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Title: Changes to Green Cart collection frequency

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COCShortDescription: Beginning in November, green cart collection (organic waste) will be reduced from weekly service to being picked up every two weeks.

COCDescription: <p>Beginning in November, green cart collection (organic waste) will be reduced from weekly service to being picked up every two weeks. Weekly service will resume in the Spring. </p> <p>The idea of reducing green bin collection during the Winter months actually began with suggestions from citizens who thought that that a bi-monthly collection could save Calgarians some money. This made sense to me, because like many of you I have very little yardwork and organic waste to justify a weekly pickup during the Winter months.</p> <p>Following up on this, I proposed that black carts be collected every week during the Winter and Spring months, with green carts to be collected every week in the Summer and Fall months.</p> <p>Unfortunately, City Council kept the black cart collection to every second week all year long, but also reduced green bin service to every second week for half of the year. Very little cost savings will be realized from this switch, making it a “be careful what you wish for” kind of situation. Sadly, the green cart fees will be reduced by approximately twenty cents. In fact, waste collection fees overall will be rising – despite the reduction in service. This seems to be part of a continuing trend of Calgarians having to pay more and get less.</p> <p>At this time, Council is also looking at a “pay as you throw” plan would allow Calgarians to pay an extra charge if they have extra garbage bags that cannot fit into their black bin.​​</p>

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Back | October 24, 2018

Beginning in November, green cart collection (organic waste) will be reduced from weekly service to being picked up every two weeks. Weekly service will resume in the Spring.

The idea of reducing green bin collection during the Winter months actually began with suggestions from citizens who thought that that a bi-monthly collection could save Calgarians some money. This made sense to me, because like many of you I have very little yardwork and organic waste to justify a weekly pickup during the Winter months.

Following up on this, I proposed that black carts be collected every week during the Winter and Spring months, with green carts to be collected every week in the Summer and Fall months.

Unfortunately, City Council kept the black cart collection to every second week all year long, but also reduced green bin service to every second week for half of the year. Very little cost savings will be realized from this switch, making it a “be careful what you wish for” kind of situation. Sadly, the green cart fees will be reduced by approximately twenty cents. In fact, waste collection fees overall will be rising – despite the reduction in service. This seems to be part of a continuing trend of Calgarians having to pay more and get less.

At this time, Council is also looking at a “pay as you throw” plan would allow Calgarians to pay an extra charge if they have extra garbage bags that cannot fit into their black bin.​​

Categories:

Back | October 23, 2018

Following my Motion to reform closed-door meetings, I am pleased to report that City Council unanimously referred my motion to the City Clerk. Changes will be coming back for final approval by December.

This is about opening the doors at City Hall – both figuratively and literally.

Calgary City Council spends more time making decisions behind closed doors than any other Canadian city so this is a big win for all Calgarians.

As a recap, here are the key parts of what I proposed:

  • Requiring closed meetings to begin only with a recorded vote so that each City Councillor is put on the record (for or against) with a clear legal reason;
  • Requiring a paper trail for every confidential agenda item;
  • Requiring confidentiality at Council to be lifted after a certain period of time  (instead of forever);
  • Allowing Councillors to bring in outside assistance to closed-door meetings;
  • Allowing the public to challenge whether a closed-door meeting was appropriate.

This is a great first step toward swinging open the doors at City Hall.

Thank you for your part in helping move this important issue forward.

Categories: Council initiatives

Back | October 05, 2018

​Snow clearing operations on Calgary’s major traffic routes have now been completed and the Snow Route parking bans have been lifted.

Thank you for helping us to keep our roads safe.

Please be aware that another Snow Event can be declared when snow and weather conditions warrant it or when more plowing is required on Calgary’s roads.

Snow Routes include major roadways, collector roads and most bus routes and are marked by blue signs with a white snowflake. A map and full list of Snow Route locations are available on calgary.ca/snow

For more information, please contact our office, visit calgary.ca/snow or call 311.

Categories:

Back | October 04, 2018

Today, I will be submitting a notice of motion aimed at tackling Calgary City Council’s excessive use of closed-door meetings.

I am proposing several specific reforms. Please click here to read the full notice of motionNotice of MotionNotice of Motion - Reforming Council's Closed Door Meetings.pdfNotice of Motion - Reforming Council's Closed Door Meetings.pdf 

This is about opening the doors at City Hall – both figuratively and literally. Calgary City Council spends more time making decisions behind closed doors than any other Canadian city by a long shot and it's time that changed.

I am proposing new restrictions on Council, as well as new tools for citizens to challenge increased use of closed-door meetings at City Hall. I will also be asking Council to allow a public tour of the special “closed-door” meeting room for all Calgarians to see.

What happens at City Hall belongs to Calgarians, not the politicians. The law is very clear – Council must conduct its business in public, with just a few exceptions made for personnel issues, legal matters, and certain business items.

A report released last year shows that, between 2013-2017, City Council spent 23.7 per cent of its time in closed-door sessions, amounting to more than 700 private meetings. The same study compared Calgary to jurisdictions in Ontario, including Hamilton, which held 13 private meetings between 2014 and 2016. Toronto held 18 meetings behind closed doors, and Ottawa conducted just one closed-door session during the three-year period.

Categories: Council initiatives

Back | October 04, 2018

On Tuesday, November 13th from 8am-8pm, please exercise your democratic right and cast your ballot with respect to whether or not Calgary should host 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

Advance voting days for this vote are on Tuesday, November 6th and Wednesday, November 7th from 11am-7pm. Please take the time to review the project information before you cast your ballot. 

Please visit www.calgary.ca/elections or contact my office to find your voting station for the advance vote and on vote day.

Voting Opportunities:

Advance Vote
(you are encouraged to vote at the station closest to your home)
November 6 and 7 – Advance Vote (11am-7pm)

Special (Mail-in) Ballots
Applications are now open and can be made online, in person or over the phone until November 13, 2018 at noon

Voting on Vote Day - November 13, 2018
Time: 8am - 8pm
160 locations across the City
Voters must vote at their designated voting station.

Hospital Vote
Foothills, Peter Lougheed, Rockyview, South Health Campus (rotating)
Time: 10am-7pm

Who is eligible to Vote
A Canadian citizen at least 18 years of age who has resided in Alberta for a least the last 6 months (since May 13, 2018) and lives in Calgary on Vote Day.

Categories: Events

Back | October 02, 2018

UPDATE - the snow route parking ban will be lifted at 6:00am on Friday, October 5th 

Until the ban is lifted, a Snow Route parking ban will be in effect.

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.

Snow routes are located on major roadways, collector roads and most bus routes and can be identified by blue signs with a white snowflake on them. Watch for these signs in your community. On-street accessible parking zones located on snow routes are exempt from parking bans at all times.

For more information, please visit: calgary.ca/snow or call 311. You may also contact our office at 403 268 2476.

Thank you for your role in keeping our roads safe.

Categories:

Back | September 27, 2018

Please join me and your neighbours for the Special Edition Ward 11 Town Hall: 2026 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games  

Bring your questions, comments and ideas to this public forum. These are important discussions to have and you need to be part of the conversation that will ultimately define the future of our city.

Representatives from Calgary 2026, the organization tasked with developing the 2026 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games bid, will be in attendance to give a presentation on where the bid process is to date as well as answer your questions.

Many thanks to the Haysboro Community Association for hosting Octobers's special edition event. Refreshments will be served. Everyone welcome!

Tuesday, October 23, 2018
7:00pm-8:30pm
Location: Haysboro Community Centre – 1204 89 Avenue SW

Categories: Events

Back | September 21, 2018

I had the honour of being part of the unveiling ceremony of the restored Colonist Car alongside Her Honour Lois Mitchell, Lt. Governor of Alberta, Dave Rodych, Chair of the Board of Heritage Park, Alida Visbach, President of Heritage Park and key donor, Joan Snyder, philanthropist and passionate Calgarian.

As a first generation Calgarian whose family fled from the oppression of communist Hungary in the late 1950’s, the addition of this new exibit resonates with me. Stories about the hard work, the setbacks and the triumphs experienced by the immigrants who travelled on these Colonist Cars and who literally risked it all to settle in our country are incredible.

The Colonist Car plays an important part in preserving a key piece of our city’s rich history and I’m proud that we saw value in investing in its restoration. You can read more about this important addition to Heritage Park here.

Categories: Councillor

Back | July 11, 2018

I live in Palliser and have been feeling trapped within my own neighbourhood. Odds are, I’m not alone.

With all of the construction that we are seeing at every edge of Ward 11 and throughout the city, it is literally adding hours onto our commute times each week. This coupled with other quality of life impacts such as increased dust, noise, vibration for those living adjacent to active construction sites, in addition to the impacts on our walkways, pathways, green spaces and access to local businesses that affect us all, I share in your frustrations.

Many of you have also contacted my office raising legitimate concerns about emergency response times and First Responders, such as EMS, Calgary Fire and Calgary Police, navigating our community streets as a result of the various construction projects.

In addition to personally flagging these issues that you have raised with me with the City Transportation department and the City Manager, I also continue to flag many of the problem areas in and around Ward 11 with City Transportation staff to have them reviewed and addressed.

Most recently, during Question Period in Council, I called City Administration to account and asked staff to address the impacts to citizens as a result of all of these construction projects. Administration agreed that we should be doing a better job, especially with communicating with citizens, residents and commuters alike. They will be reporting back in the coming days with a plan for better communications between City departments and with citizens.

I continue to question why it was appropriate to start so many projects at the same time especially since they are at located on all of the major roads within the SW quadrant. The widening of Anderson Road, the construction of the Braeside Dry Pond Project, the Southwest BRT (SWBRT), the Southwest Ring Road (SWRR) connectors (90th Avenue extension and Southland Drive extension), Glenmore Trail widening project, ATCO Pipeline Urban Replacement Project (URP), Glenmore Reservoir flood mitigation project (to name just a few) are all major projects that each would be challenging on their own.

When combined, in addition to dozens of building redevelopment and construction projects in and around our neighbourhoods, the next several years will continue to be challenging for all of us.

I urge you all be cautious in your travels and in your leisure activities – your safety is a priority for me. Please contact me at ward11@calgary.ca or at 403 268 2476 with your questions and experiences.​

Categories: Councillor

Back | November 02, 2018

​On Wednesday, October 31, along with a majority of Council, I voted against proceeding with the Olympic bid at this time. Due to a City Hall technicality, the motion required two-thirds of Council to agree, rather than a simple majority.

This means the bid will proceed.

I voted this way because:

  • The new tentative agreement is incredibly inadequate and is more about making Calgary work for the International Olympic Committee, rather than using the Olympics as a means to achieve Calgary’s goals;
  • Calgarians will not be provided the time and information promised to them in advance of the November 13th vote.

Concerns about finances and secrecy

Calgarians, from athletes to business leaders to everyday citizens, have been led on and let down by this two-year process. What may have seemed like an economic and cultural opportunity for infrastructure renewal has turned into a disappointing and financially nonsensical proposal.

The new agreement proposes a budget with major corners cut. The lion’s share of approximately $300 million in cuts come from what I consider to be a dangerous reduction to security funding. The full details of how the security budget has been cut are confidential. Of all aspects of this bid, security should be untouchable. Keeping Calgarians and visitors safe should never be comprised.

The proposed funding agreement puts the City’s contribution at an incredibly unrealistic $370 million. The City must also guarantee against cost overruns if we are unable to convince the other levels of government to do so. This means that, were we to host the Games, the virtually-assured security cost overruns would be borne entirely by the City. This means that the City's contribution is essentially a blank cheque.

As elected officials, we have an ethical obligation to ensure that voters are presented with complete, unbiased and factual information as well as a fair electoral process to participate in. At this point, I do not believe voters will have any of this. The problems that plagued the last municipal election have not been resolved, leaving the process extremely vulnerable to fraud, and there is a tremendous amount of classified material relating to financial risks that has not been shared publicly.

Concerns about fairness

I continue to question the fairness of the process. The City's engagement team is not holding any more open houses, and the airwaves are dominated by a million dollar taxpayer-funded campaign promoting the "Yes" side. Even at our Council meeting and debate, only pro-Olympic bid speakers were permitted to make presentations.

I am disappointed that the City and Bidco have not fulfilled their promise to provide Calgarians with complete information a full month in advance of the plebiscite. Now, we are less than two weeks away from a vote and no opportunities for public input. I have supported your right to vote on this, and unsuccessfully attempted to have the date of the plebiscite moved so that a robust review could happen. I have heard from constituents who have described this as a “bait-and-switch” situation, in which the information that they were given at City open houses has changed only days before they are expected to vote on this issue.

I must also continue to question why the City is releasing our "bad news budget" with tax hikes, fee increases, and service reductions the day after the plebiscite. The City is preparing to hike taxes for the tenth year in a row to pay for runaway spending, not including the Olympic bid. Business groups, non-profits, and even the City’s Chief Financial Officer have sounded the alarm bells and raised concerns about our financial sustainability.

Without releasing the City’s 4-year budget before the plebiscite, Calgarians will not know the full context of the City’s shaky financial situation and the effect an Olympic bid could have, and has already had on it.

For these reasons, I will be voting no.

Please make sure that you, your family and your friends vote on November 13th.

Please visit www.calgary.ca/elections or contact my office to find your voting station for the advance vote and on vote day.

Voting Opportunities:

Advance Vote
November 6 and 7 – Advance Vote (11 am - 7 pm)

Special (Mail-in) Ballots
Applications are now open and can be made online, in person or over the phone until November 13, 2018 at noon

Voting on Vote Day - November 13, 2018
Time: 8 am - 8 pm
160 locations across the City
Voters must vote at their designated voting station.

Hospital Vote
Foothills, Peter Lougheed, Rockyview, South Health Campus (rotating)
Time: 10 am - 7 pm

Categories: Councillor; Events

Back | September 12, 2018

​Because Council debated the Olympics into the very late evening, the media coverage has been incomplete. To be clear, Council did not actually get the opportunity to vote for or against the bid.

Council had a vote to re-confirm the plebiscite and its date, and whether City Administration should continue scrutinizing the financials provided by BidCo. I voted in support of both these motions.

Based on the financial, legal, and security risks provided to me in the secret meetings, I would have voted against the bid if that was an option.

I voted against keeping this information confidential because I believe you have a right to know how your money may be spent and what trade-offs may be necessary to host the games. I also voted against the City Manager being authorized to negotiate and conclude the Multi-Party Agreement, because I think a mandate hasn't yet been given by Calgarians.

Why I am opposed to a bid

I am opposed to a bid for the 2026 Olympics but believe that Calgarians should have their say – based on the full facts about risks and benefits.

After more than two years of exploring an Olympic bid, estimated costs to host this three-week event are still fuzzy and they just don't add up. For example, we are told that security costs will be 40 per cent less in 2026 than what Vancouver spent in 2010. That doesn't make sense to me, especially since the hosting plan that we saw for the 2026 Games is spread over several cities, towns, and two provinces. I struggle with Calgarian property taxpayers potentially having to bear the burden of infrastructure and security costs for venues in Whistler and Canmore.

Our city's ability to shoulder the billions of dollars these games will cost weighs heavy on my mind. We do not yet have confirmation of funding from other levels of government and many infrastructure projects that Calgarians have said they'd like to see, such as a new arena, a new football stadium, and an LRT line to the airport, have not been included in this plan. In my view, the impact to essential services is not worth the benefits as projected at this point.

Next steps

The Olympic Plebiscite will be held on November 13. In the next two months, my priority will be ensuring Calgarians receive as much information as possible in advance of the plebiscite, so they may make an informed decision.

Olympic Plebiscite advance voting will be on November 6 and 7 from 11am to 7 pm. There will be a voting station in each ward. The University of Calgary and Mount Royal University will have a day of advance voting and 68 seniors centres will have the vote during that same time.

I am supporting a bylaw amendment to allow mail-in ballots. If Council passes the bylaw, they will be available as of October 1, 2018

Updated information will be available at www.calgary.ca/elections.

​Because Council debated the Olympics into the very late evening, the media coverage has been incomplete. To be clear, Council did not actually get the opportunity to vote for or against the bid.

Council had a vote to re-confirm the plebiscite and its date, and whether City Administration should continue scrutinizing the financials provided by BidCo. I voted in support of both these motions.

Based on the financial, legal, and security risks provided to me in the secret meetings, I would have voted against the bid if that was an option.

I voted against keeping this information confidential because I believe you have a right to know how your money may be spent and what trade-offs may be necessary to host the games. I also voted against the City Manager being authorized to negotiate and conclude the Multi-Party Agreement, because I think a mandate hasn't yet been given by Calgarians.

Why I am opposed to a bid

I am opposed to a bid for the 2026 Olympics but believe that Calgarians should have their say – based on the full facts about risks and benefits.

After more than two years of exploring an Olympic bid, estimated costs to host this three-week event are still fuzzy and they just don't add up. For example, we are told that security costs will be 40 per cent less in 2026 than what Vancouver spent in 2010. That doesn't make sense to me, especially since the hosting plan that we saw for the 2026 Games is spread over several cities, towns, and two provinces. I struggle with Calgarian property taxpayers potentially having to bear the burden of infrastructure and security costs for venues in Whistler and Canmore.

Our city's ability to shoulder the billions of dollars these games will cost weighs heavy on my mind. We do not yet have confirmation of funding from other levels of government and many infrastructure projects that Calgarians have said they'd like to see, such as a new arena, a new football stadium, and an LRT line to the airport, have not been included in this plan. In my view, the impact to essential services is not worth the benefits as projected at this point.

Next steps

The Olympic Plebiscite will be held on November 13. In the next two months, my priority will be ensuring Calgarians receive as much information as possible in advance of the plebiscite, so they may make an informed decision.

Olympic Plebiscite advance voting will be on November 6 and 7 from 11am to 7 pm. There will be a voting station in each ward. The University of Calgary and Mount Royal University will have a day of advance voting and 68 seniors centres will have the vote during that same time.

I am supporting a bylaw amendment to allow mail-in ballots. If Council passes the bylaw, they will be available as of October 1, 2018

Updated information will be available at www.calgary.ca/elections.

Categories: Councillor

Back | September 11, 2018

Join me for the next Ward 11 Town Hall!

Please join me and your neighbours for the next Ward 11 Town Hall event.

Bring your questions, comments and ideas to this public forum. We will be hosting Ward 11 Town Halls at various locations throughout the ward every month.

Many thanks to the Southwood Community Association for hosting September's event. Refreshments will be served. Everyone welcome.

Thursday, September 20th, 2018
7 pm - 8:30 pm
Location: Southwood Community Centre – 11 Sackville Drive SW

Categories: Events

Back | September 07, 2018

​By now, some of you may have noticed some temporary curbs, modifications to the bus stop and the addition of an adaptive sidewalk along 4 Street SW between 50 Avenue to 56 Avenue.

These changes are a result of a pilot project that was put in place following a request made by the Windsor Park Community Association to address their concerns about vehicle speeds and pedestrian safety along that stretch of road.

The City studied the area and collected data regarding the speed of vehicles and pedestrian safety. Based on this study, a traffic calming plan was created. This pilot project will be monitored over the course of the year to determine if there are any adjustments that need to be made.

The City will be seeking community feedback on the pilot project through a survey that will be conducted in the Spring of 2019. Please contact our office anytime if you have any questions about this project or would like to offer any feedback in the interim.

Categories:

Back | September 05, 2018

On Monday, September 10th, I will be forced to vote on a proposal put forward by the Mayor and some other members of City Council to reduce residential speed limits citywide to 30 km/h.

I think 30 km/h is too low.

I would be curious to see what the data says about safety outcomes at 40 km/h. We know that 30 km/h saves lives in playground zones, but doing it throughout the city could paralyze traffic.

We should be focusing on problem areas through traffic calming and better engineering, rather than introducing a blanket approach that might make problems worse. As children head back to school, I know that traffic safety concerns are top of mind for parents and I’m happy to continue this conversation in a measured and thoughtful way.

Please let me know what you think. Click here to share your thoughts.

Categories: Councillor

Back | August 30, 2018

Cannabis will be legal on October 17th. In Calgary, public consumption rules will be similar to those of alcohol. It will be illegal to consume recreational cannabis (smoking, vaping or edibles) in any form in public places except in designated consumption areas.

Landlords, condo bylaws and hotels can prohibit cannabis consumption so the City is considering using some public parks and green spaces be designated for cannabis consumption.

There are four proposed cannabis consumption areas and all are located in Ward 9 (Councillors were asked to volunteer their wards). The four suggested consumption areas are in Bridgeland, Inglewood (two locations) and Ogden. You can provide your feedback until September 7th through this site: https://engage.calgary.ca/cannabisareas

You can also provide your feedback in person at the October Public Hearing at City Hall or at each one of the proposed consumption sites. Large displays with details of the project have been installed at each one of the proposed locations along with feedback forms that can be filled out and submitted on site. The one exception to this is in Inglewood, where the large display will be located at the 11 Avenue SE location this week (August 27 - September 1) and the Wildlands parking lot location next week (September 1 - 7).

Categories: Councillor

Back | August 30, 2018

To assist in planning your weekly commutes, please click on the document below to learn about the several construction projects in and around Ward 11 for the week of September 4-10.

SW traffic advisories information - Sept. 4-10.pdf

Categories:

Back | July 25, 2018

​Please click on the link below to read the July 2018 edition:

Ward 11 News - Councillor Jeromy Farkas - July 2018.pdf

Categories: Newsletter

Back | July 25, 2018

​Alberta Health Services has re-issued a contaminated water advisory for the Elbow River between Sandy Beach and 9 Avenue SE. While this advisory has been in place since July 8th, citizens are being reminded of this issue as the warm summer weather continues.

Please note that some of the contamination is from human fecal material (as well as wildlife, livestock and domestic animals) and also includes contamination impacts from recreation, stormwater and changing river flows. While identifying the sources of contamination has been a challenge, it is important to note that this contamination is not believed to be due to an issue with the City's sanitary infrastructure nor does it impact our drinking water.

Please avoid recreational activities in this section of the Elbow River until further notification.

Categories:

Back | July 24, 2018

On July 30th, together with Councillors Chu, Magliocca, I will be bringing forward a Notice of Motion in an effort to bring more transparency to the Olympic Bidco process. Please read my media release here:

Farkas seeks transparency and full accountability on Olympic bid.pdf

Notice of Motion 2018 July 30

At present, the operations of the Olympic Bidco organization are not subject to the Freedom of Information and Privacy Act, which means that regular citizens may not ever learn how their money is being spent on the bidding process, or on hosting the 2026 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games if Calgary is chosen.

The City of Calgary has been exploring the Olympic bid for over two years and has spent nearly fifteen million dollars doing so. At a time when politicians are threatening service cuts or increased taxes, it’s important – now more than ever – to come clean regarding how much this two-week event will cost.

Citizens must be consulted and have the final say on whether the trade-offs are worth it. If we are going to proceed with the Olympics, it needs to be on our terms – and subject to our laws, especially those governing finances and transparency.

Categories: Council initiatives; Councillor

Back | July 13, 2018

​Over the month of July two projects will be undertaken on the banks of the Elbow River. Work will include repairs to the damaged pipe as well as bank stabilization.

This work is a result of ongoing flood mitigation and is one of the 161 river outfalls and 53 creek outfalls with damage that have been prioritized for repairs following the floods of 2013.

For more information, please see review the following attachments:

Construction notice outfall E4 July 2018.pdf

Construction notice outfall E38 July 2018

Categories:

Back | July 13, 2018

​As we near the end of another flood readiness season, I would like to thank you for your feedback and engagement.

Our Special Edition Town Hall this past May was an excellent opportunity for all of us to get an update from The City's Water Resources team in terms of the progress on flood mitigation as well as what work is left to do to ensure that our homes, downtown core and infrastructure is safer. We also heard from the Calgary Emergency Management Agency on how to prepare in advance of another flooding episode. We also received information on apps and websites that we can bookmark so that we are kept informed all year long.

If you missed the Town Hall, please click here to read about some of the questions and responses that we heard that evening.

Enjoy your summer and, in the meantime, be sure to bookmark Calgary.ca/floodinfo to stay informed about all that The City is doing to become more flood resilient.

Categories: Councillor

Back | June 13, 2018

Thank you for attending the May Ward 11 Town Hall hosted at the Elbow Park Clubhouse.

At this Special Edition monthly event focused on flood readiness, hosted on Thursday, May 17, 2018, attendees asked live questions and submitted written questions regarding issues most important to them.

While I didn't get a chance to get to all of your written questions because of another great turn-out, I have personally gone through all of the questions submitted and have provide a written summary of my thoughts on each issue.

Click on the file below to read them all:

May 2018 Town Hall Themes

Categories: Councillor

Back | July 13, 2018

Beginning on Monday, July 16th and through to October 2018, SWRR constructors will be driving piling for the four new bridges that will make up the future Anderson Road system interchange.

There will be heavy equipment in this area and pedestrians as well as motorists are advised to take caution.

For more information, please see review this attachment:

SWCRR Anderson Piling

Categories:

Back | July 11, 2018

At this monthly event, hosted on Tuesday, June 26, 2018, attendees asked live questions and submitted written questions regarding issues most important to them.

While I didn't get a chance to get to all of your written questions because of another great turn-out, I have personally gone through all of the questions submitted and have provide a written summary of my thoughts on each issue.<

Click on the file below to read them all:

June 2018 Town Hall Responses

Categories: Councillor

Back | July 09, 2018

On Wednesday, July 11, the City will be implementing a traffic pattern change for the intersection of Anderson Road and 14 Street S.W.

The traffic pattern change is required to accommodate the next phase of road resurfacing works which will take approximately a month to complete.

Calgary Police Service will be on site directing traffic when lane shifts are implemented between 9 am and 2 pm on July 11.

Categories:

Back | July 05, 2018

Following a record snowfall this past year, City Council voted in favour of adding $9 million to the snow clearing budget for the 2018-2019 winter season. All sidewalks adjacent to City-owned properties will be cleared within 24 hours, windrows will be plowed away from priority wheelchair ramp locations and and an additional 100 kilometres of pathways will be cleared thanks to the budget boost.

Over this past winter, snow and ice clearing was identified by citizens as a significant barrier to pedestrians and motorists alike. You have told me that Calgary is a winter city and that better winter conditions for walking and getting around our city must be achieved.

In the coming months, City Council will be debating whether to make the enhanced snow clearing permanent in November’s budget. I have heard loud and clear from Ward 11 residents that this budget boost, if it continues, should be found within the existing budget rather than result in increased taxes.

Categories:

Back | June 20, 2018

​In a vote of 14 to 1, City Council signed off on a plan that could increase utility bills for the typical household by $17 per month ($204 per year) within the next four years.

After careful consideration, I voted against this plan. I continue to hear from everyday Calgarians who are doing their best to cut expenses and make ends meet, but find themselves struggling to stay afloat.

The proposed utility rate hikes, for water, waste water and storm water services, are over and above the indicative property tax increases, and waste and recycling fees, that Council approved earlier this year. All in, average homeowners will likely pay an additional $500 per year by 2022.

Small businesses, families, and seniors continue to be crushed by increases in property taxes, utilities, and fees; not to mention the carbon tax, and other increases from the Federal and Provincial governments.

Considering the current economic climate, record unemployment rates and all too frequent news of long-time businesses closing their doors, I will continue to push hard for ways that we can do more with the same at City Hall in order to cut rates, or at the very least, hold the line.

The City's 4-year multi-billion-dollar budget will be up for debate in November, with opportunities for the public to speak in the first month of September.

Categories: Council initiatives; Councillor

Back | June 20, 2018

​Beginning June 27, 2018, closures will take place on Southland Drive S.W. between Oakfield Drive and Oakmoor Way to complete installation of stormwater infrastructure as part of the Southland Drive roadway extension project.

UPDATE: Closures extended to Wednesday, July 11th (10 pm)

Please see map: Southland Closure

From Wed, June 27 at 7 p.m. until Tues, July 3 at 10 p.m., the Oakfield Drive and Southland Drive intersection will be closed. Detour route includes Oakmoor Way, Oakmoor Dr. and 106 Avenue S.W.

From Wed, June 27 at 7 p.m. until Wed, July 11 at 10 p.m Southland Dr. between Oakfield Dr. and Oakmoor Way will be closed.

From Wed, June 27 at 7 p.m. until Wed, July 11 at 10 p.m the Oakmoor Way and Southland Dr. intersection will be closed. Detour route includes Oakfield Dr., Oakmoor Dr. and 24 Street S.W.

Categories: Events

Back | June 16, 2018

​On October 17th, the federal government will legalize cannabis. Even after it becomes legal, Calgarians will not be permitted to consume anything made with the substance in public places including multi-family dwellings.

These restrictions align with the policies and bylaws that we currently have with respect to prohibiting drinking alcohol in non-licensed areas and not allowing cigarette smoking in common public areas.

As it currently stands, Calgary’s policies on public consumption are similar to other cities in the United States and what other cities, across Canada, are also proposing and have successfully implemented.

Although City Council directed City Administration to investigate designated cannabis smoking areas, the majority of Calgarians recently polled indicated that Calgarians do not want to see or smell marijuana being consumed.

Furthermore, identifying a public location where consumption of cannabis (smoking or vaping) and the exposure to the general public, vulnerable citizens and minors, would be challenging.

I have heard from residents that even though cannabis will become legal, Calgarians, and especially children, should not have to put up with the smoke and distinct smell that accompanies its consumption.

I am in support of starting with more stringent regulations around the public use of this substance when it is first introduced, and then potentially revising those restrictions as we have more information on its impacts on the public.

At present, cannabis retail stores will not be approved unless they are at least 150 metres from a school, 100 metres from a playground or sport field and at least 30 metres from a residence. They also cannot be located in the same commercial centre as a child daycare centre.

In terms of public safety and social disorder, the Calgary Police Service have been working hard to ensure that protocols are in place to address the pending arrival of the legislation and ensure public safety. The City of Calgary, the Calgary Police Service and MADD have partnered to encourage the public to call 9-1-1 to report any suspected impaired drivers.

Categories: Councillor

Back | June 13, 2018

​Will Calgarians be left holding the (garbage) bag?

One of the issues that I hear about most frequently is about waste and recycling services and how one size does not fit all. Calgarians want value for money and, so far, it has been a difficult balance to strike.

The needs of Calgarians vary, with some families needing more capacity and some needing less. The black bin service was scaled back to pick up every other week, while blue (recycling) and green (compost) are collected each week.

While not everyone is pleased with the pick-up frequencies of the various bins, one thing that we can all agree on is that nobody wants to pay more fees. When the black bin frequency was reduced, the savings did not transparently flow through to Calgarians. In other words, service levels decreased but the fees remained the same.

This week, a Council committee will discuss offering three sizes of black bins (garbage/landfill bins). Choices range from a larger version (360 litres), the current version (240 litres), or a smaller version (120 litres). The estimated cost to the City to purchase those different sized bins is approximately $10 million. Calgarians would also be given the opportunity to purchase tags that would allow for an additional bags of garbage to be picked-up.

While I am in support of exploring options and a pay-for-use system, in the end, I am concerned that introducing this new system will ultimately cost taxpayers more money.

I will give you an example. Recently, Council voted in favour of taking the cost for waste and recycling out of property tax bills, and instead charging them on a utility bill as separate fees. The idea was that property taxes would be reduced by the same amount that fees would be going up. Calgarians would not be out any money. While this sounds good in principal, Calgarians just ended up paying more because the property taxes were not reduced as much as the fees that are now being charged. I voted against this.

I am always in support of giving Calgarians more service level options but I am skeptical that this varying black bin service will offer value for money.

Ultimately, the trucks and staff are still deployed whether or not you have a small bin or the largest bin so there are no cost savings there. Fixed costs like these account for about 75% of the service. Taxpayers would also be on the hook for the purchase of the additional varying-sized black bins to the tune of $10 million, and we would have to figure out what to do with the old bins. Also factor in the additional program and staffing costs, not to mention the potential of increased contamination of blue and green bins rendering their contents unusable, and this idea doesn’t seem so appealing after all.

I have been hearing from a lot of you about this issue in the past few days and your comments make a lot of sense. Unless suddenly new information is available at committee to address these points, I am not in support of different sized black bins or new fees because, in the end, I think that Calgarians will just end up paying more. I am in support of introducing additional garbage bag pick up if you want to buy a tag. That is an individual choice and I believe a fair solution for those who have might extra waste from time to time without having to store waste for an additional two weeks or having to take a trip to the landfill.

Categories: Council initiatives; Councillor

Back | June 13, 2018

​Citizens expect members of City Council the meet the highest standards of conduct when carrying out their public functions.

A report commissioned by The City of Calgary in 2014 following an investigation into Councillor conduct was finally ordered to be disclosed publicly by the Provincial Privacy Commissioner and was reported in the media earlier this week. The report details City Councillors allegedly involved in inappropriate behavior in the workplace, possibly including bullying, and/or inappropriate actions and comments.

I applaud the whistleblowers who stepped forward with their concerns. They, and the general public, need to know how The City is acting on these serious concerns.

I understand that member(s) of the media saw the report before members of Council did. Portions of the report were understandably not disclosed to protect the whistleblowers who, according to the report, felt that they had to "quit or put up with unwelcome comments and actions."

The report states that a number of Councillors breached The City's Respectful Workplace Policy with their "inappropriate behavior". In my opinion, those members of Council who have been implicated in this report, several of whom have hired legal counsel, have a moral obligation to step forward and take responsibility for their actions, withwith their "inappropriate behavior".

We have been informed that only the Mayor and the City Solicitor have seen the entire report. It would have been appropriate for The City to have released the report, with the exception of the names of the whistleblowers to maintain their privacy, to citizens in advance of the 2017 Municipal Election.

According to the report, indiscretions by certain members of Council "vary substantially" and it has been reported that complaints for at least four members of Council are believed to have been confirmed, but no consequences have been imposed.

The City of Calgary not only paid for the report but also incurred costs in an effort to avoid releasing the report.

I have requested that the report, with the changes required to protect the whistleblowers, be posted on The City’s website so that all citizens can review it for themselves.

To view the report on City Councillor conduct, click here.

I remain optimistic that those Council members implicated in this Council Conduct report will do the right thing and step forward to take responsibility for their actions. I am committed to transparency, accountability and respect for all Calgarians and I am hopeful that this report serves as a catalyst to change the tone at City Hall.

For more information on the Integrity and Ethics office as well as The City of Calgary Whistle-blower program, click here.

Categories: Council initiatives; Councillor

Back | May 31, 2018

Many thanks to everyone who stopped by the Ward 11 booth at the Lilac Festival on June 3rd.

I really enjoyed the day chatting with attendees and enjoying the sights and sounds of this much anticipated yearly community event.

Congratulations to Joe H. who won a family funpack of Calgary Zoo tickets and to Allis S. who won a family funpack of TELUS Spark tickets.

A BIG thanks also to all of the my volunteers, as well as event volunteers and organizers who made this year's event a huge success.

See you there next year!

Categories: Councillor

Back | May 30, 2018

​In mid-June, as part of the ATCO Urban Pipeline Replacement (UPR) Program, ATCO construction crews will begin construction along 90th Avenue and 14th Street SW in addition to South Glenmore Park.

Please note the following:

  • Due to certain existing natural gas infrastructure locations, traffic diversions will be take place at the intersection of 90th Avenue and 14th Street SW.
  • In June, westbound traffic will be reduced to a single lane (the south lane will be closed) for approximately one week. Please see PDF below:

ATCO June Lane Closure.pdfATCO June Lane Closure.pdf

  • Once the detour road has shifted south in October for the SW BRT project, westbound traffic will once again be reduced to a single lane (the north lane will be closed) for approximately two weeks. Please see PDF below:

ATCO October Lane Closure.pdfATCO October Lane Closure

  • The work will then extend from ATCO's newly installed gas regulating station in South Glenmore Park to 14 Street and 90 Avenue.
  • Excavations will be required in South Glenmore Park in multiple locations and at the intersection of 14 Street and 90 Avenue. There may be reduced accessibility to parking lots or pathways.
  • Potential impacts will include construction noise and vibration during regular work hours.
  • The project will be completed in December 2018, weather permitting.

Categories:

Back | May 29, 2018

​I live in Palliser and have been feeling trapped within my own neighbourhood. Odds are, I’m not alone.

With all of the construction that we are seeing at every edge of Ward 11 and throughout the city, it is literally adding hours onto our commute times each week. This coupled with other quality of life impacts such as increased dust, noise, vibration for those living adjacent to active construction sites, in addition to the impacts on our walkways, pathways, green spaces and access to local businesses that affect us all, I share in your frustrations.

Many of you have also contacted my office raising legitimate concerns about emergency response times and First Responders, such as EMS, Calgary Fire and Calgary Police, navigating our community streets as a result of the various construction projects.

In addition to personally flagging these issues that you have raised with me with the City Transportation department and the City Manager, I also continue to flag many of the problem areas in and around Ward 11 with City Transportation staff to have them reviewed and addressed.

Most recently, during Question Period in Council, I called City Administration to account and asked staff to address the impacts to citizens as a result of all of these construction projects. Administration agreed that we should be doing a better job, especially with communicating with citizens, residents and commuters alike. They will be reporting back in the coming days with a plan for better communications between City departments and with citizens.

I continue to question why it was appropriate to start so many projects at the same time especially since they are at located on all of the major roads within the SW quadrant. The widening of Anderson Road, the construction of the Braeside Dry Pond Project, the Southwest BRT (SWBRT), the Southwest Ring Road (SWRR) connectors (90th Avenue extension and Southland Drive extension), Glenmore Trail widening project, ATCO Pipeline Urban Replacement Project (URP), Glenmore Reservoir flood mitigation project (to name just a few) are all major projects that each would be challenging on their own.

When combined, in addition to dozens of building redevelopment and construction projects in and around our neighbourhoods, the next several years will continue to be challenging for all of us.

I urge you all be cautious in your travels and in your leisure activities – your safety is a priority for me. Please contact me at ward11@calgary.ca or at 403 268 2476 with your questions and experiences.

Categories: Councillor

Back | May 25, 2018

UPDATED: My proposal to record attendance at the beginning and end of Council meetings (instead of me asking for a roll call) was defeated in a vote of 7 to 6.

My motion for an electronic record of votes/e-voting was delayed for further study. Remember that this is zero cost because we already have the system, but disabled it.

YES: Chahal, Chu, Demong, Farkas, Farrell, Nenshi.
NO: Woolley, Colley-Urquhart, Davison, Gondek, Jones, Keating, Sutherland
ABSENT: Carra, Magliocca

--------------------------------------------

Before I was elected, I promised to champion ideas to improve accountability and better include you in decisions.

On Monday, May 28th, I will be proposing electronic voting for our Council meetings. This practice has proven to be efficient and cost-effective elsewhere in North America. Please see the Notice of Motion here:

Participation at Council Meetings

If approved, this will be one of the biggest leaps in accountability that we can make in local government.

This is important because you deserve to know how I'm representing you. Meetings are currently captured in a paper/pdf format that don't allow easy reading or searching. This makes it nearly impossible to know how your Councillor voted on key issues, especially at election time.

I strongly believe that we should be making it easier for the public and media to follow what’s going on in Council – not harder. We can easily manage “information overload” by allowing the record to be searched for issues such as taxes, transit, bike lanes, and so on – providing you with only what you’re interested in.

Some people have recently asked me about my requests for roll call votes at City Council. What I've heard from you is that it's not reasonable to expect 100% perfect attendance; but if a Councillor has to miss a meeting, they should give notice and provide a general reason why such as illness, family commitment, other city business, and so on.

My asking for a roll call takes about 45 seconds, but I strongly prefer that the City Clerk simply record who is present at the beginning and end of each days' worth of meetings. You deserve to know. Please let me know what you think.

Categories: Council initiatives; Councillor

Back | May 25, 2018

Calgary was built on the efforts of neighbours working together toward a brighter, shared future.

And never has our city's relationship with our neighbours been more important than it is today.

With the announcement of the Tsuut'ina Nation's Taza development at the southwestern edge of our city, several passionate stakeholders have begun asking what it will mean for them.

Taza is a 1,200-acre, 17-millionsquare-foot, $4.5-billion commercial, residential and industrial development that will be built out over the next 20 years. In context, the development at full build out will exceed the footprint of more than 10 Chinook Centres.

The project is gearing up to be one of the largest First Nation developments in North America, and is enabled by the province's $1.4-billion investment in the southwest ring road, expected to be completed in the fall of 2021.

Put simply, Taza and its ultimate potential for 90,000 jobs will help reshape the southwest Calgary region, and likely Western Canada, as we know them today.

On the eastern edge of the proposed Taza development is the established community of Lakeview, home to approximately 5,500 Calgarians. The Tsuut'ina First Nation and Lakeview have been good neighbours and thrived side by side for more than three generations.

I have met with representatives from both the nation and the Lakeview Community Association.

What I've personally seen has been thoughtful, positive and constructive interaction between the two.

The nation is building to meet the test of time, and sees Calgarians as playing an important part.

Lakeview residents are supportive of development, and want to be part of the dialogue as it proceeds. What I hear from the community has never been whether or not the nation should seize this opportunity. It is the nation's right - and in so doing, it will contribute to making our region an even better place to live, and one where our children will pursue the best possible future.

Rather, the concern has been how those ambitious plans will stand alongside Calgary's existing communities. Or, in other words, how do we ensure a large-scale commercial development such as this interfaces with an established residential community in a mutually beneficial way? Work remains to be done to continue to build relationships, engage in a healthy discussion, and ensure that a complex issue is not made into a simple controversy.

The next step is to gather the key stakeholders together and put all of the information, questions and opportunities on the table for discussion. We can tackle head on the concerns regarding traffic safety, planning, emergency response, and so on.

With the concerns clearly identified, the city can work with the nation to mitigate them, and identify solutions that either or both parties can put in place without violating the rights and safety of the other.

Let's enter this open dialogue in good faith and without a predetermined outcome in mind. From this experience, I believe we should develop a framework to address issues of joint concern.

When (or if) similar opportunities emerge regarding development adjacent to other Calgarian communities, we will start from a place of shared experience and understanding.

We should acknowledge that many of the concerns raised are legitimate; and once they are acknowledged, they can be addressed in an evidence-based way.

We will meet these opportunities in full stride only by working together.

With Calgary and the nation bordering as they do, our fates have become intertwined. History and circumstance have granted us a unique chance. It would be the lost opportunity of not just our generation, but many more, if we do not make good on it.

Let's work together as neighbours and find a solution that works for all.

It's the Calgarian way.

This opinion editorial was published in the Calgary Herald on May 25th, 2018 (Page A9)

Categories:

Back | May 01, 2018

​Thank you for attending the April Ward 11 Town Hall hosted at the Cedarbrae Community Centre.

At our monthly event hosted on Thursday, April 19th, 2018, attendees asked live questions and submitted written questions regarding issues most important to them.

While I didn't get a chance to get to all of your written questions because of another incredible event turn out, I have personally gone through all of the questions submitted and have provide a written summary of my thoughts on each issue.

Click on the file below to read them all:

April 2018 Town Hall - Responses/a>

Categories: Councillor

Back | April 25, 2018

​On Monday, April 23rd, City Council voted in favour of proceeding with a plebiscite in principle as the bid exploration for the 2026 Olympic Games proceeds. I am pleased that the public will finally have a say on whether or not Calgary should be proceeding with an Olympic bid.

The plebiscite, which is non-binding, is mandatory in order to get Provincial funding for an Olympic bid.

City Council also created a Council Olympic committee comprised of some members of Council and the Mayor. This Committee will be responsible for offering recommendations to City Council with respect to the engagement, public vote and Olympic bid moving forward.

Categories: Council initiatives

Back | April 19, 2018

​On Monday April 16th, in a vote of 9-6, City Council voted to keep moving forward with an Olympic bid for the 2026 Winter Olympic Games.

I voted no.

Given the state of our economy, record-high unemployment levels and the number of important priorities that our city has, including the lack of comprehensive flood mitigation, inadequate snow clearing (not to mention a $5.7 billion funding shortfall that The City of Calgary is facing over the next 10 years), now is not the time to pursue this event.

After almost two years since this process began and almost $10 million having been spent, Calgarians have had zero opportunities for citizen input and City Council still does not have answers on basic things like how much this event will even cost.

You may also remember that other important information pertaining to the economic viability of hosting the Games was kept from members of City Council and only came to light once a member of the media discovered it through a Freedom of Information and Privacy (FOIP) request.

The lack of transparency and lack of accountability that have plagued this initiative since the beginning have all of the hallmarks of a done deal being rammed through by special interests and the political elite.

Here’s how members of City Council voted on the question to proceed with an Olympic bid:

AGAINST: Farkas, Chu, Demong, Farrell, Gondek, Magliocca

FOR: Carra, Chahal, Colley-Urquhart, Davison, Jones, Keating, Sutherland, Woolley, Nenshi

City Council also voted in favour of creating a sub-committee of City Council consisting of the Mayor and four members of Council. I voted against the creation of this sub-committee along with one other member of Council, Councillor Magliocca. In my opinion, creating yet another sub-committee to manage this project will add another layer of bureaucracy to this process. City Hall is out of touch with Calgarians and I will continue to advocate for transparency and protecting our financial future.

Categories: Council initiatives; Councillor

Back | March 29, 2018

​Thank you for attending the March Ward 11 Town Hall hosted at the Parkhill Stanley Park Community Centre.

At our third event hosted on Thursday, March 15th, 2018, attendees asked live questions and submitted written questions regarding issues most important to them.

While I didn't get a chance to get to all of your written questions because of another incredible event turn out, I have personally gone through all of the questions submitted and have provide a written summary of my thoughts on each issue.

Click on the file below to read them all:

March 2018 Town Hall - Responses

Categories: Councillor

Back | March 28, 2018

Elbow River - Riverbank and Outfall Repairs

Beginning the week of April 2, 2018, construction will commence on riverbank and outfall repair along the Elbow River to address damages. Construction is expected to last one week. This work is important as it will mitigate storm drain backups and the erosion of our riverbanks which could lead to damage of infrastructure like pathways, sidewalks, roads and private property, especially in the event of a flood. For more about this project please click here: Project Summary Maps.

Categories:

Back | March 27, 2018

​Ward 11 Councillor Jeromy Farkas calls on Calgarians to come to City Hall on April 10th to have their say

Councillor Jeromy Farkas wants Calgarians to get involved and exercise their democratic rights on whether or not to host the 2026 Winter Olympic Games.

Please support Councillor Farkas' request to put the issue of Calgary's potential bid on the 2026 Winter Olympic Games out to a public vote, and join him on:

Date: April 10th, 2018
Time: 9:30 am
Location: Council Chamber, City Hall

Last week, City Council voted to delay a decision on holding a plebiscite until the April 10th meeting. The Priorities and Finance committee is normally closed to citizen input, but Councillor Farkas will be asking his Council colleagues to make an exception and allow citizens to speak. If supported by his Council colleagues, all Calgarians will be given 5 minutes to speak on this matter.

Voters in Vancouver, Innsbruck and Hamburg were given the right to vote. Referendums have become the rule, not the exception. There is no reason that Calgary should be any less democratic. If there is no trust in the process, there can be no trust in the result.

Korea is reported to have spent $13 billion on the Olympics, nearly double the original $7 billion estimate. This may be our one and only chance to tap the brakes and allow for taxpayers to have a say on how their money is spent.

Not consulting Calgarians via a plebiscite would show a lack of respect for the taxpayer. It’s time to show City Hall the power of the people. Please join us on April 10th and make your voice heard!

Categories: Council initiatives

Back | March 13, 2018

​AltaLink's Southwest Calgary Ring Road Transmission Project and Electric and Magnetic Fields (EMF)

I have heard from some residents who are concerned about the electric and magnetic readings along 37th Street and 66th Avenue SW as a result of the utility work recently completed there. I take your concerns seriously.

As a result of your questions, I arranged for a meeting with representatives from AltaLink who have assured me that pre-construction and post construction measurements, including all magnetic field readings, are below the recommended range set by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection and the International Committee on Electromagnetic Safety.

I have attached AltaLink's follow up letter to me and all of the EMF documents that have been shared with me on this matter. Please find them here:

SW Calgary Ring Road EMF Response Letter- Councillor Jeromy Farkas

AML Letter to AUC - EMF Level Measurements Commitment

Exponent Status Report on Electric and Magnetic Field Health Research 2010 - 2013

Exponent Status Report on Electric and Magnetic Field Health Research 2014 - 2017

AltaLink Booklet Alternating Currents and Magnetic Fields

AltaLink Brochure A Dialogue on Electric and Magnetic Fields

NIEHS Booklet EMF QA

If you have any further questions or concerns about this issue, please do not hesitate to contact me or my office anytime at ward11@calgary.ca or by phone at 403-268-2430.

Categories: Councillor

Back | March 13, 2018

​I am pro business and pro free market. I strongly believe that the role of City Council is to create a healthy, stable and predictable business environment that keeps taxes low and makes it easy for companies to do business in, grow, and invest in our city.

I was the only vote on Council that opposed creating yet another city-owned subsidiary that will oversee a $100 million Economic Development Investment Fund (EDIF). Now rebranded as the Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund (OCIF).

I voted against this because I strongly believe that low taxes, quality services and investing in infrastructure are the best way to keep business and attract new talent.

City Council’s role is not to pick winners or losers in business or to give handouts.

Calgary’s businesses need a predictable and responsive local government focused on creating an enabling environment. In other words, City Hall’s focus should be should be building business capacity, not business dependency.

In my meetings with business leaders, investors, small business owners and entrepreneurs, they continue to tell me that Calgary is one of the most difficult and unpredictable cities to do business in across North America. While I have no way of confirming this, if we were to combine this with a carbon tax, rising minimum wage, and continuing economic uncertainty, it is no wonder that investors continue to move their capital elsewhere.

These same people are telling me that, "There is a disconnect between City Hall and business."

It seems odd that some of the funds resulting from what is essentially over taxation of existing businesses is going to be spent to bring competitors to Calgary.

While I have these concerns with the OCIF, I wish to applaud the work of the OCIF Steering Committee and thank these tireless volunteers for stepping forward. Their frequent meetings and updates with me are appreciated.

Categories: Councillor

Back | March 08, 2018

On March 7, 2018, City-hired contractors began cutting down and removing newly planted trees from a much beloved green space to make way for the SWBRT.

SWBRT Tree Removals

For a copy of my media release on this issue please click here.

I share my constituents’ serious concerns. Despite us all hearing repeated assurances to the contrary, it's been shown that this project will in fact have a detrimental impact on our enjoyment of our parks and green spaces.

Calgarians deserve transparency and have a right to accurate information on all projects. We have to be honest about the impact that the Southwest BRT will have on Ward 11's communities and quality of life.

Adding insult to injury, many of the trees being destroyed at this time were planted by the City only recently.

It's sad to see such waste and I'm frustrated by the ongoing consequences of this ill thought out plan. Why would dozens of trees be planted knowing that they would have to be destroyed briefly after? I also question the timing of this tree removal in the dead of winter, as construction in this area is not slated to begin until next year.

This misstep speaks to the rushed and unaccountable way that the project was first approved and my misgivings as it moves forward. Our team is now working to revisit the information sent out prior to my election to in order to ensure its accuracy.

For more information on the SWBRT click here.

Categories: Councillor

Back | March 08, 2018

​With the predicted snow melt, here are some tips to protect your home and your family this weekend:

  1. Shovel snow away from the foundation of your home and window wells to prevent seepage into your basement.
  2. If you are moving or piling snow, check furnace and exhaust vents to make sure snow and ice are not blocking them. Carbon monoxide can build up within your home as a result.
  3. Ensure your downspouts (eavestroughs) are clear and pointed away from your home/foundation.
  4. Once the snow begins to melt and the storm drain is visible, clear snow away from the storm drain.
  5. If the storm drain is iced over, do not try to remove it yourself. Call 311 and a crew will clear the ice for you. Don’t chip away at ice on storm drains as you may damage it or injure yourself.
  6. If water pools by the storm drain, give it 90 minutes to drain. The City of Calgary has special devices in the storm drains that allow the water to drain slowly and not overload the stormwater system.
  7. If you see pooled water on a roadway, be careful – don’t drive through deep water as you can’t see potentials risks or conditions that might be unsafe.
  8. Check the function of your sump pump.
  9. Clean out your back flow prevention valve which should be cleaned every 6 months.

If you have any questions, please contact our office at ward11@calgary.ca or if your inquiry requires immediate attention, please contact 311.

Categories:

Back | February 27, 2018

Last month, City Council voted in favour of making a parental leave policy for members of City Council. As a matter of principle, and based on what I continue to hear from the majority of my constituents, my position is that City Council should NOT be making the decision to boost our own benefits and pay.

I believe that this policy should be out of the hands of Council, and like other matters of pay and benefits, it should be made by independent citizens who can better weigh what is appropriate.

Furthermore, at a time when Calgarians are facing record levels of unemployment and economic hardship, Council should not be considering any new benefits or pay increases at all.

Some members of Council suggested that I think that people with children can’t do their jobs. This is absolutely false.

I greatly value family and the miracle of children. Leadership and family should not an either/or proposition. There is an incredible amount of pressure on women to both launch their careers and their families, and sometimes it happens at the same time. Being a mother or father can bring unique experience that can make an individual an even better representative.

I strongly support elected officials having the ability to balance their duties with family life, provided Calgarians continue to be represented. I also believe that members of City Council should not be asking for a free benefit that most working Calgarians have to pay for, especially since members of Council do not pay into Employment Insurance (EI).

What is an appropriate amount of benefits and time away for an elected official? How do we ensure that you continue to have the representation you deserve? These are not insurmountable questions, but the public should be involved in the conversation. Please let me know your thoughts.

Categories: Council initiatives

Back | February 16, 2018

Thank you for attending the February Ward 11 Town Hall hosted at the Oakridge Community Centre.

At our second event hosted on Thursday, February 15th, 2018, attendees asked live questions and submitted written questions regarding issues most important to them.

While I didn't get a chance to get to all of your written questions because of another incredible event turn out, I have personally gone through all of the questions submitted and have provide a written summary of my thoughts on each issue.

Click on the file below to read them all:

February 2018 Town Hall - Responses

If you have any follow-up questions or additional topics that you would like me to respond to, please contact me anytime either by email: ward11@calgary.ca or by phone: 403 268 2430.

Categories: Councillor

Back | February 07, 2018

Property Tax Assessments – Customer Review Period

On January 4, 2018, The City of Calgary mailed out over half a million property and business assessment notices. The property assessment notice that was sent in January 2018 is based on your property’s market value (the amount it likely would have sold for on July 1, 2018, and improvements to its physical condition as of December 31, 2017.

If you don’t agree with your assessed value, please contact Assessment at 403 268 2888 during the Customer Review Period from January 4 - March 12, 2018.

Please note that changes cannot be made to your tax bill mailed at the end of May 2018.

Your assessor may be able to resolve your concerns without the need to file a formal complaint. Changes can only be made to your 2018 property assessment if you inquire about it during the Customer Review Period. If you still disagree with your assessment, visit the Assessment Review Board for more information and/or to file a complaint online.

During the November 2017 budget adjustments, City Council approved a 3.8 per cent tax increase which includes the expiry of the 2017 one-time and provincial tax room rebates. City Council approved the tax increase in a vote of 11-4. Please read my media release on this issue here.

Categories:

Back | February 01, 2018

​Thank you for attending the First Ever Ward 11 Town Hall!

At our first event hosted on Thursday, January 15th, 2018, I asked attendees to submit written questions and to comment on their issues of importance.

While I didn't get a chance to answer all of the questions that evening because of the stellar turnout, I've personally read every question and comment that was submitted. I've sorted the comments into themes and I wanted to share my thoughts with all of you all on each subject. Click on the file below to read them all:

January 2018 Town Hall - Responses

If you have any follow-up questions or additional topics that you would like me to respond to, please contact me anytime either by email: ward11@calgary.ca or by phone: 403 268 2430.

Categories: Events

Back | January 23, 2018

WARD 11 NEWSLETTERS

Check back often to read about issues impacting Ward 11 and our city.

NEW!

Please click here to read the July 2018 edition:

Ward 11 News - Councillor Jeromy Farkas - July 2018

Please read previous editions here:

Ward 11 News Councillor Jeromy Farkas - June 2018

Ward 11 News Councillor Jeromy Farkas - May 2018

Ward 11 News Councillor Jeromy Farkas - March 2018

Ward 11 News Councillor Jeromy Farkas - February 2018

Ward 11 News Councillor Jeromy Farkas - January 2018

Ward 11 News Councillor Jeromy Farkas - December 2017

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Categories: Newsletter

Back | January 22, 2018

Join us for one or all of the upcoming Ward 11 Town Halls!

Dates and Locations:

Special Edition: 2026 Winter Olympic Games Bid

Tuesday, October 23, 2018
7 - 8:30 pm
(please note this Town Hall will be hosted on Tuesday)
Haysboro Community Centre
1204 89 Avenue SW

Thursday, November 15th, 2018
7 - 8:30 pm
Trico Centre
Room 7-8, 11150 Bonaventure Dr SE

Thursday, December 6th, 2018
7 - 8:30 pm
North Glenmore Park Community Centre
2231 Longridge Drive SW

Categories: Events

Back | November 07, 2017

For information on phase 2 and next steps of the 37 Street SW Storm Trunk Relocation project, see the November 2017 update:

37 Street SW Storm Trunk Relocation - November 2017 Update

Project Information

Call 311 or visit calgary.ca/stormtrunk

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Back | November 06, 2017

​For information on phase 2 and next steps of the 37 Street SW Storm Trunk Relocation project, see the October 2017 update:

37 Street SW Storm Trunk Relocation - October 2017 Update

Project Information

Call 311 or visit calgary.ca/stormtrunk

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Back | November 06, 2018

​This is a defining moment for our city. Please get out and vote today. Encourage your family and friends to do so also.

The Olympic Plebiscite Advance Vote continues TODAY (Wednesday, November 7th). All voting stations are open from 11 am to 7 pm.

Eligible voters can vote at any advance voting stations throughout the city no matter where you live.

Click the link below for a list of Advance Voting Stations:

Advance Voting Stations

Or, to find your closest voting station please click here.

For complete details on ID requirements and voting eligibility, please click here.

Vote Day will be on Tuesday, November 13th (8:00am-8:00pm). On Vote Day, you must vote at your designated voting station. For voting station information on Vote Day, please click here.

Still undecided or want to know more?

Please join me at the Urgent Town Hall: Olympic Bid Update taking place this Saturday, November 10th (1 - 2:30 pm) at the Delta Calgary South Hotel (Bonavista Ballroom) - 135 Southland Dr SE. Everyone welcome!

For more details, please click here.

Categories: Events

Back | November 06, 2018

A new Olympic bid deal was presented to City Council last week, but no new City information sessions are being planned to inform Calgarians.

This new deal contains substantive changes, particular in the area of cuts to housing and security.

You were promised complete, factual and unbiased Olympic bid information a full 30 days before you cast your ballot, but the City broke this promise.

To fill the information gap, I am hosting an Urgent Town Hall to share factual information with you so that you can make an informed vote. I will also be answering your questions and providing information on where you can vote on Vote Day (Tuesday, November 13th)

Please join me and your neighbours at this Urgent Town Hall:
Saturday, November 10th, 2018 (1 - 2:30 pm)
Delta Calgary South Hotel (Bonavista Ballroom) - 135 Southland Dr SE

  • Presentation
  • Your Questions Answered
  • Voting Information
Everyone welcome!

Categories: Councillor; Events

Back | January 11, 2018

Please join me and your neighbours for the next Ward 11 Town Hall event.

Bring your questions, comments and ideas to this public forum. We will be hosting Ward 11 Town Halls at various locations throughout the ward every month.

Many thanks to the Braeside Community Association for hosting June's event. Refreshments will be served. Everyone welcome!

Tuesday, June 26th, 2018
7 - 8:30 pm
Location: Braeside Community Centre - 11024 Braeside Drive SW​​

Categories: Events

Back | November 08, 2018

Please be advised that City crews will begin water feedermain repair at Heritage and 14 St. S.W. starting today, Thursday, November 8th. This disruption may last up to two weeks.

The repair work will not affect water service to customers but traffic will be impacted in the area.

The complete list of closures and construction dates during work hours (6.30 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. Monday to Saturday) are as follows:

  • Lane closures and limited turning lanes along 14 St. S.W. and Heritage Drive S.W.
  • South turning lane closures from Heritage Drive S.W. to 14 St. S.W.

The speed limit through the construction area will be reduced to 30 km per hour.

Please call our office at 403 268 2476 or 311 if you have any questions or concerns about this work.

Information is also available on calgary.ca/SWFeedermain​.

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Back | November 12, 2018

At this monthly event, hosted on September 20, 2018, attendees asked live questions and submitted written questions regarding issues most important to them.

While I didn't get a chance to get to all of your written questions because of another great turn-out, I have personally gone through all of the questions submitted and have provide a written summary of my thoughts on each issue.

September 2018 Town Hall Responses

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Back | November 13, 2018

Your vote is your voice!

Today is your chance to finally have a say in whether or not you support a 2026 Olympic bid.

Voting stations are open today from 8 am - 8 pm. Please note that you MUST vote at your DESIGNATED voting station and you must bring authorized identification that has your name and address on it. Please click here for acceptable forms of identification: http://vote2018.calgary.ca/ID-requirements.html

If you don't know where your designated voting station is, please visit: vote2018.calgary.ca/When-and-where-to-vote.html, call 311 (24 hours/day) or email my office at: ward11@calgary.ca.

I encourage you to vote as well as encourage your family, friends, neighbours and colleagues to also vote.

Every single vote is important.

Thank you to the hundreds who attended my Urgent Olympic Town Hall this past Saturday and many thanks to the thousands who also watched online. If you missed it and you would like to watch a recording of the event, please view it here: facebook.com/Jeromyfarkasward11/.

My appreciation also goes to Councillors Chu, Demong and Magliocca who were in attendance.

Do you have other questions or concerns? Please email us at: ward11@calgary.ca or call 403-268-2476.​

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Back | November 13, 2018

Please join me for the next Ward 11 Town Hall!

Please join me and your neighbours for the next Ward 11 Town Hall event. Bring your questions, comments and ideas to this public forum. We will be hosting Ward 11 Town Halls at various locations throughout the ward every month.

Thursday, November 15, 2018
7 - 8:30 p.m.
Trico Centre (Rooms 7-8) - 11150 Bonaventure Drive S.E.

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Back | November 14, 2018

Thank you for casting your vote and making yourself heard on the 2026 Olympic bid issue.

More than 300,000 ballots were cast on whether or not Calgarians wanted to host the 2026 Winter Olympic Games, with 56.4% voting not to continue to pursue an Olympic bid.

I believe that Calgarians have sent a strong message to put City Hall back on track for everyday people.

Some have asked, "If not the Olympics, then what?", to which I answer, Calgary continues to face serious economic challenges and any future success will require a return to common sense fundamentals.

Our focus should be on building the best possible environment for Calgarians. Let's get our own house in order first and reduce taxation, rein in spending, and reduce regulatory burdens on families and businesses. We must strive to deliver services at a reasonable cost, give value for taxpayer dollars and make meaningful progress on the infrustructure priorities already set out.

Thank you to the hundreds of thousands of Calgarians who voted in this plebiscite and were part of the conversation. Your vote is your voice.​

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Back | November 21, 2018

At Monday's budget meeting, I will be calling for City Council to freeze our pay for the remainder of the term, and accept any further reductions if they are recommended by an independent citizen committee. Given that everyday Calgary families still face economic hardship, it's entirely warranted for Canada's highest paid City Council to lead by example.This comes at a time when Council is debating a 13% compounded tax increase and facing much larger commercial property tax increases as a result of the crash in downtown real estate prices.

Yesterday we also learned about a report that warns of a bleak fiscal future for Alberta. Combine this with unemployment, underemployment, and further increases in fees and taxes for families and small business. It's simply not sustainable. If we ran our household budgets similarly, we would plan for a bigger house, a new car, a bigger vacation, then go back to our employer and demand an increase in pay. The real world does not work that way.

My hope is that this pay freeze will mark a change in tone and a return to reality for City Hall.

As Calgarians suffer through one of the worst economic recessions in recent history, their representatives at City Hall should do everything possible not to add to their burdens. Calgarians cannot afford a Council that continues to increase spending and wages beyond our means. It's time for City Council to make tough choices, just as families and small business owners have been forced to.

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Back | November 23, 2018

I encourage you to come to City Hall on Monday, November 26th at 9:30 am to have your say on our city's future at City Council's budget public hearing.

Every Calgarian will be given the chance to address City Council regarding the City's proposed 4-year budget.

Earlier this week, City Council shot down the idea put forward by myself and Councillor Chu to host a budget open house this weekend at City Hall – a big departure from past years. I'm disappointed that you will not have this opportunity this year, as it would have been a great chance for you to attend, ask questions, and give feedback to Administration and City Council in an informal setting. I strongly believe that we need to give Calgarians more opportunities to participate, not fewer – especially outside of regular business hours.

My take on the upcoming budget

City Hall spending has exceeded $4 billion per year in 2018, an increase of nearly $900 million since 2014. The new budget plans for a further spending increase to more than $4.5 billion per year.

Our city is facing serious challenges, including record unemployment, and unprecedented downtown office vacancy has resulted in substantial losses in revenue.

Some have suggested that this revenue be recovered by shifting the burden to cash-strapped small businesses outside of the downtown core. Others say that the solution is to dramatically increase the rate for residential homeowners. Unfortunately, both of these approaches completely miss the expense side of the equation.

Outside of City Hall, I continue to hear from local business leaders and entrepreneurs that Calgary is one of the most difficult cities in North America to do business. Combined with further increases in fees and taxes for families and seniors, it’s become clear that our current path is not sustainable.

Let's get the basics right

That's why I believe our focus should be on creating the best possible environment by getting the basics right. It's time to better serve Calgarians by "sticking to our knitting," and focusing on our core responsibilities.

City Council's budget process is backwards. We base our expenses on a wish list that includes ever increasing employment and ever increasing pay, and then when our income decreases, we set the rate to make the numbers work.

If we ran our personal household budgets similarly, we would plan for a bigger house, a new car, a better vacation, then go back to our employer and demand an increase in pay. The real world does not work that way.

Leading by example

We must lead by example. City Council should refuse our automatic pay increase -- expected to be in the range of 2.3% to 3.2% -- not as a symbolic gesture, but for a very practical reason.

Salaries, wages, benefits, and overtime now compose more than half of the City's operating budget, and are the top driver of tax increases. We are in active negotiations with our unions and Calgarians cannot afford a potential 3.2% increase in Council salary to become the baseline for our negotiations with more than 15,000 employees.

I am also proposing a 5% reduction in spending across City Hall operations, with the exception of emergency and essential services, whose overall budgets should remain static. In an organization as large as the City, with a budget that has grown well in excess of growth and inflation, this is both practical and achievable. This is not an impossible ask; look no further than Calgarian families and businesses for examples of even more drastic cost cutting.

Critics have suggested that if we don't hike taxes every year, then there will be disastrous consequences to crucial services, or layoffs. These threats have never been substantiated.

Responsible reductions can be achieved through recommendations made by the respective business units - they are best placed to know where reductions can be made without affecting quality of services to Calgarians.

Calgarians are struggling, and it is time lead by example. City Hall's mandate must be to do more with less, just as everyday Calgarians have been forced to.

Your voice is important. Make yourself heard

Monday morning is another opportunity for you to let City Council know if we are on the right track. I hope that you will come to City Hall on Monday and let City Council know what you think of these proposed increases, and what impact they would have on you, your family, or your small business.

For more information, please call my office at: 403-268-2476 or email: ward11@calgary.ca

Review the 2019-2022 Service Plans and Budgets

Attend a Council meeting

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Back | November 27, 2018

Congratulations to the Calgary Stampeders on their emphatic victory over the Ottawa Red Blacks in the 106th Grey Cup!

Your commitment, hard work and determination has paid off and Calgarians could not be more proud of our team.

Thank you for bringing some good news to Calgary!​​

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Back | November 29, 2018

Please be advised that The City will be closing the Crowchild Trail ramp onto westbound Glenmore Trail this Sunday, December 2nd, 2018 from 5 a.m. - 2 p.m. to perform work on the underground utilities.

Construction is ongoing on the Glenmore Trail/Crowchild Trail improvements and Pedestrian Bridge project. As part of the work, Traffic will be detoured to southbound Richard Road via westbound Mount Royal Gate, to re-connect with westbound Glenmore. Lakeview residents can also use 37 Street SW to access westbound Glenmore Trail.

Message boards are being deployed both in the community of Lakeview and for southbound Crowchild Trail traffic informing commuters of the upcoming closure. Please avoid the area if possible.​

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Back | December 11, 2018

​I submitted a proposal that calls on Calgary city council to actively defend and champion the energy industry. I am proposing that we adopt formal City of Calgary support for the construction of new pipelines, and the expansion of existing infrastructure, to transport Alberta oil and gas to market.

 
Every day, local politicians throughout Canada use their podiums to attack our energy industry. Recent municipal elections, especially in British Columbia, have shown mayoral and council candidates running (and winning) on anti-Alberta platforms. More than just words, we must develop an aggressive strategy of policy, market and legal options to assert and defend ourselves.
 
I am proposing a multi-pronged approach in which the City would consult and work collaboratively with other orders of government as well as energy industry and advocacy groups to address the crisis situation that the energy industry and Calgary currently faces. I am hopeful that my council colleagues will support this proposal when it comes before us on December 17th and join me in standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Calgarians and businesses impacted.
 
As elected representatives of this city, it’s time we take a proud and proactive role in supporting our energy industry. In the past, City tax dollars have gone to fund anti-energy groups such as the Pembina Institute and the “Leap Manifesto”, a radical anti-industrial, anti-trade anti-oil policy. I believe that council can start by prohibiting municipal expenditures on anti-energy and anti-pipeline lobby efforts. Using Calgarians’ own dollars to crush our key economic driver is offensive; if we can’t help on the issue of pipelines, the least we can do is cause no further harm.

Categories: Councillor

Back | December 18, 2018

Late yesterday afternoon, I was ejected from City Council because I posted how City Councillors voted on a proposal to freeze city council salaries and included information that I had received from City administration team. What I posted was the most recent official information available, direct from our Human Resources team. This information showed that that City Council was slated for an estimated salary increase of approximately 2.34 per cent in 2019.

While this number is NOT final, I will post the official number is once it is available on December 20th. There was speculation at our council meeting that the number will come in to be lower, or even a reduction, but that remains speculation.
 
I initially asked that Council accept a 5% pay reduction, to show strong leadership as we negotiate with our unions. I was unable to find a seconder for this motion. Then, as confusion emerged regarding possible new numbers, I asked for the vote on the salary freeze to be postponed until Council had all of the information. This, too, was not supported by any other member of City Council.
 
Therefore, I voted in favour of a council salary freeze based on the most recent official information of a project 2.34 per cent increase, but it lost in a vote of 9-6.
 
I am looking forward to the final salary numbers to be released this week. I remain committed to ensuring the greatest savings for Calgary taxpayers. My focus is bringing attention to all those who are without jobs and are having a difficult time this Christmas. We can and must do more with the same at City Hall.

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This content represents the personal views and opinions of the Ward Councillor and should not be taken as a statement of policy of The City of Calgary. The inclusion of any external content does not imply endorsement by The City of Calgary.​

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