill levels and is home to several other sport leagues and events. In 2014, bookings for soccer, softball, baseball, lacrosse, rugby and ultimate totalled nearly 7,500 hours. The new amenities will help meet demand and attract larger multi-sport tournaments and events. With funding received through the Alberta Community Partnership (ACP) grant, and thanks to the fundraising efforts of the Greater Calgary Amateur Football Association (GCAFA), The City is able to complete the last phase of the park’s redevelopment. 

The ACP grant, valued at $5.69M, will fund the construction of new multi-sport user and spectator amenities in the Plaza, including additional change rooms, accessible public washrooms, player drop-off zones, improved pedestrian connections, landscaping and lighting. The end result is a flagship athletic park worthy of hosting national competitions.



Initial concept plans for redevelopment of Shouldice Athletic Park outlined a long-term (10-year), phased investment strategy. Upgrades began (Phase 1) with the construction of three artificial turf fields in 2009. Development of the Plaza (Phase 2) began in summer 2014 and is being extended to include the build-out of user and spectator amenities (Phase 3). The redevelopment of the park included the installation of three artificial turf fields, scoreboards, lighting, spectator seating, and upgrades to the existing change rooms and washroom facilities. The development of the Plaza will lay the foundation for future upgrades and help integrate the multisport park by creating a shared space connecting amenities and improving overall aesthetics of the park. The Plaza will also include provisions for food trucks during high-volume spectator events.

With the early completion of the Shouldice Athletic Park project, the City was able to start the beautification of the 16 Avenue/TCH corridor. This is the primary entrance into Montgomery from the West and is scheduled for completion later this year.

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Categories: Councillor; Developments and Projects

Back | August 15, 2017

Latest update! Sarcee Trail Interchange is open and fully operational! To view the actual traffic patterns and to see how the lanes work, click here. For more information, visit trinityhill.ca

Background

City Council approved the land use application for Medicine Hills (formerly Paskapoo Slopes) development by a vote of 12 to 3. Approving the development of this privately-owned land has facilitated some much-needed infrastructure (at no cost to the City) as well as the creation of jobs. This multi-phase development will generate over 342 full-time jobs and 50 part-time jobs on an on-going basis. The total investment may exceed $1.2 billion. The upper two-thirds of the slopes were returned to the City of Calgary and will be managed by the City of Calgary Parks Department. The park will have 11.5 kilometers of trails for Calgarians and visitors to permanently enjoy.



 

Trinity Hills Development is responsible for paying 100% of the Sarcee Tr. /16 Ave NW overpass development. Trinity Hills is also paying 50 % of the cost of the pedestrian bridge over 16th Avenue and 50 % of the cost of the Trail underpass which will join to Edworthy Park, both of which will be used by cyclists and pedestrians. In addition, there will be pedestrian and cyclist connectivity over the new Bowfort Interchange.

Council introduced and added 16 amendments to ensure the design of the development would be sensitive to the area’s history regarding the First Nations and Blackfoot cultures. The amendments addressed environment and wildlife concerns posed during the public hearing. The new plan represents a carefully balanced mix that addresses the importance of the Paskapoo Slopes. As well, the City of Calgary has critical safeguards within the agreement to facilitate development that is reflective of the sensitivity to the land.

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Categories: Councillor

Back | August 15, 2017

The City of Calgary is working with Calgarians to conduct a transportation corridor study that will help determine the future design for the south end of Shaganappi Trail. The infrastructure was built in the 1960’s and is aging and no longer meets the needs of Calgary’s transportation network, nor is it aligned with the 2009 Calgary Transportation Plan. The 2009 Calgary Transportation Plan reclassified Shaganappi Trail from an expressway to an arterial street, removed the Bow River crossing, and designated it as primary route for cycling, transit and HOV. It is also a remnant of a freeway plan that was never fully completed. Consequently, there are large areas of land reserved for the right-of-way. Rehabilitation needs to be completed within the next 30 years to keep it operational. 

The South Shaganappi Study provides multiple engagement opportunities for Calgarians to provide input throughout the study’s three phases. The three-phase study process invites the public to participate from the start, before design plans are developed.

For the past two years, the City has worked with Calgarians to identify opportunities to address issues today and plan for future transportation needs as the city grows. The draft plans are a reflection of the ideas that Calgarians have shared with us throughout the course of the study.



The short term plan addresses key collision history concerns, enhances connectivity for people who walk and bike, resolves key traffic concerns where possible, and if approved by Council, it can be implemented within the next five years. The estimated cost range to implement the short-term plan is $2-5 million in 2017 dollars. The cost estimate includes all the recommendations in the plan, such as infrastructure, connections for people who walk and bike, utility relocations, etc.

The long-term plan will accommodate all modes of transportation and identify what land is no longer needed for infrastructure. Benefits of the long-term plan are - it facilitates safer traffic movements along 16 Avenue by addition merge ramps to provide access to and from Shaganappi Trail, it provides continuous traffic flow along 16 Avenue, it enhances connectivity and accessibility for people who walk, bike and take transit, and it provides opportunity to re-purpose land not being used for infrastructure (land use to be determined in a future study). 

The estimated cost range to implement the long-term plan in $90 – 110 million in 2017 dollars. The cost estimate includes all the recommendations in the plan, such as infrastructure, connections for people who walk and bike, utility relocations, land acquisition, etc.

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Categories: Councillor

Back | August 03, 2017

Bowness Park is a 30 hectare park located in the community of Bowness, along the Bow River between Stoney Trail and 85th Street, at 8900 – 48th Ave NW. It is open daily between the hours of 5 a.m. - 11 p.m. A shallow lagoon runs along the along the park's southern edge, a favourite spot for canoeing and paddle boating in the summer and ice skating in the winter. Bowness Park is highly used for family gatherings, picnicking and accessing the Bow River. It was built before the First World War in the (then) town of Bowness as a weekend retreat for nearby Calgarians by John Hextall, a local land developer. The park once had a swimming pool, carousel, Ferris wheel and orthophonic device on the lagoon.



The park suffered severe damage during the 2013 flood and has been extensively rebuilt since. Among the new, restored and improved features now open are the Tea House (operated by Seasons of Bowness - visit Seasons of Bowness Facebook page for details and to contact them directly), the Boat House/Skate Shop (operated by the University of Calgary Outdoor Centre. Visit their page for hours and rental information), the Wading Pool, the historic miniature train, and a recreation of the historic orthophonic building in the middle of the lagoon. Parking was centralized to enhance pedestrian safety, and additional parking spaces are now available at the nearby Baker Park across the Bow River on the north side. 



 

Bowness Park map        

Categories: Parks

Back | March 22, 2016

Rocky Ridge Recreation Facility

YMCA Calgary is the facility operator for Rocky Ridge Recreation. Over the next year, The City and YMCA Calgary will work together to develop the program and service model. Prior to opening, the YMCA will ensure that key stakeholders are consulted and processes for ongoing collaboration and engagement are established. In the fall of 2016, YMCA will provide presentations in the community for anyone who is interested.

Ward 1 Q&A with YMCA

Q: When will YMCA put programming into place at the Rocky Ridge Facility?

A: The City has informed the YMCA that the facility will be ready to open in the third quarter of 2017. The YMCA will start offering programs once they are open. No firm date will be given until the YMCA receives possession. Typically, it is a month after the possession date that the YMCA would open.

Q: When will hiring happen?

A: Hiring is estimated to begin 10 months after the YMCA hires a general manager. All the jobs will be posted on the YMCA Calgary website.

Q: What is the current progress of the new YMCA in Rocky Ridge?

A: The recreation centre and YMCA is on schedule and will be open in the third quarter of 2017.

Q: Will the new YMCA in Rocky Ridge have any effect on Crowfoot YMCA?

A: There may be some impact on the Crowfoot YMCA. However, YMCA believes the population in the NW can support both facilities. In fact, the Rocky Ridge facility will help alleviate the crowd problem at Melcor YMCA at Crowfoot.

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Categories: Arts and Recreation; Councillor; Developments and Projects

Back | January 22, 2016

Ward 1 Parks Project: Bowmont Natural Environment Park - Land Use

January 2016 Land Use Update - Land use application has been submitted.

The land use designations of parcels within Bowmont Natural Environment Park are being reviewed, to reflect current and future uses and activities within the park.


Ward 1 Parks Project: Bowmont Natural Environment Park – Management

January 2016 Update - Stakeholder engagement was completed. A “What We Heard” Report has been posted on The City website. A draft of the Management Plan is underway.

A review of current management practices, resource protection and land use within Bowmont Natural Environment Park is being undertaken to better balance resource protection with current and future land use. This review will include public engagement and a communication strategy.


 

Ward 1 Parks Project: Bowmont Natural Environment Park – Operational

January 2016 Update - Parks operational activities are completed for the year. The crews will start up again spring 2016.

Projects and restoration tasks to restore habitat, understand wildlife in the park and provide a safe visitor experience are ongoing.

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Categories: Councillor; Parks

Back | October 09, 2018

2026 Olympic Bid Open House in Ward 1

Learn more and have your say on how the Olympic Games could impact our city.

Drop by on Wednesday, October 10, 2018 at Shane Homes YMCA at Rocky Ridge from 5:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

For more information, visit: 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Bid Engagement

Categories: Councillor

Back | April 29, 2016

WARD 1 UPDATE

Due to recent rain events as well as elevated water levels on the Bow River, The City has been unable to perform the work as scheduled. Please be advised that construction duration will be extended by two weeks inclusive of landscaping.

Construction Duration: Construction is expected to take 2 weeks to complete and will occur between April 28 and May 14, 2016.

Outfall B100 Repair Project - Bowcrest Park

The City of Calgary, Water Services would like to share information on an upcoming outfall repair project located in Bowness. After the June 2013 Flood, The City of Calgary inspected the Bow River, Elbow River, Fish Creek, Nose Creek and West Nose Creek for significant damage to outfalls and riverbanks. The City identified 161 outfalls along the rivers and 53 outfalls along the creeks with damage, and have prioritized them for repairs.

Stormwater is rain or snow melt from our roofs, lawns and roadways that enters the storm drains on our streets and travels through an underground pipe system eventually draining into our rivers. The site where the stormwater flows from the pipes and into the river/creek is called an outfall.

An existing outfall, B100, suffered damage. This project will repair the damaged outfall and stabilize the bank in the immediate area of the outfall using riprap (large stones) to protect it from further erosion.

Project Description

  • Outfall B100 is located along the left bank of the Bow River at the south east corner of Bowcrest Park (see map above).
  • Repairs to the outfall involve replacing the existing outfall structure, installing a back flood prevention gate, manhole and stabilizing the riverbank.
  • Construction fencing will be in place for the duration of this project. The construction site is located within a maintained park space. The construction site is located within a maintained park space.

Construction Impacts

  • Access to the construction site will be from Bow CR NW. Access to the construction site will be from Bow CR NW.
  • Construction vehicles, equipment and a small lay-down area for supplies will occupy the maintained Parks area to the north of the outfall and will be fenced off for construction access only (see map below). Construction vehicles, equipment and a small lay-down area for supplies will occupy the maintained Parks area to the north of the outfall and will be fenced off for construction access only (see map below).
  • Work will be performed from 7:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. for approximately 11 days, inclusive of landscaping.
  • Equipment may be stored in the parking lanes adjacent to the Parks area. No other impacts to traffic are expected.
  • The temporary staging area and access route will be restored to original condition.
  • No pathway closures or detours will be required for this outfall repair.
  • Project information will be communicated to the Bowness Community Association and available on Calgary.ca.

Construction

Contractor                                                                                                                              

North Star Contracting

Information on the project will be highlighted on calgary.ca.  

Categories: Developments and Projects; Flood Mitigation; Water Services

Back | August 16, 2017

The Stadium Shopping Centre Area Redevelopment Plan was approved by City Council on July 29, 2013.

Area redevelopment plans (ARPs) direct the redevelopment, preservation or rehabilitation of previously developed land in established communities by outlining the big picture of what type of development is allowed in area and what improvements to existing infrastructure are needed to accommodate any change. Area redevelopment plans must be consistent with the Municipal Development Plan.

Western Securities - January 21, 2016  Slide Presentation to University Heights Community Association (UHCA)

Now that the area redevelopment plan has been approved, the property owner will have to produce a detailed master plan for the site that will show exactly what they would like to build. Once a master plan has been created, they can apply for development permits from The City. As part of the development permit process, The City will conduct technical reviews of the proposed development. The developers for Western Securities have now submitted the development permit application for the redevelopment. The City of Calgary will take between three to six months to process the formal application.

The UHCA raised specific transportation and traffic concerns as the proposed development moves forward. The City has listed 14 conditions of traffic that must be satisfied before the build-out can occur. The City has the funds to complete the necessary infrastructure and will meet the 14 conditions before Western Securities begins construction.

In the meantime, the property owner has decided they would like to incorporate a public open space (green space currently located along 16 Avenue NW) into the core of the site. Moving this green space into the core of a new development would still leave 10 metres of grass and the sidewalk between 16th Avenue and the development. This possibility was discussed when the area redevelopment plan was created but provisions were not included in the plan at that time because the details of how this would occur had not been negotiated between the landowner and The City. This means that an area redevelopment plan amendment and land use amendment (rezoning) are now required. The amendments propose that the size of open space would stay the same and the maximum allowable floor area ratio (density) would also stay the same as already approved in the area redevelopment plan. Details of this application are outlined in the circulation ​letter.

For more information on what is happening next, please visit the property owner’s website, Western Securities.

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Categories: Councillor’s initiatives; Developments and Projects

Back | June 04, 2014

Dandelion in Parks

The broadleaf weed control operation is conducted by The City of Calgary’s Parks Department. Only a select number of park properties are treated per season. The work is conducted based on an assessment of the number of weeds per square metre. When weeds are in excess of the set threshold, the site is placed on a list for treatment for future seasons.

In a rare situation, Parks may treat a site in that same year, however, they need to predetermine which sites will be treated in order to effectively and efficiently utilize resources. Parks does conduct weed control operations on an ongoing basis. Unfortunately, Parks does not have the resources to treat each park site yearly. Some parks may not receive weed control for several years.

Dandelion Removal Request for City Property

If you would like to request dandelion removal on city property, please contact 311 and provide the following information:

  • Location of the park site. Include the intersection of street and avenue or any other description to help The City staff locate the site.
  • Full description of what you would like The City staff to do in response. For example, “cut the grass and kill weeds” will help Parks staff understand a root cause and action.
  • Day time call back number so that Parks staff can contact a citizen in case of clarification and/or follow up.

Dandelions on City Property

The City has not generally applied pest management products for cosmetic or beautification purposes on municipally-owned land since 1998, when the IPM Plan was approved by council. In response to public concerns about pesticide use, The City only uses pesticides when pre-defined weed density thresholds are met and infestation threaten the long term health of landscape. Herbicide applications will occur in Varsity during week of June 2, 2014.

Pesticide and Herbicide Spraying

If weeds are above threshold levels, herbicide applications may be necessary for reasons of health, safety and asset protection. The City takes the health and well-being of citizens and green spaces seriously, so all herbicides and pesticides are carefully chosen to be the least toxic to off-target plants and animals. Furthermore, all pesticides and herbicides are certified by both the federal and provincial governments. Notification and application signs will be posted in the community before, during and after any applications.

Pest Threshold Levels

The City conducts assessments on all park sites once every three years to determine the level of broadleaf weed infestation. Based on the thresholds for turf damage, the site may receive herbicide applications to prevent further damage and improve the overall health of the turf. Please call 311 with any spraying concerns or for more information.

Restrictions

Herbicide applications are not administered within 30 metres of a playground unless the entire area is closed to the public and school sites do not receive applications while students are in attendance.

Dandelions on Private Property

The City’s Community Standards Bylaw (p. 23, Part II-Weeds and Grass), residents can face fines if they do not keep weed populations that are over 15 cm or 6 inches under control on their property. If certain weeds are growing and if it lacks maintenance on the property has created a fire hazard.

Tips for Controlling Dandelion

  • Pull out broadleaf weeds out by their roots, before they turn white and go to seed.
  • Keep grass three inches long so it shades its own roots from the sun, chocks out pesky weeds and holds moisture better, reducing water needs.

Categories: 311; Councillor; Parks; Weeds; Yards

Back | October 10, 2018

One Calgary - Pop Up event in Ward 1

One Calgary

Market Mall

Saturday, October 20, 2018

11 am – 2 pm

Every four years, The City of Calgary creates business plans and budgets to deliver on what’s important to Calgarians. Your input is an important part of this process and we want to hear from you on what City services you want us to invest more, less of, or the same. Your submissions will be provided to Council for consideration for their deliberations on The City’s 2019-2022 Service Plans and Budgets.

The City of Calgary will have a pop-up event at Market Mall Saturday, October 20, 11a.m. to 2p.m. Drop by and give your input on the impacts of service level recommendations.

Between October 10 to 23, you can also provide feedback, learn more about the project and sign up for updates at calgary.ca/yourservices.

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Categories: Councillor

Back | August 14, 2017

The Community of Greenbriar is generally defined by the TransCanada highway on the south, Stoney Trail on the west, the Bowness escarpment on the north and 83rd Street and Bowfort Road on the east. The lands are within the Bowness Area Redevelopment Plan (ARP) and until recently the property was undeveloped. The developer (Melcor Developments) is proposing a mixed use community that integrates with the natural topography and the west entranceway into Calgary.

A Master Plan for the area is currently being undertaken by Melcor and was submitted for review with the first development permit application. Development of the area was limited due to the access constraints imposed by the timing of the Bowfort Road/TransCanada Highway interchange construction, but that portion is now complete and Melcor has put in deep services and is now doing roadwork.

Greenbriar Circulation Package

Greenbriar Stage 2 Outline

Greenbriar Land Use Application and Bowness Area Redevelopment Plan amendment

Calgary Farmers' Market announces new location near Canada Olympic Park

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Categories: Councillor

Back | June 01, 2015

Residents of Ward 1 have provided my office with feedback regarding the recent proliferation of dandelions. Some residents wanted The City to control the dandelions in situations where the growth was unmanageable. Other residents did not want The City to use pesticides to spray dandelions.

I do not agree with spraying for all areas affected by dandelions. City administration has informed Council that it is impossible to prevent dandelions from growing in Calgary. Thus, I think it is appropriate to look at other options to seek solutions for areas where dandelion growth is unmanageable. Several councillors and I have asked that City Administration provide us with alternative solutions other than spraying to address excessive weed situations on city properties.

In June, Council approved a proposal calling for a report on effective dandelion control for the entire City, including budgetary implications. The report will return to Council through the Standing Policy Committee on Community Services and Protective Services in October. After I receive and analyze the report, I will provide residents with an update via my official website and monthly newsletter.

Ward Sutherland

Dandelion Background

Dandelions are no longer considered a noxious weed under the Weed Control Act. Bylaw officers may only issue a warning to property owners if the dandelions are over 15 cm. (6 in.) in height.

Current weed control guidelines state there are four threshold levels, depending on where the weed is located. Each site is assessed individually and often a combination of control measures is used. The City has 76 invasive, noxious weeds that must be controlled or eradicated to comply with provincial legislation. The City takes a holistic approach to managing broadleaf weeds, including dandelions, and there are various control methods (including biological and chemical). Treatment is based on threshold levels outlined in the Council approved Integrated Pest Management Plan.

The City does not use herbicides for cosmetic purposes. Council has an approved weed density threshold, and once that threshold is reached, The City applies herbicides. The City determines treatment on threshold levels outlined in the Council approved Integrated Pest Management Plan. The City also routinely monitors weed threshold levels and if the threshold is reached, treatment options are assessed on a case-by-case basis. All our herbicides are approved by the Pest Management Regulatory Agency, which falls under Health Canada.

If you see a potential safety hazard, for example, when dandelions overrun fields in which are used for recreational sports, please contact 311.

Weed Related Bylaw Information

Report a Weed Infraction

Pesticide and Herbicide Spraying

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Categories: Councillor; Weeds

Back | January 22, 2016

Ward 1 Parks Project: 12 Mile Coulee Natural Environment Park

January 2016 Update - The Trail Assessment Report is currently under review.

12 Mile Coulee Natural Environment Park lies south of Crowchild Trail and immediately west of Stoney Trail. The park has been identified as a City historic resource due to archaeological findings that indicate that the areas have been extensively used by native tribes over the last seven to eight thousand years. Parks will be managing ongoing projects throughout the park to restore habitat, better understand wildlife and ensure a safe visitor experience. This will include public engagement and examining how the park pathways will integrate with the Rotary Mattamy Greenway regional pathway, as well as an assessment of current trail network and the development of an overall management plan.

Categories: Councillor; Parks; Ward update

Back | September 05, 2014

As of September 2, 2014, and in accordance with the Truck Routes Bylaw, The City of Calgary hereby authorizes the movement of trucks on a designated truck route to use in both direction on 85 ST NW bridge. The Special Truck Route Permit includes Bowness Park, the community of Bowness and Bowmont Natural Environment Park.

For any questions or concerns, please contact 311.

Categories: Councillor; Parks; Tranportation

Back | September 28, 2015

City of Calgary Operating Budget- Vice Chair Perspective

“It’s about positive change to the approach Council employs to the budgeting process."

I have had the opportunity to be involved in great detail over the last 25 years in the budgeting process in the private sector within large corporations. Thus, I found it very interesting as I explored the City of Calgary’s budgeting and accounting practices over the last two years. I still to this day do not understand why any council would go through this large budget line by line? It makes for grand theatre for Council, however this process really does not yield the magnitude of results Calgarians deserve. Many of the lines are generic in nature and tie into multiple other programs. So even when you cut an item, you are truly not aware of the real effect of the cut. The City Manager and his team are the experts. Council should recommend what the property tax should be and Administration should present the results and potential outlying scenarios.

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The new direction this year, driven by City Manager Jeff Fielding to review the 2016 budget earlier and divide the budget process (operating/capital), is the responsible and pragmatic approach. This process allows changes and enables Council to respond to unusual circumstances in our economy. We are dealing with operating budgeting first - to provide stability and certainty to citizens and the organization. It creates focus for Council and Administration towards service delivery and innovation. The capital budgeting is secondary because it takes longer to fully review and reprioritize. Additionally we need to know the results of the up-coming provincial budget.

Why does Administration recommend a reduction from 4.7% to 3.5%? In the last 10 years, Administration has never recommended a reduction in property tax. This is a significant paradigm shift for the City Administration. It’s very positive to see the commitment of the senior management and leadership to Mr. Fielding. In the current budget there is a shortfall of $41M in City revenue. However with efficiency, using the budget saving account (a motion introduced by Councillor Demong last year), Administration was confident they can deliver the same level of service at 3.5% level. The current wage increase in the collect agreement for the City of Calgary for 2016 is 3.5%. The current agreement goes to the end of 2017. My personal view is that the next set of labour negotiations will need to reflect the previous contract results compared to the economy.

It is important to note, if we did not have such a large short-fall in revenue, we could have reduced property tax to ZERO without affecting any services!

We have some numbers; it is up to Council to decide. I checked back the last 10 years to see what the previous Council’s approved for property taxes: 2005-2007-6.12% average, 2008-2010 - 4.86% average, 2011-2013 - 9.5% average, 2014-2015 - 4.65% average. The highest tax increase in the last 10 years – 2013-13%, 2011-10.4%. The lowest tax increases were in 2007 - 4.0% and 2005 - 4.4%.

Would I like 2016 property taxes lower than 3.5%? Of course! Is it smart to cut services now, knowing revenues may continue to drop in the future or adjust services when necessary? We should not make these decisions lightly. If Council decides to support the 3.5% recommendation, our three year average will be 4.26%.

If Council approves the 3.5% recommendation, we will deliver the lowest property tax increase and the lowest average in the last 10 years, even with the tremendous population growth Calgary has experienced. 

As Vice Chair of Priorities and Finance, I encourage Council to look at the numbers closely and responsibly. As Vice Chair, I support Administration’s recommendation of 3.5%. It makes for great entertainment in Council and in the press to stand up and demand less. However, you need to ensure you have the detailed data to support your request.

The next and more complex decisions will be coming forward later with the Capital Budget. There is even a stronger link between capital budget and the local economy. For example, counter-cyclical investment supports job creation because of economic multiplier, and allows the City to take advantage of lower prices. We need to look at ways to speed up building of already-approved capital. This will require a more comprehensive strategy and analysis.

Best of Business,

Ward Sutherland

VC Priorities and Finance

Councillor Ward 1

Categories: Councillor; City Finances; City Finances Blog

Back | January 22, 2016

Ward 1 Parks Project: Haskayne Legacy Park

January 2016 Update - Designs are currently underway for the building and the park. Transportation Infrastructure is leading the access road construction; road to be completed in 2016.

Haskayne Park was first conceived in 2006 as one of three ENMAX Legacy Parks. The overall site consists of two parcels on either side of Bearspaw Reservoir at the western City limits:

Bearspaw - 60 ha of relatively undisturbed natural landscape Haskayne - 126 ha of parkland adjacent to the northeast bank of the Bow River, west of Tuscany

The vision for the site is to be a key piece within a green corridor extending from Calgary to Cochrane,

including Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park and a section of the TransCanada Trail. The CPR mainline runs through the site. On the south side of the tracks the park concept contains a waterfront facility that could include a concession / restaurant area along with water access for non-powered boating.

Categories: Councillor; Parks

Back | April 22, 2015

Upcoming River Erosion Protection Project

Water Services has an upcoming river erosion protection project, located on the right bank of the Bow River, north of Bow Green Crescent N.W. The site is located on the south bank of the Bow River, between the Canadian Pacific Rail (CPR) Bridge and the pedestrian bridge that crosses the Bow River (just north of Bow Green Crescent N.W.). The site extends from just west of the pedestrian bridge, eastwards approximately 100 meters to the CP Rail Bridge.

Background

In the June 2013 Flood, portions of the bank along the Bow River suffered riverbank erosion. The current condition of the riverbank includes exposed bank areas and vegetation, damage to pathway and loss of rip rap (large rock) around storm water outfalls. The restoration of the riverbank will require stabilizing the slope, protecting it from further erosion and restoring the pathway.

Project Details

  • The permanent riverbank restoration involves placement of approximately 100 meters of rip rap (large rock) at the toe of the slope, with vegetated banks restored above the rock. The vegetated banks will be a combination of willow plantings and species native to the area
  • The pathway connection underneath of the CPR Bridge is not included in the scope of work for this project. Negotiations with CPR are ongoing for construction of the pathway connection. Construction fencing will be in place for the duration of this project.
  • This project is scheduled to start the week of April 6, 2015 and it is expected to take approximately six to eight weeks.

Construction Impacts

  • Construction vehicles, equipment and a small lay-down area for supplies will occupy a small parcel of land east of the fence line on CPR right of way.
  • The entire work site will be fenced off with construction fencing. There will be no access to the Bowmont pedestrian bridge for the duration of construction. The remainder of the pathway will remain open.
  • Access to the construction site will be along Bowness Road, 70 Street, 44 Avenue and 69 Street N.W. into the CPR right of way (east of the fence line).
  • No Parking will be in effect on 44 Avenue between 69 Street and 70 Street N.W. for the duration of construction to allow haul vehicles to have a proper turn radius and access the site (see site map).
  • Work will be done work from 7:00 a.m. until 6:00pm for approximately six to seven days a week. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact 311 (24 hours, seven days a week).



 







 

Categories: Councillor; Developments and Projects; Flood Mitigation

Back | January 22, 2016

Ward 1 Parks Project: East Bowmont Park & Water Resources

January 2016 Update – Parks is currently integrating the Design Development Plan with Water Resources.

The East Bowmont Natural Environment Park (NEP) is located in the northwest quadrant of the city surrounded by the communities of Silver Springs, Varsity, Montgomery and Bowness. Water Resources identified the East Bowmont NEP site as a potential storm water quality retrofit project location. The plan addresses all of the lands formerly known as the Klippert property and those immediately adjacent to the former gravel pit. The goal is to provide treatment for storm water runoff in an integrated park environment; ensure sustainable public access, safety and use; restore natural areas; and upgrade other landscapes and amenities within the surrounding area. The plan reinforces the overall vision of the Bowmont Natural Environment Park Management Plan as a multi-use regional park within Calgary.

Categories: Councillor; Parks

Back | September 04, 2018

Welcome to September! In this issue, the Ward 1 Report has updates on The City's proposed designated cannabis consumption areas, Vote 2018 - Olympic Bid, and a chance to win a $75 gift certificate to Angel's Drive In!

Categories: Ward update; Ward 1 E-Newsletter; Community Newsletters; Councillor

Back | October 15, 2018

Business Advisory Committee

This week is Small Business Week. I’m pleased to announce that Council has supported my Notice of Motion for the establishment of a Business Advisory Committee. The purpose of the committee is to be the gateway and conduit to directing business practices of the City of Calgary by removing barriers, policies and processes that conflict with seamless business and less government intervention.

The vote for this NOM was as follows: For – Cllr Chu, Magliocca, Davison, Gondek, Chahal, Demong, Mayor Nenshi, Carra, Farrell, DCU, Jones. (Keating/Woolley absent) Against – Cllr Farkas.

Please feel free to review the NOM here. The terms of reference details will be created by the committee in December.

Sign up to get the latest municipal and community news. Sign up at www.WardSutherland.com

Categories: Councillor’s initiatives; Councillor; Motions and Initiatives

Back | July 30, 2018

Monthly report from Councillor Ward Sutherland

Welcome to August! In this issue, the Ward 1 Report has updates on Bowness Skatepark, water projects in Rocky Ridge and Royal Oak, changes to the Calgary Public Art Policy, warnings from the Calgary Police Service and features from local businesses, such as the new Boston Pizza in Market Mall, the anticipated opening of Leopold’s Tavern in Bowness, and a very cool, biodegradable BBQ from The Bownesian Grocer for those times you can't reserve a BBQ or bring your own barbeque to Bowness Park.

You can also follow Ward on Twitter at @ward4ward1, Facebook at @ward4ward1 or Instagram at @ward4ward1.

Sign up for the Ward 1 Report and never miss another municipal and community update. Visit www.WardSutherland.com​.

Categories: Community Newsletters; Councillor; Parks; Police Safety; Ward 1 E-Newsletter; Ward update

Back | May 29, 2014

Dear Bowness Residents,

I understand your frustration with the recent news that the Province has elected that the proposed dry dams on the Bow River should not proceed due to a cost benefit analysis and environmental factors. Last week, I asked The City to request from the Province specific reasons why the proposal for the Bow was not approved.

The City is investigating further details to confirm if the Bow watershed dams were deemed unfeasible, not constructible or ineffective in mitigating floods. When I receive more information on why the Bow facilities have been dropped from further consideration, I will post the information on my website.

I was informed, on May 9, 2014, that the Province is still committed to a solution for the Bow, though, it will look different than the Elbow projects, and because negotiation is involved, it may take longer to get approval. However, the end result may be achieved more quickly than the Elbow concepts because the Bow infrastructure is still in place.

I am on the board committee for Calgary Emergency Management Agency (CEMA). In the case that I learn of any information that can help the community of Bowness, I will notify residents through the Bowness Community Association, my City of Calgary website, Facebook and Twitter.

In the meantime, keep up to date by frequently visiting The City’s flood preparation website. To receive the latest news, sign up for email updates and download the City news app on your smart phone. As well, The City is hosting a flood open house on Thursday, May 15, from 6-8 p.m. at Foothills Academy, 745 37 St NW. Staff from a number of business units will be on hand to share information and answer your questions. Representatives from The City’s Expert Management Panel on Flood Mitigation and the Government of Alberta will also be available.

Please know that your safety is my number one priority, and I will advocate on your behalf to the Province within the powers of my role as your councillor. If you have any other questions, please email my office at ward01@calgary.ca or call (403) 268-2430.   ​

Categories: Councillor; Flood 2013; Flood Mitigation

Back | May 01, 2018

The Ward 1 Report is out for the month of May!

Get the latest news on Olympic plebiscite, public consumption of cannabis, cannabis businesses, Calgary flood readiness, spring street sweeping, and more!

Categories: Community Newsletters; Councillor; Ward 1 E-Newsletter; Ward update; Flood Mitigation

Back | June 27, 2018

The Ward 1 monthly report for July is here. Click on the cover below to navigate to the reader.

Categories: Community Newsletters; Councillor; Parks; Ward 1 E-Newsletter; Ward update

Back | October 25, 2018

This morning’s Calgary Herald article - Residential taxpayers may face higher rates to blunt soaring commercial taxes only tells part of my interview. I think it’s important to add the omitted parts to give the fullcontext.

What is missing?

The City is reducing operating costs on an ongoing basis.  Frequent Zero Based Reviews continue to find efficiencies and cost savings. Over $500M has been reduced in the operating budget compared to the last 4-year budget cycle– this is an almost 21% reduction of the operating budget.

Staff reductions have occurred and senior management has had no wages increases or bonuses for the last few years. Non-union employees have had reduced wage increases compared to those for union employees. Wage negotiations with the 3 major unions for the new 4-year budget period have been underway since January of 2018 with no agreement to date.

Dealing with the non-residential tax issues requires a multi-tiered approach, not simply a complete shift from non-residential to residential. Everyone is feeling the pressure – residents with their property taxes, and businesses with taxes, wage increases and income tax increases. It is about delivering services at the best value for Calgarians.  This becomes a challenge, as the City already faces downloaded costs from other levels of government, but as the “front line” the City and City Council are the focus of most of the attention.

Unfortunately, this is not a simple one line comment and it requires a creative strategic approach with specific recommendations, not generic rhetoric. All the above issues need to be addressed in the upcoming "One Calgary" 2019-2022 Budget Deliberations week in late November. Stay tuned.

Ward Sutherland

Councillor Ward 1

Want more updates on Budget Deliberations week? Visit www.Facebook.com/ward4ward1 and sign up for my monthly report at www.WardSutherland.com

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Categories: Councillor; Budget

Back | June 05, 2018

The Ward 1 Report is out for the month of June!

Get the latest news on the Bowness flood berm, Bowmont Park update, ENMAX projects near Tuscany and Varsity, the closure of the Market Mall Community Station and more!

Categories: Community Newsletters; Councillor; Ward update; Ward 1 E-Newsletter

Back | January 06, 2017

December 2016

Labour Market Review

Highlights

December’s 2016 Labour Force Survey for the CER and Calgary Census Metropolitan Area (CCMA) shows the following:

  • Year end review: In 2016, the CER lost 18,300 jobs in total, all of them in full-time positions (-29,500). The annual average unemployment rate jumped to 9.0 per cent, from 6.1 per cent a year ago. Total employment income in the region declined for the first time in fifteen years by $810 million to $40 billion in 2016.
  • From November to December 2016, total employment in the CER increased by 4,600, both in full-time (+3,600) and part-time (+1,000) positions. From December 2015 to December 2016, total employment increased by 15,800, mainly in part-time (+13,000) positions.
  • The unemployment rate in the CER was 9.6 per cent, compared to 8.1 per cent in Alberta and 6.4 per cent in Canada. In October, the number of employment insurance (EI) recipients in the CMA was 30,900 persons, up by 57 per cent from a year ago.
  • The average weekly wage rate in the Calgary CMA was $1,134, up by 1.2 per cent a year ago; the total wage bills for the region increased by $25 millions.

View the full report here

Categories: City Finances; Councillor; Economics

Back | February 23, 2017

​Tax Burden of Calgary Golf Courses

Tax burden


Categories: Motions and Initiatives

Back | August 30, 2016

Bownesss Park Wading Pool Project Update

The primary construction of the Bowness Park Wading Pool was completed in mid-July, with the exception of the epoxy coating on the pool basin. This work requires a continuous period of dry warm weather to complete the coating process. Given the ongoing rain Calgary has experienced since the beginning of July and continuing, the wading pool will be opened in 2017. The construction fencing will remain in place until this work is completed. 

For future updates, sign up to receive Councillor Ward Sutherland`s monthly e-newsletter here. ​

Categories: Councillor; Parks

Back | November 15, 2018

​Community and Municipal News
City of Calgary – Monthly report from Councillor Ward Sutherland

Welcome to November! In this issue, the Ward 1 Report has updates on cannabis legalization, public art at Rocky Ridge YMCA, Snow and Ice Control and more!


Having trouble viewing the November 2018 report? Download the PDF version.

You can also follow Ward on Twitter at @ward4ward1, Facebook at @ward4ward1 or Instagram at @ward4ward1.


Sign up for the Ward 1 Report and never miss another municipal and community update.


Categories: Ward 1 E-Newsletter; Ward update; Councillor

Back | November 14, 2018

​One Calgary 2019-2022 Service Plans & Budgets

Background

Over the past few years, many Calgarians have asked to find out more about the services the City provides, and how Council is investing their tax dollars. We need to be better at communicating the value of our services to our citizens, customers, communities and businesses.   This message is part of that communication. 

By taking a service-based approach to how we plan and budget, we can better show the public where public tax dollars are going, the value citizens are getting for their investment, and how the City is delivering on the services they value. Additionally, being more citizen-centric creates more opportunities for services to complement each other and to work together to ensure more efficient service delivery.

Budget Week in Council

Between today’s public release of the 2019-2022 Service Plans and Budgets, and Council’s Nov. 26 to 30 deliberations, the public will have an opportunity to provide feedback on what administration is proposing. You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting calgary.ca/yourservices and selecting “Give feedback”.  Starting with the Nov. 26 Public Hearing, Council will deliberate on the proposed plans and budgets and make their final decision for how we invest and what we focus on for the next four years.

Unfortunately, misinformation for political gain seems to be a trend.  I will do my utmost to post factual information - no innuendoes, no one-off anecdotal quotes, etc.

Ward's Budget Series

Over the next few weeks, I will post various charts with explanations; the one below is a comparable for Calgary vs. Edmonton’s current tax difference. Edmonton Council approved a 3.3% tax increase for 2019.

There are three components to the new 4-year budget – the Operating Budget (daily operations of the City to deliver services), the Capital Budget (infrastructure investment, purchases of equipment etc.), and the One-time costs (unplanned/planned one-off costs).
What does “Indicative Tax Rate” actually mean?  It is an estimate over a 4-year period taking in many variables, such as the economic environment, revenue estimates, etc.

This is a FACT- The last 5 years’ Actual tax increase has been LOWER every year than the original Indicative Tax Rate (I will post the chart later).

This is only the first of many conversations and the debate of the upcoming budget (in the last week of November at Council).  We also review budgets every 6 months to determine if adjustments are required.  As a Municipal City under the MGA, we are NOT ALLOWED to run a deficit.

Categories: Councillor; Community Newsletters; Ward 1 E-Newsletter; City Finances; Budget

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