Share this page Print

 Latest news detail

ID: 1

SidebarListCategory:

Title: Sears Contamination - Letter to Minister Phillips

COCFeatured: False

COCShortDescription: With Sears' bankruptcy, the company abandoned its commitment to the Hounsfield Heights/Briar Hill Community Association to monitor contamination from the former North Hill petroleum station.

COCDescription: <p> With Sears' bankruptcy, the company abandoned its commitment to the Hounsfield Heights/Briar Hill Community Association to monitor contamination from the former North Hill petroleum station. The Sears station leaked contaminants not only on-site, but into the community.</p> <p> Recently, I wrote to Minister Phillips to encourage the Government of the Alberta to aggressively pursue this situation. We must ensure that polluters cannot walk away from their responsibilities. The letter can be viewed by clicking on the link below:</p> <p> <a href="/citycouncil/ward-7/Documents/14FebruarySearsContaminationMinisterPhillips.pdf" target="_blank"><img width="16" height="16" class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/cocis/icon_pdf_s.png" alt="" />14FebruarySearsContaminationMinisterPhillips.pdf</a></p> <p> On Wednesday, Alberta Environment issued an Environmental Protection Order to the property owners, requiring that monitoring and remediation efforts restart. The order requires that the owners:</p> <p> - Immediately re-commence semi-annual soil vapour monitoring</p> <p> - Immediately recommence groundwater sampling and monitoring</p> <p> - Fully delineate the dissolved gasoline plume by 1 July 2018</p> <p> - Submit a written plan to remediate contaminants on the property and any contaminants from the property that have migrated off site by 15 December 2018</p> <p> - Provide annual reporting to Alberta Environment</p> <p> - Respond to inquiries from affected off-site landowners within three business days</p> <p> - Create a communications website within thirty days that provides regular status updates, copies of monitoring reports, and report summaries This order is encouraging and should assist in finally resolving the long-standing contamination issue.</p> <p>I am encouraged that the Government of Alberta is taking meaningful action on contaminated sites. Thank you to the Community Association and MLA David Swann for their continued advocacy on this issue. To read the full order, visit: <a href="http://www.hh-bh.ca/important-sears-plume-update" target="_blank">http://www.hh-bh.ca/important-sears-plume-update</a> ​​  </p>

COCImageVideo: Neither

COCImage: http://www.calgary.ca/citycouncil/ward-7/PublishingImages/News-articles/city-hall.jpg, /citycouncil/ward-7/PublishingImages/News-articles/city-hall.jpg

COCImageRatio: ratio-4x3

COCHyperlink: http://www.calgary.ca/citycouncil/ward-7/Pages/latest-news-detail.aspx, /citycouncil/ward-7/Pages/latest-news-detail.aspx

COCVideoID:

COCPublishedDate: 2018-03-02 00:00:00

COCActive: True

Tag:

PageQueryString->ArticleID: [PageQueryString:ArticleID]

Back | March 02, 2018

With Sears' bankruptcy, the company abandoned its commitment to the Hounsfield Heights/Briar Hill Community Association to monitor contamination from the former North Hill petroleum station. The Sears station leaked contaminants not only on-site, but into the community.

Recently, I wrote to Minister Phillips to encourage the Government of the Alberta to aggressively pursue this situation. We must ensure that polluters cannot walk away from their responsibilities. The letter can be viewed by clicking on the link below:

14FebruarySearsContaminationMinisterPhillips.pdf

On Wednesday, Alberta Environment issued an Environmental Protection Order to the property owners, requiring that monitoring and remediation efforts restart. The order requires that the owners:

- Immediately re-commence semi-annual soil vapour monitoring

- Immediately recommence groundwater sampling and monitoring

- Fully delineate the dissolved gasoline plume by 1 July 2018

- Submit a written plan to remediate contaminants on the property and any contaminants from the property that have migrated off site by 15 December 2018

- Provide annual reporting to Alberta Environment

- Respond to inquiries from affected off-site landowners within three business days

- Create a communications website within thirty days that provides regular status updates, copies of monitoring reports, and report summaries This order is encouraging and should assist in finally resolving the long-standing contamination issue.

I am encouraged that the Government of Alberta is taking meaningful action on contaminated sites. Thank you to the Community Association and MLA David Swann for their continued advocacy on this issue. To read the full order, visit: http://www.hh-bh.ca/important-sears-plume-update ​​ 

Categories:

Back | March 22, 2018

The City of Calgary released an article highlighting the implications of residential and household water leaks on your utility bill. While toilets and faucets are the most common culprits, any water using device is capable of leaking. Learn how to find them and how to fix them.

Click here to view the article.

Categories:

Back | October 05, 2018

A few years back, I taped a hand scribbled sign to my office door that says "I will mentor young women leaders." The sign is starting to yellow, curling at the edges, but the sentiment remains: You cannot be what you cannot see.

As one of the few women in municipal politics in Calgary, I acknowledge my responsibility as a role model for those who need positive examples of women in leadership. I try to make myself accessible by meeting with aspiring leaders and speaking in schools and to the media, to help girls see their own potential.

Last week I received a flurry of messages from Facebook friends to join in a "female blackout" as a protest against gender violence. Women were asked to change their profile image to a black square to show what the world would be like without women. It struck me as an odd way to bring attention to a weighty topic, women silencing ourselves, now, at a time when we are struggling to be heard. Rather, isn’t now a time to amplify, not silence? To show the way, not disappear?

This got me thinking again about my decision last week to boycott Calgary Herald reporters in reaction to an irresponsible opinion piece that made light of sexual assault. As leaders we have a duty to our constituents to be a voice for their concerns and making ourselves disappear or silencing ourselves will not solve the problem. Now more than ever we need women to be seen and heard. For this reason, I have reconsidered and have decided to join my colleague, Councillor Jyoti Gondek, and remain available to all journalists and media outlets.

That said, there remains an opportunity to highlight a key role of the press in a democratic society, which is to engage and inform the public while holding the powerful accountable.

While most people recognize the distinction between opinion and news, when a regular columnist submits content, many would assume that the piece has been well researched, follows a set of ethical standards, and is vetted by an editorial board. Too often lately, what passes as opinion is simply "click-bait": provocative views lacking in editorial judgment that can border on irresponsible and dangerous. Defending free speech does not mean that every opinion is equally valid or worthy of consideration. People have a right to freedom of expression, but an editorial page should not be reduced to a graffiti wall.

While the public expects newspaper columns to challenge, they also deserve writers who are insightful, responsible, and fact-based. Freedom of speech does not mean free of ramifications. Readers have a right to express their anger when a line is crossed and a columnist plays the role of arsonist.

With critical issues like sexual assault and #MeToo, the professional press has an opportunity to provide a forum for healthy debate on challenging topics. This is a time when thoughtful, constructive, and diverse voices are needed most.​

Categories: Blog

Back | January 02, 2017

In your October 2016 newsletter, I wrote about how increasing the affordable housing supply is one of Council’s priorities. In Part Two, I will share information on why, how, and where the City builds affordable housing.

Council unanimously passed the new Affordable Housing Strategy last year and is working to find homes for over 3000 families on the Calgary Housing Company waitlist. The recently released 2016 Citizen Satisfaction Survey confirmed that Calgarians want increased investment in affordable housing: 95% of Ward 7 residents said affordable housing is very or somewhat important.

A key principle in Calgary’s Municipal Development Plan is to provide a mix of housing types and prices in all communities, including affordable housing. The City has learned from experience that building affordable housing that blends into neighbourhoods works best for new residents and for communities. Happily, the days of “social housing ghettos” are behind us.

Alongside the goal of providing safe and affordable housing for Calgarians, the City focuses on designing buildings that fit in with communities. Building quality affordable homes makes these developments indistinguishable from market-priced housing and helps low-income Calgarians integrate quickly into their new neighbourhoods. Many residents are surprised to learn that from Dalhousie to Mount Pleasant to Hillhurst, almost every community in Ward 7 has welcomed affordable housing developments.

The City develops affordable housing units that are built to last over 65 years. Using slightly more expensive materials at the outset reduces long-term maintenance and utility costs. The City seeks LEED Certification and focuses on the Building Durability, Energy-Efficiency, and Tenant Health sections. These features minimize monthly operating costs, allow for maintenance dollars to be set aside in reserve, and ensure Calgarians see maximum value from our investment in affordable housing.

Over the last three years the City has also reduced the cost of affordable housing from $330,000 per unit to about $250,000 per unit – and in many cases much lower. Most of the funding comes from the Provincial and Federal governments, with a recent commitment from Ottawa for $2.3 billion nation-wide.

Ultimately, the City builds quality, durable, and cost-effective homes that provide much-needed housing for low-income Calgarians. Our model ensures those homes integrate well into all neighbourhoods and deliver value to all Calgarians.

To sign up for updates on key community and Ward 7 issues, please visit www.DruhFarrell.ca To contact my office, please email Ward07@Calgary.ca.

Categories: Community; Newsletter

Back | December 16, 2016

As I wrote to you in November, I care deeply about Calgary’s Chinatown. Now that the Planning Chinatown process has concluded, I want to thank all those who came to speak to Council in early December, as well as those who participated throughout the process. Chinatown stakeholders’ passionate support for a stronger and more vibrant Chinatown was crucial. Their efforts helped push Council to recognize the value of Chinatown. Council heard that Chinatown is unique, with a rich cultural history that needs to be preserved and enhanced. They heard that Chinatown matters.

I see that Chinatown faces two major challenges, and heard the same concerns from many Chinatown stakeholders.

  1. That no development happens in Chinatown and the community suffers from stagnation/deterioration, and
  2. That Chinatown sees inappropriate development that does not respect the community’s physical and cultural values.

It was an honour to stand up for Chinatown and push Council to support amendments to the original land-use proposal, in addition to supporting a new Area Redevelopment Plan (ARP). Early on at the Council meeting, it looked like Council might support the original application and not support an ARP review. This would have been the worst case scenario, so I was glad to see presentations from community members help to change their minds. Fortunately, Council did not support the original application and they did support reviewing the ARP.

Concerned that Council might support the original application, I put forward Administration’s recommended amendments. The following passed:

  • Mandatory minimum of 60% residential uses – the current ARP allows for 100% commercial/office development
  • Reduction in height on 2 Av to 46 metres – the current height allowed in the ARP
  • A four storey podium on 2 Av and a six storey podium on 3 Av – the current ARP does not require podiums and allows 15 storeys straight up
  • Retail bay size restrictions of 465 metres squared – the current ARP does not have retail bay size restrictions that promote mom-and-pop shops
  • Increased building articulation, improved pedestrian connectivity/space, and a stronger commitment to Chinese or Asian motifs – the current ARP does not ensure these features

Based on the community’s recommendations at the public hearing, I also put forward further amendments to make the application fit better into Chinatown:

  • Reduction in height on 3 Av to 71 metres – disappointingly, other members of Council did not support this amendment
  • Increase the stepback from podiums to towers to 6 metres – other members of Council did not support this amendment, though 3 metre minimum stepbacks were approved – the current ARP does not have clear stepback requirements
  • Maximum retail bay widths to better ensure the mom-and-pop feel of Chinatown – Council supported this amendment
  • No more renewals of surface parking lot uses past 2027, to encourage residential development on the site – Council supported this amendment

I did not support a hotel as an allowed use on the site, but the majority on Council supported a hotel. Any hotel space will have to come from the 40% commercial space and there can be no loss of the 60% residential.

In terms of a concurrent Development Permit (DP), Council supported this requirement. The applicant must return with a conditionally approved DP prior to the final vote on the land-use. If the DP is not conditionally approved within two years, the land-use application fails and the 1984 land-use remains in place. This accomplishes two benefits – it provides certainty for the community and ensures that the applicant works with stakeholders on the actual building design.

The Council meeting and final amendments were complex, so if you have any questions on what was or was not approved, please connect with Dale Calkins in my office: caward7@calgary.ca.

Thank you again for your involvement on this application. We did not secure everything that we wanted, but I was proud to support the community in pushing for the best development in Chinatown.

As we heard through the Planning Chinatown process, Chinatown is not just a place, it is a feeling. I will continue to push for preserving and enhancing Chinatown.

To receive updates on this and other important topics, sign up for our mailing list.

Categories: Blog

Back | October 05, 2018

Social disorder and crime against people and property are on the rise in Calgary and the impacts are being felt across the city. These behaviours are a by-product of several factors, particularly the economic recession and a rise in drug use. The opioid crisis is particularly visible in Calgary, as the city has the highest rate of overdoses and overdose deaths in the province.

In the past, the City mitigated social disorder in the downtown through a collaborative program called Clean to the Core, which included Calgary Police Service (CPS), social organisations, community stakeholders, and all City departments. This program boosted community policing, improved public spaces to make them safer/more desirable, and helped connect vulnerable people with support services. More recently, the City approved additional funding to the 2018 CPS operations budget. A broader community strategy is still needed to address crime, social disorder, and drug use that works primarily on the root causes of these issues. Enforcement on its own is expensive and ineffective, so we are emphasizing a coordinated approach for long-term improvement.

In July 2018, I was pleased to co-sign a motion by Mayor Nenshi entitled “Community Action on Mental Health and Addiction”. The objective was to develop a prevention-focused strategy to help address the cycle of addiction and the mental health issues that are often associated with it. With $25 million in funding, we will be looking at ways to address homelessness, improve social support services, boost community outreach, create safer public spaces, and more. 

We still need assistance from citizens to help us create a vibrant and safe city for all. Calgarians should call:

  • 2-1-1: For social programs and services.
  • 3-1-1: To report encampments or request needle/drug paraphernalia clean-up.
  • 9-1-1: If a violent or criminal situation is occurring.
  • (403) 266-1234 (CPS non-emergency): If there are no immediate threats to anyone’s safety, but escalation is possible.
  • (403) 998-7388 (Alpha House DOAP team): To report individuals who appear to be intoxicated, loitering, trespassing, or rough sleeping but otherwise appear peaceful and non-aggressive.

We must endeavour to minimize crime and social disorder in our City so all Calgarians and visitors can feel safe and welcome.

Categories: Police; Crime & Safety; Newsletter

Back | December 01, 2016

It is that time of year when we gather-round the kitchen table to spend time with friends and family. We will reflect on good fortune and happy times, as well as look forward to an even better 2017.

Sadly, not all of our neighbours will be as fortunate this holiday season. Whether due to the recession, loneliness, poor health, or other challenges, many Calgarians could use a kind word and a helping hand. While many live through difficult circumstances year-round, the holidays are an ideal time for us to share our generosity and kindness. Here are just a few of the ways we can help:

• Call 211 (online at www.ab.211.ca) when you see someone in need. Here you can access a wide-variety of social programs and services.

• Make a donation to a non-profit in your community. For information on charities and their finances, visit cra-arc.gc.ca/charitiesandgiving.

• Volunteer! The possibilities are endless. From reading to children to visiting seniors’ centres, call 211 to connect to volunteer opportunities, or create your own.

• Start a conversation about poverty. To learn more about poverty in Calgary, visit enoughforall.ca.

• Learn what it feels like to live in poverty by trying to Make the Month. www.makethemonth.ca is an interactive poverty simulation that shows how Canadians living in poverty face choices that will make or break their monthly budgets.

There are also easy ways we can help our neighbours on a regular basis in the winter months. A great example is becoming a Snow Angel. Watch for people in your neighbourhood who could use help shovelling snow and lend them a hand. To learn more about being a Snow Angel, or to recognize a neighbour’s good deeds, visit calgary.ca/snowangels.

From the Ward 7 family to yours, we hope all Calgarians can enjoy a happy and compassionate holiday season.

To sign up for updates on key community and Ward 7 issues, please subscribe to our mailing list. To contact the office, please email Ward07@Calgary.ca.

Categories: Newsletter

Back | July 09, 2018

We all deserve to live and work in safe places. Imagine being suddenly evacuated from your home because your building was declared uninhabitable. That was the case last November, when, with as little as fifteen minutes’ notice, over 100 people were evacuated from the Kensington Manor in Hillhurst. Earlier that day, an inspector identified serious structural issues and determined the apartment was at risk of “possible imminent building collapse." Residents found themselves on the street with only what they could carry and much uncertainty on where to go next. Two months later, on the other side of the city, the Fairview Arena roof collapsed shortly after evacuation. In both cases, we were lucky.

The City of Calgary is committed to working with property owners to ensure that buildings are safe. In 2016, The City created a Building Maintenance Bylaw that requires building owners to inspect and maintain the exteriors of their buildings. The Bylaw resulted from several serious incidents, including a fatality, where exterior materials fell from buildings posing risks to building occupants and passersby.

While the bylaw is already improving building safety, incidents like the Kensington Manor and Fairview Arena highlighted that our existing bylaw does not include a structural review. Calgary has nearly 500 buildings that are over 25 years old and greater than five storeys tall. These and other buildings are reaching the age where structural failures are more likely. We know that proactive structural inspections and education on structural safety can identify and prevent failures early on.

In March, I brought forward a motion to Council to improve the Building Maintenance Bylaw. Since the existing bylaw only addresses building exteriors, structural deficiencies may go unchecked until failures occur. My motion calls for City Administration to work with advocacy organizations and industry representatives to expand the scope of the bylaw to include structural issues. The motion passed unanimously.

Safer buildings and improved property owner responsibility will protect Calgarians, and help avoid the significant financial, emotional, and logistical hardships that can occur when buildings are deemed unsafe. With this work, we can hopefully avoid further situations like the Kensington Manor and Fairview Arena. 

Categories: Community; Newsletter

Back | September 20, 2018

Following the 2017 Municipal Election, Councillors convened a roundtable discussion on the key issues they heard at the doors. Again and again, walking safety was a top concern across Calgary neighbourhoods. Calgarians of all ages and abilities deserve to be able to safely walk to work, school, and daily amenities.

As our children head back to school, walking safety will be top of mind for many Calgarians. Be sure to slow down in playground zones, be cautious in school drop-off areas, and watch for pedestrians of all ages throughout our city. Always drive with care and never drive while distracted.

The City is doing its part to improve walking safety through the approval of an award-winning pedestrian safety strategy called Step Forward. This robust strategy seeks to improve the safety, accessibility, and desirability of walking in Calgary. Unfortunately, the Council of the day was unwilling to fund Step Forward’s implementation. As a result, the strategy has resulted in minimal improvements so far. During the four-year budget debate this fall, I will be pushing to fund Step Forward and boost the City’s commitment to safer streets.

Council also recently supported my motion to improve winter maintenance for walking. The City will now:

  • Clear all sidewalks adjacent to City property within 24 hours, bringing this in line with the timeframe for private property owners to clear adjacent sidewalks
  • Clear an additional 100 km of pathway, boosting the total clearing to 500 km
  • Plow windrows away from high priority wheelchair ramps
  • Introduce fines for those who repeatedly fail to clear adjacent sidewalks
  • Create an advisory panel to push for continuous snow clearing improvement, with particular focus on accessibility

Finally, this September, Council will debate what speed limit is appropriate for neighbourhood streets. The World Health Organization reports that pedestrians struck by automobiles travelling at 30 km/h are 90 per cent likely to survive. Survivability drops to 60 per cent when speeds increase to 40 km/h and below 20 per cent at 50km/h. Cities across the world, and as close as Airdrie, are improving safety by changing speed limits in areas where people live and where their children play.​

Categories: Community; Snow and Ice; Newsletter

Back | December 01, 2016

Aside from the odd spot of traffic, most of us have a fairly easy time getting around our city while walking, cycling, driving, or taking transit. There are many of us, however, who find our city hard to navigate. As recently as 2012, 10% of Calgarians reported having a significant disability. By 2019, 200,000 Calgarians over the age of 15 will live with a disability.

Other orders of government have taken notice. Several provinces have passed strong barrier-free legislation, and the Government of Canada is currently working on a national accessibility strategy. The City of Calgary is committed to building an inclusive society where everyone can access programs in a way that respects the independence and dignity of people with disabilities.

Last year, Council supported my motion to find ways to make our public facilities and public realm barrier-free. The work includes an accessibility audit of all our civic facilities, and a plan to reduce barriers.

My motion also asked staff to encourage better accessibility of private developments through the planning process, and to partner with advocacy groups to increase the amount of barrier-free housing.

I am encouraged that the initial response from City staff will result in some quick and easy wins in and around the municipal complex at City Hall. These measures will make navigating City Hall easier for those visiting to drop off a permit application, pay a bill, or attend a Council meeting. Wayfinding signs directing people towards accessible facilities have already been installed on the LRT platform at City Hall. Banding decals have been installed on the glass elevators at City Hall to assist blind visitors. Elsewhere, our Roads department purchased wheelchairs to give its staff personal experiences of what it is like to move around Calgary’s streets with a disability.

Achieving an accessible city is much like achieving a clean city or a safe city. There is no finish line. Through continuous improvement, striving for an increasingly accessible city is worth the investment.

If you see an opportunity to improve accessibility on public property, please call 3-1-1 or go online to calgary.ca/311. To learn more about this and other Ward 7 topics, visit druhfarrell.ca. To sign up for updates on key issues, please join our mailing list.

Categories: Newsletter

Back | November 30, 2016

I care deeply about the future of Calgary’s Chinatown, and respect its rich history. Many Chinatowns across North America are struggling to survive and that is not something I am willing to let happen in Calgary. A unique, vibrant, and resilient Chinatown that celebrates its heritage and culture is in the best interests of all Calgarians.

A land-use application to rezone a large surface parking lot has sparked a valuable conversation on the future of Chinatown. When the application came to City Council earlier this year, my colleagues and I recognised the application was not appropriate. We then initiated a comprehensive City-led engagement process to determine what Chinatown stakeholders love about their community and what they want to see improved. The work by City Administration also included work on an Area Redevelopment Plan (ARP) scoping report. Together, there was the expectation that the application would be amended to better reflect Chinatown values, and that the scoping report would set the stage for a full ARP review.

What engagement was done?

  • City Administration conducted extensive engagement that included on-street pop-up sessions, walking tours, open houses, workshops, a special workshop for Chinatown seniors, and interviews with key stakeholders. You can read more about the engagement here: engage.calgary.ca/planningchinatown

Who was engaged?

  • Residents, businesses, visitors, cultural groups, seniors groups, and other organisations were encouraged to participate. Translation services were provided throughout the process. Everyone was welcome and no one was excluded.

What did people say?

  • People who care about Chinatown want to see new development that enhances the unique cultural, residential, retail, and design character of Chinatown. You can read the full report here: engage.calgary.ca/planningchinatown

What is wrong with the current ARP?

  • The current ARP is thirty years old and no longer serves or protects the community. Not only is the ARP inconsistent with modern planning principles and real estate economics, it does not guarantee the unique character of Chinatown that was so important to stakeholders.
  • The ARP does not ensure that developments will have residential units, retail size restrictions, human-scaled podiums, or streetscape improvements.

Can’t applicants develop under the current ARP?

  • Modelling indicates that the rules in the current Chinatown ARP are unlikely to promote redevelopment. Because of current real estate economics, the ARP zoning makes redevelopment financially and technically unlikely. Most, if not all, applications will require rezoning and ARP changes. This means that if only applications fitting the current ARP are allowed, no new development in Chinatown is likely. This is a virtual freeze until a new ARP is in place in several years time.
  • Even if applicants propose developments under the current ARP, there is no guarantee those developments will benefit Chinatown or meet the expectations conveyed by stakeholders during engagement.

What did engagement participants say about the land-use application?

  • Participants wanted to see tower/podium height changes to address shadowing and streetscape concerns, the removal of less desirable uses such as bottle depot and hotel, design character preservation, and smaller “mom-and-pop” retail bay sizes. Most importantly, stakeholders wanted a guarantee for residential units to help bolster the local retail community.

What happens next?

  • The ARP scoping report will return to Council on December 5th. Administration will recommend a full ARP review, including a cultural plan, over the coming years. I will encourage my Council colleagues to support that work.
  • The land-use application will return to Council on December 5th for a public hearing and a decision. Administration has prepared proposed amendments to the land-use application that reflect the aspirations of engagement participants. These include new tower height limits, podium height limits, retail bay size restrictions, the removal of less desirable uses, Asian design motifs, contributions to the Chinatown Improvement Fund through density bonusing, and a guaranteed residential component. Administration is also recommending a concurrent Development Permit. That means Chinatown stakeholders will be able to see and comment on the actual proposed building design prior to a final decision on the land-use.
  • Council will consider the land-use amendments, along with feedback at the public hearing on December 5th, when deciding to approve, amend, delay, or refuse the land-use application. I hope my colleagues will join me in making decisions that promote a stronger and even better Chinatown.

For the success and resiliency of Chinatown, it is essential that new development happens. Empty lots are hurting Chinatown and the current ARP does not guarantee those lots will be developed to the benefit of Chinatown. This means changes to current zoning and to the ARP are required. It is my sincere believe that careful and specific changes to the ARP are necessary to ensure new developments contribute to and strengthen the unique cultural, residential, retail, and design character of Chinatown.

To receive updates on this and other important topics, sign up for our mailing list

Categories: Blog

Back | December 22, 2017

On October 23rd, a new City Council was sworn in to represent Calgarians. It is an honour to serve the residents of Ward 7, and I look forward to delivering on a shared vision for a more sustainable, progressive, and resilient Calgary.

On Election Day, Ward 7 boundaries changed. We say goodbye to departing communities and wish them the best of luck in Ward 4. Ward 7 welcomes Montgomery, University Heights, University District, University of Calgary, Tuxedo Park, and Winston Heights/Mountview. I am excited to work together to enrich all of our neighbourhoods.

It is also that time of year when we gather-round the kitchen table to spend time with friends and family. We reflect on good fortune and happy times, as well as look forward to an even better 2018.

Sadly, not all of our neighbours will be as fortunate this holiday season. Whether due to the recession, loneliness, poor health, or other challenges, many Calgarians could use a kind word and a helping hand. Here are just a few of the ways we can help:

  • Call 211 (www.ab.211.ca) to access social programs and services.
  • Make a donation to a non-profit. For information on charities and their finances, visit www.cra-arc.gc.ca/charitiesandgiving/.
  • Volunteer! From visiting seniors’ centres to reading to children, you can make a difference. Call 211 to connect to volunteer opportunities.
  • Start a conversation about poverty. To learn more about poverty in Calgary, visit www.enoughforall.ca.
  • Learn what it feels like to live in poverty at www.makethemonth.ca; Make the Month is a simulation that shows how Canadians living in poverty face choices that make or break their monthly budgets.
  • Watch for people in your neighbourhood who could use help shovelling snow and lend them a hand. You can recognize a neighbour’s good deeds at www.calgary.ca/snowangels.

From the Ward 7 family to yours, we hope all Calgarians can enjoy a happy and compassionate holiday season.

Categories: Snow and Ice; Newsletter

Back | April 02, 2018

Since 2014, you may have heard speeches that begin by acknowledging Treaty 7 lands. What does this mean and why is it important?

  The national Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) prompted the City to respond in light of truth-telling stories from survivors of Canada’s residential schools: a system created to eliminate Indigenous cultures. Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples are working together to understand and rectify past injustices. We are moving forward in the spirit of reconciliation.

In March 2014, The City of Calgary proclaimed a Year of Reconciliation. This proclamation began by recounting the story of Moh’kinsstis (Where Two Rivers Meet), the Blackfoot name for Calgary, a region the Niitsitapi people have called home for millennia. Calgary is also Métis Region 3, on Treaty 7 lands where the Kainai, Piikani, Siksika, Tsuut’ina, and Stoney-Nakoda Nations met with Euro-Canadian settlers to sign the treaty in 1877.

Although the City is taking steps towards becoming more Indigenous-inclusive, we are still contemplating what reconciliation means in an urban setting. One notable initiative was a Calgary Aboriginal Urban Affairs Committee’s report that highlights a series of recommendations for all orders of government to move towards reconciliation. The White Goose Flying Report identifies 18 calls to action for the City of Calgary in support of reconciliation.

Jack White Goose Flying was a youth from the Piikani Nation in southern Alberta who attended Calgary’s only residential school, St. Dunstan’s Anglican. He died of tuberculosis while at school in 1899 and was buried on a hill above the school overlooking the Bow River. The school no longer stands, and in 1971, the City moved Jack’s remains to Queen's Park Cemetery.

I encourage all Calgarians to read the extraordinary White Goose Flying Report, and to celebrate Calgary as a crossroads where Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples come together. I also invite you to celebrate the upcoming Indigenous Awareness Day on 21 June 2018. Join in the city-wide events and learn how we all can move forward in the spirit of reconciliation.

We are all Treaty people.

Link to White Goose Flying Report

Categories: Events; Newsletter

Back | January 01, 2018

Three months since the southeast became the final quadrant to receive Green Carts, Calgarians are now composting city-wide. I am proud of our city for taking this key step toward waste diversion. Over the past 50 years, 40 million tonnes of garbage were thrown into landfills. By converting our food and yard waste to valuable compostable material, we are working toward a more sustainable future. The City of Calgary is reporting that Green Cart is already exceeding expectations.

Some highlights include:

  • Residents composted approximately 29 million kilograms of food and yard waste since the start of the program in mid-July.
  • In the first six weeks of city-wide Green Cart service, Calgarians reduced their black cart garbage by an average of 53 per cent compared to the same period last year.
  • More than 99 per cent of the material received at the composting facility is the correct material—compostable food, yard, and pet waste.

Council set a target of 70 per cent waste diversion for 2025. The City continues to work on city-wide projects to help meet this target. In the meantime, there are more steps we can take in our everyday lives to make an impact.

The amount of single-use plastics we use in food and household purchases is staggering. In the United States alone, it is estimated that 500 million plastic straws are used every day. Sometimes, pushing for change starts with a simple question. With consumer demand driving supply, a request to your local grocer to stock compostable single-use supplies, like cutlery and pet waste bags, will encourage environmentally-friendly products to be more widely available. Some local food businesses have already taken proactive steps by switching out styrofoam containers to compostable containers. The power we hold in our purchasing options can create a market for positive change.

Thank you for taking on the challenge for a better and more sustainable Calgary.

To sign up for updates on key community and Ward 7 issues, please visit www.DruhFarrell.ca.To learn more about the Green Cart program, visit calgary.ca/greencart. ​​  

Categories: Waste and Recycle; Newsletter

Back | February 28, 2018

Timely snow clearing from sidewalks is essential for safety and accessibility. Winter maintenance often leaves Calgarians out in the cold, or, worse still, forces many people indoors. Inconsistent clearing means that many seniors, parents pushing strollers, and those who rely on mobility devices cannot navigate our city, leading to increased inactivity and isolation.

The failure of our snow clearing procedures is born out through statistics: Alberta has the highest slip and fall injury rate in Canada, second only to Saskatchewan. Albertans are three-times as likely as Ontarians to be injured from slips and falls. Winter maintenance plays a major role in these statistics. Ontario cities devote a much higher percentage of their winter maintenance budgets to walking - they clear more sidewalks faster.

Calgary’s strategy on clearing sidewalks in winter is inconsistent at best, and, at times, non-existent. Some residents do not do their part to shovel sidewalks in front of their properties within the required 24 hours. At the same time, the City’s clearing can take even longer and often misses key connections.

In late January, I brought forward a motion to Council to improve the accessibility, safety, and equity of walking in Calgary. Council strongly supported this motion. My motion asked City staff to consider the following, and report back with options for improvement:

  1. Fines for failure to clear your sidewalk with the existing 24-hour requirement.
  2. Updating clearing policies to be consistent with the recently approved Pedestrian Strategy.
  3. Identification of a high-priority network for clearing so that Calgarians can reach transit, shops, schools, offices, and other major destinations.
  4. Increased coordination between City departments.
  5. Improved timelines for City responsibility clearing that would bring them more in line with expectations on private property owners.
  6. Options to provide winter maintenance for Calgary’s 78 kilometres of engineered walkways.
  7. Guidelines for clearing wheelchair ramps, curb cuts, and sidewalk crossings of laneways.
  8. Improved 311 phone, website, and mobile app reporting options.
  9. Identification of winter maintenance funding for City departments whenever new infrastructure is built.
  10. An updated strategy to assist Calgarians who are unable to clear abutting walking infrastructure themselves.

To sign up for updates on key community and Ward 7 issues, register for our mailing list by completing this form. You can also follow us on Twitter at @DruhFarrell and on Facebook at @DruhFarrellCalgary.

Categories: Snow and Ice; Newsletter

Back | May 01, 2018

Cities around the world are working to tackle climate change. The debate is no longer about the reality of climate change—the science is clear. We are shifting to a community discussion on how to face the challenge together.

The Calgary region is particularly vulnerable to the increased severity of floods, droughts, wind, and hail that come along with a changing climate. Because of this, the City of Calgary is ready to take a leadership role on climate change. The City has a specialized team dedicated to reducing the human causes of climate change. The team is developing a Climate Resilience Plan to be presented to council in June 2018.

Calgary currently spends $2.6 billion on energy each year, and the cost could be significantly reduced by investing in clean energy options. Already, the CTrain is powered by wind-generated electricity. In 2017, over 80,000 streetlights were retrofitted with LED bulbs, saving the City approximately $5 million in annual electricity costs. In 2004, the City created a Sustainable Building Policy that requires civic buildings and renovations to meet LEED standards—becoming the first municipality in Canada to implement such measures.

Calgary also recently organized its first ever Climate Change Symposium, alongside the City of Edmonton’s Cities & Climate Change Science Conference. Both conferences sparked a province-wide conversation on the role of municipalities in addressing climate change.

Calgarians are a spirited and resilient lot—traits that helped us build our energy economy. We have a history of confronting our challenges and turning them into opportunities. A changing climate is no exception. When we develop our natural resources to create efficient and clean sources of energy, we are expanding our economy to better resist booms and busts. Clean energy not only protects us from a volatile market, it makes sense for economic development.

We are a resilient city. We have the ability to reduce and mitigate the effects of climate change, while building our economy in the process. My hope is that, together, we will take visionary and practical actions in addressing the challenges of climate change.

For more information, visit www.calgary.ca/climateprogram

Categories: Newsletter

Back | November 25, 2016

Calgarians' input and evaluations received ​​in Phase 5: Concept Selection & Recommendations was used to help refine and finalize recommendations for short-, medium-, and long-term changes and upgrades to Crowchild Trail. The City is now entering the final phase, Phase 6: Reporting and Completion.

The City is inviting Calgarians and stakeholders to one of the upcoming Information Sessions to view the final recommendations and provide feedback on the engagement process.

Information Session #1:

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

5:00 – 8:00pm

Red and White Club, McMahon Stadium

1833 Crowchild Trail NW

(No RSVP required)

Information Session #2:

Saturday, December 3, 2016

10:00am – 1:00pm

Sunalta School, Main Gym

536 Sonora Ave SW

(No RSVP required)

An opportunity to provide input online will be available on November 29 on calgary.ca/Crowchild

Interested in learning more about the history and future transportation demands for Crowchild Trail? View this story map.

Categories: Crowchild Trail

Back | February 23, 2018

On 12 March 2018, City Council will debate secondary suite reform. The proposal is to allow secondary suites as discretionary uses in all residential land uses (zonings) that do not currently allow secondary suites. Here are answers to the most frequently asked questions about secondary suite reform:

What is a secondary suite?

Suites are self-contained dwelling units within principal residences or in backyards. They have separate living, cooking, sleeping, and bathroom facilities. They are often referred to as basement suites or in-law suites.

Secondary suites provide a market-driven approach to improving housing options and housing affordability. Residents often apply for suites to provide extended family housing, caregiver accommodation, aging-in-place opportunities for seniors, accommodation for new Canadians, mortgage helpers for young families, and affordable rental.

What properties are affected?

If your property is designated (zoned) R-1, R-C1, or R-C1L, secondary suites are currently forbidden. The proposal is for properties with these land uses to allow secondary suites. See if your property is affected here: http://www.calgary.ca/PDA/pd/Pages/Home-building-and-renovations/Secondary-Suite-Process-Reform.aspx

My property already allows secondary suites. Am I affected?

No. The proposed changes do not affect any land uses other than R-1, R-C1, and R-C1L.

Why is reform needed?

Currently, residents wishing to add a secondary suite in areas where they are not allowed must apply for a Land Use Redesignation (rezoning). This is done ad hoc for each property. Residents must come individually to Council to request a change. Residents are often pitted against each other and compelled to share personal stories having no relevance to the planning process. This approach wastes large portions of Council time and comes at a significant financial cost to Calgarians. Recent research indicates that Council frequently makes arbitrary decisions on secondary suites and often without consideration to sound planning principles.

The current onerous, inconsistent, and adversarial process creates an impediment to make secondary suites safe and legal. As a result, approximately 16,000 illegal suites exist across Calgary. Removing the land use barrier will make it easier for these suites to be brought into compliance with current building standards.

What will the changes mean for my community?

The vast majority of Ward 7 communities already allow for secondary suites across all residential areas, so there will be no changes for most residents.

Allowing secondary suites in all communities will move the process out of Council’s hands, reduce costs, create more consistent outcomes for all residents, and encourage the legalization of existing illegal suites. Secondary suites will still be reviewed for technical rules, community integration, and various planning principles. They will also be subject to appeal by neighbours or community associations.

What are other cities doing?

Calgary is the last major city in Canada to not allow secondary suites city-wide. Many small cities also allow secondary suites in all residential areas.

Will both basement and backyard suites be allowed?

Yes, both basement and backyard suites will be discretionary uses in R-1, R-C1, and R-C1L.

What is the difference between permitted and discretionary uses?

Alberta cities are allowed to have permitted and discretionary uses. If a use is permitted, it is automatically approved if it meets all of the relevant rules. If a use is discretionary, it can be approved with reasonable relaxations or refused even if there are no relaxations. Permitted uses are not appealable unless appellants can demonstrate an error in reviewing an application against the rules. Discretionary uses can be appealed if the appellants believe unreasonable relaxations were granted, policy was not followed, or sound planning principles were not considered. “Discretionary” does not mean that applications will be approved subjectively. Applications must be reviewed against the rules of Calgary’s Land Use Bylaw, various policies/guidelines, and sound planning principles.

“Discretionary” means that applications can be approved, modified, or refused following technical review and community comment. Requiring both types of secondary suites to be discretionary uses in R-1, R-C1, and R-C1L places a higher level of scrutiny on suites than elsewhere in the city. Everywhere else, basement suites are permitted uses and backyard suites are discretionary.

What will happen to the Secondary Suite Registry?

The Registry will become mandatory for all new and existing secondary suite applications. This ensures residents will know that secondary suites are legal and safe. You can visit the registry here: http://secondarysuites.calgary.ca/

How will property values be affected?

There are no data to show a decrease in property value due to secondary suites. According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), building a secondary suite increases the value of an individual home because of the potential rental income. The change in value of adding a secondary suite is often compared to going from an unfinished basement to a finished basement. Assessed property value is determined by comparing your home to those like it, so if your property does not have a secondary suite, it will not be compared to homes with suites to determine its assessed value, and vice versa.

Will this allow for duplex-type development?

No. Secondary suites are separate dwelling units either contained within a home or in a backyard/above garage structure. Duplex and semi-detached buildings will not be possible through these changes.

Can I build both a basement suite and a backyard suite?

No. The proposed changes do not allow for this. Residents can have either a basement suite or a backyard suite, not both.

What about parking?

Parking is regulated by Calgary’s Land Use Bylaw. Both principal residences and secondary suites are required to provide on-site parking.

What about property maintenance?

Property maintenance is a challenge for all types of properties, whether they are owner-occupied, conventional rental, or secondary suites. Problem properties are best addressed through the Community Standards Bylaw and cannot be addressed through land use. If you see a poorly maintained property, please call 311.

What about community character?

R-1, R-C1, and R-C1L dictate what types of buildings are allowed. Communities with these land uses will continue to have single detached houses as their primary building types. The vast majority of secondary suites in Calgary are basement suites, which have no change to the physical characteristics of housing in a community. Backyard suites, while rare, can create physical changes. As such, they are subject to a higher degree of scrutiny through the review process. City Administration may require changes or refuse an application if it is not a good physical fit for the area. Residents can also appeal any secondary suite application in these new areas if they feel the decision by City Administration is inappropriate.

What if I have concerns with some backyard suite designs?

The vast majority of suites will not be backyard suites, but there are, indeed, some issues with current backyard suite design standards.

Currently, guidelines around backyard suites do not help build support for this emerging housing form. Some designs are high-quality and well-integrated into the surrounding communities. Others are less so. Because of these inconsistent results, City Administration is currently working on backyard suite design guidelines. Administration will return to Council later this year with a plan to ensure consistent design quality and better community fit.

Where can I learn more or provide further feedback?

Here: http://www.calgary.ca/PDA/pd/Pages/Home-building-and-renovations/Secondary-Suite-Process-Reform.aspx ​​

Categories: Planning & Development

Back | May 02, 2018

Yesterday, the Government of Alberta announced over $13.5 million of investment in flood mitigation for Calgary. Since 2013, the City has made notable progress on building flood mitigation infrastructure and on creating better emergency response procedures. Funding support from the provincial and federal governments is key to making these projects happen. Especially as we anxiously approach the flood anniversary, I am encouraged to see that the Government of Alberta is continuing its investment in Calgary’s resiliency.

This announcement from the province follows closely on the heels of continued advocacy from the City on flood mitigation. I recently brought forward a motion to Council to reaffirm that flood mitigation remains Calgary’s top infrastructure priority. This passed unanimously, with Mayor Nenshi writing to the Minister of Environment to urge her to continue investment in upstream and local flood mitigation. Read the letter.

I am grateful for persistent advocacy from river communities. Beyond today’s announcement, more work will be required to fully protect Calgary from flood risks. I will continue to advocate for river communities and appreciate their support in keeping up the pressure on all three orders of government to follow through on their promises for flood mitigation.

The funding announced today is encouraging for Ward 7 communities in particular:

  • $5.2 million to improve the flood resiliency of the replacement 9 Av SE bridge between East Village and Inglewood.
  • $4.15 million to extend the Downtown flood barrier from West Eau Claire to Reconciliation Bridge. This project, combined with the Eau Claire barrier currently under construction, is key to protecting the Downtown as our economic driver, as well as safeguarding the residential communities of Eau Claire, Chinatown, and East Village.
  • $4.15 million for the upper plateau separation project. Currently, the storm pipe that services Sunnyside also takes stormwater from communities above the bluff. During heavy water flows, the pipe is at capacity from the upper communities. This means that stormwater in Sunnyside cannot utilize the pipe and thus backs up into the community. The separation project will twin the pipes so that there are dedicated streams for both the upper communities and for Sunnyside.

Most importantly, the Government of Alberta also announced a study to assess three potential upstream storage options for the Bow River. With the Springbank Reservoir project, flood resiliency on the Elbow River will improve dramatically. However, a similar option for the Bow River is not yet identified. An upstream Bow River reservoir is crucial to protecting Calgary communities on the Bow, and I am very encouraged by this announcement.

To learn more about flood mitigation and preparedness, visit Flood Information.                                                                       

Categories: Flood

Back | November 21, 2016

You are invited to attend a public open house on the South Shaganappi Study. The City is asking you to evaluate the preliminary concepts against the study’s objectives and community values developed in Phase One: Project Initiation and Definition. The South Shaganappi Study will work with stakeholders and the public to determine the best way of addressing challenges and ensure the future design of the study area meets the needs of the community.

Public Open House

Thursday, November 24

5:30 pm to 8:00 pm

Foothills Academy, Wellness Centre

745 37th St NW

No RSVP required

For more information, visit calgary.ca/southshaganappi

To receive updates on this and other important topics, please sign up for our mailing list.

Categories: Planning & Development

Back | July 16, 2018

Great news for Montgomery! A new inclusive and accessible playground is coming to Shouldice Park in Montgomery Community Association - MCA.

This incredible new playground, gifted by Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities, is a big step toward building a more inclusive city. The new play space supports our plan to deliver inclusive play for all Calgarians. We couldn’t be more excited about this new addition to Shouldice Park.

For more information, click here.




 

Categories: Community; Parks

Back | June 04, 2018

“Bees have so much to offer us if we only listen.”

― Jay Ebben, Painted Hives

Bees may be tiny, but they play an enormous role in our health and survival. Our world is highly dependent on pollinators—living creatures that transport pollen from plant to plant. Pollinators are essential for our forests, meadows, and for crop sustainability. Without pollinators, the rich and vibrant life our ecosystem supports cannot survive.

Between 25 to 30 per cent of wild bee species worldwide are at risk of extinction due to climate change, insecticides, and habitat loss. Many cities are introducing strategies to combat this global issue. While the provincial Bee Act governs bees and beekeeping, cities can initiate bee-friendly approaches to promote healthy pollinator population growth.

The City of Calgary recently launched several projects to help pollinator populations flourish. The “Mulch to Monarchs” program in Riley, Rotary, and Crescent Heights Parks over-seeded mulch beds with wildflowers to support pollinators. This also helps control weed growth. The “Bee and Butterfly Pollinator Boulevard” will be a pollinator-friendly corridor from Macleod Trail to Bow Bottom Trail to attract native bees and butterflies with wildflowers and a variety of nesting habitats. Other upcoming projects such as the “Memorial Drive Naturalization Plan” will focus on low maintenance native plants and flowers.

There are a number of ways Calgarians can help bee and pollinator populations thrive:

  • Plant a variety of native flowers in your own or community garden to provide additional food sources to pollinators. In previous years, the Ward 7 office gave pencils to school kids to commemorate their City Hall visit. Now, we offer seed packages containing five different species of native flowers they can take home and plant.
  • Manage your garden without using harmful chemical pesticides that compromise our ecosystem.
  • Raise awareness on the importance of bees to human and environmental sustainability.

We must always keep our healthy future in mind and do our part to protect pollinators. I encourage Calgarians to help support a “bee-friendly” city.

For more information, visit www.calgary.ca ​​

Categories: Parks; Newsletter

Back | January 15, 2018

2018 Ward 7 Fire Report

Categories: Crime & Safety

Back | November 01, 2016

Calgary businesses and organizations produce one third of all waste going to City landfills, yet more than half of waste from businesses can be recycled. Council approved changes in 2015 to the Waste and Recycling Bylaw which now requires all businesses and organizations in Calgary to recycle paper, cardboard, glass, plastic film and containers, food cans and foil, scrap metal and untreated wood beginning November 1, 2016. These changes are all part of the City’s Waste Diversion Strategy that helps divert waste from the Industrial, Commercial and Institutional (ICI) sector.​

Categories: Waste and Recycle

Back | May 26, 2017

On May 8th, City Council unanimously approved a new plan for Crowchild Trail. The new design is the result of years of public engagement and engineering work. Council members praised the work done by City staff and the participation from communities.

In 2012, I put a stop to the old Crowchild Trail expansion which called for the demolition of dozens of homes and restricted access between communities. Crowchild Trail has divided several Ward 7 communities for decades, and the old plan would have made this worse. With support from my Council colleagues, I set in motion a new Crowchild Trail Corridor Study. The basis for the new study was a robust six-phase public engagement approach that listened to concerns and aspirations of thousands of Calgarians. Rather than only being a roadway expansion project, the study sought to achieve improvements for walking, cycling, transit, and driving, in addition to preserving bordering communities. The new Crowchild Trail Corridor Study established the goals of:

  • Maintain and enhance bordering communities
  • Improve travel along the corridor
  • Improve travel across the corridor

With these goals in mind, City staff and their consultants created a design that balances the needs of different types of roadway users. Changes include new walking/cycling bridges across Crowchild and to the Bow River Pathway, pathways along Crowchild, safety improvements at conflict points, traffic noise mitigation, and free-flow traffic from Glenmore Trail SW to 12 Mile Coulee Rd NW. The design still requires some property acquisitions, but significantly fewer than before. In addition to this, residents along Crowchild finally have certainty about whether or not their homes will be impacted by the project.

The new Crowchild plan includes short, medium, and long term improvements, with rehabilitation/improvements for the deteriorating Crowchild Trail bridge over the Bow River as the top priority. Funding is approved for the bridge work and other short term changes. While the overall plan is much improved over the previous design, the full Crowchild plan is still a massive project that comes at significant cost. When funding requests come forward for the medium and long term improvements, Council must review these requests against the City’s other priorities such as flood mitigation, affordable housing, and the Green Line LRT.

To view the full Crowchild plan, please visit: www.Calgary.ca/Crowchild 

Thank you to all community members who participated in the Crowchild process. Your involvement helped to push for a better project.

- Druh

To receive updates on key community and Ward 7 issues, sign up for our mailing list by clicking here. You can also follow us on Twitter at @DruhFarrell and on Facebook at @DruhFarrellCalgary.

Categories: Crowchild Trail; Transportation; Blog

Back | October 20, 2016

As of Friday, October 14, Team Ward 7 bid adieu to Paul Hewer and welcomed Romy Garrido as our newest member.

Many Ward 7 constituents and community partners may have met and worked with Paul, who decided to return to his roots in Ontario. We wish Paul the best of luck as he pursues his dreams, and we look forward to hearing where he lands. Thank you Paul for your great work in Ward 7.

We are excited to include Romy on our team. Romy, a home-grown Calgarian, has experience in advocacy through her work with the Students’ Union at the University of Calgary and the Council of Alberta University Students, and extensive volunteerism on social justice and women’s issues. We know she is going to fit in well here, and make an impact for Ward 7 residents.

To sign up for updates, please sign up for our mailing list.

Categories: Ward office

Back | May 01, 2017

Over the years, I have advocated for smart growth policies to reduce Calgary’s dependence on sprawl, while also bringing investment and public benefit to inner-city communities. Our city’s Municipal Development Plan sets a 60 year target of 50-50 growth between established areas and new communities. This target is not just about density. It is about promoting great neighbourhoods that deliver value to current and future residents.

To strengthen our inner-city, The City of Calgary promotes walkable communities that are well connected by transit. Communities will have vibrant public spaces, strong local shops, and diverse housing options for Calgarians of all ages and incomes. To make these goals a reality, The City is focussing on the Main Streets initiative and Green Line Light Rail Transit (LRT).

Main Streets will rejuvenate Calgary’s historical main streets through redevelopment, heritage preservation, and funding for public spaces. When properties are redeveloped for higher density, The City sees an increase in tax revenue. The City plans to use a portion of this increase to fund traffic calming, rebuilt sidewalks, improved park spaces, and other amenities prioritised by communities during Main Streets public engagement.

Main Streets planning is currently wrapping up along Bowness Rd NW in Montgomery, 1 Av NE in Bridgeland, and 17 Av SW in Killarney-Glengarry. In coming years, Ward 7 Main Streets will include 16 Av N, Kensington Rd NW, 14 St NW, 10 St NW, 4 St NW, Centre St N, and Edmonton Tr NE. Ward 7 residents can expect robust public engagement that helps communities plan for change and identify local priorities for improvements funded through redevelopment.

The Green Line LRT will connect Calgary communities with high-quality transit and promote Transit Oriented Development (TOD). A focus on TOD helps more Calgarians live close to transit and local amenities, with great spaces in between. TOD also enables The City to fund improved streets, parks, libraries, community centres, and recreation facilities.

In the end, successful redevelopment means investing in communities experiencing significant change. I look forward to working through the Main Streets and Green Line processes to help Ward 7 communities identify local priorities and realise public benefits.

To sign up for updates on key community and Ward 7 issues, register for our mailing list by completing this form. You can also follow us on Twitter at @DruhFarrell and on Facebook at @DruhFarrellCalgary.

Categories: Newsletter

Back | June 27, 2017

On Monday, my Council colleagues and I approved the 46 km alignment and 28 station locations for the full Green Line LRT. When completed, the Green Line will deliver high-quality rapid transit from 160 Av in the north to Seton in the southeast, servicing several Ward 7 communities along the way. Far from being just a new train line, the Green Line is a city-shaping project that will provide improved community amenities, spur redevelopment of tired sites along Centre St, boost local businesses, and spur streetscape improvements. Council’s decision sets a long-term vision for the Green Line and allows City staff to refine the finer details of how the Green Line will integrate into our communities.

9 Av N Station

Council also accepted the recommendation from City staff to remove two stations from the alignment, including the 9 Av N station in Crescent Heights. Local residents wrote to my office with their thoughts on the 9 Av N station, expressing positions both for and against it. The Crescent Heights Community Association reiterated this lack of consensus by taking no formal position on the station. What all Crescent Heights resident did agree on was the need to improve Centre St N. Residents noted that Centre is unsafe, unattractive, missing out on quality development, and divides the Crescent Heights community in two. Regardless of the 9 Av N station, these issues must be addressed.

Centre St

To ensure Centre St N improvements are part of the Green Line, I brought forward a motion to Council to implement the community’s vision for Centre St N as identified through engagement. That means a safer, more attractive, and more successful Centre St N. Because construction is taking place along Centre St N anyway, particularly around the 16 Av N station, this vision can be implemented more cost-effectively. Additional funding is also available from the Main Streets initiative, through redevelopment along Centre, and with funds that were placed on hold for Centre St repair. Council unanimously supported this motion, with a report on scope and funding specifics due in 2018.

Bus Routes

Crescent Heights residents also wanted to ensure that, in the absence of the 9 Av N station, bus service along Centre St N continues. City staff confirmed that the Route 3 will continue to provide quality local access along Centre. They also indicated that the 300 and 301 will continue to run along Centre St N, at least until the Green Line extends much further into the north.

Staging

Earlier this year, Council also approved the first stage of the Green Line from Shepherd in the southeast to 16 Av N in the north. Key drivers behind this staging are the location of the train storage/maintenance yard in Shepherd and the tunnel from 16 Av to the Beltline. The underground alignment was supported by all Ward 7 community associations the Green Line travels through, business organisations, and major Centre City landowners. Though it comes at a higher cost initially, the underground alignment sets a solid foundation for continuous expansion and is essential for building the Green Line right in the first place. It is my hope that, by the time the first stage opens, we will have already started construction on extending the line further to serve more communities. This is the approach that Calgary took with the Red Line and the Blue Line, and it resulted in one of the top performing LRT systems in North America today.

Budget

Finally, Council was also keen to keep an eye on the costs of the Green Line. Setting the full alignment allows the City to make a formal funding request to the Government of Alberta. Securing the support of the Province is essential to starting construction of the Green Line on-time in 2020. City staff also confirmed that the City’s debt capacity can support the Green Line into the future. However, the Green Line will consume a significant amount of the City’s debt capacity. This means we need to look very carefully at whether and how to fund other mega-projects competing for limited City funds. Council must make major funding decisions based on ensuring the highest public return on investment. The Green Line will create substantial public benefits and should set the standard for evaluating other priorities.

Thank you to all Ward 7 residents who participated in the Green Line process to date. Further engagement lies ahead, but, today, we are one step closer to realising the incredible vision of the Green Line.

If you have any questions about the recent decisions on the Green Line LRT, feel free to contact my office at 403.268.1796 or at caward7@calgary.ca

  - Druh ​​

Categories: Green Line LRT; Blog

Back | May 26, 2017

The Green Line Light Rail Transit (LRT) is Calgary’s largest infrastructure project to-date, and is one of the top ten projects in North America today. It will connect Calgary communities with high-quality rapid transit, spur reinvestment along Centre Street and around station areas, and act as a catalyst for improved community amenities.

City staff and communities are working together on how to best integrate the line into communities. Sometimes this requires tough decisions about at-grade vs underground, property impacts, and station locations. The cost of such a significant project, and doing it right from the start, also means making difficult decisions about phasing the Green Line.

On May 15th, Council voted to move forward with Stage One of the Green Line LRT, running from 16 Av N in Crescent Heights/Tuxedo Park to Shepherd in the SE. Stage One includes 20km of track, 14 stations, the Centre City tunnel, a new maintenance facility at Shepherd, and new low-floor trains. It will carry around 65,000 Calgarians on day one (in approximately 2026) and comes in at $4.65 billion.

While many, including me, are disappointed that the line will not go further, Stage One is a solid foundation for continuous expansion. After opening the initial CTrain line, The City added extensions every few years. Calgary has always phased its LRT projects, resulting in one of the top performing LRT systems in North America today. We can expect the same for the Green Line. The Centre City tunnel is the right choice for a transit line that will last over a century. The tunnel was also supported by all Ward 7 community associations that the Green Line will run through. Though the tunnel means a slightly shorter Green Line initially, it sets us up for success and savings in the long-run. Calgarians consistently say we need to do the Green Line right the first time.

City Administration also recommends not including a station at 9 Av N, citing high cost and low anticipated ridership. I have heard from many residents on this issue, both for and against including the station. The Community Association has indicated there is not a unified position amongst residents. Though opinion on the station is divided, residents have been clear that they want to see a safer and more vibrant Centre. Council will ultimately decide on the 9 Av N station in June, and, regardless of whether the station is in or out, I will support the community in pushing to rejuvenate Centre Street.

Another issue still to be fully resolved is how to finance the Green Line. The Green Line will consume a significant portion of Calgary’s debt capacity. Council must ensure that The City manages debt appropriately so we do not overburden future generations of Calgarians. Since The City is also considering other major projects that would require debt, such as a new arena and hosting the Olympics, The City must prioritise projects based on what Calgarians can afford. I see the Green Line as one of our top priorities, along with flood mitigation and affordable housing, so I brought forward a motion to Council to request a prioritised and comprehensive list of projects that require debt. This list would provide Council with a fulsome understanding of Calgary’s financial capacity when deciding on major projects. Disappointingly, the majority on Council voted against preparing a priority list. As for funding, The City committed $1.56 billion to the Green Line and the Government of Canada promised $1.53 billion. The Government of Alberta has not committed funding yet, instead first requiring a concrete plan for how the Green Line will be built. Now, with Stage One set, the City can submit a formal application to the Province for funding. If funding, financing, and years of planning align, we will see the start of Green Line construction in 2020.

Moving forward, I will continue to push for a Green Line that delivers value to Ward 7 communities and is backed by a sustainable financial model.

- Druh

Categories: Transportation; Green Line LRT; Blog

Back | October 13, 2016

Since the 2013 floods, The City of Calgary has repaired, restored, and recovered from the devastating and costly flood damage, and continues to work hard to build flood resilience. To ensure citizens have the best suite of mitigation measures in place for their respective communities, The City has undertaken the Flood Mitigation Measures Assessment Project. Through this project, The City staff has been conducting a number of conceptual and technical studies, as well as in-depth reviews to better understand our water ways, flood risks, changes to the river patterns since the floods, and land use policies.

Now, The City is advancing further by developing a comprehensive suite of mitigation measures for Calgary. Citizens from across the city are invited to share their opinions about these plans in person, or online. Workshops and open houses are running from October 18th to November 5th, with online engagement opening October 17th. The information gathered – along with planning principles, technical engineering studies, watershed management practices, and City policy, as well as potential environmental, social and economic impacts – will inform recommendations about which mitigation scenarios The City should continue to pursue. Recommendations will be brought to Council in early 2017.

To register for one of the upcoming public events, or for more information on this project, please visit: http://engage.calgary.ca/flood

Citizen Workshops

1. Tuesday, October 18, 6:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. Hillhurst-Sunnyside Community Association

2. Tuesday, October 20, 6:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. Riverbend Community Association

3. Saturday, October 22, 9:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Bowness High School

4. Monday, October 24, 6:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. Cliff-Bungalow/Mission Community Association

5. Thursday, October 27, 6:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. Southern Alberta Pioneers Building (Rideau Park)

6. Tuesday, November 1, 6:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. Alexandra Centre Society, Inglewood

 

Public Open Houses

1. Thursday, November 3, 6:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. Riverbend Community Association

2. Saturday, November 5, 9:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Queen Elizabeth High School

To sign up for updates on this and other important topics, please sign up for our mailing list. ​ 

Categories:

Back | May 01, 2017

Infill development brings investment and new residents to our established communities. It can also bring challenges. In particular, communities and their planning committees struggle with Contextual Development Permits. Unlike standard Discretionary applications, Contextual applications are not circulated to planning committees. They are automatically approved if they meet the bylaw rules and cannot be appealed. The original concept was that Contextual would generally be more modest than a full Discretionary application, and would therefore represent few concerns for residents. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

Communities have consistently identified issues with Contextual applications, and I share their concerns. As many residents point out, Contextual applications do not ensure that we see developments that are contextual! The building envelope for Contextual is too generous and does not ensure that developments fit within the built context of a neighbourhood. It also fails to promote important features like front porches and tree retention. Despite the Federation of Calgary Communities, planning committees, and my office voicing concerns on many occasions, the Planning Department has failed to make necessary changes.

Every year, the Planning Department brings forth a Contextual Monitoring Report that evaluates the current state of Contextual applications and recommends minor adjustments. The recommendation from Planning this year was to cease the Monitoring Report and instead move into an inter-departmental evaluation of infill development in general. While I support a review of both Contextual and Discretionary processes (Discretionary applications also have persistent issues), not enough direction was provided to address concerns. As such, I brought forward the following motion:

That Council direct City Administration, through engagement with the Federation of Calgary Communities and community associations, to prepare Land Use Bylaw amendments and policy changes that address recurring and emerging issues with infill redevelopment, including, but not limited to, restrictions and/or incentives on:

  1. Eave and peak height differentiation
  2. Massing
  3. Front porches
  4. Subterranean structures extending beyond above-grade footprints
  5. Hardscape coverage
  6. Green landscaping
  7. Tree retention in the Demolition Permit, Development Permit, and Building Permit stages
  8. Drainage
  9. Materials
  10. Vehicle storage/loading
  11. Non-conforming/non-standard lots

And report back to Council through the Standing Policy Committee on Planning and Urban Development no later than Q3 2018.

All Councillors that see infill development in their communities supported my motion. Community associations also sent in letters of support for addressing the persistent issues with infill development. Unfortunately, many on Council have little to no experience with infill. As such, instead of passing my motion as-is, Council elected to push for a scoping report first. Administration will report back by the end of 2018 with an evaluation of time and resources required to address the issues identified above. Following this report, and with Council’s further support, the Planning department will bring forward bylaw amendments/policy changes identified in my motion.

Thank you to community associations who wrote letters to Council and to all communities that advocate on this issue. Your support helped make the case to Council that this is an important issues for established communities. I will continue to push for infill development that is more compatible with existing communities, and brings value to current and future residents.

Categories: Blog

Back | March 01, 2017

Even during the current economic downturn, interest in new infill housing remains strong. While housing development brings investment and new families into our neighbourhoods, there are often challenges that come with construction.

Some of the most common calls to our office from communities experiencing redevelopment are about public property damage, noise, and unkempt sites during construction. While we have bylaws to deal with noise and site conditions, damage to public property is usually discovered after the fact.

The costs are significant. When we added up the damage to public trees, sidewalks, laneways, and roadways, we discovered there was an average of $163 in tree damage and $1,391 in concrete damage per infill site. Historically, The City has been on the hook for covering the costs. Between 2011 and 2015, contractor damage to public property cost Calgarians over $9 million.

This is why I put forward a motion to Council to ensure that contractors, not Calgarians, are responsible for covering all the costs of property damage. We are already seeing improvements and responsible contractors are working to prevent damage in the first place. The City’s new strategy has three parts:

  • Increase oversight of construction sites and work with the construction industry to improve behaviour.
  • Encourage all citizens and City employees to use the 311 service to track and measure damage.
  • Require pre- and post-construction photographs of nearby City property including trees, sidewalks, laneways, and street signs. Please note: Similar documentation can be used to protect your own property if you live beside or behind a construction site.

This work will help save Calgarians millions and encourage infill developers to be good neighbours. You can help by reporting damage and other infill concerns. If you see unsafe construction sites, unkempt sites, noise bylaw violations, or property damage, please call 311 or report online at www.calgary.ca/311

To receive updates on key communty and Ward 7 issues, sign up for our mailing list. You can also follow us on Twitter at @DruhFarrell and on Facebook at @DruhFarrellCalgary.

Categories: Newsletter

Back | February 07, 2018

In December, City Council approved $100 million for the Economic Development Investment Fund (EDIF). The fund is intended to boost Calgary’s economy, diversify our industries, and help us emerge from the recession stronger and more resilient.

The Investment Fund will be used to leverage opportunities with businesses, the public sector, and other orders of government. It will support innovative partnerships, as well as invest in programs and infrastructure that will strengthen our economy. The $100 million investment from EDIF is conservatively projected to create 3,600 jobs, leverage $240 million in funds from partners, and provide over $300 million in GDP value.

The creation of the fund came as a key recommendation from the Downtown Economic Summit that I initiated last year. The Summit brought together industry and cultural leaders to create a long-term plan for the downtown economy. Until recently, the Centre City generated 40 per cent of Calgary’s non-residential tax revenue and 25 per cent of city-wide employment. With roughly a one third office vacancy rate, $7.5 billion in assessed value of downtown office space was wiped out. This caused a massive transfer of taxes to businesses outside the core. When the downtown struggles, the impacts are felt city-wide.

Jim Gray, a respected business leader and advisor to Calgary Economic Development, said it best, “It’s an enormously dangerous strategy to simply wait for the oil economy to recover.” Supporting businesses city-wide and improving our overall economy will rely heavily on bringing new industries to the downtown. Diversifying our downtown also means looking at ways to attract more residential and post-secondary institutions to our core.

We are competing internationally for emerging industries, and EDIF will help us attract the best and brightest to Calgary. These companies are looking for high-quality of life, arts and culture, urban living, walking and cycling infrastructure, and high-quality transit. EDIF and other City initiatives can help deliver these improvements, not just for those we are looking to attract, but for all Calgarians.

Nostalgia is not an economic strategy. Investing in resilience and diversification through the EDIF program will help us grow our economy and ultimately get Calgarians back to work.

To sign up for updates on key community and Ward 7 issues, please visit www.DruhFarrell.ca

Categories: Newsletter

Back | May 01, 2017

The Ward 7 annual report is here. Physical copies are being delivered to Ward 7 residents.

2016 Ward 7 Annual Report

 

To receive updates on this and other important topics, sign up for our mailing list.​​

Categories:

Back | March 07, 2017

On March 1, The City of Calgary's Affordable Housing team released a report on Calgary's housing supply: Housing in Calgary: An Inventory of Housing Supply, 2015/2016.

​​The report provides comprehensive data on Calgary's housing supply with a focus on affordable housing (define as non-market housing in the report).

Housing in Calgary: An Inventory of Housing Supply 2015/2016

Categories: Community

Back | April 01, 2017

I have witnessed many boom and bust cycles over the years in Calgary. Each time, we wait out the downturn and carry on with business as usual.

Although there are positive signs of recovery, this recession is different. Rather than a regular downturn in the business cycle that will fix itself, financial experts agree Calgary is experiencing a ‘structural recession’. This more serious type of recession exposes the risks of relying heavily on a single industry. We cannot treat a structural recession with tools meant for a cyclical one. In other words, we cannot wait this one out.

Evidence of the downturn is obvious in all areas of Calgary, but particularly in the downtown core. Downtown historically generated around 40% of The City’s non-residential tax revenue and 25% of City-wide employment. With record vacancy rates and declining property values in the downtown, 2016 saw a sharp decline in property tax, parking, and transit revenues. Because Calgary’s economic health is heavily reliant on the health of our downtown, this resulted in a dramatic tax burden shift to businesses outside the core.

Having been a small business owner for 17 years, and the manager of the Kensington Business Revitalization Zone, I understand the challenges businesses face. That is why I supported $45 million in one-time relief for businesses experiencing large increases in property taxes. While The City is able to afford short-term assistance, we need long-term solutions to address the root cause of the tax shift – a struggling downtown core. Businesses across Calgary, both small and large, depend on a strong downtown.

Calgary’s downtown worked well for 1980, but will it work for 2025 and beyond? The problem is complex with no easy solutions. Earlier this year, Council supported my motion to host a Downtown Economic Summit to bring together the best minds to create recommendations for a more resilient, creative, and diversified downtown. Work from the private sector, social organisations, and all three orders of government is required to fundamentally shift the downtown economy and emerge from the recession better than ever.

All is not doom and gloom. We have a tremendous opportunity to create conditions for businesses to thrive and to get Calgarians back to work.

To sign up for updates on key community and Ward 7 issues, please visit www.DruhFarrell.ca. You can also follow us on Twitter at @DruhFarrell and on Facebook at @DruhFarrellCalgary.

Categories: Newsletter

Back | September 15, 2016

I care deeply about dental health, especially for children and low income families. Dental health is worsening across Alberta, affecting both mental and body health. I also recognise that the debate on fluoride is highly polarised and that, by focussing solely on whether cities add fluoride to drinking water, we miss the bigger picture on healthy mouths and healthy bodies.

The debate on fluoride was kicked off again by a recent study of tooth decay rates in Calgary and Edmonton. For my thoughts on this study, please see my previous blog. The key issue raised in the study is that tooth decay is increasing in both Calgary and Edmonton. The study also identified that, despite decades of water fluoridation, Edmonton had slightly higher rates of tooth decay than Calgary, both before and after Calgary stopped adding fluoride to its water. With tooth decay rates increasing across Alberta, regardless of fluoridation, it is clear that fluoride is not a silver bullet.

One of the biggest challenges for dental health in Alberta is the high cost of dental services. Rates in Alberta are the highest in Canada due to the lack of a suggested fee guide, thus rendering dental services unaffordable to many Albertans and forcing them to either forgo dental care or seek dental care outside the province. Public drinking water fluoridation cannot replace access to affordable dental care, proper dental hygiene habits, or diets that reduce the consumption of harmful food and beverages.

Alberta’s declining dental health requires a comprehensive effort by our public health body, Alberta Health Services (AHS), to address the increases in tooth decay province-wide. Focussing on fluoride as a solution is not nearly enough. Unfortunately, AHS is not fulfilling its responsibility to promote dental equity for Albertans.

To send the message to AHS that they must address the dental health issue, I put forward motions to Council to request that the Mayor write to AHS. Council unanimously supported my motions to request that AHS:

  • Compile a list of dental care resources, particularly for children and low income families. The City will post this information on its website and 2-1-1.
  • Investigate solutions to the systemic causes of increased tooth decay across Alberta, including, but not limited to, ensuring equitable access to dental care programmes and services for all Albertans, especially those living with lower incomes.

It is my hope that AHS will fulfill its responsibility to keep Albertans healthy and will provide Albertans with the tools to improve dental health that are at its disposal. This issue is too important to ignore.

To sign up for updates on this and other important topics, please sign up for our mailing list. ​​  

Categories: Fluoride

Back | August 08, 2016

With rising household costs, a growing number of families are struggling to afford shelter and other basic needs such as food, medication, and childcare. Household incomes in Calgary have not kept up to housing prices. Over the past decade, prices have increased 156% while incomes have increased 34%.

Over 4000 households are currently on the qualified waiting list for Calgary Housing Company, but the actual need is far greater. In Calgary, over 38,000 renter households need affordable housing. These Calgarians require some extra assistance to ensure they have access to safe and affordable places to call home. Those in need include students, seniors, young couples, people with disabilities, people who are unemployed, low-income workers and their families, and new Canadians.

What do we mean by affordable housing? For housing to be affordable, The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation states a household should not spend more than 30 percent of its gross income on rent. That target is especially difficult for lower income Calgarians to meet and they must often spend larger percentages of their incomes on basic shelter.

Although increasing the affordable housing supply is one of City Council’s priorities, the City of Calgary has not added a single affordable housing unit in the past three years. This is one of the reasons that Council unanimously passed the new Affordable Housing Strategy in July.

The strategy calls for the City to secure funding from the provincial and federal governments, to work with partner agencies and the development industry, and to prioritize private projects that include some affordable and accessible units. The strategy also calls for the City to build new rental units through Calgary Housing Company and affordable homes for ownership through Attainable Homes Calgary.

Learning from the past, the City no longer concentrates affordable housing in one area, but instead encourages smaller projects that better integrate into all neighbourhoods. Most Ward 7 communities already host at least one affordable housing development.

Proposed affordable housing projects will include public engagement to ensure that they integrate well with the surrounding neighbourhood. Should your neighbourhood be selected to host affordable housing, please ask how it can best be accommodated and welcomed into the community. Your new neighbours will certainly appreciate it.

For updates on important issues like this one, please sign up for our mailing list.

Categories: Newsletter

Back | February 08, 2017

Councillor Farrell, The City of Calgary, and Calgary Police Services invite you to attend:

WARD 7 PEDESTRIAN & TRAFFIC SAFETY MEETING

Date: Thursday, February 16, 2017, 6:30pm-8:30pm

Location: Red & White Club, north end of McMahon Stadium, 1833 Crowchild Tr NW
 
Goal: Create a forum to discuss and raise awareness of traffic safety, and to take actions based on citizen concerns on a specific topic
 
Directions:   Train: Red Line to Banff Trail CTrain Station, 6-minute walk west over pedestrian bridge Bus: 72 or 73 Routes Drive: Enter off Crowchild Tr NW or University Dr NW; free parking after 6pm on east side of McMahon Stadium Cycle: Bike racks available at north entrance Accessible Entry: Guests who need to use the elevator will need to enter the doors that are just to the east of the main exit. They are labelled with the accessibility signage.
 
For more information and latest details, take a look at the website by clicking here

Categories: Pedestrian & Traffic Safety; Transportation

Back | September 02, 2016

Public engagement for the Green Line continues this Fall in the build up to a decision about route alignment and station placement. The Green Line is a city-shaping project that will have significant, long-term impacts on the communities and neighbourhoods through which it travels. The Green Line is a city-shaping project that will have significant, long-term impacts on the communities and neighbourhoods through which it travels.

In September, the Engagement Team will be in Crescent Heights/Tuxedo Park to discuss transit oriented development in the 9 Ave, 16 Ave, and 28 Ave N station areas. This engagement will be in the form of a design charrette, which is an intensive multi-day workshop. There are four opportunities for public input in the charrette:

Pains and Gains Public Session

Date: Monday, September 26, 2016

Time: 6:30 – 9:00 p.m.

Location: Crescent Heights Community Association (1101 2 ST NW)

Details: Opportunity to provide input on existing mobility, design and development opportunities and challenges in the area.

Ideas Session (Registration required)

Date: Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Time: 6:30 – 9:00 p.m.

Location: Crescent Heights Community Association (1101 2 ST NW)

Details: This is the feature event of the design charrette! Play a simple and fun board game with other community members to design your own TOD concept. Professional designers will really look at and use your ideas.

Concepts Public Session

Date: Thursday, September 29, 2016

Time: 6:30 – 9:00 p.m.

Location: Crescent Heights Community Association (1101 2 ST NW)

Details: Presentation of concepts based on what we heard and learned through the board game. Participants will have the opportunity to view and comment on initial concepts before the final solutions are developed. Presentation begins at 6:30 p.m. followed by group discussion. Venue capacity is limited, please RSVP.

Outcomes Public Session

Date: Saturday, October 1, 2016

Time: 11 – 1:00 p.m. Location: Crescent Heights Community Association (1101 2 ST NW)

Details: Drop-in session to view the outcome of the charrette. A presentation will be given at 12:45 p.m. followed by Q & A. Feedback will be collected and included in the final report back to Council.

​​Please join us at these upcoming sessions to share your thoughts on how to make the Green Line a major success.

To join our mailing list for updates on this and other important topics, please click here

Categories: Green Line LRT

Back | September 27, 2016

The Crowchild Trail Study is nearing the end of its long journey through an extensive public consultation process. Calgarians are now able to review the draft recommendations & provide input. 

Please join City of Calgary staff at one of the upcoming  Phase 5: Concept Selection and Recommendation engagement events to review the draft recommendations. Your feedback will help the project team refine and finalize the short-, medium- and long-term recommendations for changes and upgrades to the Crowchild Trail corridor. The final recommendations will be presented in Phase 6: Reporting and Completion in December 2016. 

Open House #1 - Saturday, October 1

Time: 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Location: Sunalta School, Main Gym – 536 Sonora Avenue S.W.

Open House #2 - Monday, October 3

Time: 5:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Location: Red and White Club, McMahon Stadium – 1833 Crowchild Trail N.W.

No RSVP required. For a complete list of engagement opportunities, including drop-in events and online, please visit calgary.ca/crowchild.

Interested in learning more about the history and future transportation demands of Crowchild Trail?  View this story map.

Categories: Crowchild Trail

Back | July 01, 2017

For the past several years, Calgarians were engaged extensively on the new Green Line Light Rail Transit (LRT) line and the Crowchild Trail Study. Thank you to Ward 7 residents for engaging on these projects and for helping to push for better outcomes.

The Green Line LRT will improve the daily lives of Calgarians. It will connect our communities with high-quality rapid transit, spur reinvestment along Centre Street and around station areas, and act as a catalyst for improved community amenities.

Earlier this year, Council voted to proceed with Stage One of the Green Line LRT, running from 16 Av N in Crescent Heights/Tuxedo Park to Shepherd in the SE. Stage One includes 20km of track, 14 stations, the Centre City tunnel, a new maintenance facility at Shepherd, and new low-floor trains. It will carry around 65,000 Calgarians on day one (in approximately 2026) and comes in at $4.65 billion.

A phased approach allows us to build a solid foundation for continuous expansion, and to ensure we build the Green Line right from the start. We have one of the top performing LRT systems in North America today, and can expect this to continue with the Green Line.

The City of Calgary and the Government of Canada have committed $3 billion to the Green Line. Now, with Stage One set, the City can submit a formal funding application to the Government of Alberta. If funding, financing, and years of planning align, we will see the start of Green Line construction in 2020.

In May, City Council unanimously approved a new plan for Crowchild Trail. Council praised the work done by City staff and the incredible participation from communities. The plan is in stark contrast to the 2012 Crowchild Trail expansion plan that called for the demolition of dozens of homes and restricted access between communities.

Proposed changes include new walking/cycling bridges across Crowchild and to the Bow River Pathway, pathways along Crowchild, safety improvements at conflict points, traffic noise mitigation, and free-flow traffic from Glenmore Trail SW to 12 Mile Coulee Rd NW. Residents along Crowchild now have certainty about whether or not their homes will be impacted.

The Crowchild plan, which includes short, medium and long term improvements, is a massive project that comes at significant cost. While the full plan is not funded, funding is approved to rehabilitate and improve the deteriorating Crowchild Trail Bridge over the Bow River. Funding for the full plan will be reviewed against the City’s other priorities such as flood mitigation, affordable housing, and, of course, the Green Line LRT.

To sign up for updates on key community and Ward 7 issues, register for our mailing list by completing this form. You can also follow us on Twitter at @DruhFarrell and on Facebook at @DruhFarrellCalgary.  

Categories: Green Line LRT; Crowchild Trail; Newsletter

Back | August 18, 2016

With 150 public off-leash areas and over 100,000 dogs in our city, it’s clear Calgarians love their canine companions. What isn’t to love is the stinky situation left behind when owners don’t pick up after their pets.

Cleaning up your dog’s waste helps keep our yards, parks and of-leash areas safe and healthy, and is part of being a responsible pet owner.

Here are five facts you may not know about doggy doo-doo:

  1. It’s classified as a hazardous pollutant. It’s in the same category as toxic chemicals!
  2. It’s crawling with E. coli and often contains roundworm larvae which, if ingested by humans or dogs, can lead to brain, eye and other organ damage.
  3. It’s not a good fertilizer. Its high nutrient content is toxic to lawns and will create “hot spots” causing the grass to burn and discolour.
  4. It doesn’t absorb into the soil, so the risk of spreading its harmful effects can linger for years!
  5. It attracts mice, coyotes and other wildlife that consider it a delicious snack.

Keeping our city pet-waste free is easy, if we all do our part. Always carry pet waste bags with you when you walk your dog, and pick up and properly dispose of your pet’s waste as soon as possible.

To learn more about the importance of picking up after your pet, join us at a P.U.P.P.Y. (Pick Up Pooch's Poo Yourself) event near you. Visit calgary.ca/puppy for details. 

Categories:

Back | January 13, 2017

Calgary's economy is struggling and small businesses feel this the most. Having been a small business owner for 20 years, and the manager of the Kensington Business Revitalization Zone, I know what others are going through.

On Monday, Councillor Woolley and I will bring forward a proposal to Council to address one of the root causes for the challenges businesses face: a faltering Downtown economy with 30% office vacancy rates. We intend to bring together the best minds to create a plan for a more resilient, creative, and diversified Downtown.

Businesses across Calgary, both small and large, depend on a strong Downtown. A strong Downtown is a strong Calgary.

Downtown Calgary and Economic Uncertainty: A Coordinated Response Notice of Motion.

To receive updates on this and other important topics, sign up for our mailing list. ​

Categories: Blog

Back | September 01, 2017

Pedestrian safety and cut-through traffic are top issues for Ward 7 communities. Most older neighbourhoods were built on a grid network, where streets connect at right angles with frequent intersections. The grid makes our communities easy to navigate by foot and by bike, but it also makes it easy to shortcut through, given that multiple routes can be taken to reach a destination. While communities that have “loop and lollypop” streets experience less cut-through traffic, they work poorly for walking and cycling. Both types of Calgary communities have their challenges, which is why we need a wide-reaching approach to make Calgary a better city for walking.

The City’s new Step Forward pedestrian strategy is a long-term plan to improve the safety, accessibility, and desirability of walking in Calgary. The strategy includes 49 actions which were shaped by input from thousands of Calgarians. To learn more about Step Forward, visit: www.Calgary.ca/StepForward

The world is also taking notice of Calgary’s plan to become a more walkable city. In September, we will play host to the International Walk21 Conference. Previously hosted in global cities like Hong Kong, London, and New York, it is an honour to sponsor this prestigious conference in partnership with the University of Calgary. It comes as a direct result of Calgary’s work to shift from a city known for its auto-dependent sprawl, to a city that offers real transportation choice. Delegates will include walkability experts from around the world. To learn more about Walk21 and how you can participate, visit www.Walk21.com

As Step Forward rolls out and as we celebrate Walk21 in Calgary, you can take action today to improve walkability and street safety in your community. Many communities apply for community traffic studies, to identify ways to redesign residential streets that prioritise walking, slow down traffic, and discourage cut through traffic. Due to high demand, a thorough traffic study can take time to complete. Sometimes what is needed is a quick, temporary, and inexpensive way to address concerns. That is why Council supported my motion to create the ActivateYYC microgrants. Communities can apply for grants to fund “temporary local projects and events that motivate Calgarians to walk, play and be neighbourly.” For details, visit www.CalgaryCommunities.com/ActivateYYC

If your community is still interested in a community traffic study, residents should work with their local community association to generate broad support for a study. To learn more about how to apply for a community traffic study, visit www.Calgary.ca and search for “Community Traffic Concerns”.

Let’s work together to make walking safer, more accessible, and more desirable for healthier and more vibrant neighbourhoods.

To sign up for updates on key community and Ward 7 issues, please visit www.DruhFarrell.ca. You can also follow us on Twitter at @DruhFarrell and on Facebook at @DruhFarrellCalgary

Categories: Newsletter; Crime & Safety

Back | August 01, 2017

The downtown has long been Calgary’s economic engine. Across the city, businesses and households depend on the success of our downtown. When the economy of our downtown falters, the financial impacts are felt throughout Calgary.

Until recently, the centre city generated 40% of Calgary’s non-residential tax revenue and 25% of city-wide employment. Today, nearly 30% of downtown office space sits empty, and the situation is expected to worsen when construction wraps up on several new office towers.

Between 2016 and 2018, it is estimated that $7.5 billion in the assessed value of downtown office space will be wiped out. The dramatic change in the downtown economy has knock-on impacts to all Calgarians, not only in a transfer of taxes to businesses outside the core, but also a steep reduction in transit and parking revenues.

To help mitigate the tax shift, Council supported $45 million in one-time city-wide tax relief for businesses and set a 0% residential property tax increase in 2017. While these are important measures to provide short-term assistance, we need long-term solutions to address the root cause of Calgary’s challenges – a struggling downtown economy.

Councillor Woolley and I, with guidance from Calgary Economic Development, initiated a Downtown Economic Summit in early 2017. The Summit brought together some of the most creative problem-solvers in Calgary to generate ideas for a more resilient, resourceful, and diversified downtown. We learned from the experiences of other cities, like Denver and Pittsburgh, on ways to recover from structural recessions.

Calgary Economic Development presented the outcomes of the Summit to Council in June, with information on current economic and real estate challenges, as well as ways to move forward. They showed how the global economy is fundamentally shifting, which has a major impact on the downtown’s reliance on a single industry.

The report recommended ways to attract new industries and businesses, promote more residential density in the core, encourage post-secondary institutions to locate downtown, and improve infrastructure to attract private investment.

To help bring these recommendations to life, Council approved $10 million as a pilot from The City’s reserves to create the Downtown Economic Investment Fund. This money will help The City respond quickly to innovative ideas, encourage and leverage private investment through strategic partnerships, invest in infrastructure, and work toward revitalising our core.

Not all is doom and gloom! The Conference Board of Canada estimates that Calgary’s economy will grow by 2.3% in 2017, with 19,000 new jobs added by 2018. This is encouraging and means The City’s investment can go even further to help improve our economy and get Calgarians back to work.

To sign up for updates on key community and Ward 7 issues, register for our mailing list by completing this form. You can also follow us on Twitter at @DruhFarrell and on Facebook at @DruhFarrellCalgary. ​

Categories: Newsletter

Back | February 01, 2017

Even with Calgary’s fairly mild winters, many dread the snow and the cold, choosing to squirrel away indoors. But what if we did not shy away from winter? What if we celebrated the season and embraced our cold climate?

There are many ways to live healthy, active, and social lives in winter that do not require leaving the city for the mountains or hitting the indoor gym. Here are a few ideas that Calgary and other winter cities are exploring:

  • Build warming huts along our pathway network. These tiny pop-up pavilions encourage pathway use in the winter by providing a space to mingle with fellow Calgarians and get toasty. In Winnipeg, huts are also fanciful art installations created through an annual design competition.
  • Promote ice skating across the city. The City of Calgary operates large outdoor rinks at Olympic Plaza and Prince’s Island, with several community associations maintaining smaller local rinks. Talk with your community association about building one. In Edmonton, the Freeze Way is a pathway-like skating route that encourages people of all ages to strap on their skates for a lantern lit skate through City parks.
  • Encourage skiing in the city. In Edmonton, transit users are encouraged to “ski to LRT” with free secure cross country ski storage at LRT stations. In Calgary, the Foothills Nordic ski club is piloting improved cross-country skiing trails at the Confederation Park Golf Course.
  • Develop a four-season patio culture. Many cities have busy patios well below freezing through the use of heaters, blankets, and protective awnings. This sparks social interactions and boosts the local restaurant scene. In our city, hardy Calgarians line up down the street to get into the Container Bar patio on Kensington Road, even in the dead of winter.
  • Shop local! Montreal sets up colourful Adirondack chairs around communal fire pits along their retail streets to foster casual conversations and encourage shopping at local businesses. The Mount Pleasant Community used to run a weekly get together and story-telling around a fire pit – the cut off was minus 15.
  • Organize local walks, events, and festivals throughout all four seasons, not just the summer.
  • Make transit work in all seasons by providing heated bus shelters at key locations, with priority snow clearing on connecting sidewalks.
  • Plan for a winter climate. Edmonton’s new Winter City Strategy encourages the design of buildings and public spaces to include shelter from the elements and allow for more sunlight to shine on sidewalks.

Some of these ideas require effort from the City, but others can be pioneered by Calgarians. Together, we can build a city that is vibrant and active throughout the year. Bundle up, get outside, and embrace winter!

To receive updates on this and other important topics, sign up for our mailing list.

Categories: Community; Newsletter

Back | July 07, 2016

The dog days of summer are the perfect time to think about critters. While Calgary is home to 1.2 million humans, we rarely think about the countless other species of flora and fauna that far outnumber us. 

“Biodiversity” is the term we use to describe the variety and richness of living organisms and habitats. With 80% of Canadians now living in urban areas, reasonable protection of bio-diversity is becoming increasingly important for municipal governments to ensure that we maintain a healthy ecology.

Last year, Calgary City Council approved Our Biodiversity, Calgary’s 10-year biodiversity strategic plan. The plan is based on principles for the protection, development, and management of Calgary parks and ecosystems in support of biodiversity.

Biodiversity project goals:

  1. Evaluate landscapes in Calgary and set targets for conservation measures to identify, protect, and manage ecological cores and corridors;
  2. Restore 20 per cent of Calgary’s current open space to increase biodiversity;
  3. Identify and manage invasive species in Calgary’s open space.

The City will implement the plan through a variety of initiatives. This summer, Calgary Parks launched a pilot project using a herd of goats to manage invasive plant species in Confluence Park. This creative approach to weed control not only reduced the need for pesticides, but also improved the health of native ecosystems by reducing overgrowth and encouraging the growth of non-invasive plants. The City is also working to turn back the progress that invasive species have made over the years. Efforts to combat smooth brome, a highly competitive grass that smothers native species, and Canada thistle are underway. We are also re-introducing native species into our parks and landscaping projects. Native species are naturally suited to the local climate and require less care over time.

For Calgarians interested in enhancing biodiversity closer to home, the City has numerous resources to help enhance biodiversity in your own yard. A good place to start is www.calgary.ca/yardsmart. There, you can find tips on how to transform your garden into an inviting landscape that will inspire both your neighbours and wildlife.

To learn more about this and other topics, visit www.druhfarrell.ca. To sign up for updates on key issues, please email ward07@calgary.ca

Categories: Newsletter

Back | July 20, 2016

Chinatown is one of Calgary’s most culturally significant and important communities. Its history is nearly as old as Calgary’s. The current location, flanking Centre Street along the south bank of the Bow River and up into the core, was selected in 1910. Like many Chinatowns across North America, Calgary’s Chinatown has seen its fortunes grow and fade.

Investment and renewal is needed but not at the expense of what makes Chinatown a neighbourhood enjoyed by many. That is why Councillor Farrell introduced a motion asking the City to establish a public engagement process to develop a road map for future development in community. The motion was inspired by several conversations with community organizations and private developers who want to ensure that Chinatown thrives once again.

Public Engagement will begin in July and extend into August. It will include an opportunity to provide online feedback, a project sounding board and other on-street engagement, indoor events in the community, and a walking tour.

If you are a resident, a business-owner, a community volunteer or if Chinatown is important to you, please get involved and share your opinions on how Chinatown can thrive as it changes.  

For complete details, please visit the project page.

​​To sign up for important updates like this one, please sign up here

Categories: Community

Back | February 27, 2017

​​The North Calgary Water servicing project is now underway as part of the long-term plan for the water supply system. The project may be of interest to residents of Dalhousie, Brentwood, and Triwood.

The Nose Hill Park portion of the project will be completed in two phases:

Phase 1: Soil Sampling (Mid-February – Early April 2017)

Phase 2: Construction (Summer 2017 – Summer 2018)

Phase 1 - Soil Sampling

Soil investigations are taking place to confirm route selection for the project. You will see drilling equipment like the unit shown on the right, from mid-February until early April.

The crew will be taking soil samples in Nose Hill Park to gather information that will be used to confirm the route of the water supply line.

Confirmation requires soil testing along the proposed route by means of drilling 21, 15cm (6") bore-holes and determining the soil properties below the surface. The process is known as Geotechnical Drilling.

Phase 2 - Construction

The proposed alignment of pipe traverses Nose Hill Park from the southwest to the northeast. The method of construction would involve the use of tunneling due to the pipe depths proposed.

Construction would cause minor surface disruption in the southwest and northeast corners at the entrance and exit of the proposed tunnel. No other surface work would be required in the park.

Protecting the Environment

To protect the surface environment, drilling will be completed during winter months when the ground is frozen. Rare plant and bird surveys will be conducted prior to drilling. Mitigation measures will be in place to conserve protected species.

If you have questions or concerns please contact 311. You can also visit www.calgary.ca/nosehill for more information. 

Categories: Parks; Water

Back | September 14, 2016

As a large urban centre in a prosperous country, Calgary continues to mature and develop. To keep up with the pace of this perpetual growth, it is important for the City of Calgary to make investments in transportation infrastructure like streets and public transit.

Large projects like the Green Line LRT and the Crowchild Trail Study get most of the attention, since they will move many thousands of Calgarians across the city. It is important though that we don’t forget about smaller investments that can make positive differences for local residents and their communities.

With this in mind, my staff and I joined the City’s General Manager of Transportation and members of his team for a tour of Ward 7. The purpose of this tour was to identify small transportation issues in communities across Ward 7, and to begin working on solutions. We identified certain fixes that could be implemented quickly, as well as more significant projects for the future.

We noted instances where the design of various intersections made it less safe for all road users. One example was at 19 St and John Laurie Bv NW in Triwood, where higher visibility crosswalks and better lighting were identified to improve the safety of people walking through the area. In Sunnyside, we saw that a new crosswalk at Memorial Dr and 9 St NW would improve walking and cycling access to the Bow River Pathway and Downtown. Work on that crossing will be complete in Fall 2016.

We also noticed that several stretches of sidewalk along 16 Av NW, from Mount Pleasant to Banff Trail, were patch works of uneven concrete and asphalt. Weed maintenance was an issue as well. These are cosmetic issues that can improve an area by making them more pleasant and accessible for local residents. The weeding was quickly completed and sidewalk repair was identified as future work. Elsewhere along 16 AV, between Rosedale and Capitol Hill, we saw a need to improve awareness between those driving and cycling at the busy 10 St NW intersection. Inexpensive green conflict paint was soon added across the turn lanes as a result.

In areas seeing redevelopment, we noticed several instances of construction projects impeding access for people walking. In East Village, we found construction hoarding blocking entire sidewalks. This is a serious concern for a community with high numbers of residents with mobility challenges. The hoarding issues were quickly corrected and we secured a commitment from city staff to ensure that sidewalks are more consistently kept clear and safe during construction.

These are just a few examples of issues we identified. If you see concerns such as these in your community, be sure to call 3-1-1 or go online to www.calgary.ca/311. To learn more about this and other Ward 7 topics, visit www.druhfarrell.ca. To sign up for updates on key issues, please join our mailing list

Categories: Newsletter

Back | August 16, 2018

In 1994, Calgary was one of the first cities in Canada to sign on to the Partners for Climate Protection program. Then, in 2000, The City of Calgary introduced the radical idea of building a wind farm to power the CTrain. We joined nine of the world’s top energy cities to sign the 2009 Calgary Climate Change Accord, committing to bold but achievable greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets for municipal operations and wider communities. By 2012, City operations were running on 100 per cent renewable energy offsets.

At the time, our focus was primarily on City operations, which account for only four per cent of Calgary’s total GHG emissions. Now, we must focus on the other 96 per cent: how Calgarians build, use, and move about our city. 

Council unanimously approved a Climate Resilience Strategy in June 2018, focusing on both mitigation and adaptation. At a basic level, mitigation strategies combat climate change by reducing GHG emissions, while adaptation strategies manage risks by adjusting to the impacts of a changing climate. Here are a few examples:

Mitigation:

  • Improve energy efficiency in new and existing infrastructure
  • Encourage low-emission vehicles and transportation choices like walking, cycling, and transit
  • Build low-carbon planning into how we design our city
  • Conserve green spaces and natural areas
  • Reduce and manage waste

Adaptation:

  • Reduce airborne emissions to improve air quality
  • Strengthen our built environment to respond to power emergencies
  • Strengthen our natural systems
  • Prepare for increased risk of flooding, drought, and declining water quality
  • Embed climate responsive processes in all City services

As we continue to aim for 80 per cent reduction in GHG emissions by 2050, the challenge ahead is significant. How will we manage to reach our targets? The answer often lies with Calgarians themselves. Many citizens came to speak in support of the Climate Resiliency Strategy and their voices made a clear impression on Council! Thanks to their efforts, my motion to establish a Climate Resilience Working Group comprised of community and industry representatives passed along with the plan. The only way we will make a difference is by working together. The community is already leading the way and the City must catch up.

Categories: Newsletter

Back | July 09, 2016

The Calgary Housing Company has acquired East Village place, a 163-unit residential building located in East Village. This will come as a great relief for the residents of the tower who were living with uncertainty since the tower went into receivership last year.

The City of Calgary and Calgary Housing Company can now work together on plans for a community space within the two ground levels. Success will be a healthy operating model – one that will ensure the residential tower and other activities in the building meet the needs of the neighbourhood and are financially self-sustaining.

​​Engagement is being planned for this summer for The City to understand how community members would like to see the space used. This information will inform criteria to evaluate proposals from organizations interested in operating the community space.

The City will take the input from the community and assess ideas to make sure they are feasible. Once a clear set of criteria are in place The City will issue a call for proposals (RFP or EOI) for organizations who would be interested in providing community programming, that meets community need, in that space.

The City anticipates mid-2017 occupancy for program provider(s) in the community space. Until then, senior’s programming in the East Village will continue without disruption.

For more details on the announcement, please click here.

Categories:

Back | June 28, 2016

On June 27th, Council approved a zero percent property tax increase for 2017. The City recognises the need to respond to financial pressures due to the economic recession. The City also continuously works to find efficiencies as a regular part of City operations through rolling zero-based department reviews. As a result of these reviews, the City has found $86.4 million in efficiencies since 2012. A zero percent increase requires more drastic measures.

A tax freeze means that some City services will be reduced or cut. City Administration will present a proposal to Council later this year that will include a list of services to be reduced. Calgarians can expect to see changes such as less frequent maintenance of public spaces and slower response times for 311 requests. Given that nearly every request to my office is for increased service, some of the reductions will be challenging. The City strives to provide great service, so Council, by supporting service reductions, shows the difficulty of the economic recession. These are extraordinary times.

Even with service reductions, the projected property tax increase remains at 1.5%. To reach zero percent, City Council voted to dip into the City’s Fiscal Stability Reserve. This rainy day fund is intended for challenging situations and will need to be paid back.

The decision on Monday does not necessarily mean there will be no property tax increase in 2017 as the provincial increase is unknown at this time. Calgary is obligated to collect property taxes for the Province and this currently accounts for about 40% of Calgarians’ property taxes bill. Given that zero percent is the typical rate city-wide, properties that experience value increases may also still see increases in property taxes.

In exchange for a zero percent increase, both City Council and residents will need to temper our expectations of City services. Council members were also asked to lighten our requests of City Administration. We ask for your patience and tolerance as you may notice a small decline in service. ​

​To sign up for updates on this and other important topics, please sign up here

Categories: Taxes

Back | April 14, 2016

Calgarians are invited to help set a new vision for our city’s Olympic Plaza Cultural District through public engagement being led by The City of Calgary, in partnership with Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) and Intelligent Futures.

The request for input stems from the Civic District Public Realm Strategy, approved by Council in early 2016, which aims to improve the public spaces around City Hall, Olympic Plaza, and the new Central Library.

This round of public engagement will focus on Olympic Plaza and its adjacent areas: Municipal Plaza, the surrounding public realm and connections through City Hall onto Third Street S.E. These areas have been identified as priority spaces in need of repair and enhancement.

The initial result of this public input will be a programming guide that feeds into future phases of the project, potential design requirements and the site amenities most valued by Calgarians.

Starting today, Calgarians are invited to provide their feedback online by visiting calgary.ca/myOPCD or through social media using the hashtag #myOPCD. Stay tuned to the website for more opportunities to get involved over the next six weeks on site at Olympic Plaza, at various downtown locations and at special events across the city.

​​For updates on this and other important topics, please sign up here.

Categories:

Back | April 20, 2016

In June 2013, several Ward 7 communities including Hillhurst, Sunnyside, Eau Claire, East Village, Chinatown and the Downtown Commercial Core experienced significant personal and property damage from flooding. Residents spent days, weeks and months cleaning up the mess and putting their lives back together. Many residents are still in recovery mode.

The City of Calgary has made flood mitigation a top infrastructure priority and has communicated its needs to the Federal and Provincial governments. Councillor Farrell continues to work with community advocacy groups, The City, and her colleagues in advancing projects to help us mitigate and recover from future flood events. We are equally concerned by the risk of drought. It is critical that proposed water management solutions weigh all the risks.

While flooding can happen at any time, the most likely period is from May 15 to July 15 each year. The best way to prepare is to understand the risks to your home, your family and your business. The City has initiatives underway to assist you.

To stay informed about Flooding, The City will be updating communications on a regular basis during the high risk period. You can learn more at www.calgary.ca/floodinfo.

More Ward 7 news articles about flooding.​​

Categories: Flood

Back | April 18, 2016

Today, one of the original lion sculptures that adorned the Centre Street Bridge from 1917-1999 begins its journey to a new location, one that will give Calgarians a chance to understand and appreciate the cultural significance of the beloved historic artifact.

The northeast lion, which has been identified as the lion in the best condition of the remaining three, will be protected and moved to an indoor City facility where it will be repaired and conserved. In spring 2017, marking the 100th anniversary of the original lions being installed on the Centre Street Bridge, the sculpture will be re-located to Rotary Park, overlooking the Centre Street Bridge.

Created in 1916 by James L. Thomson, a stonemason and employee of The City, the sculpture measures 12 feet in length, 5 feet wide, 8 feet high, and weighs 13 tons. Appropriate for artisans of the day, each lion was composed of several individual pieces, cast separately using a cement-type mortar, and then spliced together over a metal frame.

Working with experts from many fields to provide the technical expertise to move, repair and re-install the lion safely for the public to enjoy, measures are in place to preserve the sculpture’s structural integrity throughout its journey. These experts include structural engineers, heritage architects, art conservators, material specialists and industrial rigging and moving experts. The Calgary Heritage Authority has been a mainstay in the discussions since the beginning.

The first lion to be restored remains on display in front of the Municipal Building. To learn more about the lions visit The City’s historic resource document on the Centre Street Lion.

Categories:

Back | April 11, 2016

In a growing and maturing city, change is constant. Change, in the form of City-led public projects and private developments, is important to building a resilient city. The inclusion of local wisdom improves these projects to better address the hopes and needs of current and future Calgarians.

On significant projects, sufficient public consultation is considered an essential public right, as well as a key responsibility of government. Over the years, I have seen both good and bad examples of public engagement. I firmly believe that progress happens at the speed of trust.

In 2011, I introduced a motion to City Council requiring The City to improve the quality and consistency of public consultation. While some progress has been made, Council further discussed public engagement at a recent strategic planning session to learn how we can do better.

For public engagement to achieve its objectives, it is important for everyone involved to understand the rights and responsibilities associated with their roles. Organizers should start by providing notification to affected stakeholders to solicit as much feedback as possible. The terms of engagement should be established up-front. Whether the engagement is led by The City, community or developer, organizers must facilitate an open, objective and respectful dialogue where all participants feel safe to express their views. Two great examples are the Crowchild Trail Corridor Study and the Bow to Bluff project.

The organizer must outline the decision-making process, including the current status, the scope of the project, and answers to commonly asked questions: What is on the table? What decisions have already been made? What is the background of previous decisions? How will future decisions be made? Feedback should be documented, carefully considered, and included in a report back to the public. Offering this level of transparency produces credibility for the project and builds trust. Organizers should also structure engagement to fit the scope of the project. More opportunities and multiple ways to provide feedback are needed on large city-shaping projects like a new CTrain line, as compared to smaller projects like local traffic calming.

Public participants share in some important responsibilities. The first is to understand and respect the terms of engagement, as well as the subject matter. Participants also have a responsibility to listen and contribute respectfully. Intimidation at public meetings may discourage earnest participation, with disenchanted participants leaving the process. We need to ensure the quiet voices are heard too.

At Council’s recent strategy session, we talked about the number of large projects on the go and the risk of consultation fatigue. City staff agreed to work on a more co-ordinated approach, combining engagement on several related projects. 

It is clear to me that City Council and staff still have more work to do on improving the public engagement process, but I am confident that we can learn from our best examples to ensure all voices are heard in a respectful manner. 

Categories: Community; Newsletter

Back | July 05, 2016

The adequate availability of affordable housing is vital for any municipality to thrive in the 21st century. While many Calgarians have worked hard to be able to afford housing at market rates, due to any number of reasons, many Calgarians are not. These Calgarians require some extra assistance to ensure that they have access to safe and affordable housing. 

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation considers housing that costs more than 30% of one’s income as unaffordable. With Calgary prone to abrupt increases in the cost of rental units, Calgarians are especially vulnerable to living in unaffordable housing. This is one of the reasons that the City of Calgary, through the Calgary Housing Company, is working with other levels of government to build new affordable housing units across the city.

 

One example of an up-and-coming affordable housing project is in community of Rosedale. These sites were identified as ideal for low-density affordable housing during 16 Av N widening work nearly a decade ago. You can read more about the project here.

Unfortunately, there are some people who feel that affordable housing doesn’t belong in their community. It is important to note that there is no place for stigma and discrimination towards Calgarians who find themselves in need of affordable housing. If the thought of affordable housing in your community troubles you, perhaps you would benefit from taking the cringe test found here (page 12-13).

The City will continue to look for opportunities to build new affordable housing units over the next few years. These efforts will include adequate public engagement to ensure that public housing projects are integrated as much as possible into new communities. 

Categories:

Back | July 04, 2016

One of Ward 7's most fabulous neighbourhoods will be getting even better.

Through a city-offered program, This is my Neighbourhood, community representatives and residents from Capitol Hill worked together to identify several low-scale, high-impact projects and initiatives that will be untaken over the next several months and years. Upon completion, these projects will serve to improve the quality of life and overall experience for residents and visitors to Capitol Hill.

Some of the highlights include:

  • a pop-up park
  • little free libraries
  • a community garden
  • community banners and flags
  • increased bicycle lock-up spots
  • more garbage and recycling bins in parks

We would like to congratulate the volunteers and residents who participated in this process. These improvements will go a long way to enhancing the quality of life in Capitol Hill. For a complete list of projects and initiatives, please visit the project page.

To sign up for email updates on important topics like this one, please click here.

Categories: Community

Back | June 03, 2016

Green cart organics recycling is coming to all Calgary neighbourhoods in 2017. Combined with the new Organics Composting Facility and current blue cart recycling, green cart is part of the City’s strategy to divert 70% of all waste from our landfills by 2025. Actual garbage, the kind that cannot be reduced, reused, recycled, or composted, only makes up 15% of what Calgarians throw away. However, most waste that could be composted goes right into our landfills where it cannot decompose. Calgary does not have the financial, spatial, or environmental capacity to continue throwing so much into our landfills. This video explains why.

The green cart programme was trialed in a variety of Calgary communities, including Brentwood in Ward 7, and the response was excellent. 91% of residents in those communities supported a city-wide programme and 89% were satisfied with the pilot. 75% of those residents had no concerns with having three carts.

Green cart roll-out will include changes to black cart, which will be picked up ever second week. Experiences in Calgary, and in the many other municipalities that started organics recycling, is that reduced frequency of black cart pick up works well and encourages organics recycling. Black cart garbage dropped 42% in Calgary’s pilot communities.

Some Calgarians are already composting in their backyards, including Councillor Farrell, but we are in the extreme minority. Those who do compost now will also be able to compost significantly more in their green cart than in their existing home compost. All food waste, including meats and bones, can go in green carts. Items such as pet waste and tissues, will now be compostable too! Other Calgarians use garburators, though these are not capable of accepting all materials that will now be compostable either. You may also be interested to know that solids sent through a garburator add significant strain on the City’s water treatment process.

Ultimately, the green cart program is an essential tool in reducing the strain on Calgary's landfills, finances, and environment.

You can read more about the green cart programme here.

To sign up for regular updates from the Ward 7 Office, please sign up here

Categories: Waste and Recycle

Back | May 20, 2016

The Crowchild Trail Study Team is ready to move forward with the next round of public engagement. In Phase 4: Concept Evaluation, the team will work with Calgarians to evaluate preliminary concepts against the project goals developed in Phase 2. The input received will be used by the project team to develop a shortlist of design concepts that will be further refined for selection in Phase 5: Concept Selection and Recommendation.

Public engagement opportunities for Phase 4 begins in June and are posted on the Upcoming Opportunities web page. Registration for the workshops and walking tours will open on Saturday, May 21.

Registration for engagement opportunities opens May 21.

For more information on the project please click here. To join our mailing list and to receive updates on projects like these, please sign up here.

Categories: Crowchild Trail

Back | May 06, 2016

Scenes from the fires in Fort McMurray and the surrounding area are beyond description. Albertan families are watching all they own go up in flames. 

Calgarians have recent experience with natural disasters having been through the floods of 2013 and 2005. We know how important it is to come together and support one another. That is why I am not surprised at how quickly many Calgarians offered their unused belongings, space in their homes, and their money to support those affected by the disaster. It is in our DNA.

I have received many requests from Ward 7 residents about how they can help.  The best way to help at this time is to donate money to the Red Cross. This money will go directly to the short term relief effort and longer term financial supports for displaced Albertans. Both the Provincial and Federal governments will match the funds collected. Fundraisers are a great way to bring people together while collecting needed funds. Please let us know if you are aware of a fundraiser and we will help to promote it on social media.

At the same time, the City of Calgary is providing assistance and expertise to help fight the fires and to support the evacuees. To find out more, please visit the City’s webpage.

To sign up for important updates from the Ward 7 Office, please sign up on our webpage.

Categories:

Back | June 20, 2016

Citizen Dashboard pilot gives Calgarians insight into City performance and Calgary’s quality of life

More and more, Calgarians are seeking transparency into how well their hard-earned tax dollars are being spent. There is also a growing expectation that the City implements evidence-based decision making to maximize the value of the money that is spent on the important services that the City provides.

The City of Calgary’s Citizen Dashboard is an online tool that provides Calgarians with access to information about The City’s performance and how City services contribute to Calgarians' quality of life. Available at calgary.ca/citizendashboard, the tool displays performance measures and data using interactive graphs, charts and maps.

The Dashboard provides citizens with easy access to City performance measures, provides explanations of what those measures mean and what we are doing to improve service.

Powered by The City’s Open Data Catalogue, the Citizen Dashboard pilot currently displays performance measures for:

  • 311
  • Water Sustainability
  • Transit Safety & Security
  • Calgary Transit Access
  • Building Regulations
  • Waste Management
  • Roads: Summer Maintenance

Calgarians can check out the Citizen Dashboard and provide feedback at calgary.ca/citizendashboard.

Categories: Taxes

Back | June 21, 2016

As a born and raised Calgarian, I know how proud Calgarians are of the 1988 Winter Olympics. The Olympics put Calgary on the map and contributed to our enduring culture of sport. It was a thrilling time for Calgary and the first time we saw ourselves as a big city.

It isn't surprising that the idea of hosting the Olympics again in 2026 has Calgarians feeling nostalgic. While the Calgary Olympics were a success, 1988 was a simpler time. The Olympics now cost many billions of dollars ($1 billion for security alone), cost overruns are expected, and the municipalities are left with the bill. Research shows the promised economic benefits rarely come to fruition.

Further billions are necessary for new and renovated venues. The Canada Olympic Park ski jumps, Nakiska ski hill, the Saddledome, and the Olympic Oval do not meet current requirements or expectations of modern Olympic venues. Some suggest that the in-limbo CalgaryNEXT proposal could pick up some of the required venue space, but at over $1.8 billion, that proposal is not in the best interests of all Calgarians, even if combined with an Olympic bid.

Most concerning for me is that corruption still runs deep at the International Olympic Committee and in its member organisations. Reports of bribery and questionable deals are all too common.

All of these concerns are reflected in recent decisions around the world to pull out of bidding for Olympics. Boston, Oslo, Stockholm, and Munich all abandoned their bids to host the Games. The tremendous costs of the Games and expected favours are also discouraging more cities from entering the race.

When we have crucial commitments to invest in flood mitigation, Green Line LRT, affordable housing, and economic diversification, I am sceptical that spending billions on the Olympic Games is in Calgary's best interest. It is enticing to think 2026 could be another 1988, though it's important to remember that much has changed in 30 years. The Olympics are not the city-shaping exercise they once were. We need to spend our money on everyday benefits to Calgarians, and not on risky mega-events.

Despite these concerns, the majority on Council voted to explore a bid for 2026. It is now crucial to ensure proper oversight and governance of this work. We need to ask tough questions on whether a bid is viable.

Categories:

Back | May 23, 2016

Public engagement on the Green Line is chugging right along. There are two important events coming up that may interest you.

The Green Line Team has lined up a series of guest speakers to help inform and educate the public as they form their views on how the Green Line can serve Calgarians. Details for the first event in the series, a panel discussion entitled, City Shaping: Past, Present, and Future are:

May 26, 2016 | 5:30 PM - 6:30 PM

Muncipal Building Atrium, 800 Macleod Trail S.E.

The Green Line Team is also hosting station area workshops. These are important tools to allow nearby residents and business owners to provide valuable local knowledge. This feedback will assist the design team create concepts for station designs and local area transportation plans. The next workshop being held in Ward 7 is for the 9th AV and 16th AV stations:

​​Jun 22, 2016 | 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Crescent Heights Community Association 1101 2 Street NW

For additional details about these and other important public engagement opportunities, please visit the Green Line Team's event page.

To sign up for regular updates on this and other important issues, please sign up here.​​

Categories: Green Line LRT

Back | April 01, 2016

The City of Calgary is launching its 2016 street cleaning program on Sunday, April 3rd. This year, they will be applying an accelerated cleaning schedule. Cleaning will take place seven days a week to reduce the amount of material that can get washed into our storm sewer system. In order to facilitate quick and efficient cleaning of our streets, citizens will now have to move their vehicles and bins on weekends if crews are scheduled to clean at that time.

An important change from last year is that vehicles left on the street during sweeping will be subject to ticketing during the dates and times specified on community signs. This is a change that will impact all communities in Calgary. Additionally, if a "No Parking" sign is present, vehicles will be towed and the owner of the vehicle fined. New parking ticket prices of $120 that were introduced last year will be in effect for all vehicles left on the street during Spring Clean-up.

To help Calgarians with complying with the requirements, a new email subscription service is available on Calgary.ca/sweep – please sign up to receive an email the day before your street will be swept. 

To learn more about the program and to find out when their street will be cleaned, citizens can learn more about spring clean-up at Calgary.ca/sweep.

Categories:

Back | June 06, 2016

On average, one pedestrian is injured in a collision each day in Calgary. Many more injuries occur in parking lots and often go unreported. The financial cost to society from pedestrian deaths and injuries, estimated at $120 million per year for Calgary alone, is staggering. The impact to individuals and families left to cope with the recovery, and sometimes a lifetime of disabilities, is immeasurable. These financial, social, and emotional costs were driving factors behind City Council’s decision to unanimously support STEP FORWARD, our new pedestrian strategy and safety action plan. I have been striving to make Calgary a better place to walk for many years and I am extremely proud of this work. The strategy also goes beyond safety to encourage more Calgarians to walk more often by making it easy, accessible, and enjoyable.

We focused the plan into four areas with a list of 50 actions for short, medium, and long term improvements:

  • Safety - reduce collisions and increase the feeling of personal safety.
  • Plan and Design - remove barriers to walking by improving connections and the walking experience for people of all ages and abilities.
  • Operate and Maintain - manage sidewalks as public spaces and seasonally maintain and repair infrastructure.
  • Educate and Encourage - remind citizens about shared responsibilities for road safety and encourage walking for improved health, recreation, and commuting.

Speed is a crucial factor in the severity and survival rate of any collision, especially ones involving those walking and cycling. Lower speeds save lives. From Toronto to Boston to Edinburgh, cities around the world are reducing speed limits on residential streets for the sake of safety. Closer to home, Airdrie introduced 30 km/h on all residential streets in the 1980s. Unfortunately, the recommendation to reduce speed limits on residential streets in Calgary was not supported by Council at this time.

Every Calgarian is a pedestrian. A pedestrian is someone walking (or rolling in a wheelchair) to school, from one business meeting to another, to catch the train or bus, or for an evening stroll. Ward 7 boasts a higher proportion of people who walk than most other areas of Calgary, partly due to its nearness to downtown, but also because of its walkable neighbourhoods, shopping streets, river pathways, and access to schools and transit. The importance of walking to Ward 7 residents is one of the many reasons that I championed STEP FORWARD, as well as other initiatives that support active travel. As we implement this plan over the next decade, you will see Calgary become a safer, more walkable, and more enjoyable city.

To learn more about this and other topics, visit druhfarrell.ca. To sign up for updates on key issues, please sign up here

Categories: Community; Transportation

Back | March 22, 2016

In 2015, there were more than 1600 service requests related to storm drains and drainage concerns – 198 of those were related to concerns in Ward 7. In 2014, a whopping 5036 service requests were received by The City, with the majority of its storm drain –or ‘catch basin’- calls historically received in March.

Rainwater and melting snow from sidewalks, streets and roads are drawn into the catch basin or storm drain, located at the edge of the sidewalk and flow into our storm system, eventually into our rivers. One way to help keep your sidewalks and roads safe is to create a pathway for the melting snow to drain to the storm drain.

“Citizens can help prevent street pooling by clearing ice and compacted snow away from storm drain when the weather turns warmer,” says John Headley, leader Asset Assessment with Water Services. “Citizens can, if safe to do so, clear the channel along the gutter so that the snowmelt can drain into the catch basin.” At times, street debris or debris from wind, rain or hail storms (branches, leaves etc.) may block storm drains, as well. If this debris is sitting on the surface of the drain, and it is safe to do so, it can be removed to allow for water to drain more easily.

Storm drains are the main way water gets into the underground pipe system. The metal grates that can be seen at the edge of the road are only a portion of the structure which is primarily under ground. Under the grates is a barrel that collects the water. The barrel is attached to a pipe that allows the water to be whisked away and eventually deposited in the river.

If a storm drain is encased in ice, and cannot be easily removed please contact 311 so it can be thawed with specialized equipment. Also, do not attempt to clean a catch basin if it's submerged in water. You cannot be sure if the grate is intact, presenting a safety risk. If the drain is covered in water, please contact 311.

For more information on The City’s storm drain system, visit Calgary.ca/stormdrains.

Categories: Snow and Ice

Back | April 28, 2016

Community Cleanups season has begun!

Calgary Community Standards in partnership with Waste & Recycling Services and Community Associations are organzing community cleanups all across the city.

A record 1.4 million kg of waste and over 200,000 kg of organics was collected last year through the Community Cleanups. This helps keep our neighbourhoods clean, safe and vibrant.

Be sure to check out the City's webpage to find out if and when a cleanup is planned for your community. Get out there and get dirty!

Categories: Community

Back | March 15, 2016

It's that time of year again! My latest annual report highlights 2015 accomplishments made with the help of the Ward 7 team (Carol, Paul and Dale), Community Associations, City staff and other community leaders and volunteers. Thank you!

Ward 7 is home to a diverse group of communities, each with its own unique blend of people, amenities and needs. From improving public services like transit and waste collection, to working to ensure more accessible, pedestrian-friendly, high-quality neighbourhoods, the Ward 7 team and I worked to improve the lives of our residents and all Calgarians.

We hope that you enjoy this comprehensive year in review. We look forward to serving you again in 2016.

​​Please click on the link below to view the report. 

Ward Report

Categories: Ward office; Newsletter; Council initiatives; Community

Back | March 02, 2016

South Shaganappi Study: Get Involved

The City of Calgary is conducting a transportation corridor study for the south end of Shaganappi Trail. The study area includes the Shaganappi Tr. and 16 Ave. interchange, the Shaganappi Tr. and Bowness Rd. intersection and the Bowness Rd. and Memorial Dr. interchange.

Join them at their upcoming public workshop to share ideas about possible changes to the study area. With the help of a technical illustrator, you’ll sketch potential designs and explore ways to achieve the study’s goals and objectives. 

Design Idea Workshop

Saturday, April 9, 2016

1 to 3 p.m.

Foothills Academy, Wellness Centre

745 37th St. N.W.

RSVP at https://sss-public-workshop.eventbrite.ca or call 311.

If you’re unable to attend the workshop, there will also be an opportunity to share your ideas online at calgary.ca/southshaganappi starting May 11th.

Please note: A similar workshop for the adjacent communities of Montgomery, Parkdale, and Point McKay has been scheduled. This invite-only event provides those with homes and businesses in close proximity to the study area an opportunity to participate in the same workshop with others who may share similar perspectives. If you live in one of these adjacent communities, please refer to your community newsletter for the RSVP link or watch for an invite in the mail. 

To learn more about the study or to sign up for email updates, visit calgary.ca/southshaganappi or call 311. 

Categories: Events; Transportation

Back | May 04, 2016

In February 2016, The City implemented new levies for development in both new and existing communities, marking a turning point in Calgary’s approach to managing and paying for growth. As I shared in your March newsletter, the development levies are the outcome of The City and the development industry working together on an agreement for how to cover the full cost of growth.

So what has changed? Previously, The City covered the costs of major infrastructure upgrades like new waste-water treatment plants for greenfield development, which effectively amounted to a “sprawl subsidy”. With the new agreement now in place, developers will pay for the full cost of critical municipal infrastructure.  

I have been working to achieve fair development levies since before I was elected to City Council, and while the new levies are a major accomplishment, the work is not yet done. The ultimate goal is for the levy to help fund public realm and facility improvements in established neighbourhoods that are experiencing significant redevelopment.

How can the levy help? When property is redeveloped for higher density, The City collects an increase in property taxes. We call this phenomenon “uplift”. The City plans to capture a portion of this uplift for reinvestment in local amenities and public realm improvements for neighbourhoods going through change.

Common examples of improvements could be upgraded sidewalks and lighting, preservation of heritage buildings, new or refurbished parks and green spaces, or renovations to recreation and community centres.

The City is just starting to research the process for identifying amounts available for community reinvestment projects. As we move into this important next phase, it is critical that we involve Calgarians. We want to tap into local knowledge to determine opportunities that can enrich your neighbourhoods. To that end, I brought together Ward 7 community associations and City staff to start thinking about what types of reinvestment they would like to see as their communities experience redevelopment. The needs and goals of each community will likely be different, and we will look to your community associations to help identify areas of improvement that matter to you.

There will be much more to come on this topic, so to stay up-to-date on this and other Ward 7 issues, please sign up for my email newsletter: ward07@calgary.ca

Categories: Newsletter

Back | March 18, 2016

Calgary's ward boundaries are changing. On Monday, March 14th, City Council adopted new ward boundaries to take effect next year. While this decision means significant changes to the current ward boundaries, it is important to note that the changes do not apply until October 16th, 2017. I have enjoyed representing the diverse communities of Ward 7 and they can expect the same great service and dedication from the Ward 7 Team. 

A quick look at the map shows that several communities will be leaving Ward 7 while a few others will be joining.  Click here to see the new map.

Please let us know if you have any questions or comments about the ward boundaries and what it means for you.

Categories:

Back | February 24, 2016

A recent University of Calgary/Alberta Health Services study comparing tooth decay in Calgary and Edmonton has again raised the issue of water fluoridation. The study compared tooth decay rates between grade two students in Calgary, which discontinued water fluoridation in 2011, and Edmonton, which still adds fluoride. I have read the study and appreciate that it continues the conversation on dental health.

Scientific research is constantly evolving and I trust the scientific community will review this study further, as well as contrast it with the many other studies on water fluoridation. In science, it is important that we do not rush to judgment on the results of one study, and instead, continue rigorous and on-going scientific review of the subject. Particularly with a health care measure that is applied to everyone, without the possibility of opting out, the burden of evidence is simply higher. I look forward to review of this study and to further review of public water fluoridation in general.

Although water fluoridation is a polarizing issue, the need for quality dental health care is not. The conversation on fluoride is often emotionally-charged and people on either side have stopped listening to each other. This damages and marginalizes the debate. Where we can agree is that good dental health for people of all ages, and particularly for children, is essential in maintaining whole body health. More and more studies suggest that healthy mouths lead to improved overall health. I continue to be supportive of efforts to improve dental health.

One of the conclusions from the study, and the most troubling, is that tooth decay rates are going up in both Calgary and Edmonton, regardless of fluoridation. While the rate of increase was higher in Calgary than in Edmonton, overall decay rates were slightly lower in Calgary than in Edmonton, both before and after Calgary ceased water fluoridation. This raises several important questions:

  • Why, despite decades of water fluoridation, do decay rates continue to climb in Calgary and Edmonton? How is Alberta Health Services addressing other and more systemic causes of tooth decay?
  • Why are the overall decay rates slightly lower in Calgary, than in Edmonton? Does this point to other factors?
  • There are other options to water fluoridation. Many other jurisdictions have programmes that provide measured and topical doses of fluoride to children in schools. Given that dentists typically recommend fluoride as measured doses such as topical rinses or gels, has Alberta Health Services explored such options?
  • Alberta is the only province in Canada without a dental fee guide and has far higher dental fees than other provinces. In Alberta, dental fees continue to increase at twice the rate of inflation, pricing many Alberta families who do not enjoy employer provided dental benefits out of accessing dental care. Will the Provincial Government ensure dental equity through affordable dental care rates?
  • It is estimated that 80% of tooth decay is found in 25% of the children, particularly from low-income populations who are impacted by unhealthy diet and lifestyles and unaffordable dental fees. Are all three orders of government doing enough to combat systemic issues of poverty and is the Provincial Government doing enough to improve access to early childhood care?
  • The Alex Dental Health Bus was purchased by The City of Calgary to provide oral health services to thousands of children who would otherwise be un-served. There are still 192 clients on the waiting list. Would Alberta Health Services consider providing financial support to expand this excellent, necessary, and over-subscribed program?

Access to free, safe, and clean drinking water is a basic human right. Many Calgarians are though concerned about adverse health effects of ingesting fluoride. The World Health Organization acknowledges that, “fluoride has both beneficial and detrimental effects on human health.”

Fluoridating the public water supply leaves no option for those who want to opt out, particularly those living in poverty. In Western Europe, 97 percent of the population drinks non-fluoridated water (more people drink fluoridated water in the US alone than in the rest of the world combined). Many European countries decided to stop adding fluoride to their public water supply in the 1970s and 80s, citing adverse health effects, the importance of choice, and instead offer free and easy-to-use options like fluoridated table salt or oral rinses. With alternatives available, I respect the value of individual informed consent – a founding principle of personal health.

Dental care, like all health care, is the responsibility of the Provincial Government. With decay rates increasing in Alberta cities, regardless of whether or not they add fluoride to public water supplies, it is clear that there is no single solution for dental health. I encourage the Provincial Government to consider the many easy alternatives to water fluoridation, as well as systemic solutions to improve the dental health of all Albertans.

Endnotes

A few questions about the study that should be explored as topics for further research:

  • The study compares decay rates over a nine-year period (2004/2005 versus 2013/2014), but attributes and assumes that the increase in Calgary decay rates only happened in the last two and one half years of the study period. The magnitude of change on any study depends on both the start and end data. Calgary ceased water fluoridation in 2011, not 2004. Were decay rates going up before 2011?
  • Another study was conducted in 2009/2010 that shows that decay rates were increasing in Calgary, prior to the cessation of fluoridation. Is the 2009/10 study a more relevant comparison point than the 2004/2005 data?
  • The 2004/2005 sample size in Calgary (599 children) was much smaller, was income-stratified, and had a 60% response rate. The 2004/2005 Edmonton test group (6445 children), was not stratified by income, and had an 89% response rate. Is the original study, on which the rate of change is based, statistically valid?

Categories: Fluoride

Back | April 04, 2016

Great news for local residents, businesses and frequenters of Kensington, one of Calgary’s most beloved shopping districts. Work on improvements to Kensington’s public realm is set to begin on Monday April 4th and will continue, one block at a time, into October.

With over 270 shops and services in Kensington, pedestrian access is important for this thriving shopping district. The project will replace damaged and ageing infrastructure in Kensington’s public realm. Work will be done on 10 Street N.W. between Memorial Drive and 5 Avenue N.W. and on Kensington Road between 10 Street N.W. and 14 Street N.W to enhance sidewalks and improve lighting.

Construction will take place one block at a time with each block will take approximately two weeks to complete (weather permitting). While construction is ongoing, access to businesses will be maintained through temporary wooden boardwalks. Pedestrian access will be maintained by using a parking lane as a temporary sidewalk during construction. 

The project aligns with several City policies including the Calgary Transportation Plan and the Complete Streets Policy developed to create more liveable neighbourhoods and encourage people to travel by foot, bicycle or transit. Construction is expected cost approximately $2.7 million. Council appropriated the funds to this project in part because the area continues to experience a great deal of redevelopment. Upon completion, this project will improve the experience of visitors and residents in the Kensington area for years to come.

More information on this project can be found at Calgary.ca/kensington

Categories:

Back | May 09, 2016

Great news for cyclists and pedestrians who access the 5th Av NW corridor. This summer, new bike lanes will be constructed on 5 Avenue N.W., between 10 Street N.W. and 14 Street N.W., to connect to the existing bike lanes on 10 Street N.W. and 6 Avenue N.W. A new crosswalk and four curb extensions will also be installed along the corridor to improve pedestrian safety and comfort and calm traffic. East of the Hillhurst Sunnyside Community, on-street parking will be moved to the south side of the street to accommodate the mobility improvements.

Concrete work to build the curb extensions is expected to begin in early May and will take approximately six weeks. Some temporary sidewalk closures will be required for this construction. Roadmarking and signage changes will happen after the concrete work is complete, and this is when parking changes will be implemented (expected by the end of June, weather permitting).

To sign up for construction updates including progress reports and upcoming impacts, please sign up here.

To sign up for regular Ward 7 updates on various topics, please sign up here.

Categories: Cycling

Back | June 22, 2016

Property Tax Assistance Program: Help is available.

The City of Calgary may provide a grant/credit of the increase in residential property taxes from 2015 to 2016.

To be eligible, the applicant must:

  • Experience an increase in property taxes from 2015 to 2016.
  • Live in the principal residence for a minimum of one year.
  • Own no other property.
  • Must meet low income guidelines of the Fair Entry Program.
  • Provide an acceptable proof of household income for all members 18 years of age and older.
  • Apply for the grant/credit by Dec. 1, 2016.

Even if you are not eligible for the Property Tax Assistance Program, we may be able to help you access other community resources.

Please note: Even though an application has been made to the Property Tax Assistance Program, all property taxes must be paid in full by the due date, June 30, 2016, to avoid a seven per cent penalty.

For more information, or to apply, please contact 311 or visit calgary.ca/FairEntry.

Categories: Taxes

Back | March 01, 2016

I have long been an advocate for managing the cost of Calgary’s growth. After a decade of debate and billions of dollars added to The City’s debt, City Council unanimously agreed to end the “sprawl subsidy” to ensure that growth pays for itself. I am extremely proud of this work.

Over the last year, The City worked closely with the urban and suburban development industries to establish an off-site levy to apply to all new developments. An important partnership emerged, one in which the industry agreed to become an enhanced steward of a growing City. The new rates took effect on February 1st of this year and will provide the City with a lot more financial flexibility.

As a result, levies paid by developers to The City will now cover the cost of infrastructure needed for new communities, as well as upgrades to infrastructure for established communities. Those costs have to be paid one way or another. With the new levy, the cost of necessary infrastructure is included in the purchase price, rather than hidden through property taxes or utility fees.

The key elements of the new off-site levy are:

  • Developers will pay for water and wastewater treatment in new and established communities city-wide;
  • Developer levies will cover the full cost of water distribution, wastewater collection, drainage, transportation (roads, intersections, traffic signals, bridges), and community services (libraries, police stations, fire halls) in new communities;

With this important policy established, the stage is set for the next steps. New development in established communities means real change for the residents who live there, and added wear and tear on public amenities. Increased density can also mean a dramatic increase in property tax revenue. As part of the levy discussion, The City agreed to work with the urban developers, and the communities experiencing redevelopment, to find ways to reinvest in aging infrastructure. Communities experiencing significant change will see a direct benefit, with improvements to valued amenities like parks, sidewalks, recreation centres, and libraries.

Over the next year, I will be meeting with Ward 7 communities to talk more about community improvements resulting from redevelopment.

​​To sign up for regular e-mail updates from our office on important issues by clicking here.  

Categories: Community; Newsletter

Back | March 30, 2016

As we approach the third anniversary of the 2013 flood, city staff are working hard to get ready for the upcoming flood season. Please join us at an upcoming Flood Information Session to find out how the City is preparing to keep Calgarians in river communities safe.

Bow River Flood Information Session

Date: Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Time: 

Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

Presentation from 6-7:30 p.m.

Open House from 7:30-8:30 p.m.

Location: Foothills Academy (745 – 37th Street NW)

Main target communities: Sunnyside, Hillhurst, Parkdale, Bowness, Bridgeland, Quarry Park, Douglasdale, Inglewood, Chinatown

Elbow River Flood Information Session

Date: Thursday, May 5, 2016

Time:

Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

Presentation from 6-7:30 p.m.

Open House from 7:30-8:30 p.m.

Location: Calgary First Church of the Nazarene (65 Richard Way SW)

Main target communities: Discovery Ridge, Mission, Roxboro, Stanley Park, Elbow Park, Rideau, Elboya

 

For more information on the City's ongoing work on flood mitigation, please visit the City's webpage.

You can sign up for our mailing list to get updates on this and other important topics here.        

Categories:

Back | June 07, 2016

June 3, 2016 – The City of Calgary is recruiting volunteers to fill positions on various Boards, Commissions and Committees (BCCs). Public Members serving on these BCCs provide guidance to City Council on important civic issues ranging from accessibility, planning to public art.

This year, The City is looking for volunteers to fill vacancies on various Boards, Commissions and Committees. Membership requirements vary depending on the Board, Commission and Committee, however, The City of Calgary is looking for residents of Calgary, who are at least 18 years of age:

  • With a desire to give back to the community,
  • With specific expertise relevant to the qualifications a specific Board, Commission or Committee may be looking for,
  • Interested in the legislative process, and
  • With time available to commit to membership.

Vacancies exist on the following BCCs:

Aboriginal Urban Affairs Committee (Calgary)

Advisory Committee on Accessibility

Airport Authority (Calgary)

Audit Committee

BiodiverCity Advisory Committee

Calgary Parking Authority

Calgary Technologies Inc

Calgary Transit Access Eligibility Appeal Board

Combative Sports Commission

Council Compensation Review Committee

eGovernment Strategy Advisory Committee

Heritage Authority (Calgary)

Planning Commission (Calgary)

Police Commission (Calgary)

Protective Services Citizen Oversight Committee

Public Art Board

Saddledome Foundation

Taxi Limousine Advisory Committee

More information on the Board, Commission or Committee mandates, eligibility requirements, length of term, and time commitments for Public Members can be found by visiting calgary.ca/cityclerks. To apply for a position:

• Applicants can apply online by filling out the application form on calgary.ca/cityclerks; or

• Contact the City Clerk’s Office at cityclerk@calgary.ca or (403) 268-5861 for assistance.

The deadline to submit an application is Thursday, June 30, 2016.  

Categories:

Back | May 24, 2016

Each year around May 15th, we officially enter into flood season. The rainy Victoria Day weekend was a solid reminder of why. From mid-May until mid-July, Southern Alberta enters into it's annual rainy period. Municipalities and the Province ramp up flood monitoring and have their flood mitigation tools at the ready.

The City of Calgary is doing a number of things to ensure that Calgarians are prepared for the worst. Recently, flood information sessions for the Bow and Elbow Rivers were well attended by Calgarians. Regular communication to residents in the form of a newsletter is also part of the program. The City's newsletter has a lot of great information including up-to-date flood monitoring with the day's flow rates on both rivers, informative videos, information on events and other relevant information. We highly encourage you to check it out!

To see the latest newsletter, please click here. To sign up for updates from the Flood Team, please click here.

To receive Ward 7 updates on this and other important topics, please sign up here.

Categories:

Back | April 06, 2016



The City of Calgary is moving quickly to mitigate the economic downturn with a number of endeavours, both short and long-term. Accelerating the pace of large construction projects can be an effective way to stimulate a struggling economy and increase employment. The City has identified a list of pre-approved projects that will create jobs and leave a lasting public benefit. The projects are divided into three buckets: new infrastructure, lifecycle maintenance and enhancement, and affordable housing.

Flood mitigation measures to protect river communities and the City Centre are at the top of the priority list. Some capital projects, like enhancing community and recreation centres, can start right away, while others, like the Green Line LRT, will break ground only once community consultation is completed and funding is secured. The City will work with its community partners to construct new affordable housing units or purchase existing housing stock. 

While large-scale, transformational projects have their place, incremental micro-improvements are increasingly seen as a way to phase into large investments. I have long been a promoter of low-cost, high-reward projects to create opportunity and vibrancy, test new ideas, and solve urban problems. Quick projects such as pop-up parks, patios, and restaurants take little investment but add instant vitality. Pilots like cycle tracks or lane reversals help us test new concepts before making substantial political and financial commitments. Rules can be a barrier and sometimes the rule-makers just need to know when to get out of the way.

While temporary projects can spark creative solutions, we must take a long-term approach with investments that are meant to last. Over the years I have seen both booms and busts used as excuses for shoddy design and workmanship. When the economy is booming we are in a rush to build, and success is measured by the speed of the planning process. During a downturn, we are afraid to be too demanding, for fear that that the opportunity will vanish. Calgary deserves better. In addition to the capital construction program, City Council is working with Calgary Economic Development on economic resiliency. Several projects have already been funded:

  • Marketing campaign to promote tourism
  • Buy-local campaign to promote local business
  • Real estate and economic diversification plan to attract head-offices and repurpose empty office space
  • Grant program to cover development permit fees for new and refurbished affordable housing

The City of Calgary is doing its part to strengthen our economy. During hard times, we must manage carefully, but think ambitiously, and combine caution with optimistic long-term planning for the recovery. 

Categories: Newsletter

Back | June 06, 2016

Tax bills for approximately 480,000 residential and non-residential properties were recently mailed out. Property owners who have not received their property tax bill by the first week of June should contact 311 to obtain a copy of their bill.

Property taxes are an essential source of The City’s overall revenue and necessary to help fund local services including:

  • Police and emergency services
  • Public transit, roads, street cleaning and road maintenance
  • Care and maintenance of parks, pathways and playgrounds
  • Bylaw enforcement
  • Environmental promotion and protection
  • Contributions to operating costs of cultural and recreational facilities including the Calgary Zoo, Heritage Park, Arts Commons, TELUS World of Science, Calgary Economic Development, libraries and City-owned pools, arenas, art centres, fitness facilities and sports fields.

It is important to remember that a portion of your property taxes are collected by the City on behalf of the Government of Alberta. About 40% of the total of your property taxes are sent to the province with the remainder applied to city services. It is also important to note that 75% of the money the City collects for itself fund police, fire and transportation. For a breakdown of how much of your property taxes go to individual City services and to the Provincial Government, please click here.

Assessment-based property taxes are regressive and unfair as they don’t take into account one’s ability to pay. However, this system is the only tool available to municipal governments to raise the necessary revenue required to fund the high quality programs and services that Calgarians continue to expect. In order to change the way Calgary raises revenue, a new agreement between the City and the province is required. With city charter negotiations underway between Calgary, Edmonton and the Government of Alberta, Calgarians should remain hopeful that funding services solely through property taxes is a thing of the past.

Property taxes are due Thursday, June 30. A late payment penalty of seven per cent will be applied to any unpaid portion of property taxes on July 1 and October 1. Further penalties of one per cent will be added on the first day of each month to any portion remaining unpaid after December 31. 

The property tax deadline does not apply to property owners who pay monthly through The City’s Tax Instalment Payment Plan (TIPP). More than 250,000 property owners have joined TIPP and pay their taxes monthly. Property owners can join TIPP at any time by visiting the Web site at www.calgary.ca/TIPP to request an agreement or by calling 311.

Help is available to assist eligible low-income homeowners who meet income guidelines and eligibility criteria, regardless of age. For more information or to download an application form visit www.calgary.ca/fairentry.

To learn more about how The City invests property tax dollars visit our website at www.calgary.ca/ourfinances.

​​To sign up for updates on this and other important topics, please sign up here

Categories: Taxes

Back | February 23, 2016

My Council colleagues and I recently voted to create a new bylaw that allows ride sharing services such as Lyft and Uber to operate in Calgary.

While competition is healthy, the City has a responsibility to ensure that ride sharing services are safe for passengers, drivers, and the public at large. Calgary’s new bylaw sets out reasonable safety standards for ride sharing companies and also improves how standard taxi cabs operate in our city.

Compared to regulations in other jurisdictions, the new bylaw is stronger in areas related to safety, and is less onerous in several other areas. For example, Calgary’s new standards ensure drivers meet a police background check, while Edmonton’s do not. Uber drivers are required to obtain police background checks in many cities around the world. Conversely, Calgary does not require the complex and costly licensing requirements of other jurisdictions where services like Uber already operate. In New Zealand, for example, Uber drivers must pay three times the cost of Calgary’s fees and wait up to two months before being able to drive. For more details on Calgary’s requirements, click here.

Ride sharing services also need insurance that is acceptable to the Provincial Government. Just this week, the Government of Alberta agreed to a new insurance product that will allow ride sharing services like Lyft and Uber to operate. The Province is further requiring that ride share drivers have Class 4 licences or better, and that they pass police background checks. Both these requirements, and the need for insurance, are aligned with Calgary's new bylaw that allows ride sharing services.

I will continue to promote transportation choices for Calgarians. When options like walking, cycling, transit, taxis, ride sharing, carpooling, and personal automobiles are readily available, Calgary becomes more accessible for everyone.

Categories: Transportation

Back | April 26, 2016

Preparations for The City's 2016 ReTree YYC season are well underway. This is the second year of the three-year program. 

The City is continuing to address the restoration and resiliency of the urban forest by planting 9,000 new trees and pruning 80,000 more. It is also developing several educational programs and initiatives to promote tree canopy health and encourage individuals and communities to learn and continue to contribute to the recovery.

The City has selected neighbourhoods that will benefit from targeted re-planting. These communities were chosen based on how they were impacted by the 2014 snow storm, the number of existing opportunities for replanting, and community readiness. Five communities in Ward 7 were selected: Brentwood, Cambrian Heights, Charleswood, Collingwood and West Hillhurst.

The City is also hosting a ReTree Fair on May 14th at North Glenmore Park. Calgarians can learn about tree care and pick up some free mulch. Mulch will also be available at all three City-Run landfills between April 1st and May 29th. Bring your own shovel. Limit: one truck load. 

Please visit the City’s website for more details.

Categories:

Back | December 08, 2015

Every act of kindness is as unique as every snowflake. The act of shovelling a neighbour’s walk may look similar but the reason it is important to your neighbour is uniquely special. Helping a neighbour with their walkway will brighten their day, make the pathway safe for everyone and make you the local favourite. Win, win, win!

As you shovel your walk this winter, take a few extra minutes to clear a neighbour’s too.

Check out these the great stories of recognized Snow Angels from Ward 7!

To learn more about the program or to find out information about recognizing a Snow Angel, visit calgary.ca/snowangels.

Categories:

Back | December 01, 2015

Winter doldrums got you down? Hygge can help chase away the blues and make the season bright.

What on earth is hygge, you say? It’s a Danish word, pronounced hYOOga, which translates roughly to 'coziness’. It sounds similar to the word hug, and I like to think of it as a ‘hug to the soul’.

Danes fight the darkness of winter with hygge as their finest weapon, and the candlelight that goes along with it. It describes an attitude to life that explains why the Danes are the happiest people on earth.

Hygge isn’t meant to be translated; it’s meant to be felt. When I picture hygge, I think of candlelight and firelight, friends and family and potlucks, snuggling under a blanket on a snowy day, a cat on my lap, a cup-of- hot chocolate and the smell of cinnamon and allspice. It means creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the simple things in life with good people. There's nothing more hygge than sitting round a candlelit table discussing the big and small things in life.

In Denmark, the high-season for hygge is Christmas, when Danes pull out all the stops. If you’ve strolled the streets of Copenhagen during the festive season, you know the magic they can do with lighting and mulled wine.

How can we bring this cozy feeling to each day? Bundle up for some Calgary hygge:

  • Stroll along the Calgary Zoo’s snow-lined pathways with family and friends. Enjoy over 1.5 million lights and warm up at one of the roaring fire pits for a hot chocolate and conversation. Visit Calgary ZOOLIGHTS November 27 through to January 2: calgaryzoo.com
  • Lace up your skates and head down to your community skating rink, maintained by our beloved rink volunteers. Or visit one of the many skating spots throughout Calgary such as Bowness Park or the Prince’s Island lagoon. There’s hygge to be found while wearing skates!
  • Join Calgary’s largest snowball fight! You can sign up at snowfight.wix.com/signup to participate in our second annual snowball hygge.
  • Toast marshmallows around the fire-pit at the top of the St. Patrick’s Island toboggan hill, and stay for the outdoor holiday movie: evexperience.com
  • Fill a thermos of tea, grab a neighbour, and walk through your neighbourhood. Make a snow angel or two. Celebrate the outdoors. It can help you discover your own sense of hygge.

Life in Calgary offers many outdoor activities throughout the colder months. And since winter is too often a dreaded word in our English vocabulary, let’s embrace hygge as a way to live happier lives all year long.

Categories: Newsletter

Back | January 29, 2016

Confederation Park is jewel of a public space and one of Calgary's most beloved parks. The City would like to make several improvements to the park by enhancing lighting, seating and pathways.

Before final decisions are made, City Parks staff would like to hear from park users and local residents to get their feedback. The City is hosting an information session for attendees to examine and provide feedback on. The open house information can be found below.

Date: Thursday, February 4, 2016

Time: 4 - 7:30 p.m.

Location: Rosemont Community

Association (2807 10 St. N.W.).

For more information, please visit the City's webpage.

Categories: Parks

Back | January 12, 2016

Great news! The Green Line LRT Engagement Team has finalized dates, times and locations for the first round of community engagement sessions for the Green Line North LRT.

Calgarians are invited to attend the sessions, review the project scope and other established details, and provide important feedback that will help to shape the final product. You can choose to attend the session located closest to you or any of the other sessions listed below:

Tuesday, February 2, 6pm - 8:30pm  Telus Convention Centre, 120 9th Ave SE (Centre City) 

Wednesday, February 3, 6pm - 8:30PM  St. Henry School, 7423 10 St NW (Beddington Trail to 160 Ave N)           

Tuesday, February 9, 6pm - 8:30pm  Rosedale School, 905 13 Ave NW (north of Centre City to 20 Ave N)

Wednesday, February 10, 6pm - 8:30pm   Mount View School, 2004 4 St NE (20 Ave N to north of McKnight Blvd)

Tuesday February 16, 6pm - 8:30pm  Thorncliffe School, 5646 Thornton Road NW (north of McKnight Blvd to Beddington Trail)

In August, Councillor Farrell travelled to Vancouver, Seattle and Portland with two of her Council Colleagues and select City staff. The purpose of this trip was to learn about the recent experiences of these cities in building LRT lines for trains using low-floor technology, the same technology chosen for the Green Line. Councillor Farrell presented what she learned at two separate sessions in late 2015.  To view a video of her presentation, please visit our webpage or click on the image below.

Background

As Calgary continues to grow, the way Calgarians move about the city will change. According to the City's transportation plan RouteAhead, significant expansions to our transit network are required. The proposed Green Line LRT is the next big project. It will serve the central part of the city, travelling from North Pointe in the north all the way to Seton in the south.

In 2016, Council will be making critical decisions on key aspects of the largest capital project in the Calgary's history, an estimated cost of $5 billion. Decisions on alignment and how the train passes through the inner-city, below or above-ground, will determine the overall cost of the project, how well it serves the thousands of Calgarians and how it integrates with neighbouring communities. We also must examine how the Green Line will maximize planning and development opportunities that will benefit Calgarians for generations to come.

For more in formation, please contact the Ward 7 Office or visit the Green Line North home page.

Categories: Green Line LRT

Back | February 16, 2016

Community Advisory Group on Flood Mitigation Measures Assessment

Building resiliency to flooding is a top priority for The City. Since the 2013 flood, we have repaired, restored and are recovering from devastating and costly flood damage. With much of the recovery well on its way, our focus is to ensure we build flood resilience by implementing the 27 recommendations of the Expert Management Panel on River Flood Mitigation.

Now, we are advancing further by developing a comprehensive suite of mitigation measures for Calgary through a consultative, citizen-focused approach.

Wise decisions involve community input

In the upcoming months, The City will be meeting with citizens, stakeholder groups, community organizations and orders of government. The input gathered will be used to develop The City’s comprehensive suite of flood mitigation measures for the Bow and Elbow rivers.

Join the Community Advisory Group (CAG)

The City of Calgary is looking for community members from 2013 flood-affected and non-flood affected communities, business and interested representatives to participate in the Flood Mitigation Measures Assessment Community Advisory Group.

The Community Advisory Group will provide input concerning flood mitigation measures to The City, who will then make recommendations for decisions by Council.

Apply Now

Join us in developing the comprehensive suite of flood mitigation measures which will protect citizens, properties, critical infrastructure, vital services, communities and downtown from future river flood events.

To learn more about the selection process and to participate in the Community Advisory Group, please click here.

Categories: Flood

Back | January 21, 2016


Councillor Farrell wrote an op-ed in today's Calgary Herald. In it she offers up her perspective on how we should approach the current economic downturn so that we emerge from it a more resilient, compassionate and kinder city. 

Please take a moment to read it and let us know what you think. You can read the article here.

Categories: Council initiatives

Back | January 05, 2016

Today, The City of Calgary is mailing over half a million property and business assessment notices. Today also marks the start of the 2016 Customer Review Period which ends on March 7th, 2016. Property and business owners are advised to carefully review their assessment and if they have any questions, contact Assessment during the Customer Review Period. Changes to a 2016 assessment can only be made if an inquiry is received during the 2016 Customer Review Period.

Background

As required by provincial legislation, the 2016 property assessments reflect the market value of property on July 1, 2015 and the physical condition on Dec. 31, 2015. The 2016 business assessments reflect the typical net annual rental value of business premises on July 1, 2015. Assessed values are prepared annually and provide the basis for calculating property and business taxes.

In 2012, Council moved to consolidate Calgary’s business tax revenues with the non-residential property tax over a seven-year implementation time frame. In 2014 and 2015, 10 per cent of business tax revenues were transferred to and collected through the non-residential property tax each year.

In 2016, an additional 20 per cent of business tax revenues will be transferred to and collected through the non-residential property tax. This will result in a cumulative 40 per cent decline in the business tax rate from 2013 levels (2013 business tax revenue amount has been adjusted for business growth and contingencies). This year’s revenue transfer will also result in an estimated additional 4.6 per cent increase to the non-residential property tax rate, for a total non-residential property tax increase of an estimated 9.2 per cent due to consolidation. Incremental revenue transfers will occur annually until 2019, culminating with the elimination of the business tax.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Assessment or visit their webpage

Categories: Taxes

Back | January 01, 2016

As Calgary continues to grow, its transportation system needs to grow along with it. Work on two major transportation projects continues through the consultation process.

The Green Line: More than just a train



 

With key decisions on the Green Line expected in Fall 2016, crucial public engagement sessions are being planned. I am doing a lot of homework as well. In August, I joined City staff and two Council colleagues on a brief tour of Vancouver, Seattle, and Portland, to meet their rail experts and learn from their experiences. From each city, we learned about key elements of successful projects and how to avoid pitfalls.

I boiled down all the information from our trip into eight essential lessons and presented them at the Central Library Dutton Theatre in November and again in December. Here are the top three lessons:

  1. Consult, consult, and consult: All three cities stressed the need for, and benefits of, meaningful consultation with the neighbouring businesses and communities. Their ideas will be critical in order to maximize benefits and avoid costly mistakes. The Green Line will be the largest infrastructure project in Calgary’s history by three times! While we are excited to get started on the Green Line, it is important that we make thoughtful decisions.
  2. Leverage opportunities: The Green Line is more than just a rail project. It will forever change how Calgarians move about their city and the very nature of the communities along side. From affordable housing, to high environmental standards, how can the advantages of this massive project extend beyond simple transportation? 
  3. Take care of business: Construction of the Green Line will take many years and cause major disruption. Taking an example in Portland, Council enthusiastically supported my request for a Business Support Program.


Crowchild Consultation Continues


Crowchild Trail Moving to the west end of Ward 7, public consultation on Crowchild Trail continues. The project team recently completed Phase Two of a six-phased process: Confirm Project Goals. The established goals are: i) Maintain and enhance bordering communities, ii) Improve travel along the corridor, and iii) Improve mobility across the corridor. The project is now into Phase Three: Concept Identification. Consultation on Phase Three will continue into Spring 2016. 

For more information on future public engagement on both the Green Line and Crowchild Trail, please contact our office via: www.calgary.ca/ward7

Categories: Newsletter; Transportation

Back | February 01, 2016

When the snowflakes start flying, the City and Calgarians come together to make the season safe, productive, and enjoyable for all.

The City’s Roads department works hard to plow, salt, and sand roadways on a 7 day priority schedule. The Parks department quickly clears designated multi-use pathways within 24 hours. Teams often work overnight to keep the greatest number of Calgarians moving safely. Keeping our roads safe for everyone is also a joint effort between the City and Calgarians. When it snows, make sure to give yourself more time to reach your destination, and leave a greater distance between yourself and the vehicle ahead of you. Please also be extra mindful of people walking and cycling, who may struggle more in difficult conditions. Calgary.ca/snow is the one-stop shop for winter travel tips, the road conditions map, frequently asked questions, updates, and more.

Sidewalks are the responsibilities of adjacent property owners and must be cleared within 24 hours. Unfortunately, not everyone is able to clear her or his sidewalk. Keeping sidewalks clear of snow and ice can be challenging or impossible for seniors and others with limited mobility. Please consider becoming a Snow Angel and helping those who are less able. All you need to do is adopt someone’s sidewalk and clear it as you would your own. Watch for neighbours who could use help removing snow and lend them a hand. Visit Calgary.ca/snowangels for more information.

If you have questions on snow clearing, need to report sidewalks, pathways, or roads that are not cleared, or want to recognise the work of a Snow Angel, please call 3-1-1.

For more information, and to sign-up for the Ward 7 e-newsletter, please visit www.druhfarrell.ca  

Categories: Snow and Ice

Back | November 23, 2015

As the City continues to develop plans to build it's next major transportation project - The Green Line - there are several peripheral elements of the project that need to be considered to ensure that the entire effort is a tremendous success. There is no doubt that when the shovels hit the ground, the greatest impacts will be on local residents and businesses.

With that in mind, Councillor Farrell will be introducing a motion at Council asking staff to work with local businesses to come up with a plan to:

  • ensure open lines of communication
  • resolve issues when they arise
  • assist with marketing and retail consulting
  • Assist with promotion
  • Host business-oriented workshops with communinty partners
  • Explore procurement opportunities

On a recent trip to Vancouver, Seattle and Portland to learn how those cities approached the contruction of their own LRT projects, Councillor Farrell discovered successful examples of business support programs that helped businesses in or near contruction zones thrive. The City of Calgary should learn from these examples and help its own businesses thrive during construction.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact our office. You can also sign up for project updates and join our mailing list.

Categories:

Back | November 26, 2015

On Monday November 9th, Councillor Farrell introduced two motions at Council: one designed to ensure that the City was staying on top of damaged concrete that could be repaired with the costs covered under warratee, and a second motion asking City staff to improve the processes through which housing developers are forced to pay for damage they cause to public property during construction. Council approved both motions. City staff will now work on developing solutions to improve both issues and return to Council with proposed recommendations.

For background on each motion, please read our November newsletter.

To read the motion regarding concrete quality, click here. 

To read the motion regarding developer behaviour, click here.

If you have any questions, please contact our office.

Categories:

Back | January 14, 2016

What to expect when calling 9-1-1 in an emergency and tips for using 9-1-1 and the non-emergency lines appropriately:

Before the police, fire department or ambulance arrives, Calgary 9-1-1 is there. As the FIRST of the the first responders, 9-1-1 employees serve as the vital link connecting citizens to the help they need. Each year, Calgary’s 9-1-1 centre receives over one million emergency and non-emergency calls.

/citycouncil/ward-7/PublishingImages/News-articles/911.png
If you need to call 9-1-1 or a non-emergency line always remain calm, answer all the questions the 9-1-1 officer asks you, and stay on phone line until they tell you to hang up. The most important piece of information a 9-1-1 emergency communications officer needs is your location. If you don’t know where you are, there may be a delay in getting you the help you need. Many citizens assume that emergency responders can find them based on cell phone GPS. This is not true. That’s why it is so important to always pay attention to your surroundings and know your location –whether you’re at home, on the highway, or in a park.

Another way you can help emergency responders is by preventing accidental 9-1-1 calls. Each day Calgary 9-1-1 centre receives over 300 accidental calls. Officers have to call each of those callers back to confirm an emergency response is not needed. Not only does this take up a lot of time, but it also could be tying up an emergency line for someone who desperately needs help.

To avoid making an accidental call ensure your cell phone is locked before placing it in your purse, pocket or backpack. Also, remove the battery out of old cell phones before giving them to your children to play with. Even an inactive cell phone can dial 9-1-1. Finally, if you do accidently dial 9-1-1, do not hang up. Stay on the line and tell the officer what happened so they don’t have to call you back.

For more information visit http://bit.ly/911inyyc

Categories:

Back | January 26, 2016

Throughout 2016, The City will continue working with Calgarians to identify short-, medium- and long-term upgrades to the Crowchild Trail corridor, by building on and refining ideas gathered throughout the course of the study.

The study is in Phase 3: Concept Identification. Throughout October and November 2015, more than 400 Calgarians attended workshops and drop-in sessions, and many more participated online to share their ideas on possible changes to Crowchild Trail. Since then, the project team has been reviewing the over 500 ideas submitted, and applying them to the Crowchild Trail corridor.

Calgarians are invited to drop-in at open houses in February and March to see what the ideas look like when applied to the Crowchild Trail corridor—what will it take to make them happen? Learn more about why some ideas will not move forward for further consideration, and help evaluate the remaining ideas against the three project key principles.

  • Sat., Feb. 27, 2 to 5 p.m.
  • Sunalta School, 536 Sonora Ave. S.W.
  • Thurs., Mar. 10, 5 to 8 p.m.
  • Red and White Club, McMahon Stadium 1833 Crowchild Tr. N.W.
  • Sat., Mar. 12, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Queen Elizabeth Sr. High School 512 18 St. N.W.

Online opportunities to participate online are expected to open week of Feb. 22.

Visit for complete details, please visit calgary.ca/crowchild

Categories: Crowchild Trail; Transportation

Back | November 20, 2015

The City of Calgary's online secondary suite registry and sticker program makes identifying a legal and safe suite easy.

If you’re thinking about renting a secondary suite, you should verify the home’s address and/or registry number on calgary.ca/suites. Listed secondary suites have been inspected to meet Alberta’s Safety Code requirements for your protection. Approved secondary suites may also have a registered secondary suite sticker on their unit.

The City is also making it faster and easier for Calgarians to apply for a basement suite by waiving the Development Permit requirements where suites are a permitted use.

For more information about building or finding a legal and safe secondary suite, visit calgary.ca/suites.

Categories:

Back | November 17, 2015

Last week in Council, Councillor Farrell voted in favour of allowing ride sharing services to operate in Calgary. Ride sharing services, such as Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar, are part of a future of increased transportation choices. The City's responsibility is to ensure that ride sharing services are safe for passengers, drivers, and Calgarians in general, not to limit competition.

City Administration will now draft amendments to the bylaw that covers taxis and limousines, to allow for safe and properly regulated ride sharing services. For more details, visit the City's webpage.

Categories:

Back | November 13, 2015

With an average of 2,400 hours of sunlight each year, Calgary is an ideal city for solar technology. The City of Calgary’s Southland Leisure Centre, located in the city’s southwest, is now making use of the sun’s energy to produce electricity on site. This is the largest solar installation of its kind, with 600 solar panels mounted to the roof of the facility. The system is expected to produce up to 184,000 kWh annually, offsetting the electricity usage of up to 24 average Calgary homes in a year.

This project is one example of The City’s commitment to making Calgary a healthy and green city. For more information about this project and how solar technology works, visit calgary.ca/solar.

Categories:

Back | November 10, 2015

You’re invited to join more than 1,000 people that have already signed up for Citizens’ View, Calgary’s online panel. Citizensview.ca makes it easier for Calgarians to share their input anytime, anywhere through online surveys and discussions.

As Citizens’ View continues to grow, The City is working to make sure that they hear from people of all ages and areas of Calgary. Right now, The City needs more people, all demographics and communities. Can you help?

The City hopes to attract more than 4,000 people that reflect Calgary’s diverse population. Members can expect to receive surveys once or twice a month, join online discussions, and receive information on City events and service improvements. Calgarians 18 years and older can sign-up for the Citizens’ View at www.citizensview.ca.

Categories:

Back | November 05, 2015

This fall, I joined two Council colleagues and representatives from The City’s Transportation and Planning departments on a study of light rail transit projects in Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver. I would like to share what we learned, both good and bad, and how we can apply the lessons to the future Green Line in Calgary.

Dates:  Monday, November 16th, 6:00pm Sharp (Doors at 5:30pm) or Wednesday, Dec 2nd at Noon.

Location:  John Dutton Theatre, Central Library 2nd Floor, 616 Macleod Trail SE

Subject:  Presentation by Councillor Druh Farrell on how the experiences of other cities can shape the future of the Green Line LRT Please join me for the presentation and a following discussion on either date. If you can’t make it, I encourage you to sign up for project updates through our website: www.druhfarrell.com

-Druh



 

Categories:

Back | November 05, 2015

In my monthly newsletters I try to write about topics that I hope you will find interesting. However that is not set in stone. This month I chose to write about a hard subject: concrete.

There is little that remains from the early days of Calgary. On a recent walk, I was surprised to see a concrete sidewalk in the Beltline with a date-stamp that read ’1907’. Despite being over 100 years old and embossed with large dog prints - what drew my attention in the first place - the sidewalk was in outstanding condition. I wondered how this sidewalk could be in great shape when I often see new sidewalks (under five years) showing significant cracks and chips. I also noticed significant damage to public property around new developments. I started to do some digging around City Hall to find answers.

I now know more about concrete than I ever thought possible (segregation of aggregates, bleeding, scaling, spalling…). I discovered that concrete sidewalks in Calgary should have a lifespan of 50 years. Although our weather contributes to wear and tear, the durability of the sidewalk can be compromised by the quality of the mix or faulty installation.

After speaking with City staff I also discovered the extent to which in-fill construction practices can cause damage to sidewalks and other public property like laneways. This type of damage is becoming more common and is costing the City millions of dollars in annual repairs. In order to extend the life of our sidewalks and alleyways, and reduce the need for costly repairs, I asked City Administration to explore solutions to:

  • Improve inspections to identify and repair problem concrete while under warranty.
  • Enhance pre and post-construction inspections for infill development to ensure that the contractor covers the cost of damages to public property.
  • Coordinate the various departments and budgets used for the repair of sidewalks to maximize efficiency, improve reporting, and reduce costs.

The City of Calgary should expect a quality product from our suppliers and contractors. If you provide the City with substandard products, you will repair problem areas while it’s under warranty. To infill developers, if you damage public property, you will pay to have it repaired. Doing so will help ensure that our city is well maintained and Calgarians are getting value.

On a quainter note, in the last few years, the City has been making efforts to save old sidewalk stamps during lifecycle sidewalk replacement. The heritage fragment is re-installed in the new sidewalk (I put in a word to save the old dog prints). Look for street stamps when out for a stroll in Calgary’s oldest neighbourhoods. 

Categories: Newsletter

Back | October 01, 2015

In August, The Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation unveiled a proposal for a new multi-sport complex in West Village to accommodate the professional and amateur sports teams that they own and operate. Many Calgarians are excited about new facilities where they can enjoy watching their Flames, Stampeders, Hitmen, and Roughnecks play. 

The proposal, CalgaryNEXT, requires the City of Calgary to contribute public money and land. The proposal estimates that the new facilities would cost around $900 million. The ownership group would contribute $200 million dollars, with the rest coming from The City, general and special taxes, and a Community Revitalization Levy (CRL).

Calgarians are proud of their teams, and so am I. They contribute greatly to Calgary’s identity and civic pride. However, several critical questions and considerations need to be addressed:

  • The current proposal does not factor in the value of the land.
  • Portions of the proposed location are contaminated. Studies are required to determine the extent of the contamination and clean-up costs, which could exceed several hundred million dollars. Who pays for the clean up?
  • Who pays for the unfunded components of the project, including major transportation and utility upgrades? Can the transportation system handle the intensity of use generated by a multi-sport complex?
  • The costs of repurposing or demolishing the Saddledome and McMahon Stadium have not been included. Is downtown the best location for a field house? How will the loss of the Saddledome concession revenues impact the viability of the Calgary Stampede?
  • A CRL is essentially a loan on future tax revenue, generated within a fixed boundary and term. Can West Village generate sufficient CRL dollars to fund the infrastructure required for redevelopment of West Village, plus an arena?
  • CRLs can be high-risk ventures. To mitigate risk, a CRL needs a stable financial anchor. Where will the tax revenue come from to repay the CRL, considering the current Saddledome does not pay property tax? 
  • Should public dollars be used to fund a private, for-profit corporation? Will the corporation share revenues?

I do not doubt that the need for modern sports and entertainment facilities exists. The City must first take a step back though, answer fundamental questions about the future of West Village, and require a comprehensive business case to ensure that this proposal is in the best interests of Calgarians. I look forward to reviewing a business case and discussing the proposal with Ward 7 residents, the ownership group and my Council colleagues.

There will be a lot more to come on this topic – for updates, please visit druhfarrell.ca.

-Druh

Categories: Community; Newsletter

Back | August 28, 2015

As Calgary continues to grow, the way Calgarians move about the city is changing. According to the City's transportation plan RouteAhead, significant expansions to our transit network are required. The proposed Green Line LRT is the next big project. It will serve the central part of the city, travelling from North Pointe in the north all the way to Seton in the south.


Council will soon be making critical decisions on key aspects of the largest capital project in the Calgary's history, an estimated cost of $5 billion. Decisions on alignment and how the train passes through the inner-city, below or above-ground, will determine the overall cost of the project, how well it serves the thousands of Calgarians and how it integrates with neighbouring communities. We also must examine how the Green Line will maximize planning and development opportunities that will benefit Calgarians for generations to come.

In order to inform these decisions, I, along with several of my Council colleagues will be attending a short fact-finding mission in nearby cities that have already gone through similar exercises: Vancouver, Portland and Seattle. The group travelling from Calgary will be spending nearly five days in meetings and touring LRT lines accompanied by key decision makers in each city. A quick glance at the itinerary shows a marathon trip full of meetings and transit rides.

I will be live-

tweeting my observations. Please join in with your questions and ideas.

- Druh

Categories:

Back | October 27, 2015


The City of Calgary received good news this week as we continue to work on flood protection for Calgary neighbourhoods. On Monday, Oct. 26, the Province announced a number of decisions on flood mitigation:

  • The Springbank Off-stream Reservoir will go ahead. The Province, after considering various options, decided it is the most effective choice. The Springbank Off-stream reservoir, working in tandem with the Glenmore Reservoir, will provide protection against 2013-level flood volumes for communities in Calgary along the Elbow River.
  • The City will receive dedicated funding of $150 million over 10 years through the Alberta Community Resilience Program to provide stable, long-term funding for local mitigation to improve Calgary’s flood-resiliency.
  • A Bow River working group will be established. It will be jointly chaired by the Province and The City to assess future flood protection along the Bow River. The working group will look at securing additional flood storage capacity on the Bow River upstream of Calgary, including the use of existing TransAlta infrastructure, to reduce the impact of future floods.

Our office will continue to work with City Administration and the Provincial and Federal Governments in order to protect Calgary neighbourhoods from the risks of future flooding. We will also provide updates as they become available.

For more information please see the province's media release or contact our office.  

Categories: Flood

Back | October 09, 2015

Fall is in the air – and on the ground. We want Calgarians to bring their bagged leaves and pumpkins to one of our 36 drop-off locations around the city. By composting this material it keeps it out of the landfill, reduces harmful greenhouse gas emissions and helps turn the leaves and pumpkins into useful compost. We recommend using paper yard waste bags as they can be composted with the rest of the material. No sod or rocks please.

Bring your leaves and pumpkins to a depot near you until November 8.

For a full list of Leaf & Pumpkin drop-off locations, please visit calgary.ca/leaf.

Categories:

Back | October 07, 2015

Development Permit no longer needed for many suites

If you’re interested in developing a secondary suite in your home, there is no better time than now. The City of Calgary is waiving the Development Permit application and fees for homes that are zoned for suites, and that meet all the requirements of the Land Use Bylaw – commonly referred to as a basement suite. The Development Permit exemption runs until March 3, 2017.

The exemption is part of The City’s efforts to make it less expensive, faster and easier to obtain approval to develop a secondary suite in your home. Suites that have been inspected to meet Alberta’s Safety Codes help ensure public protection, and provide people the ability to escape in the event of an emergency, like a fire.

If you’re interested in learning more or if you want to determine if your property is a candidate for the permit exemption, enter your address on calgary.ca/secondarysuites, or contact our Planning Services Call Centre at 403-268-5311 for assistance.

Categories:

Back | October 16, 2015

We are pleased to announce that programming for East Village seniors at the Centre of Hope has been extended until the end of 2016.

Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) will continue to provide the space, and the Kerby Centre will continue to provide uninterrupted programming throughout 2016 for East Village seniors.

Recreation and social programming is critical for the many seniors who call East Village home. The Golden Age Club, previously housed in East Village Place, closed its doors in spring 2015. The Kerby Centre Took over leadership for seniors’ programming in East Village and hired a program coordinator to oversee East Village seniors programming. CMLC assisted Kerby in brokering space in Salvation Army’s Centre of Hope, leasing this space for one year and donating it to Kerby for use for seniors’ programming. That lease was to expire at the end of June 2016, prior to the recent lease extension.

East Village Place remains in receivership by Price Waterhouse Coopers. Once a new owner is announced for the building, The City will work with community stakeholders to negotiate the possibility of long-term space, so that programming and services can continue in East Village.

I would like to extend my thanks to Susan Veres and her team at CMLC for their critical role in extending the Centre of Hope lease, to Luanne Whitmarsh and her team at the Kerby Centre for overseeing the programming, to the East Village Neighbourhood Association for their ongoing support and advocacy, and to City staff for their ongoing dedication in the community and funding of the programming. And one last special thank you to all the seniors in East Village for their resiliency, positivity, and patience in making East Village a better community.

Sincerely, Druh 

Categories:

Back | October 26, 2015

Let’s talk changes to Crowchild Trail.

Phase 3 will work with Calgraians to explore possible changes to Crowchild Trail. The iput gathered in this phase will be used by the project team to develop preliminary concepts for evaluation in spring 2016.

Upcoming events:

  • Workshops for residents, business, institutions, and emergency response agencies – these are invite-only events to help reassure these stakeholders that their unique perspectives and concerns are heard and considered in this study. Events are scheduled between Oct. 24 and Nov. 3. Invitations were sent out by mail week of Sept. 21 2015.
  • Public workshops – These in-person events are scheduled on Nov. 7 and Nov. 9. Event dates were shared with Community Associations Sept. 3. They have also been advertised in the October issue of community newsletters where space is permitted. Additionally, a city-wide awareness campaign will begin next Monday.
  • Drop-in sessions – These events are scheduled week of Nov. 16. They are included on calgary.ca/crowchild.
  • Online input – This is expected to be available until mid- to end-November.

Share your ideas in November workshops, drop-in sessions and online. More information on how you can provide your input is available on www.calgary.ca/crowchild

Categories:

Back | September 02, 2015

The public engagement process for the Crowchild Trail Study continues to roll right along. You may recall public open houses held in June where over 300 Calgarians who reside along the Crowchild Trail corridor participated. The input provided at those sessions and through online engagement opportunities helped shape ​​the draft project goals which can be viewed here

The project team will be hosting additional drop in sessions to present the project goals to the public:

Saturday, September 26th, Sunalta School from 10am-1pm

Monday, September 28th, Kensington Legion from 5pm -8pm 

The estblishment of the project goals will mark the end of phase two in a six phase study. Phase three, Concept Identification, will begin in October with stakeholder meetings as well as Public Idea Workshops:

Saturday November 7th, Sunalta School from 9:30am-12:00pm

Monday November 9th at the Best Western Village Park Inn from 6pm until 8:30pm.

The City's project team is also planning on attending several community association AGMs this fall to present to community members. We encourage you to attend those meetings to learn more about the project. Contact your community association to find out if the project team will be presenting in your community.

Additional public input will be gathered throughout the process, especially when the project starts to zero in on specific changes along the Crowchild corridor. If you want to receive project updates please sign up here.

Categories: Transportation

Back | October 16, 2015

One of the most enjoyable walks in Calgary is along the Crescent Road Promenade where Calgarians can enjoy vistas of our downtown, the Bow River and, on clear days, the Rocky Mountains.

Several years ago, in consultation with area communities, a ground limestone material was installed on the surfaces of the Crescent Road Promenade and the trails on 7a Street NW and Samis Road NE. After recent damage from severe weather events, and challenges with maintaining the surfaces in winter, the trails are in need of repair or replacement.

The City of Calgary’s Parks department held an in-person engagement session with residents of Crescent Heights, Rosedale, and Hillhurst-Sunnyside, to discuss possible surface materials for the trails. An online feedback form was also available for residents to provide feedback. The two options presented for the Crescent Road Promenade were:

Option 1: Repair and refill ground limestone trail to pre-snow and ice control pilot project conditions. Snow or ice control will not be performed on the trail during winter months.

Option 2: Remove remaining ground limestone from the trail. Pave the promenade with asphalt to create a smooth, hard surface. Snow and ice control will be performed during winter months.

In addition to these options, residents were informed that the 7a Street NW and Samis Road NE trails would be converted from ground limestone to a more durable “trail mix” gravel surface. On the options for the Crescent Road Promenade, 61% of respondents preferred Option 1. The key themes that emerged were desires to maintain a more natural environment, reduce conflicts between different types of trail users, and preserve the trail as an off-leash zone. As such, the City’s Parks department will be pursuing the option of repairing the ground limestone and ceasing winter maintenance on the trail. 

You can read the full What-We-Heard report here.

Next Steps – Crescent Road Promenade

Work is scheduled to begin on October 19th, with the intent of being completed before winter weather conditions begin. During the engagement, citizens also raised concerns that the sidewalk along City land adjacent to the Crescent Road Promenade is not regularly snow cleared. The City has made arrangements to have it cleared quickly after snowfall to ensure there is a clear paved option nearby.

Next Steps – 7a Street NW and Samis Road NE Trails

Work on the Samis Road trail will begin once the work on the Crescent Road Promenade is complete. Work on the 7a Street trail will begin later this month. 

If you have any questions please contact our office

Categories:

Back | August 19, 2015

The Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation unveiled a proposal for a new complex to accommodate the professional and amateur sports teams that they own and operate. Many Calgarians are excited about a new facility where they can enjoy watching their Flames, Stampeders, Hitmen, and Roughnecks play. Calgarians are proud of their teams, and so am I. They contribute greatly to Calgary’s identity and civic pride.

Currently, the teams play in some of the oldest facilities in their respective leagues. While these teams could use new facilities, it is the City’s responsibility to evaluate whether the proposal is the best project for the site and whether or not it will bring enough benefit to Calgarians to justify public investment.

The project, dubbed CalgaryNEXT, has attracted a significant amount of discussion, particularly due to the expectation that the City of Calgary contribute public money and free land.  CalgaryNEXT requires public money and foregoes future revenue generated from City-owned land. The proposal estimates that the new facilities would cost around $900 million if built together, and $1.2 billion if built separately. The ownership group would contribute $200 million dollars, with the rest coming from general and special taxes:

  • 250 million from a tax collected on ticket sales
  • $240 million from a Community Revitalization Levy that would tax area redevelopment
  • $200 million directly from the City of Calgary for a new multi-sport fieldhouse

The proposed location for the project is West Village along the Bow River, an area in need of much revitalization. While appropriate development of this area would benefit Calgary, the site is inherently dangerous after decades of carcinogenic creosote contamination. Previous work on the site means that Calgarians are largely protected from exposure to undisturbed creosote. However, the costs associated with further clean up are unknown and are not factored into the project costs. Estimated clean up costs have ranged from several hundred million dollars to much more. 

 
I have consistently expressed that I am not in favour of public money or free land going toward for-profit organizations. Calgarians would have to see a significant public benefit from CalgaryNEXT, for money or free land to be given. The proposal still lacks important details:

  • Who pays for the contamination cleanup? The cleanup of creosote contaminated land in the West Village is not included in the sticker price. The City does not have the funding for the cleanup. • While a public multi-sport fieldhouse is high on the City’s list of priorities, it is currently unfunded.
  • CalgaryNEXT would require a large investment in transportation and utilities infrastructure, in addition to the $900 million price-tag, investments that have yet to be investigated and are currently unfunded.
  • Coupled with the contamination clean-up, the final price tag could exceed $1.5 billion.
  • Value of land was not included in the $900 million estimate. The City would forego future tax revenues and money from the sale of the land.
  • A Community Revitalization Levy (CRL) is basically a loan on future tax revenue, generated within a fixed boundary. Can the West Village generate sufficient CRL tax dollars required to fund the redevelopment of West Village plus an arena?
  • Community Revitalization Levies can be high-risk ventures. To mitigate risk, a CRL needs a stable financial anchor. For example, the Bow Tower, the financial anchor for East Village (Rivers District), generates $22 million in property taxes per year. When the CRL expires, the taxes will go to general revenue. Currently the Saddledome does not pay property taxes. Where will the tax revenue come from to pay for the CRL?
  • The Saddledome is obsolete after 32 years. Will the life of the “mortgage” for the arena - the CRL - exceed the life of the arena?
  • The futures of the Saddledome and McMahon Stadium remain unclear. The vitality of the Calgary Stampede, a cultural jewel in the City, has also not been fully considered.

The CalgaryNEXT proposal could end up costing Calgarians hundreds of millions of public dollars, or more. This is particularly concerning since studies suggest that the positive impact of professional sports facilities on cities is often exaggerated.

I do not doubt for a moment that the need for modern facilities exists. It is still not clear that this is the right place to build them or that public money and free land should be given to a for-profit corporation. A comprehensive business case is essential to ensure that this proposal is in the best interests of Calgarians. I look forward to seeing that business case and discussing the overall proposal with the ownership group and my Council colleagues. I also welcome your feedback on the issue at anytime.

There is a lot more to come on this issue.

-Druh

Categories: Blog

Back | September 18, 2015

Need help accessing City of Calgary programs, services or facilities?

The City has several programs that are offered at a subsidized rate for Calgarians who may have trouble affording them. The new Fair Entry process makes applying for fee subsidized City-services easier.

One application allows Calgarians to have their income level assessed for all five subsidy available programs and services. They are:

  1. Calgary Transit Low-Income Transit Pass Program
  2. Recreation Fee Assistance Program
  3. Property Tax Assistance Program
  4. No Cost Spay/Neuter Program
  5. Seniors Services Home Maintenance

For more information please visit calgary.ca/fairentry or call 311.

Categories: Community

Back | September 07, 2015

Construction to start this fall on City composting facility Green Cart coming in mid-2017

Construction is scheduled to start this fall on The City of Calgary's composting facility, moving us another step closer to the city-wide Green Cart program.

Once complete in mid-2017, the engineered indoor facility located at the Shepard Waste Management Facility will process all of the food and yard waste collected from single-family homes through the Green Cart program, as well as dewatered biosolids, a nutrient-rich by-product from wastewater treatment. The Green Cart program will launch once the composting facility is operating properly. The facility will produce about 100,000 tonnes of high quality compost annually.

The City signed a contract with Chinook Resource Management Group (CRMG) to design, build and operate the composting facility. CRMG is a partnership of four Canadian companies: Bird Construction and Maple Reinders, which will build the facility; Stantec, which will design the facility; and AIM Environmental Group, which will operate the facility.

Composting food and yard material is a critical step in reducing the amount of waste going to Calgary's landfills. Food and yard waste makes up more than half of the garbage from our homes. Buried without oxygen in a landfill, those decomposing materials produce greenhouse gases and leachate, the liquid from garbage that must be collected and treated to protect the environment.

By composting, we can reduce our dependence on landfills, minimize the harmful environmental effects of burying food and yard waste, and produce compost, a useful resource for parks, gardens and agriculture. Visit calgary.ca/greencart for more information on Green Cart and the composting facility.

Five Facts about Green Cart and the Composting Facility

  • More than half of household garbage is food and yard waste
  • Composting facility construction starts fall 2015 – complete in mid-2017
  • Located at Shepard Waste Management Facility
  • Green Cart will launch city-wide once composting facility is operating
  • Facility will produce 100,000 tonnes of high quality compost annually

Categories: Waste and Recycle

Back | September 16, 2015

Earlier this year, Truman Development Corporation proposed to develop the parcel of land on the Kensington Legion site. The proposal is generating a great deal of interest, and many residents have contacted my office to express their views. To help provide clarity on the decision-making process and where we are in the process, I have prepared a list of frequently asked questions:

What is being proposed?

The applicant, Truman Development Corporation, in a joint venture with the Kensington Legion, has applied for a land-use redesignation of the Legion site. If approved, the application would change the zoning of the property to allow for a mixed-use development. The proposal includes plans for two separate buildings. The first building, on the west portion of the lot, would be a new four-storey building for the Legion. The second phase, on the east portion of the lot, is conceived as a terraced, ten-storey residential building with retail at the street-level. Both buildings require development permits, in addition to the land-use redesignation, in order to proceed. The development permit for the Legion building has already been submitted. The development permit for the larger building has not been submitted. 

​​What is the difference between a land-use redesignation and a development permit?

A land-use redesignation is the same as re-zoning. Zoning determines, among other things, height, density, and allowable uses. Put simply, land-use determines an imaginary box in which a building can fit, along with the type of homes, offices, businesses, and other things that can operate in that building.

A development permit gets into the details - the building design, materials, and even colour. Planning issues like traffic, parking, loading, and servicing are also reviewed at this stage.

Has the proposal been approved by the City?

No. No decisions have been made on the approval of this project.

What is the process for reviewing these applications?

Step 1: Land use redesignation was submitted for the entire site. A development permit proposal for Site One was also submitted.

Step 2: City Administration is considering feedback from area residents and stakeholders such as schools, utility companies, and community associations. The formal comment periods for the land-use and first development permit are now closed.

Step 3: City of Calgary Administration is undertaking a technical review of both the land-use redesignation proposal and the development permit for Site One. 

Step 4: Once the development permit is submitted for Site Two, City Administration will also review that proposal. Opportunity for comments will come with this application.

Step 5: Based on City policy, the technical evaluation, and stakeholder feedback, the planner will make a recommendation to the Calgary Planning Commission on whether to approve or refuse the land-use redesignation.

Step 6: Calgary Planning Commission will review the proposal and in turn make a recommendation to City Council on whether to approve, amend, or refuse the application.

Step 7: Council will evaluate the proposal based on the recommendations from City Administration, the Calgary Planning Commission, and public input. There will also be a public hearing at a Council meeting, where residents and other interested parties can comment directly to Council on whether to approve, amend, or reject the land-use redesignation.  We are here in the process.

Step 8: If the land-use redesignation is approved, the development permits will then be reviewed by Calgary Planning Commission to be approved, amended, or rejected. Neither development permit can proceed unless the land-use redesignation is approved by City Council. Development permits do not go to City Council.

What about resident concerns with the design? Who will address those?

Prior to submitting the Site Two development permit, the applicant may decide to change the design based on stakeholder feedback. The applicant may also be required to undertake various technical studies, such as shadow and transportation analyses, and make additional changes.

Once the plans are submitted, a number of City departments will review the proposal. City planners will go over the details, from design, massing, height, interface, and shadowing. Transportation planners will address parking, congestion, loading, and street safety. These analyses normally lead to further revisions and often address many of the concerns from stakeholders.

What is Councillor Farrell’s role in the process?

As the area councillor, I can help by bringing the parties together to encourage a better outcome. However, I am required to keep an open mind until after City Council hears from the public at the public hearing. This openness is required of all Councillors on all land-use proposals.

I will base my vote on feedback from area residents, on recommendations from City Administration and Calgary Planning Commission, and on how the proposal fits into local and city-wide policies. Development permits will not be voted on by Council, but the Ward 7 office will send feedback on the designs of these proposals to City Administration.

What opportunities for feedback were available? 

While applicants are not required to offer any public engagement, I always urge applicants to work with the community to identify and address concerns to ensure the best possible development. In this situation, Truman built a website with information on the project and organised fourteen “storefront” sessions at the Kensington Legion. Those sessions totalled 42 hours of engagement. Additionally, a “sounding board” was installed at the Legion site where residents could provide thoughts at any time.

Residents were also able to send feedback on the proposal via email to City Administration, my office, the applicants, and the West Hillhurst and Hillhurst-Sunnyside community associations.

Are there further opportunities for feedback?

1. Area residents can send feedback at anytime to City Administration on the land-use and the Site One development permit. Residents will also have an opportunity to provide comments for the Site Two development permit, once it is submitted. Contact the City’s file manager at: Christine.Leung@calgary.ca.

2. The City has created a project website where residents can learn more about the proposed development and the application process. A public information session is also planned for a future date, with City staff and the Ward 7 office. The applicants will also attend this session and speak with residents about their proposal.

3. I encourage residents to continue to send feedback to the applicants: info@engage264.ca.

4. I will consider feedback until and through the public hearing of Council. You can email my office at any time: caward7@calgary.ca.

5. Please also reach out to your community association. West Hillhurst residents: http://www.westhillhurst.com/  Hillhurst-Sunnyside residents: http://hillhurstsunnyside.org/  Your community association will be able to keep you in-the-loop on the application and can provide access to development permit plans.

Categories:

Back | August 05, 2015

The city is changing fast and Calgary continues to up its urban design game. From towering skyscrapers to impressive housing projects, the Mayor’s Urban Design Awards celebrate the most innovative buildings and public spaces in our city.

 

The City of Calgary is on the hunt for those who contribute to the beauty, comfort and vitality of Calgary through their designs.

The biennial awards recognize urban design projects in 12 categories, such as community improvement, city edge development and civic design.

Do you know of a great urban design project? Submit your nomination by September 18, 2015 at calgary.ca/MUDA

Categories:

Back | July 24, 2015

During an extraordinary three-day meeting, City Council reviewed a proposal to rezone the Paskapoo Slopes to support a 38 acre mixed-use development at the base of the Slopes. The application also called for the creation of a 67 acre public park on the Slopes themselves. Dozens of Calgarians came to speak to Council, most in opposition to the proposed changes. This followed months of letters, postcards, and emails from concerned residents from across our city.

We heard over and over that this is an important site within Calgary that contains many rare species of flora and fauna, great walking and cycling trails, ancient First Nations artifacts, and stunning views. It was clear that such a special site deserves an equally special design. What was presented to Council though was too large, encroached too far into environmentally sensitive areas, was too automobile and big box store oriented, and failed to contain the commitment to sustainable, high quality design that this site deserves.

Throughout the public hearing and the debate that followed, it became clear to me that this proposal for the future of Paskapoo Slopes was simply not good enough for Calgarians, and I voted against supporting the application. Unfortunately, and though many Council members expressed serious concerns, the majority of Council felt otherwise, and the proposal passed first reading. This means that Council has given approval to the project in principle. The plan will come back to Council on July 27th for second and third reading, and only after those readings pass could the development proceed.

On July 27th, I will propose a suite of amendments to the proposal to ensure the development meets the highest levels of environmental leadership and low-impact development, maintains wildlife connectivity, and further minimizes conflicts with the natural area. My amendments will also require buildings to demonstrate design excellence, reflect the character of Paskapoo Slopes, as well as acknowledge and celebrate the site’s significant aboriginal history. These and other amendments will serve to elevate the design of the development and ensure that the sustainability of the project respects this important site.

While the development is now almost certain to proceed, I will strive to improve the quality and fit of the development to a standard deserving of the site. Calgarians deserve no less.

Druh

Categories:

Back | August 24, 2015

With summer almost over, and the competition for competant contractors who are able to build your dream deck behind us, you might be thinking about completing a home-improvement project before the snows come. Before you proceed, you will want to make sure you have the necessary approvals in place.

Garages, decks, fences and even driveway widening are just some of the projects that often require a permit. “Before you pay for materials, hire a contractor, or do it yourself, we encourage you to get in touch with us here at The City,” says Jamie Fandrich, Planning Services Technician at The City of Calgary.

Fandrich is part of the team that helps Calgarians understand Alberta’s safety codes and City bylaws on the phone and in person at the Municipal Building. “It can sometimes be difficult to understand when you need a permit and what City bylaws might impact your project – we’re here to help guide you through the process,” Fandrich says. 

If you have a planning, development, licence or permit question here is some helpful contact information:

Planning Services

calgary.ca/pd

Monday through Friday (closed holidays)

8 a.m. - 4:15 p.m.

Call centre: 403-268-5311

Permit counter: 3rd Floor Municipal building, 800 Macleod Tr SE

​​Good luck with your project!

Categories:

Back | September 22, 2015

With Calgary's children back into their school-year routines, many are probably looking for something to do after they leave class for the day.

Calgary AfterSchool offers, fun, safe, supervised, and quality after school programs for Calgary kids aged 6 to 16. A collaborative effort between The City of Calgary and community partners, Calgary AfterSchool programming takes place during the critical hours of 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m., when kids are out of school, but parents may not yet be home. Calgary AfterSchool participants gain physical, social, leadership and creative skills.

For more information, including a listing of all programs, visit calgary.ca/afterschool.

Categories: Community

Back | September 01, 2015

Another summer break is behind us, and the little tykes are heading back to school. In Ward 7, many families live close enough to their community schools for the kids to walk or cycle. No matter how they travel, all children will head to and from school during the busiest commute times. Please take extra care on our streets and always be on the look-out for people walking and cycling.

A Parent’s Dilemma:

  1. Speeding traffic is cited as the biggest concern for parents who allow their kids to walk to school. 
  2. According to the Calgary Police Service, busy parents rushing their kids to school are the most common speeding and parking offenders.
  3. Concerns about traffic hazards often lead more parents to drive their children to school, thereby increasing traffic hazards.

Attentive driving and slower speeds are critical to keeping our neighbourhoods safe. A small reduction in speed can make the difference between life and death. There is a 50/50 chance of surviving if a person walking is hit at 50 kilometres per hour, but at 30km/h the survival rate goes up to 95 per cent.

Earlier this year, City Council took the important step of aligning and expanding school and playground 30km/h zones from 7:30am to 9:00pm. This is just one step toward improving safety for everyone. If you are concerned with the speed of traffic in your neighbourhood, there are several steps you and your community association can take to improve the safety of all road users:

  • Post an article in your community or school newsletter to reach many of the people who are driving school routes on a regular basis.
  • Place “children at play” signs, sold at major toy stores, in the parking area of the street where children are active.
  • Organize a “paint the pavement” street mural to remind drivers to be courteous and behave like guests in your neighbourhood.

If you are interested in pursuing traffic calming measures, or joining our regular email list, please send me an email at caward7@calgary.ca  For information on other important topics, you can also visit druhfarrell.ca.

Categories: Transportation; Newsletter

Back | August 05, 2015

“Aaah, summer - that long anticipated stretch of lazy, lingering days, free of responsibility and rife with possibility. It's a time to hunt for insects, master handstands, practice swimming strokes, conquer trees, explore nooks and crannies, and make new friends.”

- Darell Hammond

Calgary is chock full of fun places to explore and events to experience, many in Ward 7.

Summer park Sample all that our city has to offer this summer by checking out some of the following:

  • Dalhousie’s summer day camps for kids can be found at DalhousieCalgary.ca – everything from “The Amazing Race” to jungle running!
  • Beat the heat and visit one of Ward 7’s Outdoor Pools - Highwood, Mount Pleasant, or Bowview in West Hillhurst. Kids will enjoy the wading pools at Eau Claire Plaza and Riley Park, and spray parks at Eau Claire Plaza, Canmore Park in Triwood, and Rotary Park in Crescent Heights.
  • Explore nature in Brentwood’s Whispering Woods, a reclaimed prairie ecosystem that provides interpretive panels, original art and poetry by community members, and Thursday Summer Bees & Potlucks. Learn more at Natureground.org.
  • Buy local produce at one of our Farmers’ Markets: Parkdale on Sundays 11am-3pm, Hillhurst Sunnyside on Wednesdays 3pm-7pm and Saturdays 9:30am-1:30pm.
  • East Village offers everything from yoga classes and art instruction to food trucks and “Seniors Social in the Square” gatherings – learn more at EVExperience.com, and watch for the soon-to-open St. Patrick’s Island for nature lovers and urban explorers alike.
  • While the nation-wide phenomena “Slide the City” sold out early in Calgary, hopefully a few of you were able to register. Come out to watch your madcap friends!
  • Join the “Pop-Up” culture – there are pop-up patios, pop-up picnics, pop-up arts events and pop-up parks sprinkling our City this summer.

And finally, check out your local community association’s website for many more opportunities like running classes, community gardens, neighbour events, and recreation facilities. Summer is a perfect time to get to know your neighbourhood. We’d love to see your photos – please share them on my Facebook page. Happy exploring! 

Categories: Newsletter

Back | September 10, 2015

Struggling to meet an increased property tax bill? Help is available. The City's Property Tax Assistance Program is available to low-income homeowners who are experiencing financial hardship as a result of the increase in property taxes. You may be eligible for a credit on your property tax account.

Please visit our website at calgary.ca/ptap or contact 311 for information, eligibility criteria or to apply.

We encourage people to contact us even if they aren’t sure whether they qualify for this program. Even if you are not eligible for the Property Tax Assistance Program, we may be able to help you access community resources.

The Property Tax Assistance Program is one of a number of City of Calgary subsidies available to low-income Calgarians. Once you meet the income eligibility for the Property Tax Assistance Program you are automatically approved for the other services, like recreation programs and transit passes. Learn more at calgary.ca/fairentry.

Application deadline: December 1, 2016.

Categories: Taxes

Back | August 01, 2015

“Aaah, summer - that long anticipated stretch of lazy, lingering days, free of responsibility and rife with possibility. It's a time to hunt for insects, master handstands, practice swimming strokes, conquer trees, explore nooks and crannies, and make new friends.” Darell Hammond

Calgary is chock full of fun places to explore and events to experience, many in Ward 7. Sample all that our city has to offer this summer by checking out some of the following:

  • Dalhousie’s summer day camps for kids can be found at DalhousieCalgary.ca – everything from “The Amazing Race” to jungle running!
  • Beat the heat and visit one of Ward 7’s Outdoor Pools - Highwood, Mount Pleasant, or Bowview in West Hillhurst. Kids will enjoy the wading pools at Eau Claire Plaza and Riley Park, and spray parks at Eau Claire Plaza, Canmore Park in Triwood, and Rotary Park in Crescent Heights.
  • Explore nature in Brentwood’s Whispering Woods, a reclaimed prairie ecosystem that provides interpretive panels, original art and poetry by community members, and Thursday Summer Bees & Potlucks. Learn more at Natureground.org.
  • Buy local produce at one of our Farmers’ Markets: Parkdale on Sundays 11am-3pm, Hillhurst Sunnyside on Wednesdays 3pm-7pm and Saturdays 9:30am-1:30pm.
  • East Village offers everything from yoga classes and art instruction to food trucks and “Seniors Social in the Square” gatherings – learn more at EVExperience.com, and watch for the soon-to-open St. Patrick’s Island for nature lovers and urban explorers alike.
  • While the nation-wide phenomena “Slide the City” sold out early in Calgary, hopefully a few of you were able to register. Come out to watch your madcap friends!
  • Join the “Pop-Up” culture – there are pop-up patios, pop-up picnics, pop-up arts events and pop-up parks sprinkling our City this summer.

And finally, check out your local community association’s website for many more opportunities like running classes, community gardens, neighbour events, and recreation facilities. Summer is a perfect time to get to know your neighbourhood. We’d love to see your photos – please share them on my Facebook page. Happy exploring! 

Categories: Community; Newsletter

Back | July 16, 2015

Now that the kids have been out of school for a few weeks, they might be running out of things to do.

The City of Calgary offers a wide variety of FREE community-based programs and services for children, youth and families across Calgary every summer. Programs include; Park n’ Play, Stay n’ Play, Summer Adventures, Kids at Play Summer Club, Community Camps, Youth Days and Lawn Chair Theatre.

Find out what’s happening in your area visit calgary.ca/cns.

Categories: Arts and Culture

Back | July 09, 2015

A healthy tree serves several important functions on your property. It shades your home reducing the amount of energy needed to cool it. It also soaks up water in the soil reducing the chance of flooding. 

Calgary's tree canopy was devastated by the snow storm last September. More than a million trees were killed or damaged. Efforts to recover from the storm will continue for a long time. Below is some helpful information on recovery work in your community.

Tree work is planned in many Calgary neighbourhoods including the pruning of public trees, NeighbourWoods community partnerships, tree planting, and the life cycling of poplar trees. You can use an easy interactive map to see how The City is helping public trees recover in your community.

The Tree Recovery Map will keep you updated on what is scheduled for your community. Learn when trees near your home are being pruned or replanted, and find out if you live in a NeighbourWoods community. To access the map and check on the tree work happening in your community, visit calgary.ca/trees.

Categories: Parks

Back | July 01, 2015


Through most of Canada’s history, the majority of Canadians lived a rural life. After WWII

Canadians left their family farms and small towns and migrated to “the big city” in record numbers. This mass movement fueled urban growth and transformed Canada into an urban country.

Cities themselves have drastically changed in nature. The basket of services historically included the basics like roads, water, waste, fire, and police. Over time, what we consider basic services expanded to include recreation, planning and development, social services, affordable housing, and public transit.

Funding and delivering services in a growing city, to the satisfaction of residents, is no simple task. Municipal governments have grown to become large and sophisticated organizations. It is imperative that City departments act in lock-step with one another to ensure that the machinery works as smoothly and efficiently as possible. With this in mind, the City has created Build Calgary. 

Build Calgary is a cross-functional approach to connecting projects, delivering services, and building the city. It is based in part on the model the City used to respond to the 2013 floods. Collaboration was essential in responding to that crisis and important lessons were learned on how to address other challenges. 

The City is currently facing a time of financial instability due to a lack of reliable funding sources. As a result, our debt continues to grow. While incurring debt is not always a bad thing, having too much debt can limit the ability to be flexible and respond to emerging and unforeseen issues. Build Calgary can help place greater focus on decisions that improve the City’s fiscal position.

This new approach will guide how the City improves its financial situation through initiatives like establishing a City Charter, improved coordination with our regional neighbours, better management of our land and how it is developed, and ensuring that the cost of development is shared appropriately with those who profit from it.

As a just and prosperous city, Calgary is in a unique position. It is important that it is governed in a responsible manner by a thoughtful and effective Council. The extent to which Build Calgary is incorporated in our decisions will determine just how great Calgary can become. 

Categories: Newsletter

Back | June 10, 2015

This past September, Calgary experienced the largest snow fall prior to the fall equinox in 130 years. Since it occurred before the trees had shed their leaves, the weight of the snow broke many tree limbs and caused wide spread damage to trees with resulting power outages, traffic signal failures and debris spread across the City. Some trees require corrective pruning, while others will need to be removed and replanted. If a tree cannot be replanted in or around the same location we will look at adjacent parks or other locations nearby to plant a tree so there’s no net canopy loss in a community.

Recovering from the 2014 September snow storm will require us as a city and a community to look after our trees. Preliminary estimates indicate the 50 per cent of the 500,000 public trees and 1.5 million private trees have been impacted. This means there are 3 times as many damaged trees on private property as there is on City land. We can’t do it alone; together we can help return the urban forest to pre-storm condition.

Come to a tree fair! Free!

As part of the recovery and restoration efforts, The City of Calgary invites you to participate in our 2015 Tree Resource Fair series. These fairs are intended to provide information about how to care for your damaged trees, inspire youth about the benefits of trees and demonstrate the various ways citizens can access information about trees.

We have two planned events in June:

  • June 14, 2015 at Prairie Winds Park from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • June 28, 2015 at Bowness Park from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Each event will include talks, demonstrations, exhibitor booths, guided walks, as well as a kid’s area, entertainment, and food options. These events are intended as learning opportunities, so sharing information will be the primary focus.

Can’t make it to a tree event? Visit calgary.ca/trees or phone 311 for information on planting a City tree with a program like NeighbourWoods or the Planting Incentive Program. Both of these City programs help you plant trees in your neighbourhood.

Categories: Snow and Ice

Back | June 30, 2015

On June 29th Council voted against a proposal to simplify secondary suite approvals in Wards 7, 8, 9, and 11. The proposal was offered as a compromise to a stalemated Council - a solution to a process that the majority of Councillors agree is broken. As a councillor who has long advocated for safe, affordable housing for all Calgarians, as well as housing choice, I am disappointed with this outcome.

City Council has a responsibility to represent all Calgarians regardless of income or whether they rent or own property. I take this responsibility seriously. We have an affordable housing crisis, and secondary suites are a market-based solution proven to increase the number of safe rental units, along with other benefits that include providing for a live-in caregiver for seniors, allowing seniors to age-in-place, and helping with mortgage payments for a first-time homebuyer. 

Suites are permitted in nearly every other Canadian city, large and small, including our neighbours Edmonton and Lethbridge. Many cities actively encourage the development of suites, and provide grant programs to convert illegal suites into safe, regulated suites. As the waiting lists for affordable housing grow, and the costs to taxpayers increase ($300k per door to build an affordable housing unit), the benefits become clear.

Until we resolve our affordable housing crisis, secondary suites will continue to be raised as part of the solution by business, community, and post-secondary leaders, as well as the large majority of Calgarians.

I would like to thank the Ward 7 residents, both for and against, who contacted my office. Unfortunately, Council’s inability to take meaningful action on this issue means that the problem of unsafe illegal suites, the affordable rental housing shortage, and the cumbersome regulatory process will persist. Despite this latest setback, I will continue to look for ways to increase the number of affordable housing units in Calgary. I encourage and welcome your ideas, and ideas from my Council colleagues, on how we can solve the problem together.

- Druh

Categories: Blog

Back | July 06, 2015

Storm Ponds are natural looking man-made facilities designed to collect runoff following either a rainfall or snowmelt event. Besides helping to mitigate local flooding, the 200 plus ponds that The City currently operates and maintains improves the quality of water that eventually reaches the rivers.

Storm ponds or wet ponds collect water and run-off from the storm water system, trapping sediment and pollutants such as oils and chemicals from driveways and roadways, fertilizer, pesticides, and sediments and debris from roads and underdeveloped areas, helping return cleaner water to rivers and streams. These ponds are a vital part of Calgary’s storm water system.

Storm ponds are not intended for recreational use. The water in storm ponds is constantly flowing with fluctuating water levels and contains pollutants. For the health and safety of the public several activities are prohibited, including swimming, skating, boating, fishing and fish stocking.  

For more information please visit calgary.ca/stormpond.

Categories:

Back | August 05, 2015

Are you a Calgarian interested in public affairs and who strives to make your city a better place? Please share your expertise with The City of Calgary Council, by applying to serve on one of The City’s various Boards, Commissions or Committees (BCCs).

There are currently a number of BCCs recruiting for new members, seeking individuals with an interest in the work of the committees and a desire to give back to the community. Although some member positions have specific eligibility requirements, most require only enthusiasm, interest and commitment.

If you are interested you can visit calgary.ca/cityclerks for further details and to access the online application form.

Applications will be accepted between August 14 and September 15, 2015.

Categories:

Back | July 20, 2015

It's no secret that life is good in Calgary, but as Calgarians, we can all play our part to make this city even better. Citizens’ View is an online panel that encourages citizens to participate in shaping City of Calgary programs and services through surveys, discussions and engagement activities. Citizens’ View is easy to navigate and simple to use. As a member of Citizens’ View, you can expect to:

  • Participate in surveys, approximately once or twice per month;
  • Have access to online discussions;
  • Provide your valuable input on a variety of topics;
  • Receive information and updates on upcoming events and service improvements. 

Join the panel today at www.citizensview.ca ​​

Categories: Community

Back | June 08, 2015

Struggling to meet an increased property tax bill? Help is available. Our Property Tax Assistance Program is available to low-income homeowners who are experiencing financial hardship as a result of the increase in property taxes. You may be eligible for a credit on your property tax account. Please visit our website at calgary.ca/ptap or contact 311 for information on eligibility criteria or to apply.

We encourage people to contact us even if they aren’t sure whether they qualify for this program. Even if you are not eligible for the Property Tax Assistance Program, we may be able to help you access community resources.

The Property Tax Assistance Program is one of a number of City of Calgary subsidies available to low-income Calgarians. Once you meet the income eligibility for the Property Tax Assistance Program you are automatically approved for the other services, like recreation programs and transit passes. Learn more at calgary.ca/fairentry.

The application deadline is December 1, 2015.

Categories: Taxes

Back | June 01, 2015


As our city grows, the way we get around is evolving to meet the changing needs and expectations of all Calgarians. The Calgary Transportation Plan, the Route Ahead transit strategy, and the Cycling Strategy will help guide investment in transportation for decades to come. Missing from that list is a plan to manage the form of transportation used by most Calgarians every day: walking.

Walking is the most common and affordable method of human transportation, but it is also one that is neglected when planning and building our city. Missing or poorly maintained sidewalks, badly designed and poorly lit intersections, and infrastructure that doesn’t meet the needs of seniors and those with disabilities, are commonplace in Calgary. This fall, Council will follow the lead of many North American cities when we vote on the creation of the Step Forward pedestrian strategy.

Step Forward will outline what the City will do to create a safe, comfortable, and accessible pedestrian realm, all year long and for people of all ages and abilities. You can help shape Step Forward’s priorities by sharing the challenges and opportunities you see when you are out for a walk. Visit Calgary.ca/pedestrianstrategy and let us know what works, what doesn’t, and how we can do better.

As part of the City’s commitment to improving the safety and accessibility of all modes of transportation, the Centre City Cycle Track Network will open this summer. Cycle tracks are bicycle lanes with a physical barrier. Cycle tracks will open, on a trial basis, on 5 St SW, 8 Av SW, 12 Av S, and on a small section of 9 Av SE, in addition to the permanent cycle track currently in place on 7 St SW. The new cycle tracks will increase the number of people cycling to work, leisure, and shopping destinations within the Centre City.

Along with the Cycle Track Network, Stephen Avenue Walk will allow cycling in both directions on a trial basis. There will be no physical barriers on Stephen Ave, and the street will operate much in the same way as other “shared space” projects from around the world. The City will also launch a Bicycle Ambassador program to promote Stephen Avenue as a slow-speed space where those walking and cycling can travel safely to the Avenue’s many great destinations. For more information on the Centre City Cycle Track Network and the Stephen Avenue Shared Space pilots, please visit: Calgary.ca/cycletracknetwork 

Categories: Cycling; Newsletter

Back | June 18, 2015

Need help accessing City of Calgary programs, services or facilities? The City has several programs that are offered at a subsidized rate for Calgarians who may have trouble affording them. They have also implemented a new Fair Entry process to make applying for fee subsidized City services easier.

Fair Entry means one application for five subsidy programs. This application allows Calgarians to have their income level assessed for available programs and services. Programs and services available for this financial assistance are:

  1. Calgary Transit Low-Income Transit Pass Program – Reduced price of monthly pass for eligible adults (18+) and/or youth (6-17 yrs) that allows unlimited access to all regular Calgary Transit services.
  2. Recreation Fee Assistance Program – The Fee Assistance Program offers-low income Calgarians subsidized access to City of Calgary registered programs and admissions to Aquatics & Fitness Centres, Leisure Centres, Art Centres, Golf Courses and a number of local Fee Assistance program partners.
  3. Property Tax Assistance Program – Available to low-income homeowners who experience an increase in their property tax. If approved, homeowners also receive a rebate on City waste and recycling fees.
  4. No Cost Spay/Neuter Program – Free spay/neuter surgery for eligible companion cats and dogs offered by Animal & Bylaw Services. Not available to breeders and only to adult (18+) pet owners.
  5. Seniors Services Home Maintenance – Basic yard care, snow removal, house cleaning, painting and minor repairs for low-income seniors to help them live securely in their homes longer.

For more information please contact 311 or visit calgary.ca/fairentry. Apply in person at:

Municipal Building, 3rd Floor 800 MacLeod Trail S.E.

Hours of operation: Municipal Building: Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Calgary Public Library, Village Square Branch

2623 56 Street N.E.

Hours of operation: Village Square: Monday to Thursday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Categories: Arts and Culture; Community

Back | August 13, 2015

We’re in the heart of summer now and it can get a bit dry out there. One easy way to cut down on the cost of watering your trees is by mulching them. This layer of organic matter helps create a healthy, attractive yard that requires less water and weeding!

Why should you mulch trees?

Mulching trees provides numerous benefits by helping to:

  • Improve overall tree health and soil conditions
  • Provide needed nutrients
  • Conserve water by reducing moisture loss
  • Suppress the growth of weeds
  • Protect the tree’s roots from extreme temperature changes through insulation
  • Reduce the likelihood of certain pests/diseases
  • Protect the tree trunk from mechanical damage

How much is too much?

In order to get the full benefits of mulching, you want to have a mulching depth of 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 centimetres). Too much mulch can lead to excessive moisture at the roots, nutrient deficiencies, fluctuating moisture, girdling roots and encourage pests and rodents. Often this happens over time, so be sure to check the mulch depth each time.

How to mulch:

 

Mulching a tree for the first time?

Put a 5 to 10 cm layer of mulch around the base of the tree leaving space to expose the trunk. When mulch is piled against the trunk it may negatively impact the health of the tree.

What do I do if I am re-mulching?

If mulch is present around your tree, be sure to check the depth. If it is already 5 to 10 cm deep, work on improving the mulch that is there by breaking up any large pieces with a shovel. This is also a great time to make sure the trunk is exposed and the mulch hasn’t piled up against it. If this is the case, clear the mulch back approximately 10 cm from the base.

Categories: Community

Back | July 17, 2015

We are excited to let you know that work on long-awaited drainage improvements in Rosemont are scheduled to begin in mid-to-late August. Upon completion, the improvements will protect the community from flooding during and a one in a 100 year weather event. The project plan is based on studies and community input on how best to deal with water from significant precipitation events.

The City will be mailing project information to the affected residents in the near future. Councillor Farrell and her staff will be working with your community association on any additional engagement. We will send out additional information as needed. Below is detailed project information. For more information, please send an email to ward07@calgary.ca

Project Name: Rosemont Community Drainage Project

Project Description:

The City of Calgary’s Community Drainage Improvement Program delivers stormwater infrastructure upgrades in older communities that were built before the use of modern drainage techniques and standards. Major rainstorms in 2007 revealed stormwater drainage concerns in the community of Rosemont. The Rosemont Drainage Improvements Study Project was completed in 2012 identifying several potential ways to improve drainage in the community of Rosemont. The upgrades will ensure the storm trunk can to accommodate peak flows for a one in 100 year rain event.

Project Schedule: Mid August 2015 - estimated construction start. The project is expected to take 14 weeks to complete

Construction Details and Anticipated Short-term Impacts:

Construction will take place in three sites: 

Rosehill Drive & 10 ST NW

  • Existing stormwater pipe will be twinned with a new 900mm stormwater pipe
  • Existing catchbasins along Rosehill Drive, Rosewood Road, Rosetree Road and Rosery Drive will be relocated and twinned to allow for more efficient and effective flow capture during rain events
  • 10 - 12 existing catch basins will be twinned
  • New raised roadway crossings will be installed along Rosehill Drive and Rosery Drive to create artificial trap lows to allow more flow to be captured in catchbasins
  • Sections of the back lane will be paved for water quality and to contain flow within the lane
  • Repair to existing outfall in Confederation Park

Cambrian Drive NW

  • New raised roadway crossings will be installed at the intersections at Rosetree Drive and Rosewood Drive along Cambrian Drive/10 Street

14 Street NW

  • Existing stormwater pipe will be upgraded from 375mm to 525mm

Customer/Stakeholder Impact:

  • Traffic impacts/closures on Cambrian Drive/10 ST and 14 ST NW and Rosehill Drive
  • Parking impacts on Rosehill Drive
  • Traffic increase along Rosehill Drive (dependant on detour)
  • Temporary disruption to back lane traffic
  • Confederation Park parking lot and small section of pathway along 10 ST NW will be closed
  • Park usage may be impacted during outfall work
  • No impact to services 

Categories: Water

Back | July 14, 2015

Struggling to meet an increased property tax bill? Help is available. The City's Property Tax Assistance Program is available to low-income homeowners who are experiencing financial hardship as a result of the increase in property taxes. You may be eligible for a credit on your property tax account. Please visit our website at calgary.ca/ptap or contact 311 for information, eligibility criteria or to apply.

We encourage people to contact us even if they aren’t sure whether they qualify for this program. Even if you are not eligible for the Property Tax Assistance Program, we may be able to help you access community resources.

The Property Tax Assistance Program is one of a number of City of Calgary subsidies available to low-income Calgarians. Once you meet the income eligibility for the Property Tax Assistance Program, you are automatically approved for the other services, like recreation programs and transit passes. Learn more at calgary.ca/fairentry.

Application deadline: December 1, 2015

Categories: Taxes

Back | May 25, 2015

With the spring rains making a return to Calgary, it is a good time to reacquaint ourselves with the basics about flood preparedness. The 2013 floods were a devastating reminder of power of weather and the havoc it can wreak. They were also a reminder of the importance of being prepared to deal with the consequences of a weather event.

City staff and the Calgary Emergency Management Agency (CEMA) are working hard to ensure that Calgarians have the best information possible to be prepared in the event of a flood. All Calgarians should take the time to review important emergency preparedness information to determine which steps they need to take in order to be prepared. For example, having an emergency plan and a 72-hour kit ready in the event of a disaster will allow you to remain relatively comfortable while responders can focus on others in need. 

Please take the time to visit the City's Flood Preparedness website so that you can learn which steps to take to make sure that you are prepared in the event of flooding or other disasters.

Categories:

Back | May 01, 2015

Animal translators, automatic snow removal on slides, and robot vending machines. When asked what they want to see in Calgary’s parks, children suggested these visionary improvements. While these changes might not be coming to your neighbourhood green space anytime soon, Calgary does have a new strategy for building and maintaining our city’s wonderful parks.

Public parks and pathways are more than mere amenities - they are essential in enhancing the lives of all Calgarians. They provide us with recreation, transportation, inspiration, and a much-needed respite from our growing city’s bustle and hum. While Calgarians of all backgrounds enjoy our beautiful parks, those who are financially or physically unable to escape to the countryside benefit greatly from these splendid public spaces.

At the end of March, City Council voted to adopt imagineParks, a 30-year vision that sets the direction for the development and management of public parks in Calgary. The policy ensures that we build and manage our parks for the well-being of Calgarians, today and in the future.

97% of Calgarians state that parks and open spaces are important City programs, and 95% of Calgarians feel satisfied with our facilities. To ensure that we deliver upon these high-expectations and adequately prepare for the future, the imagineParks vision lays out a solid foundation for the next generation

imagineParks is built upon four guiding principles that promote the effective construction and operation of parks:

  1. People are the priority. Let’s build parks that are accessible to every Calgarian, regardless of age, ability, gender, and culture.
  2. Parks conserve our natural environment and promote biodiversity. Although you cannot put a dollar value on all the ways that the natural world enriches our lives, there are many tangible benefits to living in a city with healthy ecosystems.
  3. Parks should be environmentally and financially sustainable. Calgarians have always valued their parks as intangible assets, but the economic benefits are often overlooked. Parks are a significant economic driver - great parks build great cities.
  4. Parks must be adaptable and resilient. Parks that can adapt to unforeseen and changing environmental conditions caused by climate change – the stresses of flooding, drought, and snowstorms – ensure healthy and enduring public spaces.

imagineParks is our vision, created with broad input from citizens, wildlife and user groups, and national experts. Parks have a special place in the hearts of Calgarians, who have spoken loud and clear about what they want to see for the future of these essential public spaces.

You can learn more about imagineParks, by clicking here

Categories: Arts and Culture; Newsletter; Parks

Back | May 18, 2015

Help make our parks #1 by picking up #2!

Let’s face it, poop happens! Dog poop. And with over 120,000 dogs in the city, the amount of pet waste in our parks can quickly add up if owners aren’t picking up after their pooches.

Picking up your dog’s waste is not just about responsible pet ownership - it’s about keeping our parks and off-leash areas safe. Did you know that dog waste often contains parasites, E. Coli and other bacteria, all of which can cause serious illness in humans? Unfortunately, dog waste doesn’t wash away or disappear, so the risk of spreading its harmful effects can linger for years!

Thankfully, there is a simple solution. Always carry pet waste baggies with you when you walk your dog, and pick up and dispose of your pet’s waste as soon as possible. 

To learn more about the importance of picking up and disposing of your pet’s waste, check out our Pick Up Pooch's Poo Yourself (P.U.P.P.Y.) program at calgary.ca/parks.

Categories: Parks

Back | May 20, 2015

Build Calgary was launched as a new initiative in fall 2014. Since then, the Build Calgary team has finalized its charter, formed sub-committees and identified the five program initiatives. Those initiatives – off-site levy bylaw, land supply process, legislative framework, regional coordination and commercial/industrial/transit oriented development – have been identified to help The City of Calgary get out in front of the many challenges that come with growth.

The five initiatives feed into two goals: to implement a funding approach that provides the necessary infrastructure to accommodate growth; and, to work with partners to create a transparent approach to sustainable infrastructure funding for the orderly, economic and beneficial development of land.

If you want more information on the five initiatives, or on the overall Build Calgary program, make sure to visit calgary.ca/BuildCalgary.

Categories:

Back | April 27, 2015

From the Council meeting April 27th, 2015

Costs associated with responding to ‘Freedom of Information & Protection of Privacy’ (FOIP) requests

Council received the first semi-annual summary of costs associated with FOIP requests. Council directed that future reports include the number of requests that go to the Office of Mayor and the Office of the Councillors. Administration was also directed to report back no later than July this year on the option of releasing FOIP documents to the public simultaneously as each request is fulfilled.

Budget savings account update – Vacancy review

Council received a report outlining $6.4 million dollars worth of savings related to vacant positions in Q1 and $8.7 million dollars worth of savings from capital projects that are either completed or near completion. The budget savings account is one component within six municipal strategies The City is implementing to support Calgary’s cyclical economy.

Plan to develop a pilot project for urban egg laying hens (Councillor Notice of Motion)

Council rejected a Notice of Motion that proposed an urban hen pilot project be implemented within inner city boundaries.

2015 Business Tax Bylaw amendment

Council approved an amendment to the Business Tax Bylaw as a result of a recent Court of Appeal decision. The amendment is necessary to preserve equity in the assessment of parking facilities and clarifies that operators of parking facilities are liable to pay the business tax in all applicable cases.

Organics and Biosolids Composting Program capital

Council approved a capital budget transfer to fund Calgary’s future organics and biosolids composting facility. The facility will be used by the Water Utility to compost biosolids from the City’s wastewater treatment plants and will be used by Waste and Recycling Services (WRS) to process residential food and yard waste collected through the future Green Cart program.

Integrity Commissioner – Proposed terms of reference and recruitment strategy

Council amended and approved the initial terms of reference and recruitment approach for a future Integrity Commissioner.

2014 City of Calgary Annual Report

Council approved The City’s 2014 Annual Report with clerical corrections.

Neighbour Day (Mayor Notice of Motion)

Neighbour Day was approved by Council and will occur on June 20th this year. Originally held last year to commemorate the first anniversary of the devastating floods of 2013, The City of Calgary will support and promote the date again this year to encourage community-led, grassroots gatherings and block parties across the city in celebration of getting to know neighbours.

Council News in Brief is an informal summary of highlights from Calgary City Council’s meetings. The City Clerk  provides the complete and formal documentation of Council’s meetings.

Categories: Waste and Recycle; Taxes

Back | June 15, 2015

The City of Calgary Culture division facilitates active participation, diversity and access to the arts for all. Through the Public Art Program, The City of Calgary contributes to a visually rich environment, attracts creative businesses and workers, celebrates our diverse cultural character and living heritage, and promotes a culturally informed public.

The Festivals and Events team supports over 280 events in Calgary throughout the year, enhancing the quality of life, and providing an essential element in creating complete communities. Through cultural diversity initiatives, we foster an environment that values diversity and supports inclusive equitable access to City of Calgary recreation and leisure services and its community partners.

Stay in touch with everything that’s happening at Culture! Visit us at calgary.ca/culture, like us at facebook.com/YYCArtsCulture and follow us on Twitter @YYCArtsCulture.

Categories: Arts and Culture

Back | May 29, 2015

Tax bills for approximately 470,000 residential and non-residential properties were mailed Wednesday, May 27. By the end of this week all property owners should have received their property tax bill in the mail. Property owners who have not received their property tax bill by the first week of June should contact 311 to obtain a copy of their bill.

Property taxes are due Tuesday, June 30. A late payment penalty of 7% will be applied to any unpaid portion of property taxes on July 1 and October 1. Further penalties of one per cent will be added the first day of each month to any portion remaining unpaid after December 31.

The deadline does not apply to property owners who pay monthly through The City’s Tax Instalment Payment Plan (TIPP). More than 240,000 property owners pay their taxes monthly through TIPP. Property owners can join TIPP at any time by visiting the Web site at www.calgary.ca/propertytax to request an application or calling 311.

Help is available to assist eligible low-income homeowners who meet income guidelines and eligibility criteria, regardless of age. For more information or to download an application form, go to www.calgary.ca/fairentry.

Calgary is one of the fastest growing cities in North America. More citizens mean more demand for services like transit, parks, roads and recreation. To keep the same level and quality of service year-to-year, The City’s operating budget must increase with ongoing inflation and population growth.

Property taxes are an essential source of The City’s overall revenue necessary to help fund local services including:

  • Police and emergency services
  • Public transit, roads, street cleaning and road maintenance
  • Care and maintenance of parks, pathways and playgrounds
  • Bylaw enforcement
  • Land use planning
  • Environmental promotion and protection
  • Contributions to operating costs of cultural and recreational facilities, including the Calgary Zoo, Heritage Park, EPCOR Centre for Performing Arts, TELUS World of Science, Calgary Economic Development, libraries and City-owned pools, arenas, art centres, fitness facilities and sports fields.

For more information, please visit our website at www.calgary.ca , or contact 311.

Categories: Taxes

Back | June 01, 2015

Mayor Nenshi has proclaimed June 1-7 as Seniors’ Week, a time to celebrate the many things older adults contribute to our communities.

There are a number of celebrations planned in various communities throughout Calgary from June 1-7. Pick up a printed list of events at a nearby seniors’ centre, view the list online at calgary.ca/seniors or contact 311.

Seniors make a difference in the lives of Calgarians every day. From supporting family members and friends to assisting charities and volunteering, seniors are deeply involved in our communities and their contributions benefit Calgarians of all ages.

The City of Calgary supports the needs of seniors year-round through a number of community programs and services. The City is also actively developing a Seniors Age-Friendly Strategy to help plan for the growing number of older adults in Calgary. To find out more about Seniors Services in Calgary visit calgary.ca/seniors.

Categories: Community

Back | April 08, 2015

With an early spring comes an earlier start to street sweeping season. Crews have already begun pre-sweeping high-priority routes and have created a schedule of remaining streets. They have also created a search tool for you to determine when your street will be cleaned. Please click here to access the search tool and find out more.

If you see a temporary no parking sign on your street, please move your vehicle so crews can do a complete sweep to keep your neighbourhood looking beautiful. 

The regular 2015 Spring Clean-up program will begin on April 13 and run until the end of June

Categories:

Back | January 16, 2015

The City is recruiting for census takers to begin the door-to-door collection in May.

Every year The City conducts an annual civic census. These numbers not only tell us Calgary’s population and growth they help us in Council work with Administration to plan for variety of programs and service delivery purposes. The information collected is used by the Province for the determination of grants if they are available, and outside agencies such as communities, businesses, charities etc. As you can see these number are very important in helping us run an efficient Calgary.

If you are interested in becoming a census taker or know someone who would be interested you can visit www.calgary.ca/census for more information on the application process.

Categories: Events

Back | April 07, 2015


Every day, Calgarians make contributions to their neighbourhoods that improve the lives of their fellow citizens. Sometimes these are life-changing and city-shaping contributions, but other times they are small efforts with big impacts. One such feat of neighbourhood greatness is the simple act of shovelling a neighbour’s sidewalk.

To celebrate these acts of community support, and to encourage more to lend a helping hand, The City of Calgary recognises Snow Angels across Calgary. In Ward 7, I am happy to recognise Ian Wilson, for his five years of clearing the sidewalks, driveways and rear paths of his Dalhousie neighbours.

Ian is a retired City of Calgary employee, who worked on improving access to affordable housing through The City’s Corporate Properties division. Though he is 67 years old himself, Ian recognises that his aging neighbours need help to keep their sidewalks and driveways snow- and ice-free. Today, Ian clears snow from four of his neighbours’ properties, for the simple satisfaction of helping those who are not as able as he. Though Ian is modest about his contribution, he cares a great deal about ensuring Dalhousie is a safe and caring community.

Ian is nominated by Barbara Rutledge, his 72-year-old neighbour. Barbara describes Ian as a humble man, who helps Dalhousie seniors without asking for anything in return. Barbara says that after every snowfall she opens up her curtains in the morning to perfectly cleared sidewalks and driveways. This act of kindness helps keep Barbara and her neighbours safe, and she is immensely grateful.

As the City Councillor for Ward 7 and for Dalhousie, I am excited to hear about tales of everyday community dedication. I would like to extend my thanks to Ian for his great work, and to Barbara for recognising Ian’s efforts.

I hope that you are inspired by Ian’s and Barbara’s story, and will consider becoming a Snow Angel! Likewise, if you have a Snow Angel you would like to nominate for recognition, call 311 or fill out an online submission form by the April 17, 2015 deadline. Information about becoming a Snow Angel and the nomination process is here on calgary.ca.

Categories: Snow and Ice

Back | March 10, 2015


Since being re-elected in 2013, Druh Farrell has been working with the Ward 7 office and community leaders to deliver on the priorities outlined in her campaign. Our 2014 Annual Report reflects back on what we have achieved over the past year, with special focuses on changing the way we grow, meeting transportation needs for all users, and building community. It also takes a look at projects you can expect to see in the coming years, including the New Central Library and the Pedestrian Strategy. Druh looks forward to serving residents of Ward 7 over the next three years and hopes you enjoy the overview of our accomplishments in 2014. 

To view the report in .PDF format, please click on the link below:

Ward 7 Annual report 2014​​

To view the report in Prezi format, please click here.

Categories: Accountability; Community; Ward office

Back | February 10, 2015

The City of Calgary is restarting the Crowchild Trail Corridor Study with a new six-phase process that will provide multiple opportunities for public feedback throughout the study. 

Phase 1 of the study will establish an Engagement Design Team to answer the question “How do we have the most effective conversation possible about the Crowchild Trail Corridor Study?”

Until February 22, 2015, The City is inviting interested Calgarians to participate on an Engagement Design Team. Participants will be chosen by random selection based on criteria that ensures there is diversity in ages, gender, type of user and community for those who will make-up the Engagement Design Team. Calgarians who are not randomly selected for the Engagement Design Team can still provide input on how The City can best engage stakeholders for this study by completing an online questionnaire, which will be available on the project web page after the Engagement Design Team is established end of February.

The 18- to 20-member team will be comprised of people who live in communities immediately next to Crowchild, people who drive or use public transit along Crowchild, and people who walk or ride bikes adjacent to or across Crowchild, to make sure a range of diverse perspectives are considered.

The work of the Engagement Design Team and the resultant engagement program will be shared with the public in the spring of 2015.

About the Crowchild Trail Corridor Study

The study will provide recommendations on how Crowchild Trail from 24 Avenue N.W. to 17 Avenue S.W. can be improved over time. This includes short-term and long-term roadway upgrades necessary for moving high volumes of vehicles and supporting all means of transportation, while minimizing impacts to adjacent communities.

For more information about the study, visit www.calgary.ca/crowchild.

Categories: Transportation; Crowchild Trail

Back | March 13, 2015

Winter is the time to plot and plan, and spring is the time to act. This spring I would like to celebrate some of our very own action heroes - people who are changing Calgary for the better with small but powerful steps.

Anyone who had the opportunity to meet Michael Green, usually remembers, in minute detail, their first encounter. His wild vision for Calgary’s downtown dared us to look at our city differently, and it helped us dream of a much bolder place; a Calgary that we could never have imagined without him. For over 30 years, he transformed the month of January into an extravaganza of theatre, dance, music, and, yes, wrestling.

Many artists speak of how Michael could see their potential, even when they could not see it for themselves. Michael saw these boundless possibilities, not only in each of us, but in our city as well. We will miss our Michael Green.

Mavis Sew is a Capitol Hill magician! She became the catalyst in a community in need of rejuvenation. Mavis’s energy is infectious – she inspires others to get involved, showing her neighbours that working together on simple projects like a playground or community garden can be transformative. She continues to lead the charge on new programs and events in her neighbourhood.

Tamara Lee is the positive force behind several ground-breaking ventures including Bow to Bluff and the YIMBY Project (Yes In My Backyard). My all-time favourite is Bench Diaries, a project to collect the anonymous thoughts and feelings of those who happen upon a diary placed on a public bench. Tamara then adds the entries to a website: www.benchdiary.com/Calgary. These funny or poignant missives-from-the-soul paint a picture of community consciousness.


It’s hard to miss the proliferation of tiny, colourful libraries springing up in Ward 7 and beyond. Along with 3 Things for Calgary, Civic Camp, and many other initiatives, Cheri Macaulay is responsible for bringing little libraries to Calgary. The Ward 7 Team organized a little library building bee with the help of local developers, and we now boast the most little libraries in Calgary. Cheri is re-focusing her energies on her newly adopted community of East Village. Fasten your seatbelts, East Village!

Great initiatives also happen because neighbours come together. A special example is the Neighbour-2-Neighbour Initiative in East Crescent Heights, started in 2009 by residents concerned with rising neighbourhood crime. N2N now organizes events like “Celebrating Diversity, Building Community” which features diverse cultural groups performing for the residents and businesses. N2N is also responsible for the Travelling Coffee Table, where you can share an impromptu coffee at random places in Crescent Heights. 

These are a few of the delightful experiences brought about by Ward 7 residents, to enhance and enrich community life. If you have a similar idea, don’t be afraid to give it a try. You never know what will come of it or who you will meet.

Categories: Community; Newsletter

Back | April 02, 2015

Many Calgarians are thrilled that Spring has appeared to have come early this year. As you are doing your spring cleaning, make sure to find the right place for all your unwanted stuff. By disposing of your materials the right way, you'll keep unnecessary items out of the landfill and give a second life to materials that can be reused, recycled or composted.

Keep your spring cleaning simple with help from these City programs and services:

ELECTRONICS RECYCLING DEPOT

29 locations around the city are available to take your old electronics for recycling.

SPRING YARD WASTE LANDFILL DROP-OFF

Between April 17 and May 31, take your yard waste to any City of Calgary landfill for composting, free!

HOUSEHOLD HAZARDOUS WASTE DROP-OFF

Safely dispose old paints and stains, pressurized tanks, cleaning products, and more. Drop-offs are located at City of Calgary landfills and designated fire halls.

COMMUNITY CLEANUPS

Over 100 community cleanups will be taking place May - September. Check with your community association to find out when and what items are accepted.

Visit calgary.ca/waste for more details, locations and hours on the above programs.

Have questions about what to do with your unwanted stuff? Use our fast and easy online search tool calgary.ca/whatgoeswhere to find the right way to dispose of your items.        

Categories: Waste and Recycle

Back | April 02, 2015

Throughout the year, The City of Calgary Water Services responds to hundreds of calls related to water pooling on streets from blocked storm drains or heavy rainfall. Storm drains, known in the industry as catch basins, drain water and snow melt off sidewalks, streets and roads, into our storm system and eventually into our rivers.

There are approximately 50,000 storm drains in Calgary so Water Services is required to prioritize when responding to citizen calls. Water entering houses, garages or businesses and causing property damage is our number one priority. Water pooling in front of hospitals, schools, playgrounds and bus zones is also a high service priority.

During a storm or a heavy snow melt, storm drains pool water on the street, letting it slowly drain into the pipes below. In newer communities, Inlet Control Devices (ICD’s) have been installed inside selected storm drains to keep water on the road until the system can accept the surplus water. These ICD devices prevent the storm system from being overwhelmed, causing water backups. If you see sustained pooling on the street, be patient, it may not be flooding, but controlled water drainage.

No matter the season, The City does not advise citizens to try and clear the storm drains themselves as potential hazards may be hiding under the water's surface. However, if the storm drain is not covered with water and it is safe to do so, citizens can clear the grate of debris, leaves, snow or ice to create better drainage.

For more information or to report a storm drain issue, use the City’s 311 mobile app, visit calgary.ca/stormdrains or call 311.

Categories: Snow and Ice; Water

Back | February 25, 2015

In December 2014, Council directed city staff to prepare Land Use Bylaw amendments allowing secondary suites in all residential land use districts in Ward 7, 8, 9 and 11. Secondary suites include additional dwellings on a residential lot, such as a basement suite above-garage suite or a garden suite.

The City of Calgary is experiencing a growing housing affordability crisis worsened by the 2013 flood. Secondary suites will bring relief to this crisis by providing revenue opportunities for homeowners and increasing the options for safe rental housing. They are a simple and market-driven solution to the increasingly serious problem of housing affordability at no cost to the City or taxpayers. For home owners, suites can provide extra revenue and a helping hand to seniors wanting to age in place, or young families entering the housing market.

Legalized secondary suites provide benefits to both home owners and renters, if done properly. Other Canadian cities have successfully implemented a similar policy on secondary suites with no sharp increase in the number of suites applied for and with no severe impacts.

Legalizing secondary suites offers the following benefits to homeowners:

  • Provides some mortgage assistance to new home buyers
  • Allows existing homeowners a way to supplement mortgage payments and operating costs
  • Enables seniors on a fixed income to age in place

Legalizing secondary suites offers the following benefits to renters:

  • Increase affordable housing options without the need for government subsidies
  • Safe accommodations that meet building and safety codes

Next Steps

Information sessions will be held in late February and early March for residents to come and ask questions. Proposed Land Use Bylaw amendments will be brought to Calgary Planning Commission in March 2015. A public hearing would then likely be held in late spring by City Council before a decision is made on the proposal. If you would like to share your perspectives on secondary suites you can speak directly to Council at the public hearing, or submit written comments in advance. You typically will have five minutes to speak, excluding any questions Council members may ask you. Comments should be brief and should address land use planning issues. Details about the date and time of the public hearing will be advertised in the Calgary Herald and on calgary.ca/secondarysuites. ​​

Click here to find out what Ward you live in.

Click to here read more about how to communicate with Council

Categories: Community

Back | January 09, 2015

Calgary Transit is excited to announce that their entire fleet of 1,100 buses are now low-floor, accessible vehicles!

Over the course of 2014, Calgary Transit retired a good portion of their high-floor busses but in December Calgary said goodbye to the last high-floor bus in the fleet. All buses in service are now low-floor buses that allow a ramp to be lowered to make it easier for customers with mobility challenges to board.

Calgary Transit has been moving towards this goal since 1993. They have been careful to maximize the value of our older buses, while keeping in mind the accessibility needs of Calgarians. The last 117 high-floor buses in our fleet had a combined mileage of 108 million kilometres and 34 of those buses have been sold to places like Saskatoon, Gatineau and Sunshine Village.

A complete fleet of accessible busses will usher in a new era of transit accessibility for customers with mobility challenges. Of course, there is still more work to be done but we’re very excited to have reached this milestone.

Categories:

Back | April 24, 2015


Community resiliency is a critical topic for the City of Calgary. Prior to the May 5th provincial election, I encourage residents to ask Provincial candidates to explain their parties’ flood resiliency plans.

The first round of Alberta Community Resilience Program (ACRP) funding was announced by the Province in early April. Of a long list of projects prioritized by The City of Calgary, the Province announced $14.9 million for the following projects:

  • Elevated hoists for the Glenmore Dam ($7.6 million – $3.8 million in 2015/16, $3.8 million in 2016/17)
  • Upgrades to 15 stormwater outfalls, including floodgates in priority locations ($1.8 million in 2015/16)
  • Lower deck flood barrier improvements for the Centre Street Bridge ($1.53 million in 2015/16)
  • A 550 metre permanent flood barrier along Heritage Drive ($3.96 million – $1.99 million in 2015/16, $1.97 million in 2016/17)

City Council is disappointed that upstream mitigation is limited, there is no drought plan, and the Sunnyside Pump station #1 project, which The City ranked as a high priority, was not included in the list of funded projects. We are committed to continuing to work with the community and the Province for the next submission to ACRP in September 2015.

The City continues to work with communities, flood advocacy groups, flood experts and other orders of government to make our City more resilient to natural disasters, such as flood and drought.

Categories: Community

Back | March 17, 2015

Now that library cards are free, and with the launch of their new, easy-to-use website, the number of Calgarians using the Calgary Public Library is growing by leaps and bounds.

As part of our commitment to improve library services, the Calgary Public Library card now offers access to the hoopla digital media platform – the first in Alberta! Hoopla allows access from your mobile device or browser to streaming content, including 124,000 music albums, 8,000 movies and documentaries, and 10,400 audiobooks. 

How to get started:

  • Get a (free!) Calgary Public Library card
  • Click on the Calgary Public Library website “Getting Started on hoopla”. Or ask the friendly staff at your Calgary Public Library branch for help. 

Each cardholder can borrow 12 titles per month. Loan periods vary: movies/tv are available for three days, music albums are available for seven days, audiobooks are available for 21 days. No need for holds and no waiting! No returns and fines - titles expire automatically. Use the Favorites list to plan for your future hoopla use.

Currently, hoopla is supported by newer iOS devices that run iOS 6 and iOS. A mobile app is also available for select Android smartphones and tablets, including most devices that support Android OS 4.0 and above.

Categories:

Back | March 18, 2015

March is Community Association Awareness Month. If you are a member of your community association then you are already the many benefits of membership. If you are not, I highly recommend contacting your local community association and learning about how your community association benefits you, your family and your neighbours, making your community a better place to live. 

You can also find out more by visiting the Federation of Calgary Communities.

Categories: Community

Back | March 27, 2015

On May 11, City Council will consider a proposed bylaw amendment to wards 7, 8, 9, and 11. This amendment would remove one step from the current process - the requirement for a property owner to apply for a land use redesignation in areas where it is currently required (R1, RC1, RC1L). Applications would still go through the permit process and have to meet building code and fire safety requirements. Currently, property owners must first apply for a land use change and present to City Council for approval, then apply for a development permit.

What is a secondary suite?

A secondary suite is a separate living space created within a property originally designed to accommodate a single family. It is a private, self-contained unit that can take a number of forms including basement apartments, in-law suites, garden suites, and above-garage laneway units. A secondary suite has its own bathroom, kitchen, living, and sleeping areas, but can share a number of features with the rest of the house. Shared facilities may include a yard, parking area, laundry and storage space, and sometimes a hallway.

It is important to note that even if the amendment is approved, above-garage units and garden suites will remain a discretionary use. This means that neighbours and community associations would be able to comment on the proposed development at the development permit application stage.

What is happening in other municipalities?

All other large Canadian cities permit secondary suites city-wide, which has given us the opportunity to learn from their experience. In two and a half years (December 2007 to July 2010) since the City of Edmonton enacted a by-law permitting secondary suites in all residential neighbourhoods, approximately 353 building permits were issued - the combined conversion of existing suites and brand new suites. Currently they are receiving about 250 applications per year.

In Calgary from 2008 – January 2015 the City of Calgary has received 617 development permit applications and 568 of these were approved, 191 out of 213 were approved in wards 7, 8, 9 and 11.

Why is Council only debating changing the bylaw in these four wards?

Council did not approve direction to pursue citywide changes to zoning to include the permitted use of secondary suites at this time. However, they did direct Administration to report back on making these changes within wards 7, 8, 9 and 11, which are well connected to major employment and education facilities by walking, cycling, and transit infrastructure.

What about parking?

Currently there are no restrictions on the number of cars that can park at a home. To address concerns with overflow parking with the creation of a secondary suite in a home, this amendment requires the creation of a designated on-site parking spot. This will limit any potential impact on street parking generated by the addition of a suite. Studies demonstrate that residents living in secondary suites are less likely to own an automobile than those in owner-occupied dwellings or traditional rental units.

What about property maintenance?

Poorly maintained properties are not limited to secondary suites, and appear amongst rental and owner-occupied properties. Unsightly properties of all types are best dealt with through bylaw enforcement, not zoning. This is done by reporting the property to 311 for bylaw enforcement. The City is also currently in the process of reviewing and updating its Community Standards Bylaw, which applies to all properties.

What about safety?

Currently there are only 550 legal suites in Calgary. The majority of the remainder (up to 16000) are either grandfathered or illegal. It is the opinion of the Calgary Fire Department that 80% of non-legal suites do not comply with basic fire and safety codes. It is the City’s goal to reduce the number of illegal and unsafe suites, and increase the number of regulated and safe suites.

All new suites will have to meet a rigorous set of building code requirements to ensure the suites are safe for those living in the suite, in the principal residence, and in the community as a whole. It will also be easier for property owners to upgrade illegal suites, so that they too will meet building codes.

Through a separate initiative, the City is also exploring a safe suites program designed to encourage the upgrading of currently illegal suites. This program may include a publicly available safe-suites registry and a suite sticker initiative.

What about property value?

There is no data that shows a decrease in property value. According to CMHC, building a secondary suite increases the value of an individual home because of the potential rental income. The change in value of adding a secondary suite is often compared to going from an unfinished basement to a finished basement. Assessed property value is determined by comparing your home to like homes, so if your home does not have a secondary suite, it will not be compared to homes with suites to determine its assessed value.

What about the character of the community?

Secondary suites provide housing choices without changing the character of the existing neighbourhood. The land use bylaw and the term ‘single family home’ relates to the built form of the home. The building envelope of a house will remain the same with a secondary suites policy, with the exception of garden or garage suite (which will still require a development permit, notification, and is subject to appeal). Community associations and neighbours will still be able to comment on suite applications that involve substantial changes to building forms.

What about subdividing properties?

The rules related to subdivision will remain unchanged. Property owners would still need to go through the application process, and secondary suite zoning does not make it any easier to be approved. This proposal does not change R1 properties to R2.

What about the aging infrastructure in older communities?

The City takes a proactive approach to protecting and replacing aging infrastructure such as water mains. Generally speaking, even in communities where population is growing, the communities are below their peak population numbers. Therefore, the infrastructure is capable of handling higher population numbers and any modest increases that may occur if secondary suite development occurs.

What are some of the negatives that have been raised about this proposed amendment?

  • The character of the community will change.
  • There will be problems with street parking.
  • There will be an increase in traffic in the community.
  • The old infrastructure is unable to handle the increased population density.
  • Renters and absentee landlords are not invested in the community.
  • This change in zoning will open the door to subdividing of properties.

What are some of the positives that have been raised about this proposed amendment?

  • Secondary suites are an important supply of rental housing, in cities like Vancouver and Edmonton they make up about 20% of the rental stock.
  • Change in zoning provides more property rights to the private property owner.
  • Removing the land use application requirement reduces the red tape and thus the cost to the tax payer and to the applicant, in both monetary and time commitment costs.
  • Secondary suites are driven by the market and provide moderate change to the density of the City within existing areas, thus relieving the pressure on the tax payer that comes with the cost of growth.
  • Secondary suites can provide extra income to first home buyers thus enabling them to qualify for a mortgage to buy their first home.
  • Secondary suites promote aging in place as they enable elderly residents to utilize the extra space in their home they no longer use and at the same time obtain additional income, security and assistance with yard and home maintenance.
  • Changes in zoning will remove a barrier to property owners that currently have illegal or legal non-conforming suites, thus making it easier for these owners to bring their suites up to today’s building and safety codes.
  • Removing the land use requirement will allow City resources and enforcement to be more focussed on unsafe suites.
  • More legal and safe suites will put market pressure on private property owners of illegal suites to bring their suites up to code. This would happen gradually over time.

Do Calgarians support secondary suites?

A random sample telephone poll commissioned by the City of Calgary, conducted by the Mustel Group of 501 Calgarians in late 2009 found that:

  • 84% of Calgarians supported the development of new secondary suites (12% were opposed)
  • 85% of Calgarians supported the legalization of existing suites (10% were opposed)
  • 76% of Calgarians supported secondary suites in their own community (21% were opposed)

Another survey conducted by Zinc Research in March, 2011 on behalf of the U of C Students' Union highlighted similar results:

  • 79% of Calgarians supported legalization of existing suites (13% oppose)
  • 75% of Calgarians supported legal secondary suites in their neighbourhood (18% oppose)
  • 77% of Calgarians comfortable with their neighbour having a legal secondary suite (17% oppose)  

Categories:

Back | April 20, 2015

The City is exploring how growth could happen in a meaningful way for your main street neighbourhood. Share your ideas and thoughts about the success of Calgary's main streets at an upcoming workshop or online.

  • What do you love about your main street?
  • What could be better?
  • Where would you like to see change in your main street?

Spread the word! Invite your friends and neighbours to join Main Streets public engagement activities on the official Main Streets Facebook event page.

Upcoming workshops in Ward 7

Saturday April 25th, 2015

Topic: Kensington Road NW (west of 14 Street)

Time: 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Location: Savoy BLDG, 119 19th St, NW

Saturday April 25, 2015

Topic: Centre Street N & Edmonton Trail NE

Time: 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Location: Buchanan School, 3717 Centre ST NE

Thursday April 30, 2015

Topic: 4 Street NW

Time: 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Location: Calgary Scandinavian Centre, 739 20 Ave NW

Tuesday May 5th, 2015

Topic: 16 AV N

Time: 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Location: SAIT Heritage Hall - MacDonald Hall, 1301 16 Avenue NW

You can also participate online by sharing your ideas or by viewing and commenting on the ideas of others. Check out the Main Streets MindMixer map to share your ideas about your main street online. Simply log in, add an idea and place a pin on the map in the location that relates to your idea or concern.

For more information, please visit the City's Main Streets webpage.        

Categories: Community

Back | March 12, 2015

Walking is something most Calgarians do and likely something we should all do more of. Recognizing this, the City of Calgary is developing an action plan to outline how we can create a better quality pedestrian environment in the city. A pedestrian is anyone walking or jogging, using wheelchairs or mobility aids, walking their dogs, people with children’s strollers or wheeled carts, in-line skaters and skateboarders. We want to encourage more Calgarians to walk more often, while making it easier and safer to do.

The City aims to make walking a convenient, year-round travel option for more Calgarians through the Pedestrian Strategy, Step Forward: A Strategic Plan for Improving Walking in Calgary. The plan will focus on:

  • improving pedestrian safety;
  • providing universal accessibility;
  • improving the quality and experience of the pedestrian realm;
  • promoting a culture of walking; and
  • furthering walking as a sustainable, convenient and viable part of Calgary’s multi-modal
  • transportation system.

The City is holding a series of open-houses to get input and feedback from citizens to help build a better pedestrian strategy. Dates, times and locations of the open houses are:

Tuesday, March 10

6:30 p.m. – 9 p.m. ​Glenmore Inn – Glenmore West Room

2720 Glenmore Trail S.E.

(in collaboration with the SE Green Line Transitway project)

Thursday, March 12

6 p.m. – 8 p.m. ​Whitehorn Community Centre

228 Whitehorn Road N.E.

Saturday, March 14

10 a.m. – 12 p.m. ​Haysboro Community Centre

1204 - 89 Avenue S.W.

Tuesday, March 17

6 p.m. – 8 p.m. ​Highwood Community Hall

16 Harlow Avenue N.W.

Thursday, March 19

5 p.m. - 7 p.m. ​CBE Education Centre – Multipurpose Room

1221 - 8 Street S.W.

Walking is the most sustainable form of transportation and is ranked at the top of our Transportation Sustainability Triangle. It releases zero emissions, needs minimal infrastructure, is part of healthy lifestyle and is available to almost all Calgarians.

 

For more information on the Step Forward plan please click here

Categories: Community; Transportation

Back | December 26, 2014

Did you know that you can turn your real Christmas tree into useful mulch instead of garbage through the annual Christmas Tree Recycling program?

Crews will pick up real Christmas trees from homes that receive residential black cart garbage collection. To participate, place your tree on the ground near your black cart collection spot by 7 a.m. on Friday, January 9. Make sure the tree is not blocking the street, lane or sidewalk and is at least one foot (30 centimetres) away from your carts. Leave the tree out and it will be picked up within three weeks.

Eight tree drop-off locations will also be open from December 26 to January 31:

  • Bowness Fire Station #15 - 6358 35 Avenue NW
  • Prairie Winds Park - 223 Castleridge Blvd NE
  • Bottomlands Park - St. George's Drive and 7 Avenue NE
  • Marda Loop Communities Association - 3130 16 Street SW
  • Parks Compound - 10312 Sacramento Drive SW
  • Spyhill Landfill* - 69 Street and 112 Avenue NW
  • East Calgary Landfill* - 17 Avenue and 68 Street SE
  • Shepard Landfill* - 114 Avenue and 68 Street SE

*Landfill locations are closed Sundays.

To prepare your tree for recycling, remove the tree stand and any ornaments and lights. Don’t bag or tie your tree.

The mulch from this program is made available to citizens for gardening and landscaping at the East Calgary landfill while supplies last.

For more information visit calgary.ca/waste

Categories: Waste and Recycle

Back | January 13, 2015

The first sight of snow has most Canadian kids itching to get out their sleds, toboggans or GTs and head for the hills. In order to improve the safety of these crazy kids, Council passed a bylaw in 2003 to allow the city to designate certain hills as safe for children to use.

The Parks and Pathways Bylaw (20M2003) regulates the use of public open spaces within Calgary that are maintained by The City of Calgary. Under this bylaw, the Director of Parks has the power to designate areas within public parks and open spaces where tobogganing and sliding is allowed.

Eighteen parks and open spaces have been designated as sites appropriate for tobogganing in Calgary. The following criteria have been taken into consideration to designate safer areas for citizens to carry out this activity:

  • The safety of the landing site
  • The absence of trees
  • The grade of the hill
  • The proximity away from traffic, off-leash areas, bike paths, and other areas where use conflicts can occur

The City of Calgary Parks inspects these sites on a weekly basis for obstacles and other conditions that might make the sites unsafe. Obstacles such as jumps are removed to provide a safer tobogganing area.

The City recognizes that when done safely, tobogganing has many positive benefits for citizens and contributes to a healthy lifestyle. However, tobogganing can be extremely dangerous if carried out within a hazardous area. For this reason, the Parks and Pathways Bylaw prohibits tobogganing in non-designated areas on City-owned land.

The City prefers to take an education approach to changing unsafe behaviours. While a $100 fine for violating the bylaw may be levied, no fines have been administered since the bylaw’s inception in 2003.

A total of 18 inquiries to 311 have been made since 2003.

For more information, visit Calgary.ca/parks

Categories: Parks

Back | December 19, 2014

Merry Christmas from Druh Farrell and the Ward 7 Team!

To view our online Christmas card, please click here.

Categories:

Back | January 12, 2015

Calgary Transit is excited to announce that their entire fleet of 1,100 buses are now low-floor, accessible vehicles!

Over the course of 2014, Calgary Transit retired a good portion of their high-floor busses. In December Calgary said goodbye to the last high-floor bus in the fleet. All buses in service are now low-floor buses that allow a ramp to be lowered to make it easier for customers with mobility challenges to board.

Calgary Transit has been moving towards this goal since 1993. They have been careful to maximize the value of our older buses, while keeping in mind the accessibility needs of Calgarians. The last 117 high-floor buses in our fleet had a combined mileage of 108 million kilometres and 34 of those buses have been sold to places like Saskatoon, Gatineau and Sunshine Village.

A complete fleet of accessible busses will usher in a new era of transit accessibility for customers with mobility challenges. Of course, there is still more work to be done but we’re very excited to have reached this milestone.

Categories:

Back | December 19, 2014

In keeping with our recent (and rather dry) newsletter theme on growth and taxes, I wanted to share one solution under consideration: The Civic Charter.

A bit of history: The City of Calgary’s current legal arrangement with the Province of Alberta stems back to the days of Confederation when over 80 percent of Albertans lived on the family farm. Canadian cities were considered “creatures” of their province, with limited powers of self-determination. Now, over one hundred years later, with 83 percent of Albertans living in cities, little has changed in our regulatory relationship. The City of Calgary falls under the sames rules and has the same powers as the the Town of Rosebud. (Fun fact: Municipalities in Alberta are only required to do two things - hold elections and bury people.)

To raise revenue, Alberta cities are limited by the Province to property taxes (widely considered a regressive tax) and user fees. Faced with extreme growth bursts, Calgary is unable to charge for the full cost of new development. We are dependant on other orders of government for grants, while services long considered Federal or Provincial responsibility, like affordable housing or low-income subsidies, are being downloaded to the City. 

After decades of discussion, the Government of Alberta, the City of Calgary, and the City of Edmonton signed an agreement in late 2014 to negotiate a Civic Charter. The key areas under discussion are Governance, Planning and Development, and Assessment and Taxation.

A Civic Charter could allow Calgary to look at different funding methods other than property taxes, including the ability to negotiate with developers for full-cost recovery rather than the current system of taxpayer-funded operating costs and debt-financed infrastructure costs. A charter could also help Calgary be more nimble and responsive to wild growth swings.

The concept of a charter goes far beyond financial independance. It could also allow us to make our own decisions on important issues like campaign finance reform, residential speed limits, building codes and safety standards, and quotas for affordable housing in new communities.

The issues around funding growth will continue to be part of our discussions at Council. I will share more about the Charter negotiations as they progress. Please visit druhfarrell.ca for more information regarding Ward 7 and other issues facing our city.

Categories: City Charter

Back | January 21, 2015

The City of Calgary is preparing to restart the Crowchild Trail Corridor Study process. The completed study will include recommendations on how Crowchild Trail from 24 Avenue N.W. to 17 Avenue S.W. can be improved over time, including short-term and long-term roadway upgrades necessary for moving high volumes of vehicular traffic, while supporting all modes of transportation and minimizing impacts to adjacent communities. City staff hope to have the study completed by the end of 2016. Upon completion of the study, various construction projects will proceed based on need, and available funding, as determined by Council.

The study will be broken up in six phases with a strong focus on community engagement during each phase of the process. This will provide multiple opportunities for public feedback and will incorporate stakeholder and citizen feedback into the decision-making process throughout. Stakeholders such as area businesses, land owners, community residents, and road users are all welcome to provide input on future improvements for Crowchild Trail as the study progresses.

(click here for larger image)

Phase 1 of the study will establish an Engagement Design Team to answer the question “How can we have the most effective conversation possible about the Crowchild Trail Corridor Study?” The Engagement Design Team will be comprised of a group of citizens committed to participate, and will represent diverse perspectives including neighbouring communities, the broader community of Calgary, and different types of users of Crowchild Trail.

In early February, The City will be inviting Calgarians to participate on the Engagement Design Team. Input from Phase 1 of the study will be used to develop an engagement program that will apply to Phases 2 to 6, from spring 2015 to the end of the study in late 2016.

To receive regular updates throughout the process, please contact the Ward 7 office and we will add you to our mailing list.  

Categories: Transportation

Back | December 22, 2014

Yesterday, Council’s Transportation and Transit Committee approved Centre Street as the route for the future North Central LRT. The Committee’s decision will now be forwarded to a meeting of City Council in January for further discussion. While this meeting is open to the public for observation either in person or online, there will not be an opportunity for the public to speak on the item. The next opportunity for the public to speak to the item will be in February when it returns to Transportation and Transit Committee. The focus of this discussion will be how the North Central LRT connects with the Southeast LRT in the downtown core.

The North Central LRT is the north leg of the Green Line, the next new LRT line in Calgary’s rapid transit network. As outlined in RouteAhead, a 30-year strategic plan for transit in Calgary, the Green Line will eventually run from North Pointe in north central Calgary to Seton in the southeast, with future extensions to the north possible in the longer term.

If you would like more information, please contact our office through our website: www.druhfarrell.com

Categories:

Back | January 06, 2015

With the snow starting to pile up once again, I would like to ask Calgarians to please give some thought to others in your neighbourhood who may have more difficulty dealing with the challenges winter brings. Consider helping them keep walks clear of snow and ice, and earn your wings as a Snow Angel!

Snow Angels is an initiative developed by Community & Neighbourhood Services that encourages Calgarians to look out for those who may need assistance with snow removal. Now in its 11th year, it’s one way that community members can come together and help each other out.

Keeping walks clear can be very challenging – even dangerous – for older adults and others who have limited mobility. They face a much greater risk of serious injury from a strain or fall.

Did you know that you can nominate a Snow Angel? Over the past 10 years, The City has recognized approximately 7,650 Snow Angels. Last year, a record 1,247 Snow Angels were nominated and we’d like to keep that momentum going!

If you, or someone you know has been helped by a Snow Angel, please contact 311 to nominate them. Snow Angels are officially recognized by The City of Calgary and entered in a prize draw.

Categories: Community; Snow and Ice

Back | December 18, 2014

With Christmas and New Year’s Day falling on Thursdays this year, and residential garbage and recycling service not provided on holidays, Waste & Recycling Services have established the following alternate dates for blue and black cart pick-up:

  • No collection on Thursday, December 25 -> Alternate date Monday, December 29th
  • No collection on Thursday, January 1 -> Alternate date Monday, January 5th
  • Regular Thursday collection will resume on January 8th, 2015.

An informational postcard will be mailed directly to all affected residents with Thursday collection. The cards should arrive in homes the week of December 15 via Canada Post.

Benefits to residents:

  • Scheduling the alternate collection days to follow the holidays will ensure that residents do not miss their scheduled pickup.
  • Heavier garbage and recycling loads created during the holidays will be picked up closer to the holiday dates.
  • Residents will continue to receive the same quality of service during the holidays as on their regular collection day.

For more information, click here to proceed to the City's webpage.

Categories: Waste and Recycle

Back | December 05, 2014

Thank you to all who participated in the budget process to help Council set priorities. In December, Council approved the 2015-2018 Action Plan which sets out plans and budgets over the next four years. During budget deliberations, I championed investment in services that are important to Ward 7 residents, such as public transit, pedestrian access, parks, and the environment.

Here are some highlights from Action Plan 2015-2018:

The plan represents a lean budget for a growing city, with $50 million in efficiencies found by City Administration. The approved 2015 average monthly tax increase of $5.95 will maintain service levels in most departments, with service cuts for transit-users and pedestrians.

  • While Council added 70,000 new hours for transit routes in new communities, the funds are not sufficient for Calgary Transit to achieve its strategic plan.
  • I’m very pleased that the Low Income Transit Pass rate was frozen for 2015, benefiting all low income passengers.
  • Tree Disaster Recovery received one-time funding of $35 million from emergency reserves to restore Calgary’s urban forest, devastated by the September snow storm.
  • Calgary Police Services will add 10 officers over the next two years; far from what is required given the rapid growth of our City.

Despite my support for services valued by Ward 7 residents, there are areas of concern that I will follow closely as we roll out the Action Plan over the next four years:

  • Cuts to Environment and Safety Management will eliminate the solar panel project for community associations and limit our progress as environmental leaders.
  • Transit, identified as a top priority for Calgarians, will not achieve their strategic plan at current funding levels.
  • A $2 million (15 percent) cut to pedestrian infrastructure, a small fraction of the $2.3 billion Transportation budget, will further compromise pedestrian access.
  • The constrained Police budget may erode our record-low crime rates. Council will work closely with the Calgary Police Commission to monitor any impacts on service levels.  

I’d like to thank City Staff for their hard work and the citizens of Calgary for your participation. We will continue to monitor emerging trends and growth rates over the next four years.

For Ward 7 information, please visit druhfarrell.ca 

Categories: Budget; City Finances

Back | November 21, 2014

In November’s newsletter, I introduced the City of Calgary’s biggest priority: responding to the needs of a growing population. The City Manager since advised City Council that rapid growth is not just a planning issue, it is a financial issue, and in order to protect the fiscal health of our City, we must change the current system.

It is projected that Calgary will grow by up to 40,000 people a year for the next four years. Each new Calgarian requires a $17,000 investment in utilities, roads, transit, and other infrastructure (at this growth rate, we will need to expand wastewater treatment plant capacity every six years). While we welcome new residents to help Calgary to grow, our ability to accommodate them is becoming increasingly strained under the existing model.

After advising Council on the financial magnitude of the growth challenges and the impacts on both our capital and operating budgets, our Chief Financial Officer provided potential solutions. 

  • The City requires changes to Provincial legislation in order to explore different revenue sources including developer-paid infrastructure. Necessary changes are included in our negotiations with the Province on the creation of a City Charter which are currently underway.
  • While the strategic use of debt continues to be an option, I remain strongly opposed to increasing our debt limits as Calgary’s debt-per-capita ratio is the highest of all major cities in Canada. Incurring more debt for depreciating capital infrastructure simply offloads the burden to future generations.
  • The City and the development industry (who acknowledge that change is needed) have agreed to work together on a new funding model in response to growth challenges. The objective is to ensure a sustainable funding agreement, with full cost recovery for The City and taxpayers, while allowing the development industry to remain profitable. A coordinated approach to planning and investment will allow The City to scale its efforts regardless of population growth.

As we work through the solutions, I will continue to provide updates on my website at druhfarrell.ca

Categories: Newsletter

Back | November 07, 2014

Since 2003, the ENMAX Legacy Parks Program has been instrumental in creating some of Calgary’s most beloved parks. Council recently approved an additional $75 million (resulting from the ENMAX dividend) for eighteen new projects over the next five years. The program will create new parks and enhance some of Calgary’s most celebrated public spaces.

I am pleased to share some exciting news! Three parks in Ward 7 will see upgrades: 

  • Confederation Park ($1.1 million), one of Calgary’s favourite regional parks will be revitalized in time for Canada’s sesquicentennial in 2017.
  • Bow to Bluff Park ($5.9 million) is an award-winning citizen’s initiative to connect McHugh Bluff to the Bow River with a green necklace of seven pocket parks. The funding will be supplemented by contributions from local developers and the project will create an improved public space for the residents of Sunnyside as they experience significant redevelopment.  
  • Blakiston Park ($2.9 million) project will improve the park adjacent to the new development at the Brentwood LRT station and fulfils a commitment made by Council during the approval of the Transit Oriented Development Plan. Financial contributions from the adjacent development will augment the budget. A community design process is currently underway.

Past Legacy-funded projects include Memorial Drive Landscape of Memory, Devonian Gardens, Central Memorial Park, Ralph Klein Park and many others. For more information on the full program visit the ENMAX Parks Program, and Calgary.ca over the coming months for project updates.

Categories: Parks

Back | October 31, 2014


Each year, The City of Calgary conducts research and engagement to better understand citizens’ preferences, needs, and satisfaction levels with our programs and services.

On October 21, The City launched an online research panel called Citizens’ View; an online space where you can share your thoughts about life in Calgary by participating in surveys and discussions on topics that matter to you.

Citizens’ View is a Transforming Government initiative and aligns with the Council priority of a well run city. The online panel is a cost-effective tool that will complement The City’s existing research and engagement tools, making information sharing more transparent, accessible, and interactive. 

Join today by visiting the Citizens' View website.

Categories: Accountability

Back | October 29, 2014

The Calgary Roads Department has made some important and significant changes to its Snow Route parking ban program for the upcoming winter season.

Roads evaluates the Snow Route parking ban program every year to identify areas for improvement and build best practices. This 2014-2015 winter season, changes are being made to Snow Routes to better balance the need for on-street parking options and better align with Calgary Transit’s bus routes.

Please see this updated map to find out how the changes impact your neighbourhood in Ward 7. Please note that some segments have been removed and some have been added. If a snow route is removed from the parking ban network, it will still receive snow and ice control however it will be no longer benefit from curb-to-curb snow removal that is possible when a parking ban is called.

New Snow Routes will be marked by blue and white snowflake signs. Work is currently underway to remove signage from snow routes that are being discontinued.

Affected residents will be notified of the changes by mailed letters and Calgary.ca has been updated with details and maps. The easiest way for residents to find this information is to visit Calgary.ca and search Snow Route parking bans.

Calgary Parking Authority is responsible for enforcing the Snow Route parking ban.

Categories: Snow and Ice; Transportation

Back | November 24, 2014

The next week will be the most important week of Council’s term as we debate The City of Calgary’s four year business plan and budget. To help set priorities, we asked Calgarians what services they most value and the result is The City’s Action Plan 2015-2018. I encourage you to spend a little time on the City’s webpage to get a sense of what is proposed.

Top of mind for many Calgarians will be the change to the property tax rate. To put property tax into context, the median annual property tax bill, after the Provincial Education portion (40%) is removed, is $1611.21 or $134.26 per month. Think about that for a moment. For $134.26 a month, Calgarians enjoy police and fire services to keep them safe, recreation facilities and programming to help keep them fit, public parks and libraries, transit services to keep the city moving, road and sidewalk repair, snow-clearing and a long list of other services. For most Calgarians, this is lower than the Canadian average monthly household cell phone and cable bill ($191.00).

The City will also be releasing the results of the 2014 Citizen Satisfaction Survey. After reviewing the results, I am pleased to see that Calgarians continue to value the services that The City provides. This is particularly the case in Ward 7 – 78% of Ward 7 residents are satisfied with the overall level and quality of services and programs provided by The City of Calgary and 90% believe we are on the right track to becoming a better city. What I found most exciting is neighbourhood pride is significantly higher (94%) in Ward 7 than all other wards.

The survey also asked residents where they would like to see more investment. The top priority identified in Ward 7 is transit. This is especially important when considering that transit ridership is up while the proposed budget for 2015-2018 includes cuts to transit service. That means that we won’t meet our targets set by Council in the Calgary Transportation Plan (see graph below). I plan to raise the issue of transit funding when we discuss the Calgary Transit budget.

As important, or perhaps even more so (although it receives less attention), is the four-year capital budget. While it’s important that we fund infrastructure projects for a growing city, I will continue to advocate for adequate lifecycle maintenance and re-investment in aging infrastructure for existing communities. 

Categories: Accountability; Budget; City Finances

Back | December 09, 2014

The City will be mailing 2015 assessment notices on Jan. 5, 2015 to all property and business owners in Calgary. You are encouraged to carefully review your assessment and if you have any questions, to contact Assessment at 403-268-2888 during the Customer Review Period from Jan. 5 to March 6, 2015. Changes to assessed values will only be considered if an inquiry is received during the Customer Review Period.

For more information about the assessment process, visit calgary.ca/assessment. To obtain more information and to review and compare your assessment with similar properties in your neighbourhood, visit calgary.ca/assessmentsearch   PLEASE NOTE: you will need a City myID account (calgary.ca/myID) to use the secure feature.

Calgarians can consider various payment arrangements with the City. The Tax Installment Payment Plan allows you to pay your property taxes on a monthly basis. This helps avoid late penalties. Calgarians facing financial hardship can also access the Property Tax Assistance Program  The Government of Alberta offers seniors the opporunity to defer their property taxes until a later or when they sell their home through the Seniors Property Tax Deferral Program.

Categories: Taxes

Back | November 04, 2014

The United Nations set a minimum standard of 30% representation by women in government. Women account for half our population, so it should be simple, right? Sadly, in Canada, only 25% of those elected to office are women and our nation ranks 48th of 189 countries, behind Afghanistan and Rwanda. Calgary City Council sits at 13%, the lowest ratio of women in generations. 

I encourage you to help make a difference for all mothers, sisters, daughters, and women in your life. Start by watching 25 Percent: A documentary.

Categories:

Back | October 29, 2014

Have you ever wondered what happens to all of the garbage you throw away every week? Once the waste leaves your sidewalk, it is no longer your problem. If only things were that simple. Our leftover food and yard waste has effects that are longer lasting than the stinky garbage bins suggest.

When food and yard waste is disposed of in landfills, it doesn’t just decompose and go back into the earth. Anaerobic bacteria break down the material and release methane gas as a byproduct. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change and the degradation of the ozone layer.

This summer, Waste and Recycling Services mined a Nose Creek landfill from the 1920s and one from the 1970’s where they discovered waste that was virtually unchanged from the date it was tossed, including still-green grass cuttings and perfectly readable newspapers.

Photos of waste from the 1920s landfill mined in 2012

Old newspaper 

grass from a landfill 

Photos of waste from the 1970s landfill mined in 2012

Calgary Herald newspaper from landfill 

/citycouncil/ward-7/PublishingImages/News-articles/Green-Grass-pulled-from-landfill-two-summers-ago.jpg 

Composting, a simple and effective way for us to divert food waste from methane producing landfills, will be available via city-wide organics pick-up by 2017. Our trash is our problem, even if it is not sitting in our driveway.​​

Categories:

Back | October 08, 2014

Strange objects have been arriving by flatbed trucks to the Emergency Operations Centre in Rotary Park. They are the first pieces of sculpture for the public art installation, Frozen River, sponsored by the Calgary Fire Department and the Calgary Public Art Program. 

The artist, Stephen Glassman, describes his work:

”Frozen River is a gesture to the native glacial and prairie landscape and its people. A rambling path of local stone and bent pipe loop-de-loops across the horizon, apparently in motion, defying gravity like a frozen river. The sculpture is a response to Calgary’s inspiring elemental force and beauty – the rolling prairie, the metallic sky, the arctic air, the glacial river, and the emerging mountains.”

Public Art, Calgary Emergency Management Agency, and Parks are working together to minimize any inconvenience during the installation process for neighbours of the EOC, as well as users of the Rotary Park playground. Installation of the main structural elements will be complete in 2-3 days, and landscaping and non-structural components of the artwork will be complete by the end of the October.

For more information, visit calgary.ca/publicart or call 311.

Categories: Arts and Culture

Back | October 03, 2014

Mayor Nenshi Proclaims October "End Poverty Month"

An estimated 22,000 children in Calgary are living in poverty, creating a long-term impact on our entire community. Over one-third of Calgarians worry about not having enough money for housing. One-in-five Calgarians worry about not having enough food.

This surprising and sad reality inspired Mayor Nenshi to officially declare October “End Poverty Month” in Calgary. The proclamation is in recognition of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty on October 17. The momentum to end poverty in Calgary is building. The Calgary Poverty Reduction Initiative boldly asserts that there is enough for all. Let’s join together to build a resilient city where poverty cannot take root.

For a listing of the many events taking place around Calgary in October, please visit the End Poverty Month's events page.

Together we can do this!

Categories: Events

Back | September 26, 2014

All Calgarians experience the city as a pedestrian. Whether we drive, take transit, cycle, walk, in-line skate, or skateboard, most of us start or end our trips on foot. From the people who walk to work every day, to the hundreds of thousands of riders of our trains and buses, to the bustling activity on our neighbourhood streets, the safety of pedestrians is vitally important.    

The pedestrian experience is critical to the success of Calgary and its future. Over the last ten years, Calgary has made tremendous improvements in pedestrian infrastructure; yet much of the city was built without pedestrians in mind, lacking key links within neighbourhoods and to transit stops.

While Calgary has strategies for other forms of transportation including automobile and goods movement, transit, cycling, and pathways, we have yet to develop one for pedestrians and mobility device users. That is about to change. A plan is in the works to improve all aspects of the walking experience and increase pedestrian activity through education, engineering, investment, and enforcement. It will tackle how to make Calgary’s streets safe for our youngest and oldest pedestrians, how to improve connections, and how an improved walking environment can create a healthier and more livable city.

Even one pedestrian fatality is too many. We are committed to protecting pedestrians and creating a culture of safety and respect by addressing street design and behaviour. Working with Calgary Police Services, Calgary’s transportation engineers will analyze data to better understand the nature of collisions involving pedestrians and guide the tools, policies, and education programs to improve safety.

We can take action before the final policy is complete. Plans are already in motion to test new safety tools, including in-road lighting and conflict-analysis technology that will measure near-misses and identify issues before anyone gets hurt. We also expanded our pilot program of Rapid Flashing Beacons with continued success.

The strategy will be the result of a 16 month effort including a series of public meetings to develop a plan of action. In the meantime, let’s look out for one another and ensure that we all return home safe and sound. 

To stay up to date with what Druh is working on you can follow Druh on Twitter (@DruhFarrell) and like her on Facebook.

Categories: Newsletter; Transportation

Back | October 20, 2014

Calgary remains one of the fastest growing cities in North America. Every five years, Calgary adds roughly the population of the City of Regina to its borders. During my time in office, from 2001 to today, our population has grown by 36%, with over 100% of growth occurring on the edges of the city as older communities hollowed out, causing pressure on both our capital and operating budgets to service these new areas.

With the city’s four-year budget deliberations quickly approaching, City Council will once again consider how to fund rapidly increasing demands for infrastructure and services with limited funding. Although a thorough debate on priorities is planned, the lion’s share of our budget choices will continue to be shaped by past and future decisions on how we grow as a city.

A booming city poses a number of dilemmas. Growth is costly. Calgary’s debt is directly related to growth, with 75% of our infrastructure investment going to support new development. Earlier this year, Council debated on whether we should raise Calgary’s self-imposed debt limit to facilitate more growth. I was strongly opposed to this for three reasons: Calgary has the highest debt-per-capita ratio of any city in Canada; it would enable new development in areas that are not ready, forcing us into further debt; capital investment requires additional operating and maintenance dollars. Thankfully, most of Council agreed with my position and took the advice of our Chief Financial Officer and chose not to raise the debt limit, but the question of how to pay for all our new residents’ needs continues. Most new operating costs also go to accommodate growth, and yet the city needs to approve new communities to house all of our newcomers. In the past, Calgary chose to build outwards, ever-expanding the city limits with low-density neighbourhoods. Low-density residential communities never pay for themselves, so this growth pattern came with a significant cost that will continue long into the future. 

So that’s the bad news. But if the status quo isn’t working, what is the alternative? The good news is that a lot of work is already underway. I have been sounding the alarm on growth and debt for many years, and our new City Manager, Jeff Fielding, also recognizes the urgency of our growth, debt, and budget challenges. In next month’s article I will talk about how the City, working with the development industry, is seeking a sustainable model that will balance the demands of a growing city.

Categories:

Back | September 01, 2014

With children across the city returning to school, Council made an important change to improve pedestrian safety on roads near schools and playgrounds. As of September 1, 2014, school and playground zone hours are harmonized to one consistent time. Please slow down to 30km/h during these times:

Playground zones are in effect from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., all year around. School zones are in effect from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., on school days only.

There are 180 school zones and 1510 playground zones in the city. Crews have been busy all month changing the times on almost 5,000 signs around Calgary. Please use extra caution when driving in a school or playground zones.

Drive safely!

Categories:

Back | September 15, 2014

“Calgary: a great place to make a living; a great place to make a life.”

In November, Council will set Calgary’s direction for the next four year by reviewing the City’s business plan and budget. Action Plan 2015-2018 builds on five priority themes identified by Calgarians: a prosperous city, a city of inspiring neighbourhoods, a city that moves, a healthy and green city, and a well-run city.

While these priorities may seem basic, they are pillars that guide all departments in service delivery and planning for the next generation. Most interesting is the community feedback with each of these pillars and the differences between Wards. Getting around Calgary was the highest priority for all Calgarians, and while this includes all modes of transportation, Ward 7 residents ranked accessible public transit, and pedestrian and cycling infrastructure higher than other wards. That’s not surprising considering the 2013 census results show Ward 7 and Ward 8 with the lowest share of single-occupancy-vehicle commuters in Calgary. Popular alternatives in Ward 7 show growing numbers who carpool (3%), take transit (23%), walk (14%), or cycle (5%) to work.

Ward 7 residents also think globally, choosing affordable housing options and responsible use of energy as important themes. Local festivals and culture rank higher with Ward 7 residents compared to crime prevention, fire protection, and safety education. While safety is important, Ward 7 residents also recognize that cultural activities make communities safer and more vibrant.

When we talk about a growing city, Ward 7 residents put emphasis on local parks, reinvesting in older communities, and development near C-Train stations, all reflective of mature communities undergoing rejuvenation.

Interestingly, Ward 7 residents ranked Calgary’s environment higher than Calgary’s economy, which was the reverse citywide. We recognize that Calgary cannot be prosperous in the long-term without environmental success. With several Ward 7 communities impacted by the 2013 floods, it is also no surprise that flood and watershed management ranked highly.

To learn more about Action Plan 2015-2018, please visit calgary.ca/actionplan. To see what is happening in Ward 7 visit druhfarrell.ca. To receive regular email updates, sign up by sending an email to Ward07@calgary.ca.

Categories: Budget

Back | July 18, 2014

The provincial govnernment has taken a significant step to ensure that Albertans are informed and prepared for future public emergencies in real time. 

The Alberta Emergency Management Agency (AEMA) has created new apps for smartphone and tablet users to receive alerts from the Alberta Emergency Alert (AEA) system. The apps are available for Android and iOS operating systems from Google play and the App Store, respectively.

App users will receive the same critical alerts that also interrupt local broadcasting, appear on the AEA Twitter and Facebook accounts and posted online at emergencyalert.alberta.ca. These alerts will be geo-tagged (when enabled on your phone) so you will receive alerts pertinent to your location in Alberta, even when travelling in the province. The app also contains preparedness information. You can get more information about the app at emergencyalert.alberta.ca.

Please forward this bulletin to your family, friends and colleagues and encourage them to download and install the app for their devices. Should you have any further questions, please call the on-call EMO at 403 512 8117.

Categories:

Back | July 07, 2014

I hope you find time to soak up the lazy days of summer and enjoy Calgary’s many summer festivals and activities. 

As the bustle of September approaches, we would like to continue to keep you informed on what’s happening in Ward 7. Due to the new Canadian anti-spam laws, we require your consent to keep in touch. From critical flood information to Crowchild Trail expansion updates, we limit our communication to important City issues and promise not to overload your inbox.

If you are already on our email list, simply send an email to Ward07@calgary.ca and request continued updates. You can also join our mailing list by visiting druhfarrell.ca to sign up. For more frequent updates, please “like” Druh Farrell on Facebook and follow @DruhFarrell on Twitter.   

We value our ongoing relationship with the residents of Ward 7 and look forward to communicating with you. It’s always nice to see and hear from you.

Categories: Newsletter; Ward office

Back | May 22, 2014

Dear Community Association Presidents and Planning Chairs,

I would like to update you on a motion that I plan to bring forward at the June 9th City Council meeting regarding secondary suites. If passed, the motion will allow secondary suites throughout wards 7, 8, 9 and 11, as well as within 600 metres of primary transit nodes (LRT and Bus Rapid Transit) in all wards in the city.

The City of Calgary is experiencing a growing housing affordability crisis worsened by the 2013 flood. Secondary suites will bring relief to this crisis by providing revenue opportunities for homeowners and increasing the options for safe rental housing. They are a simple and market-driven solution to the increasingly serious problem of housing affordability at no cost to the City. For home owners, suites can provide extra revenue and a helping hand to seniors wanting to age in place, or young families entering the housing market.

Other cities that have adopted similar rules have experienced an uptake of only 10% of suites in any given neighbourhood as well as a decrease in illegal suites. With the implementation of secondary suites, I want to ensure that we encourage good neighbours. My motion will request that the new bylaw addresses these common concerns:

a) spill-over parking;

b) overshadowing and overlooking for garden/laneway suites;

c) landlord responsibility.

I have been a vocal advocate for secondary suites since I was first elected in 2001. Council has debated secondary suites and laneway housing many times over the years, resulting in incremental changes that are often overly complicated and confusing. Several years ago, Council made the decision to allow secondary suites in all new communities and we have seen an increased interest in those neighbourhoods and throughout the city.

I look forward to working with your community association to ensure that implementation of the new secondary suite bylaw is a success.

Sincerely,

Druh

Categories:

Back | September 15, 2014

Pick up, Pitch in, Pull together. We Calgarians are once again showing our spirit by helping each other through power outages caused by the storm, emergency reporting of unsafe conditions, and cleaning up our neighbourhoods of tree debris.

The main focus is safety. Please avoid parks and public spaces with mature trees, as City crews assess hazards and clear debris. Please visit the Calgary tree clean up web page to view the latest updates.

ENMAX has been “on for you” and has restored power to all customers where it is safe to do so. Some customers may be without power until their electrical equipment is repaired by a certified electrician. Once repairs are completed, or if you do not have damage to your electrical equipment and are still without power, please call the ENMAX Trouble Line at 403 514 6100. You can find more information on the ENMAX service connection web page.

I encourage you to help your neighbours, especially seniors and those who may be physically unable to clear debris. Seniors can call 311 or complete the 311 online form to access the City’s separate stream called the “Seniors' Home Maintenance Service”.

I am saddened about the substantial loss and damage of our beloved trees throughout the City. In attempts to save or protect trees in your yard, please take precaution in finding certified arborists to do any cutting and trimming. Reminders: Request qualifications from those your consider hiring, as more damage can be done by unqualified individuals.

The City continues to update FAQs of frequent questions from residents. Thank you, Calgary, for pulling together!

Categories: Snow and Ice

Back | April 25, 2014

Starting Monday, April 28 towing and parking bans for Spring Clean-up operations will be enforced by The Calgary Parking Authority.

This means that if a parking ban is in effect, any vehicle that has not been removed from the area will be tagged and towed to a nearby road if space is available, or to the City of Calgary's impound lot.

Vehicles are fined and towed only if a "No Parking" sign (i.e. parking ban) is in effect. The City of Calgary, Roads pays for towing; the vehicle owner pays the parking ticket and impound fee, if applicable.

If parking has not been legally banned but the street cleaning signs are up, crews will sweep around vehicles. The Parking Ban Signs (No Parking Signs) are the small 3-feet high signs that have the No Parking symbol on them, and not the large street cleaning schedule signs. It is important to note that crews will not come back to sweep the street again, so it’s important to move your vehicle even when there is no penalty for not doing so.

To find out how these operations will impact your parking situation, please consult the interactive map.

The City of Calgary would like to thank you for your cooperation at this time, for more information regarding the Spring Clean-up program please visit calgary.ca/sweep or contact 311. 

Categories:

Back | April 15, 2014


Our office is pleased to share that the Notice of Motion​ to help homeowners cover the cost of permits was approved by council on Monday, April 14th. The grant program is going to be managed through the Red Cross and should be in place for May 1, 2014. For details, please talk to your Red Cross agent. If you do not have a Red Cross contact yet, please call their Calgary Flood Recovery Office at 403-261-6200.

Categories: Flood

Back | April 14, 2014

City launches comprehensive webpage dedicated to flood preparation

To help Calgarians who live in the floodplain or flood fringe access the most current information, the City launched a website dedicated to flood recovery, preparedness, and mitigation: http://www.calgary.ca/floodprep  You can subscribe for ongoing updates here. With the 2013 flood anniversary approaching, we encourage you to share this note with friends and neighbours who may also need information and support. We will continue to send you helpful links as information comes available. Our updates will also include details for upcoming flood-related events. Feel free to attend the upcoming events below:

Alberta’s Watershed Management Symposium

Tuesday, April 29th, 10am to 3:30pm

Calgary Stampede Grounds, BMO Centre

Free registration here

Calgary’s Disaster Alley 2014

Sunday, May 4th, 11am to 3pm

McMahon Stadium (east parking lot)

Free event, no registration required

Other Helpful Links:

City of Calgary Flood Recovery http://www.calgary.ca/floodrecovery

Calgary Emergency Management Agency

http://www.calgary.ca/CSPS/Fire/Pages/Calgary-Emergency-Management-Agency/Calgary-Emergency-Management-Agency.aspx

Alberta Flood Recovery http://alberta.ca/Flood-Recovery.cfm

Alberta Flood Mitigation http://alberta.ca/flood-mitigation.cfm

Categories: Flood

Back | April 18, 2014

Spring Yard Drop-off at City Landfills


Between April 18 and June 1, Calgarians will be able to bring their spring yard waste to landfills for composting free of charge.

Before leaving for the landfill, we would like to remind residents to:

  • Make sure your load only contains yard waste like leaves, branches, and plants (no sod – it can’t be composted). Fees will apply if your load contains other items.
  • Yard waste should be in a paper bag or left loose. Please cover and secure loads of loose material before transporting.
  • This offer is for residential customers only. Commercial customers will be subject to regular landfill fees.
  • Check online at calgary.ca/waste or contact 311 for landfill locations and hours.

For more information, please visit: http://www.calgary.ca/UEP/WRS/Pages/Recycling-information/Residential-services/Organics-recycling/Spring-yard-waste-drop-off.aspx

Categories: Waste and Recycle

Back | July 30, 2014

In July 2014, Administration proposed to Council a new fare structure for July 1, 2015. Council rejected the new fare structure, then directed Administration to maintain the current senior fare discounts for 2015 and return with a fare strategy (with a possible tier structure), based on a sliding scale of fares relative to incomes and to report back to Council no later than October 2014.

Transit’s proposal for a new fare structure responds to the need to be financially sustainable, so that investment in service levels is sufficient to encourage transit use. Customer feedback indicates that quality of service is more of a barrier to riders than cost. Having said this, Councillor Druh Farrell realizes that cost is a significant barrier for low income Calgarians of all ages.

Within the next ten years, over 100,000 Calgarians will turn 65. In 30 years, that number will increase to 300,000. With the growing senior population, many who will continue to work beyond the age of 65, it’s important that we develop a subsidy system that is financially sustainable. Councillor Farrell believes in creating a transit fare structure that provides for discounts based on need rather than age. She is supportive of the following:

  • Differentiation for low income Calgarians, regardless of age, to ensure that they are offered a subsidized fare. Druh is supportive of the concept of a sliding scale of fares relative to incomes. •More fare options for low income Calgarians, i.e. monthly, daily and single ride rather than only annual passes.
  • Easier renewal of passes, with the introduction of smart cards that can be renewed without physically visiting a transit office.

The chart below demonstrates how deep the discounts are for seniors and low income seniors, even in comparison to low income Calgarians and youth. Druh will support a fare structure going forward that balances financial sustainability with fare discounts for those who need it, with more flexible fare options for all seniors.

Categories:

Back | May 02, 2014

Druh's Endorsement Article from BikeCalgary.ca

One of the fantastic things about Calgary is that it’s a pioneer city. It was populated, and continues to be populated, by people who came here to change their lives. They didn’t want the status quo, they wanted something better. They were risk-takers and city-builders who braved the punishing weather to build a dazzling city on the prairie. They knew that the secret of change was to focus all of their energy not on fighting the old but building the new. 

Big change is often generational. Contrast my parents who grew up with horse and buggy, with my generation who saw the freedoms provided by cars and the introduction of the internet, to those who are under 30 today and don’t wear wristwatches, read newspapers, or talk on landline telephones. Those twenty-somethings are driving less, and taking transit, walking and cycling more. Many own cars, but they don’t use them as often. These Calgarians are moving to the core in greater numbers and want their neighbourhood streets to be safe for walking and cycling, while also acknowledging that the streets they’re living on are also commuter routes used by all Calgarians.

And it’s not only the Gen Y’s that are driving change. Interestingly our seniors are also changing their lifestyles in surprising ways. The number of Calgarians over the age of 65 will exceed 300,000 in only ten years. Many are downsizing and moving back to the core, or to lock-it-and-leave-it housing in their own neighbourhoods, and that’s changing how we plan our city. To take a page from our Cycling Strategy, if you create a city that’s good for an 80 year old and good for an 8 year old, you will create a successful city for everyone.

For all of us who fight for change, once we get used to enjoying the fruits of our labours, it’s hard to see the next wave of evolution come along. We get comfortable with what we fought for and the next change can make us uncomfortable. Shifting gears is rarely easy, but it isn't supposed to be. So when confronted with change, many of us freak out from time to time, but there’s usually an upside. And Calgary has showed that upside time after time.

Councillor Druh Farrell

Big changes that freaked us out: 

C-train: Hard to imagine now, but the community of Sunnyside protested the LRT by delivering a huge red Valentine impaled on a dagger, with the caption “cutting the heart out of Hillhurst Sunnyside”. The station is now considered a model. And all that paled to the controversy of taking vehicles off 7th Avenue.

Smoking bylaw: Restaurateurs who worried about loss of business opposed the bylaw and sued the City of Calgary. One year later, when business actually increased, those same businesses wrote a letter of apology.

River Pathways: Mayor Jack Leslie braved a skeptical public in the 1960’s when he introduced the idea of pathways along the river. Seen as too controversial to move ahead with the full plan, a small pathway west of the downtown was introduced as a pilot. Calgary now has over 500 km of celebrated pathways. 

Categories: Cycling; Transportation

Back | March 05, 2014

Cycling on the rise in Calgary

With Calgary forecasted to grow by one million people in the next 30 years, how will we attract and accommodate these new Calgarians, and how will our transportation systems cope? The City of Calgary’s Cycling Strategy, adopted in 2012, will help by offering transportation choice. 

The Bicycle Program 2013 Yearbook measures our progress toward creating a bicycle friendly city as outlined in the Cycling Strategy. The strategy looks at other winter cities, like Minneapolis and Montreal, to identify ways to improve access and safety, increase the supply of bicycle parking, and educate on the rules of the road.

Some Yearbook highlights:

  • Downtown cycle trips increased 26 per cent from 2006 to 2013
  • Busiest downtown cycling location: Bow River pathway, west of 11 Street SW
  • Busiest cycling location outside of downtown: Bow River pathway at Crowchild Trail SW
  • Top three communities with the most cyclists: Point McKay, West Hillhurst, and Parkdale (all in Ward 7!)
  • Busiest on-street bike route: 7 Street SW cycle track (Two months after the 7 Street SW Cycle Track opened, bike trips increased 430% from the year before at 1,160 daily trips. Cycling on the sidewalk has decreased from 25% to less than 1% and auto trip times have decreased.)
  • Highest percentage of female cyclists: 29 Street NW at Foothills Hospital
  • Highest percentage of male cyclists: Western Irrigation District Canal pathway at 52 Street SE
  • Cycling trips are up while collision rates have decreased.
  • Eight Avenue Place and Brookfield Place are the first towers in the downtown to voluntarily include separate entrances for tenant bicycle parking
  • 7 of the top 10 communities for cycling to work are in Ward 7

For more about the Cycling Strategy or The Bicycle Program 2013 Yearbook calgary.ca/bikeyearbook. And visit druhfarrell.ca to see what is happening in Ward 7. 

Categories: Cycling; Newsletter; Transportation

Back | April 28, 2014


On Monday, April 28th, City Council approved the Centre City Cycle Track Network pilot that was recommended - minus 1st Street SE. The decision to remove 1 Street S.E., alson gwith Administration’s commitment to lower the cost of the pilot, should result in a lower overall cost than the $9.3 million originally quoted. An update on the cost will be provided to Council in late May/early June. 

The Transportation Planning Department will now work on what the monitoring and success of the network pilot will look like going forward, and prepare to report on this to the SPC on Transportation and Transit this coming June 2014.The Department also needs to look at how to best connect 8th Avenue & 9th Avenue now that 1st Street SE is not included in the network connecting the two roads.

Categories: Cycling

Back | July 18, 2014

This fall and winter, The City of Calgary will be asking for your views on the future of the Crowchild Trail corridor as part of significant public engagement sessions. We will be sending information about the public engagement sessions to your community associations once those details become available. You can either contact your community association or our office for more information. The consultation for Crowchild Trail is one of many that will be taking place to ask Calgarians how best to develop significant transportation corridors in The City. Adequate consultation is one of several aspects of The City’s soon-to-be-finalized Transportation Corridor Study Policy. The policy will serve to achieve among the following criteria:

a. Preservation of the integrity of adjacent communities;

b. identification of community improvements; and,

c. minimization of negative impacts on adjacent land uses and open spaces.

If you would like more information on The Ciity’s Transportation Corridor Study Policy please contact our office.

Categories: Community

Back | March 05, 2014

Southern Alberta Flood Response Program – Property Tax Relief

As the Ward 7 communities of East Village, Chinatown, Eau Claire and West Hillhurst-Sunnyside continue to recover from the impacts of 2013 flood, the City of Calgary, with support from the Government of Alberta, has established a Property Tax Relief Program to support them in their efforts. 

Residential and non-residential property owners who were displaced for an extended period due to the 2013 June flood will be eligible to access the benefits of the program which launches on March 3, 2014. The program has been created to forgive all property taxes for property owners whose property was severely damaged and who lost the use of their property either permanently or for more than 90 days after the flood.

A 30 day grace period will be added after the property is reoccupied. In addition, all 2013 and current year penalties charged to qualified property tax accounts will be credited back to the accounts and interest will be added to acknowledge the time delay in receipt of the credit.

Property owners will be required to complete an application and provide appropriate documentation to show that the property was uninhabitable for more than 90 days.

Criteria for program eligibility, the application process and application forms will be available at www.calgary.ca/taxrelief on or after March 3.

Businesses closed for an extended period due to the flood can contact Business Licence Registration at 403-268-5311 to inquire about adjustments to their Business Tax.

Visit The City’s website at www.calgary.ca/floodrecovery for more information.

Categories: Flood; Taxes

Back | September 20, 2013

Welcome to our new Ward 7 residents, 794 to be exact! The new numbers are based on the recently released Calgary 2013 Census, taken in April. Calgary's population increased from 1,120,225 in 2012 to 1,149,552 in 2013, and Ward 7 is now at almost 80,000 people. Queens Park Village welcomed the most new residents, followed by Banff Trail, and the Downtown Commercial Core.

Ward 7 remains close to 50% owner-occupied, with 41 more dwellings, and a decline in vacancy rate to 3.4%. The census was taken before the flood, so we expect that rate may have fallen even further.

Full details of the 2013 census can be found here.

Categories: Community

Back | January 31, 2014

The City of Calgary Water Services continues to address stormwater and sanitary concerns in Sunnyside. They are upgrading the stormwater infrastructure, improving the resilience of the sanitary system serving the eastern part of Sunnyside, and changing their operations to better respond to weather conditions. Water Services works closely with the Sunnyside Flood Task Force, a group of volunteers who provide valuable feedback and local experience.  

Stormwater:

  • Water Services inspects the Sunnyside stormwater system daily. The inspections include checking river levels and ice formations coupled with weather forecasts to adjust the outfall gates. The gates are closed only if there is a risk of river water flowing back into the stormwater system.
  • Work on automating the outfall gates will be completed by Spring 2014. 
  • During the recent snow melt, Water Services made sure that the catch basins and pipes within Sunnyside were clear of ice, allowing melt waters to flow out of the community.
  • Water Services is updating the 2007 NW Inner City Drainage Study. This study identified improvements to the stormwater system to reduce the risk of local flooding caused by rain storms. The options being investigated include pumping stormwater when the outfall gates are closed and separating the stormwater flows from the upper plateau. Currently, a combined system is used to drain the upper plateau and the communities within the river valley. Creating a dedicated drainage line for the upper plateau might reduce the impact on communities in the river valley. • Water Services is investigating the benefits of installing back-flow prevention valves. Installed at key locations in the pipe network, the valves could provide additional protection against backups (Note: these valves would be installed in the public pipe network; not in individual properties).

Sanitary:

  • A portion of Sunnyside is serviced by a sanitary lift station. During the June 2013 Flood, the sanitary system and lift station were overwhelmed by flood waters. When flood waters filled the sanitary pipes, sanitary flows had nowhere to go. Water Services is encouraging residents to install back-flow prevention valves in their homes to prevent sanitary back flows flooding their basements. The valves require annual maintenance to ensure proper operation. 
  • Water Services is investigating ways to help the sanitary lift stations remain operational during a broader range of conditions, and to bring the system back on line if overwhelmed during extreme events. 

I will post additional updates as new flood prevention measures are considered.

Categories:

Back | September 16, 2013

On Saturday, September 14, 2013, we welcomed back the residents of East Village to their homes. Many of these residents are seniors who were displaced by the June floods for days, and in some cases weeks. The floods brought residents together and made friends out of strangers, creating an increased sense of community for those who call East Village home.

Categories: Community; Events

Back | September 20, 2013

Pathways along the Bow and Elbow Rivers were heavily impacted by the June 2013 flood. At the height of the flood, 93 km of pathway were closed. Since then, The City of Calgary Parks has been working to repair and reconnect the pathway system. Almost three months after the flood’s peak, the total amount of closed pathways due to flood damage has been reduced to 36 km.

While significant progress has been made in a short period of time, this momentum cannot be sustained. The remaining pathways requiring repair present some long-term challenges.

In some cases, damaged pathways cross land owned by a third party, requiring The City to negotiate an agreement with the landowner to rebuild the path.

In other cases, where land has been washed away and the reconstruction of river banks is necessary, The City must fulfill environmental requirements. The approval of several regulatory bodies must first be obtained to perform work in and around waterways including river banks. Additionally, The City must protect fish habitat from the potential impacts of construction. Accordingly, in-stream work in the Bow and Elbow Rivers can only be performed during two short “fish windows” that occur in April and from July to September.

Parks understands the value that citizens place on our pathways for both recreation and as a commuter link to the downtown core. We are working to minimize inconveniences as much as possible, and have established alternate routes where feasible.

We thank Calgarians for their patience as we work on repairing our pathways. For safety reasons, we ask citizens to obey all closure signs, and to leave signs in place so that all pathway users can identify areas dangerous to enter. Progress on pathway repairs and alternate routes are available on Calgary.ca/parks.

Categories: Arts and Culture; Parks; Transportation

Back | September 20, 2013

For the past year there has been much discussion in West Hillhurst regarding a cell phone tower proposed by Telus. Many community residents are opposed to having a cell phone tower on the West Hillhurst Community Association property, on the Kensington Legion site, or in close proximity to residential dwellings.

On May 15th, Alderman Farrell sent a letter to City Administration recommending that if Telus submits an application for a cell phone tower on the Kensington Legion site, they issue a letter of non-concurrence. This letter was written so that the views of the ward alderman and the community are expressly known. City Administration requested that Telus provide them with alternate locations for their proposed cell phone tower, but no new locations have been presented. At this time, Telus has NOT submitted an application to The City of Calgary for a cell phone tower on the Kensington Legion site.

The Kensington Legion plans to redevelop their site, and will be consulting with nearby residents and the community association in the near future. It is unlikely that the future plans for the Legion will include a cell phone tower.

Ultimately, Industry Canada decides which cell phone towers are approved and built. If you would like more information on the process that must be undertaken in order to install a cell phone tower please watch this video created by The City.

Categories:

Back | September 20, 2013

St. Patrick’s Island is getting a facelift!

Between The East Village, Inglewood, and the Calgary Zoo, the island is centrally located, and will be a great outdoor hub for exploring and experiencing the environment. In 2010, Council gave the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation the go-ahead to come up with a great plan for an urban park on the island.

This is what you can expect from some of the planned experiences of St. Patrick's Island in the future:

  • The TIP - At the top of the island and equipped with seating bars and an informal plaza, the Tip, is a respite and rest area designed to withstand annual flooding.
  • The SEASONAL BREACH - The re-installation of a historic channel (breach) will allow Calgarians to explore the natural gravel bars of the Bow River in the summer or go for a skate in the winter.
  • The RISE - The multipurpose grassy island knoll stands nine (9) metres high and is sloped on one side to offer some amazing vantage points of downtown Calgary. The Rise provides a perfect outdoor amphitheatre setting for community celebrations and in the winter will become a prime tobogganing site!
  • The LOOKOUT - Situated at the eastern edge of the park (near the Calgary Zoo), the Lookout includes seating and picnic areas, a small amphitheatre, water features, and overviews of the lowland channel and boardwalks. 
  • The COVE - Along the southern edge of the island, the Cove is designed to encourage fishing, kayaking or wading. It provides quick access to the Lookout and the lowland channel riparian areas of the island.
  • The LOWLAND CHANNEL - a second historic channel will be restored and deepened to create a seasonal, true riparian wetland within the core of the island which will greatly enhance the diversity of species that can take inhabit the island.
  • User Amenities - The redevelopment of St. Patrick's Island will also include specially designed play areas for children; 1.6 kilometres of paved and soft pathways for running, riding and strolling; elevated walkways to showcase and educate on the island's natural habitat; public washrooms; and increased parking capacity near the Calgary Zoo to facilitate family picnics and gatherings.

Due to the floods in June, the island has changed since this plan was originally approved. As a result, the designers are going to be reviewing the plan and adjusting it as required, which means that construction will take a bit longer then the projected 18 to 24 months. The current park was closed in the spring of 2013, but once construction is completed you can expect a public celebration when it is ready to open!

Categories: Arts and Culture; Community; Parks

Back | February 27, 2014

“We should see our own reflection.”

image

City Council 2013-2017

Last month, Mayor Nenshi ruffled a few feathers by stating that the City of Calgary is "too white and too male", generating a flurry of angry tweets. As one of only two female members of City Council, I received several media calls asking for my opinion. I'll start by saying that I don't support an Affirmative Action approach to hiring practice. Absolutely, the most qualified person should be hired for the job. I also have an unshakable belief that a diversity of people and ideas is essential to building a creative workforce. Rethinking how we work and who we work with, engaging people from all backgrounds, nationalities, ages, and genders will produce better outcomes. And rather than a closed circle, governments should be a reflection of the people.

If diverse workforces are important, then why are we trending in the wrong direction, with fewer women and people with diverse backgrounds applying for and being hired in upper management at the City of Calgary? And as a city that has a long history of strong women leaders in local government, why do we have the lowest number of women on City Council in two generations, and how does that impact our decisions?

Why does it matter? Some examples:

  • Women make up half of Calgary Transit’s passengers, so it is important to recognize that women’s views of personal safety differ dramatically from men’s. Having women involved in transit planning helps us understand what makes our customers feel safe and hence more willing to take transit.
  • Building partnerships with an increasingly diverse community is an important part of crime prevention. A diverse police service helps the police respond effectively, appropriately, and sensitively to all members of the community, particularly those who have traditionally been marginalized by society. 
  • Generations, like people, have personalities. As we plan Calgary for the next generation, with their growing cultural diversity, distinct lifestyles and changing priorities, rather than making decisions for them based on our own experiences, they need to be part of the decision-making team.   
  • The City of Calgary plays a central role in promoting the principles of equity and diversity and it’s vital that we demonstrate our own principles.

So, when planning our city for a multi-cultural, millennial generation, or designing a transit system that is heavily used by women, or developing safety and crime prevention strategies for victims of family violence, decisions must be based on recognition of the distinct roles, needs, and experiences. We’ll understand our clients better, and that deep understanding of the different needs across the city will lead to better service.

Diversity doesn’t happen by accident. It doesn’t happen because powerful people make concessions to the less powerful; it’s about people who are prepared to go the extra mile to get involved and make their voices heard. It happens when citizens, employers, and City Councils, recognize that to be successful we need a workforce that reflects the demographic of their community.

We need to make it happen, not by quotas, but by setting goals and targets and mentoring that next generation of leaders. Citizens need to be able to look at the people sitting behind the desks at City Hall and see their own reflection.

Categories: Community

Back | March 05, 2014

Yo​ur Feedback Is Being Reviewed. Thank you Calgary for Taking Action!


From March 3 to 21, 2014, The City of Calgary Action Plan 2015-2018 asked for your input on balancing quality City services with affordable tax rates. A big thank you to the thousands of Calgarians who participated in Action Plan public engagement events, used our online tools or shared comments online or through 311. All engagement feedback will be reviewed, and a summary of ideas and suggestions will be given to Council and City departments for consideration as Council priorities, business plans and budgets are being developed during 2014.

  • Watch for the public engagement summary to be announced in April and shared on Calgary.ca/actionplan in May.
  • Sign up for the e-newsletter to receive news, updates and information about Action Plan 2015 – 2018 throughout the year.

Next steps in Action Plan include:

  • April 2014: Council uses engagement input to help set priorities for 2015 – 2018
  • April – September 2014: City departments use engagement input to help develop four-year business plans and budgets
  • November: 2014: Council debates and approves The City’s 2015 – 2018 business plans and budgets

Categories: Accountability

Back | April 14, 2014

The North Central LRT project team has narrowed its focus to two LRT route options: Centre Street North and Edmonton Trail. Now we want you to tell us what you think. Learn more and help us make our next big decisions. Join us at these upcoming events:

Workshop Session

This workshop is for anyone who wants to develop a deeper understanding of the top two LRT route options, and discuss the impacts, challenges, and opportunities for each. Join with other community members to engage in lively conversation, explore the choices available and express your views about which route will work best for North Central communities. The workshop is limited to 80 participants. Please RSVP to nclrt@calgary.ca.

Wednesday, April 23

6-8 p.m.

Huntington Hills Community Association- Curling lounge room

520 - 78 Avenue N.W.

Public Open Houses

These public open house events are for anyone interested in exploring the options for the North Central LRT line at their own pace. Check out the options, ask questions, and share your thoughts.

Tuesday, April 29

6-9 p.m.

Ascension of Our Lord School

509 Harvest Hills Drive NE

Wednesday, April 30

6-9p.m.

Thorncliffe Greenview Community

5600 Centre Street N

​​For more details on the North Central LRT project, please visit: http://www.calgarytransit.com/planning/north-central-lrt.php 

Categories: Transportation

Back | March 01, 2014

Many of us baby boomers who have aging parents are colliding with a health care and housing system that is ill equipped for the next wave of senior citizens. Over the next 30 years, one half of Calgary’s population will be outside the working age. Where seniors want to live, how they live, and move around the city will change dramatically.

image

For older adults who are fairly healthy and mobile, home care services are available to help folks stay in their family home as long as possible. Home care is far more cost effective than a supportive-living residence, and there will be a need to expand and adapt home care services that include the involvement of local neighbourhood networks.For those who want to stay at home but need some extra resources, secondary suites or laneway units are increasingly seen as a practical solution.Secondary suites can bring in extra income, and special tenant arrangements can offer extra security and help with household chores. The City of Calgary as well as the Province of Alberta offer several programs that provide seniors with additional support to allow seniors to stay in their homes.

At some stage, the need for security, support, and companionship may prompt seniors or their families to look for alternatives. Options that exist today provide little comfort. There are long waiting lists for publicly funded housing and a first available bed policy, which requires continuing care residents to accept a placement within 80 km of their home, often separating individuals from their friends, family, and, cruelly, even their spouses.

image

Collaborating with seniors on cohousing designs can provide innovative housing options for our aging population in Calgary.

Creative Solutions The limitations around publicly funded housing have some families resorting to private care. Private care corporations, funded by Real Estate Investment Trusts, operate with the primary goal of a financial return to the shareholder, rather than guaranteeing effective care. Costs average at $5000 per month per couple, including food and activities. Prices for private care are considerably higher in Calgary than Edmonton. It is widely acknowledged that Calgary is experiencing a housing crunch. Demographic forecasts suggest that it will only get worse in the coming years.One of the key lessons from the 2013 flood was that Calgarians have the great ability to self-organize.Rather than waiting for governments to solve the problem, more and more boomers are coming up with their own solutions. Let’s explore some of the current options available to seniors:

Cooperative housing: Originating in Denmark, the co-housing idea is spreading around the world, and can be as varied as the people who live there. Co-housing encourages social connections, an increased sense of community, and strengthens informal supports. In countries like the United Kingdom, co-housing is being promoted as an important housing solution and their goal is a co-housing project for seniors on every street. It can be as simple as a group of friends sharing a home (think Golden Girls), or people with common interests living with a more formal structure, formed as a society with its own bylaws. Two great examples are Babayaga’s House in Paris, France and Abbeyfield Society locations found in several countries around the world.

Many cities encourage the conversion of large homes into shared living or purpose-built, for accessibility and security, including for those with dementia. They normally have private bedrooms and sitting rooms with common kitchens and amenity space. They can be exclusively for seniors or multi-generational. Residents can pool their resources and hire their own chefs, arrange for their own activities, and are often linked in to volunteer networks and health care providers.


Elder cottages, which can be placed in the side or rear yard of the family home, are charming self-contained, energy efficient dwellings that offer independence and privacy.

 

Temporary homes: For those seniors who want to live close to their adult children but not with them, Australia allows temporary modular cottages to be installed in rear yards. An Elder Cottage Housing Opportunity (ECHO) is a small temporary home that can be installed in a backyard. They are small and self-contained (usually between 400 and 800 square feet) and allow someone to remain independent while still living within earshot of their family. It includes all the amenities of a house - a kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, and living room - on a tiny scale. They first gained popularity in Australia, where they're known as granny flats, in the 1970s. ECHO housing caught on in the United States in the late 1980s and has since been promoted as an inexpensive housing solution for older adults.

What is the City of Calgary doing to address this?The City of Calgary is in the process of developing a Seniors Age Friendly Strategy and housing will be a part of the initiative. As we plan our city for the future, we need to continually review the current state of housing and present new possibilities that address the interrelated issues of housing, communities, services, and financial concerns. We need creative ways to provide a wide range of smart solutions, including remodeling current housing and building new homes for accessibility and safety, retrofitting existing neighborhoods to connect needed services and amenities, and planning new communities that work well for people of all ages.

"Living a long life is good but aging well is better." 

Categories: Community; Newsletter

Back | September 06, 2013

In the near future, Alberta Health Services will be demolishing and replacing parkade Lot 1, located at the Foothills Medical Centre, as it is nearing the end of its lifecycle.

Initially, Alberta Health Services planned to replace the parkade and locate it on the escarpment. Since then I have met with representative from Alberta Health Services twice, with community members attending the second meeting. The neighbouring communities had a number of concerns with this proposal, and we were able to discuss many of these concerns at our meetings.

To date, our discussions have focused on whether the parkade is required and why the south slope of the Foothills Medical Centre was chosen as the location for the parkade, even though it is a wildlife corridor and is identified in the South Shaganappi Area Plan as an Environmentally Significant Area.

Both the community and I have recommended that AHS explore alternate locations and encourage staff to adopt alternative ways to get to work (walking, cycling, transit, carpooling and Car2Go) in order to reduce the amount of staff parking that is required. As a result, they will be exploring other locations, and options of dedicating on-site parking for the Car2Go car share service, participating in the upcoming Northwest Major Activity Centre Enhanced Transit Stu​dy, and continuing to improve their pedestrian and cycling access to the site.

Further, when AHS did their request for proposal for the project, they changed the scope to include reviewing alternative sites at the Foothills Medical Centre. Once the final site has been selected, the subsequent design proposal will consider many of the issues that have been raised by adjacent neighbours, such as: aesthetics, green space, impacts on the community and physical characteristics of the site.

In consultation with neighbouring communities, AHS has created the Foothills Medical Centre Area Communities Working Group, which consists of 3 members each from the Parkdale, St. Andrews Heights and University Heights Community Associations. This working group will represent each affected communities and be involved throughout the development of the parkade regardless of location, update the master plan for this site, the Calgary Cancer Centre, and any future developments on the Foothills Medical Centre site.

If you would like to keep up to date on the progress of the Working Group, you can find their meeting minutes here. ​​ 

Categories:

Back | August 14, 2013

The Bow, currently Calgary’s tallest building, is now officially open. The opening ceremony took place on 4 June 2013, complete with First Nations drummers and fireworks.

Alderman Druh Farrell had the honour of introducing the artist who created the two works of art on the Bow’s plazas, Jaume Plensa. Wonderland, the sculpture on the south side of the building, is a 12-foot high wire sculpture of a young girl’s head. Visitors are encouraged to interact with the sculpture by the inclusion of two doorways. Try walking in and seeing the world from inside a giant head!

The other piece of art is called Alberta’s Dream and was installed on the northwest side of the building in April. It is a bronze self-portrait of Mr. Plensa with the names of various Alberta cities and towns written across his body. The sculpture is sitting on the ground, with his arms and legs around a living tree. The installation of the tree was fascinating to watch as the sculpture is designed with moving parts for that special purpose.

This award-winning building and its works of art are changing the face of our downtown, and inspiring some amazing new projects in the core.

Categories:

Back | February 03, 2014

With another month of wintery weather behind us, our toboggans, skates, and snowshoes have been working overtime.

image

This winter has produced record amounts of snow in Calgary. As a result, City crews have struggled to meet the challenge of ensuring that roads, pathways and bus stops are kept clear of snow and safe for residents. It is not for lack of money spent. By the end of 2013, the City spent more than $26 million of its total $34 million snow budget. Nevertheless, Calgarians have had to dig deep to find the patience required to wait for City crews to help dig them out.

The record snow has also produced a record number of calls to my office from residents seeking assistance with snow related issues and requests. I would like to thank the residents of Ward 7 for their level of engagement on this issue to ensure that priority areas are dealt with as soon as possible. The feedback that I received is consistent: that the City needs to do more to ensure that snow is cleared and removed quickly and effectively. As a result, Council has committed to review its policies on snow removal. Residents are encouraged to offer additional feedback by calling 311 or www.calgary.ca/snow

Calgary's Snow Angel program, the first of its kind in North America, has helped seniors and other residents who have difficulty clearing snow. Since 2004, Calgary has awarded more than 6400 snow pins. We encourage you to be a Snow Angel and help your neighbours. If you know a Snow Angel and would like to recognize her or him, please call 311.

Wishing you all a safe and happy winter!

Categories: Snow and Ice; Newsletter

Back | July 31, 2013

During the month of August, The City Of Calgary, Water Services will be conducting sanitary main video inspections and power-flushing in the following neighbourhoods:

  • Sunnyside
  • Beltline
  • Erlton
  • Elbow Park
  • Rideau

The video inspection is to assess sanitary infrastructure and is part of The City’s proactive underground infrastructure maintenance program. Cleaning through power-flushing is to remove any deposits of sediment, silt and debris in the both the storm and sanitary sewer systems that may have been deposited due to the flood event. Flushing the system ensures efficient operation and reduces any potential future impacts to residents or businesses.

Other flood-impacted communities will have the same video inspections and power flushing treatments performed on a planned maintenance schedule. Please note that this work schedule may change due to unplanned issues or emergency priority-work. The City is committed to completing this work in as timely manner as possible.

If you have any questions or concerns or would like more information, please call 311.

Categories: Water

Back | July 08, 2013

The Aldermanic Offices have been temporarily relocated to the Municipal Complex until mid to late August while City staff work diligently to restore power and function to Historic City Hall, which was significantly impacted by the recent flood event in Calgary. Our contact details have not changed and are:

Aldermanic Office Reception Phone Number 403- 268-2430

Mailing Address:

City of Calgary

Office of the Aldermen

(8001A or B)

P.O. Box 2100, Station M

Calgary, AB T2P 2M5

We ask that you please be patient with your City needs at this time as our Ward 7 Office and City resources return to normal.

You can still help!

To DONATE: Visit http://www.redcross.ca/

To VOLUNTEER: Visit www.yychelps.ca, www.bridgesoflove.ca, or email volunteer@calgary.ca Kind regards, Druh, Carol & Erika

Categories: Ward office

Back | July 29, 2013

The increase in commuter traffic at the Crowchild Trail and 24 Avenue N.W. intersection, has caused severe congestion leading The City to consider alternative traffic measures to reduce the amount of congestion in this area. After careful evaluation, The City is proposing to restrict the left hand, northbound turn from Crowchild Trail to 24 Avenue N.W. during weekday morning peak period (6 a.m. to 9 a.m.). This will begin on August 19, 2013. Information specific to this pilot can be found online at http://Calgary.ca/24ave. In addition to the signal changes at this intersection, The City will also add a dual turning lane from eastbound 24 Avenue N.W. to northbound Crowchild Trail N.W. Construction is expected to begin and be completed within the summer of 2013. During construction various lane restrictions may occur. This will be a permanent change and is not part of the signal pilot. Please visit http://Calgary.ca/trafficinfo for up to date traffic information.

Categories: Transportation

Back | September 11, 2013

The new Central Library is a step closer to reality! The Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) has just completed stage two of a two-stage procurement strategy to secure a design team.

Stage One was the Request for Qualification, an open, high-level selection process to pre-qualify capable design teams. Submissions for Stage 1 closed on June 20th with 38 submissions, including some from as far away as Copenhagen and Tokyo.

Stage 2 was the Request for Proposal, a process that will result in the selection of a Prime Design Consultant. Four teams of the 38 from Stage 1 were chosen for this step and had until September 4 to submit their proposals. The successful design consultant will be revealed in October.

This process was designed to be fair and open, and is being overseen by a steering committee of design professionals, members from the Calgary Public Library, the City of Calgary, and the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation. We recognize that success hinges on assembling the right team, beginning with an architectural team that can bring to life the Central Library vision – To Inspire All – with a powerful and enduring architectural vision that honours Calgarians’ desires while managing a defined budget.

The Library Board chose a prime location for the new Central Library: one block east of City Hall in the burgeoning East Village. There, the Library will serve Calgary’s growing population, the 120,000+ workers who travel downtown every day, and over 45,000 students attending educational institutions in Calgary.

Providing approximately 286,000 sq ft of usable library space (54% more than the existing downtown library) the new Central Library will be a multi-faceted family destination and gathering place with a physical collection of books, special programs, and spaces for children and teens, a technology commons and laboratory for innovation, a centre that supports inclusive community integration and advancement through skills development, and much more.

Construction is expected to start in 2015, and the new Central Library is expected to open by 2018.​​

Categories: Arts and Culture

Back | August 19, 2013

In March 2013, The City of Calgary launched a new pilot project called Inspiring Strong Neighbourhoods. This is a community-led initiative that empowers Calgarians to identify opportunities and make recommendations to The City about municipal programs and services that directly affect their community.

Walking tours led by residents is a grass-roots way to gain an understanding of a neighbourhood through the eyes of those who live there. Twelve neighbourhoods, including Crescent Heights in Ward 7, participated in a community walkabout in April, and the pilot was completed in June. A report to Council will follow in the fall, outlining progress to date, lessons learned, and a suggested future strategy.

This important work is about coordinating existing resources and services, and building on what residents love about their neighbourhood. The initial focus will bring together the services from Animal & Bylaw Services, Community & Neighbourhood Services, the Calgary Fire Department, Parks, and Recreation.

For more information on Inspiring Strong Neighbourhoods please visit their webpage.

Categories: Community

Back | September 05, 2013

Do you qualify for property tax assistance?

Find out if you or a family member is eligible for a credit at calgary.ca/propertytax.

The Property Tax Assistance Program is available to assist low-income homeowners, regardless of age, with the increase in residential property taxes from 2012 to 2013.

Please visit calgary.ca/propertytax or contact 311 for information, eligibility criteria, or to apply.

Application deadline Dec. 1, 2013.

Categories:

Back | August 23, 2013

Many communities across Calgary are faced with traffic challenges, whether it's speeding, short cutting, or pedestrian and cyclist safety issues. The City of Calgary created the Traffic Calming Policy to help mitigate traffic issues, and to help us prioritize them from most to least severe.

A Community Traffic Committee is the best way to gather together all of the issues that a community is facing, and to work with The City on solutions. The Traffic Committee puts together a package of Traffic Issue Reporting and Support Forms, which outlines residents’ various traffic concerns regarding particular intersections or streets. Once the package has been submitted for consideration the issues are analyzed and the community is entered into The Community Traffic Study Evaluation List.

As so many communities are having issues with traffic, it can take several years before a community’s traffic concerns are addressed. Don’t despair though, as the City can often identify and implement quick fixes that don’t require a full traffic study, yet are effective in influencing driver behaviour.

If you are experiencing traffic issues in your neighbourhood, please join your Community Association and start a Community Traffic Committee.

Categories: Community; Transportation

Back | June 29, 2013

The Government of Alberta has committed $1 billion as immediate support for Alberta families for the first phase of emergency recovery and reconstruction. This Provincial funding is distributed through two separate programs: pre-loaded debit cards and the Disaster Recovery Program.

A: Pre-loaded debit cards

Debit cards are available to those who cannot go home due to flooding, to cover immediate housing needs and day-to-day purchases. Those who qualify will receive $1,250 per adult and $500 per child.

Step 1: Register as an evacuee with Canadian Red Cross - http://www.redcross.ca/abregister - or call 1-866-696-6484.

Step 2: Visit one of the three Calgary debit card processing sites.

  • Bowness High School: 4627 - 77 St NW
  • Connaught School: 1121- 12 Ave SW
  • Queen Elizabeth High School: 512 - 18 Street NW

Hours of operation:

  • Sunday, June 30: 1 pm to 9 pm - households with last names starting with A to L
  • Monday, July 1: 8 am to 8 pm - households with last names starting with M to Z
  • Tuesday, July 2: 8 am to 8 pm

B. Disaster Recovery Program - Calgary

The Disaster Recovery Program provides financial assistance for homeowners to repair or rebuild their primary residence and other uninsurable property damage and loss. The funds are intended to cover the costs of returning essential property to the condition it was in before a disaster happened.

Calgarians whose homes and/or businesses were damaged by the flood can start applying for Disaster Recovery Program funding on Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013. Disaster financial assistance staff will be in Calgary from July 2 until July 7 at the following locations:

  • McMahon Stadium Red and White Club, and
  • Mount Royal University - Roderick Mah Centre for Continuous Learning.

Hours at both locations are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on July 2, and then 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. for all other days.

The Pre-loaded Debit Card and the Disaster Recovery Program are Government of Alberta programs - not programs run by The City of Calgary. Please visit www.alberta.ca to be sure you have the most current information.

Calgary is still in a state of local emergency. Please visit calgarycitynews.comfor the most up to date information from City officials and www.alberta.ca for current provincial information.

Categories:

Back | August 12, 2013

As post-flood life slowly returns to normal for most Calgarians, The City has started the difficult task of assessing the damage and evaluating ways to protect us all from future flooding. The early tally is stunning, and it is expected to increase as we learn more. The Roads department has repaired over a hundred sinkholes, and Water Services continues to assess damage to the storm sewer system, street by street. Almost 90km of river pathways were closed and at least half will need to be rebuilt or moved. All of our beloved parks in the river valley are now partially open, but most will require remediation that will span several years. Some, like Pierce Estate Park, and Sue Higgins Park (Southland Park), lost hectares of land to the raging river as it altered its course.

We need to rethink before we rebuild. Early estimates of $265 million in flood recovery projects could grow to $500 million, and this is a tally primarily for repair and replacement. Additional funds will be needed for flood mitigation to protect public infrastructure for the future. The list is long, and includes projects such as flood protection for the downtown core, Calgary’s economic engine where hundreds of thousands of Calgarians work, shop, and recreate. Essential infrastructure, like our traffic signal system located in the basement of the Municipal Building, will need to be rebuilt and moved to higher ground.

This month, Council will receive updated cost estimates from City Administration and an expert flood mitigation panel. We know from the experience of other communities that have recovered from major disasters, like Slave Lake and Medicine Hat, that all costs are not covered by Provincial disaster funding or insurance. The City will be able to access rainy day funds and Provincial tax room, and we’ll need to make some hard choices.

Throughout the evaluation and review process, Calgarians will be given the opportunity to share their recommendations and ideas to ensure that we make the best and most cost-effective decisions possible. The City is working to create a webpage where citizen input and suggestions can be collected and summarized for the expert panel. Once this page is operational, please provide your suggestions and ideas.

Categories:

Back | July 03, 2013

We have all seen the generous outpouring of support from volunteers and business organizations during the recent flood event in Calgary and the days following which included hours of hard work cleaning up damaged properties. If you are someone who’s property was damaged by flood waters, it is important you get it back to good order as soon as possible to protect your health and prevent further damage to your building and belongings.

Most likely, you will now need to hire people who can help with your rebuilding and repair work. Please be cautious as you do this. With such a high demand right now for building and renovation contractors in Calgary, it may be difficult to find the right one at the right time for the right price. Some individuals may see this as an opportunity to take advantage of others who find themselves in this vulnerable position.

Before you Commit, Make Sure They’re Legit is a document previously published by The City of Calgary’s Development and Building Approvals in partnership with the Calgary Police Services and the City’s 311 services. This document will help save you from potential contractor fraud by outlining steps to take to ensure the contractor you are considering hiring is a legitimate professional. Contact 311 if you have any further questions regarding this information.

Categories:

Back | June 26, 2013

Our thoughts are with those of you who have been affected by the recent flooding in Calgary. We are working diligently with City staff to assist you in this time of need and thank you for your patience. We are only just beginning to recover from this catastrophic event and will need the continued help and support from volunteers and other citizens to assist in the clean-up and re-entry process. Thank you to those who have already been doing this work - your help has been greatly appreciated in our ward and other affected areas of the city.

Our ward office in City Hall is one of the locations in Calgary directly impacted by floodwater. The office is inaccessible to us at the moment and we are without access to our computers and voice mail. A contingency plan is now being executed to set up temporary office space as soon as possible. When our alternate work space is ready and operational we will let everyone know.

In the meantime please contact 311 for assistance and 911 in case of emergency.The Calgary City News Blog has the most up to date information on this flood event and we encourage you to check it often. Please remember that the City of Calgary remains in a state of local emergency with its first priority being your safety and well-being. Please be cautious as you re-enter flood affected areas. If you are looking to volunteer and help out with the clean-up process, YYC Helps is an organization that connects Calgarians who want to help Calgarians in need of assistance. Their website lists current volunteer opportunities. The Canadian Red Cross website also has useful information on the current flood situation.​​

Categories: Ward office

Back | August 21, 2013

Thank you to those who participated at the Transportation information sessions held in malls across Calgary throughout September and October 2012. The City asked citizens to prioritize infrastructure spending over the next ten years, and summarized responses in this graphic. In general, citizens strongly support optimizing and maintaining existing infrastructure, while investing in transportation hubs and transit corridors that include mixed-use cycling, public transit and pedestrian oriented developments.

Categories: Transportation

Back | September 13, 2013

The City of Calgary Assessment department understands that the damage to many homes throughout Calgary has impacted property values. In early September they began to gather and collect property information to identify impacts caused by the flood, and determine how property values will be affected for the 2014 assessment roll.

Affected property owners should have received a request for information in the mail, but can also set up an information exchange appointment with Assessment to discuss the status of their property or ask questions prior to the finalization of the 2014 assessment values. Appointments to exchange information are taking place from October to early November.

The City of Calgary plans to mail 2014 Property Assessment Notices on January 3, 2014. Following the Notice mailing, all property owners will have the opportunity to review and ask questions about their 2014 assessment during the 60-day Customer Review Period which runs from January 3 - March 4, 2014. If you have information about your property that needs to be changed or updated, please contact Assessment during the Customer Review Period.

All of this is being done to accurately reflect the damage caused by the flood in the 2014 assessment values. They are proactively looking at the market value impacts to individual properties and to communities and will update Calgarians as they move forward. For more information please visit either calgary.ca/floodrecovery or calgary.ca/assessment.

Categories:

Back | May 29, 2013

While most of us have a love-hate relationship with our cell phones, it’s often a straight up hate-hate relationship when it comes to cell towers. Cell towers are generally ugly, imposing, and put in precisely the place where most people can see them. Every year, the Ward 7 office gets dozens of complaints from concerned residents worried about cell phone towers being built in their neighbourhood.

Cell Tower Over the past fifteen years, cell phone towers have become increasingly prolific throughout the City of Calgary. Because the number of cell phone users in Calgary have been steadily increasing, service providers must build more towers to maintain the level of service. The growing number of smart phones causes additional strain: one smartphone requires the equivalent radio frequency capacity of 35 cell phones!

So what role does the City, and the Ward 7 office, play in the placement of cell towers? Unfortunately, not as much as we’d like. This is because “telecommunication antenna structures” are under the jurisdiction of Industry Canada, who approves or rejects cell phone tower applications. As a result, we do not have the same authority as we do over other structures, like buildings, bridges, or interchanges.

Although we don’t have veto power when it comes to cell towers, the City is consulted for its opinion, and applications get sent to the respective community association and Ward alderman. In certain cases, public consultation meetings are required for cell tower proposals. Industry Canada can choose to accept or reject the application based on recommendations made by the City. If a company requests the installation of a cell tower on City property, the City can choose whether or not to accept the application based on the regulations outlined in the Telecommunication Antenna Structures on Municipal Property policy.

Finally, even though the City doesn’t get much say as to where cell towers are built, we do have limited influence over design. As of 1999, the City no longer supports lattice-work cell towers, preferring instead monopole towers or towers camouflaged in high structures (such as church steeples, street lights, clock towers, etc.). We are always looking for creative ways to hide these structures, so if you have any suggestions, let us know!

As a citizen, the most important thing to do is to become informed. The City has put together a very comprehensive short video that we encourage anyone concerned with cell towers to watch. Although the role of the Ward 7 office is somewhat constrained on this issue, please feel free to contact us if you have suggestions or questions at 403-268-2430. You can even make the call from your cell phone! ​​         

Categories: Newsletter

Back | August 13, 2013

Christopher Hume, National Newspaper award winner, urban affairs and architecture critic for the Toronto Star, visited Calgary in March to speak about Transit and City Building. Alderman Druh Farrell hosted a public discussion, “Let’s Talk Transit” with Christopher, Toronto Councillor Karen Stintz, and Calgary Transit’s Doug Morgan.

While in Calgary, Christopher spoke with Druh about the Peace Bridge and other award-winning urban architecture that’s starting to find its way into Calgary. After his visit, Christopher wrote an excellent article in the Toronto Star, ‘Like Toronto, City of Calgary struggles to become more urban’ . Hume, whose perspective from outside Calgary is always an interesting read, has contemplated Calgary in his column before, with ‘Calgary yearns for what Toronto squanders – its urbanity’ in late 2012.

Categories:

Back | May 29, 2013

Calgary’s Making Tracks – Cycle Tracks!

Calgary is a great city for cycling! Calgarians are quick to point out our pathways as a favourite feature of our city. Our extensive network of pathways was ahead of its time when first planned in the late 1960s, and has grown to be North America’s premier and most expansive bike pathway system, consisting of 1,067 km of pathways and on-street bikeways.

While the number of cyclists in the city is growing, a 2010 City survey found that 59% of Calgarians would like to cycle more, but concern for personal safety prevents many of us from getting on our bikes. Most people feel safe on the pathway system and quiet residential roads, but less so in heavy traffic. To encourage cycling and address safety concerns, I proposed a new cycling strategy that aims to get more people cycling, safely.

This July, the first in a number of planned physically separated cycle tracks will open on 7th Street S.W. in the centre city. Winter cities across North America install cycle tracks because they offer the highest level of safety for all users; motorists do not have to veer into adjacent lanes to avoid cyclists, and cyclists stay off the sidewalk.

Whether you are a hard core, year-round commuter, or out for a leisurely spin with your kids, the new cycling network will make your trip safer and more enjoyable.​​​

Categories: Council initiatives; Cycling; Transportation

Back | May 29, 2013

If you want to make enemies, try to change something. Woodrow Wilson

With Calgary’s population set to more than double over the next 60 years, The City needs to accommodate growth while ensuring we are financially sustainable in the long term.

How Calgary grows and who pays for growth has been at the forefront of recent City discussions. Mandated by Council in 2009, growth management (Framework of Growth and Change) is a new process which allows The City to budget for the needs of new communities. In the past we dealt with the costs associated with growth on a random basis.  Growth management will ensure that Calgary grows responsibly, that residents in new communities will not have to wait as long for key services, and that the financial risks are covered by those who profit from development.

While there have been suggestions that The City is “social engineering” and mandating that everyone must live in a high-rise, this is simply not the case. We will be ensuring free-market choice that better reflects actual development costs, establishing a logical pattern of growth, and eliminating subsidies currently covered by all Calgarians.

Historically, more than 100% of our population growth occurred in new suburban communities while we slowly lost population in older areas. We are making our first, tentative steps toward increasing densities in established neighbourhoods. And while the ultimate aim is for an equal split between growth in new and existing communities, this is expected to be gradually realized over a 60 year time period. Over the next five years, 94% of the city’s growth will still be in the suburbs.

Currently, approved development plans in Calgary allow for 2,400 hectares of serviced land by 2014, with capacity for 160,000 new people. Community plans in various stages of approval on the city’s periphery will provide space for 407,000 new people. There are presently 23 new communities in Calgary where people can purchase a yet-to-be-built starter or mid-price home. Consumer choice in single family homes will not be stifled by growth management, given the amount of housing currently and yet-to-be available over the coming years.

Change, sometimes can be uncomfortable, which is why the debate around growth management in Calgary has been heated at times. A new and robust plan is now in place for Calgary’s future growth, which will deliver a more financially sustainable future for all of us. We have chosen to live within our means rather than bestow a great debt on future generations, and that’s a responsible decision I believe we can live with.

Categories: Budget

Back | May 29, 2013

The community of East Village has had its share of struggles over the years and I’m proud to have initiated the current transformation that’s taking place. Left to languish over decades, Calgary had a unique opportunity to rehabilitate a large riverfront property in centre of the city.

Since City Council created Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) in 2007, key milestones in the redevelopment of East Village and The Rivers District have ranged from bold to subtle. Critical utility upgrades and raised roadways are invisible to the casual observer, but they plant the seeds for a sustainable, safe East Village and are made possible because of an innovative financing model, the Community Revitalization Levy (CRL).

Obvious signs of change include the first two phases of RiverWalk, the spectacular urban promenade that is making East Village a recreation destination for all Calgarians, the new 4th Street Underpass, which has connected us to Stampede Park, Victoria Park and downtown, and of course, St. Patrick’s Bridge and Island which is set to become a beautiful oasis in the middle of the Bow River.

These infrastructure improvements have made possible the biggest change of all, the bright ‘SOLD’ signs on large parcels of land in the community which signal that our careful investment in the neighbourhood is being recognized by investors and developers. To date CMLC has attracted more than $1 Billion of planned development to East Village.

Infrastructure and construction work in East Village will continue at a robust pace in the next several years thanks to CMLC’s efforts. St. Patrick’s Island Bridge is nearing completion, work continues on RiverWalk, and the construction for St. Patrick’s Island starts this summer. CMLC has also assumed project-lead responsibility for the New Central Library project, and an extensive refurbishment of the Simmons Building will soon begin.

Creation of infrastructure for public enjoyment has been key to CMLC’s place-making efforts, and programming these newly minted public spaces has been central to bringing the neighbourhood to life.

As important as improvements are to welcoming new residents into the East Village neighbourhood, so is maintaining a relationship between CMLC and current residents. CMLC is a regular participant in meetings held by the East Village Neighbourhood Association and is a contributor to their community newsletter EV VIEW, which gives progress updates and information about community events. CMLC hosts frequent information sessions with the residents to provide updates on the master plan.

Over the last six years, I am proud to say that CMLC has accomplished a great deal, and not only in terms of completing infrastructure projects, securing land deals and reinvigorating a long-neglected community. Along the way, a unique team has been assembled whose expertise and vision can be transferred from the redevelopment of East Village and the Rivers District to other neighbourhoods faced with unique challenges. City Council recognizes that the CMLC team has the experience to take a critical second look at struggling neighbourhoods, can find creative solutions, and has confidence in the execution. CMLC is uniquely positioned for continued success in the Rivers District and to give new life to Calgary’s downtown. 

Categories: Community; Arts and Culture

Back | August 14, 2013

More than 7,000 people use the 1st Street at 9th Avenue underpass every day. Last spring, a city committee voted unanimously to move forward with a new design that will make it brighter, safer and more inviting. Part of the funding for this project will come from private sector partners and nearby businesses. The underpass was built in 1908, and the concrete is starting to deteriorate. The upgrade will reinforce and restore, provide new lighting, and clad it in beautiful new artwork that will also be easier to clean and discourage graffiti.

The underpass design, by the Marc Boutin Architectural Collaborative Inc + El Dorado Inc features two layers of ‘skin’, which will help with the water issues in the underpass. The outer skin will have large-scale photographic images of rolling prairie to the east, and soaring mountains to the west. The inner skin will be perforated aluminum – when walking north the perforations will read ‘DOWNTOWN’, and when walking south, ‘BELTLINE’.

The design has already received a Canadian Architect Award of Excellence.

Categories:

Back | May 29, 2013

Many seniors in Calgary rely on Calgary Transit for their daily transportation. There’s no need to worry about driving in bad weather, the transit drivers are patient and helpful, and it’s a great way to save money!

Starting in July 2013, seniors can apply for a reduced rate seniors’ pass for $15 per year (proof of income required). The regular seniors transit pass will go from $55.00 per year to $95.00 per year. Here is a graphic representation of the differences between fares.

Recent budget decisions expanded the low-income transit pass to include 28,000 more people, and about 6,000 more seniors were made eligible for the $15/year pass. City Council also decided that all remaining Calgarians living below the poverty line will be eligible for the low income transit pass by 2014.

This Council decision, which I strongly support, was a step forward in addressing the challenges of Calgarians living in low-income households. This decision will invest an additional $2 million to expand the eligibility for Low Income Transit Passes, and will impact many people living in poverty. Although it doesn’t address all concerns, I am hopeful that this is only one step towards even greater transportation mobility for all Calgarians moving forward.

Information on seniors’ passes and the reduced seniors’ pass is available online.

Categories:

Back | May 28, 2013

Consisting of 49 acres in the heart of downtown Calgary, East Village has evolved over the past 10 years from a community that was known for its vacant lots and abandoned plans, to a community with a bright future. Since 2007, I have championed the Rivers District Community Revitalization Plan and Calgary Municipal Land Corporation so that this evolution could take place.

On 5 February 2013, I had the opportunity to participate in a discussion about the evolution of East Village and how the National Music Centre will become a part of the transformation. To hear the interview with Amery Calvelli of CJSW, Andrew Mosker of The National Music Centre, and the National Music Centre’s architect Brad Cloepfil, please go here.

Categories: Community; Council initiatives

Back | June 18, 2013

Calgary’s downtown core continues to be a hotbed for new major projects. Currently there are 20 major construction sites in the downtown core requiring on-street detours or overhead structures to maintain an open walkway.

As we approach the busy construction season, Council and City Administration are taking a closer look at how to keep traffic of all kinds on the move. The Calgary Transportation Plan provides support for all modes of transportation, including motorists, pedestrians, cyclists and those with limited mobility.

As a result of my Notice of Motion to ensure sidewalks remain clear and unobstructed during construction, The City, working with the Calgary Construction Association, is making strides to keep sidewalks open and accessible for pedestrians. We worked closely with developers and construction companies over the last year to create a new review process that brings the right people together earlier in the planning process.

Sidewalks are an essential part of our transportation network, especially in the downtown core and Business Revitalization Zones Accessibility to pedestrian walkways surrounding a construction site, without compromising anyone’s safety, is now a priority.

Categories: Transportation

Back | May 29, 2013

This year the Planning, Development and Assessment Department put out The City of Calgary Snapshot: Wards by the Numbers, providing a snapshot of all the development activity around the city for the year. Ward 7 leads all other wards in the number of subdivision applications, land use applications, and residential development permits. These numbers reflect how desirable Ward 7 neighbourhoods have become, as well as provide insight into the amount of development pressure on the community. It also means that our office is always busy!

Here’s what else the Snapshot has to say about Ward 7:

  • Lots of projects on the go! The Centre Street Bridge Lighting project was completed, work on the Parkdale activity centre continues, East Village and Downtown are booming, and planning of the North Central LRT Corridor Study is officially underway.
  • Although the total area of land use applications was only about 1% of the city-wide total at 6.13 hectares, Ward 7 has the highest number of residential development permits (15.5% of the City’s total).
  • Ward 7 is densifying: In 2012, we had the largest number of subdivision applications (136 applications= 290 new parcels), with most of these subdivisions in Mount Pleasant, West Hillhurst, Banff Trail, and Capitol Hill.
  • 393 new business licenses were issued for Ward 7 in 2012, in addition to 2327 renewals. Activity dropped in some Ward 7 neighbourhoods: the Downtown Commercial Core, Crescent Heights, and Hillhurst.
  • Development complaints: residents of Ward 7 submitted 274 official complaints regarding development projects. Most of these complaints came from citizens in Mount Pleasant and Dalhousie.

If you have any questions about these statistics or anything else regarding Development and Building Approvals, please let us know at 403-268-2430 or ward07@calgary.ca. ​​

Categories:

Back | May 29, 2013

With the removal of fluoride from the City of Calgary’s drinking water in 2011, City Council agreed to use some of the $750,000 budget savings to support dental health for children living in poverty. Although dental health is the responsibility of the Provincial Government, Council directed that any program funding would need to demonstrate a measurable positive impact on dental health services for low income families.

The City asked for proposals from health and social service agencies and conducted an analysis based on the scope of dental health services provided, number of children that would benefit, accessibility of services, and long-term program sustainability. The proposals from the Alex Community Health Centre and CUPS were supported and the program details include:

Alex Community Health Centre

for their mobile dental clinics ($585,000).

  • The mobile clinic will work with schools in 17 vulnerable communities.
  • Dental services to children and youth will be administered right at the schools, which will eliminate the barriers of transportation and parents having to take time off from work.
  • The Alex Mobile Dental Clinic is a 40’ RV unit with a full dental clinic which provides free preventive services including sealants, topical fluoride and scaling services for children and youth in Calgary who do not have dental insurance and cannot afford dental care.

Calgary Urban Project Society (CUPS)

to expand their dental care services for children($165,000).

  • Two days per week will be designated specifically for children.
  • The children accessing the program come from the CUPS One World and the CUPS Early Childhood Development Centre programs.
  • It is estimated that the program will provide services to approximately 250 children per month.
  • According to CUPS, once this program has become fully established, it will be financially self sufficient.

CUPS and the Alex will report annually to Council with details on the number of children served, the types of services provided, and a detailed financial statement of the City grant funds.​​

Categories: Budget; Fluoride; Water

Back | May 28, 2013

In 2012, the Alberta Provincial government changed the election legislation. Beginning with the election in October 2013, municipal elections will be held every four years on the third Monday in October, rather than the current three-year terms for the Mayor and Aldermen (soon to be called Councillors). The same bill also made some changes to campaign financing and reporting, and now requires mandatory voter identification to strengthen the integrity of the voting process.

The change to a 4-year election cycle means a change for the City of Calgary: we currently operate on a 3-year business plan and budget cycle which features the opportunity for citizen and Council input and direction in the first year of each cycle. If we were to continue with the 3-year budget cycle, but 4-year elections, the process would fall out of sync and only line up every 12 years!

A survey of Calgarians was done through Our City. Our Budget. Our Future., to gather citizen input into any changes to the process. The survey ended in February 2013, and Council approved a Modified 4-Year Cycle option in April. If you participated in the survey, thank you for being engaged in helping us build a better Calgary!

Categories: Budget; Ward office

Back | June 06, 2013

Thanks a Million Calgary!

Thousands of Calgarians shared their insight over the past two weeks on how Council should use the $52 million in tax room vacated by the Provincial government.

All your feedback will now be collated verbatim and shared with Council to inform their deliberations in July.

All the feedback will be posted on the calgary.ca/52million website the second week of July so you can also see what Calgarians like and disliked about each of the five options.

This was a qualitative study - The City has not collected the number of those who liked or disliked any particular option. Council wanted a free and open discussion with Calgarians and will use all the feedback gathered to help them make the decision.

Thank you, Calgary! Your participation and honest opinions demonstrate why Calgary is a great place to live.​

Categories: Budget

Back | May 28, 2013

Welcome news for homeowners in communities with aging infrastructure!

In March, City Council voted to change the local improvement bylaw, ending the previous 50% cost-sharing policy for sidewalk replacement work. From now on, when The City identifies a portion of sidewalk, curb, or gutter for replacement, adjacent residents will not be charged for the work.

It has long been an area of contention that a homeowner must pay for what is considered normal lifecycle maintenance. Historically, The City shared the cost with adjacent residents who benefited from the renewed infrastructure. Residents had the option to pay an upfront one-time payment or an annual amount that was included in their property tax bill for up to 15 years. Residents who objected to the local improvement were required to petition their neighbours for a two-thirds majority.

image

The new policy applies to projects initiated by The City from the 2012 local improvement bylaws onward. The local improvement cost-sharing rules still apply when residents request their own local improvements for concrete repairs and replacement.

Rather than requiring a tax increase to pay for this program, Council was able to find funding by allocating $1.4 million from tax room identified during November’s budget discussions. Calgarians can still expect reliable infrastructure to be installed and maintained in their communities, while not having to bear the previously required 50% cost. 

Categories: Budget; Community; Transportation

Back | May 28, 2013

RiverWalk is Calgary’s gift to itself: the 4km green promenade will extend from Chinatown all the way to Stampede Park, making Calgary a riverfront city for the first time since its founding. RiverWalk connects neighbourhoods and returns the banks of the Bow and the Elbow to Calgarians.

From its start near the Centre Street Bridge in Chinatown, RiverWalk meanders along the Bow River through East Village to the confluence of the Elbow River. Future phases will follow the river south toward Stampede Park and Lindsay Park.

The first stage of RiverWalk is now open with 2 km of recreational pathway extending from Centre Street eastward to Fort Calgary. The wide promenade has dedicated pedestrian and cycle lanes, which make commuting to the city centre a lovely experience. RiverWalk Plaza in East Village, inspired by the classical town square, has become an important gathering space for Calgarians who are keen to take in an opera performance, watch an outdoor movie on the Simmons Building, or shop at an outdoor crafts market.

While Calgarians are enjoying RiverWalk and RiverWalk Plaza, we are busying preparing for the next stage of its delivery!

Categories: Arts and Culture; Community; Cycling; Transportation

Back | May 15, 2013

Over the past several years, Brentwood residents have been involved in planning for the Transit Oriented Development adjacent to the Brentwood LRT station. The first two buildings (University City by Knightsbridge Homes) are under construction with the remaining three buildings currently in the development permit process. I brought together a team over the last few months, made up of community representatives from Brentwood and Triwood, City of Calgary staff, and representatives from Knightsbridge Homes, to work out any issues and ensure that phase two of this project is a good fit for the community.

The team recently chose the design for new street lamps, park benches, bike racks, and other street furniture that will be used throughout the entire Brentwood Transit Oriented Area as the area develops The focus was to pick furniture that would create a welcoming, main-street atmosphere.

As the plans for the second phase go through the development permit process, The City will do traffic counts this summer for Brentwood Boulevard. Traffic counts will be done prior to new residents moving in in October, so that we have an accurate picture of what the traffic situation looks like before, during, and after the buildings are occupied. Once all five buildings are occupied, the City will analyze the data and determine if any adjustments need to be made to address traffic issues.

I'm happy to report that we now have funding for the Blakiston Park design work. A committee made up of Brentwood residents, City staff, and Knightsbridge Homes, will work together to design the park. Planning a park is a fun, creative process and there will be opportunities for neighbours to participate, so please keep an eye out for announcements on open houses. Funding from density bonusing from the development will help kick-start the work in Blakiston Park.

If you are an artist, you may want to consider entering the University City sculpture competition. The deadline for applications is June 1, 2013. If you would like more details on the requirements, please click here.               

Categories: Community; Council initiatives; Parks

Back | May 02, 2013

An idea that sprang from a concern about the reputation of Calgary’s Chinatown has garnered positive results. In 2008, in the face of increased vandalism and issues of safety, a group of community conscious people formed the Chinatown Safety Council. With the goal of safety and cleanliness by increasing pride in one’s community, the Council began working to change long held stereotypes about Chinatown as an unsafe place to visit.

Members of the Chinatown Safety Council include the Calgary Chinese Community Service Association, Oi Kwan Foundation, Calgary Chinese Elderly Citizens’ Association, the Calgary Chinese Cultural Centre, HSBC (Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited), Condo Base Management Inc., Sing Tao Daily, Calgary Block Watch, Sunflower Realty & Property Management Inc., Animal & Bylaw Services, City of Calgary, and the Calgary Police Service.

Many initiatives have come from the Safety Council meetings, and one such initiative focussed on reducing graffiti through murals. Check out our previous article on the murals here. In previous years, many hundreds of graffiti tags required removal, but in the year since the murals were installed, there have been less than 100 graffiti tags.

The Chinatown Safety Council wishes to extend a warm welcome to all Calgarians to come and experience a safe and vibrant Chinatown.

Categories: Arts and Culture; Community

Back | May 13, 2013

The Centre City Urban Design Guidelines are a clear and easy-to-read handbook for those working in Calgary’s development and design industries. The goal of the guidelines, to “make Calgary a more beautiful, memorable city with a commitment to excellence in Urban Design”, was taken from the Municipal Development Plan.

The Centre City Urban Design Guidelines has four objectives:

  • Consolidate existing Centre City urban design policies and guidelines, identify any gaps, and develop a comprehensive design guideline in a user-friendly, visually rich graphic format.
  • Clarify and outline expectations related to design quality while reflecting current national and international best practices in sustainable and innovative urban design.
  • Communicate urban design guidelines widely both inside and outside of the City Administration to ensure that they are applied consistently to all applications.
  • Help make the development review process more efficient and effective without compromising the City’s core urban design objectives.

In March 2013, there was a round of stakeholder workshops with representatives from industry and the community to gather feedback on the draft. The Calgary Planning Commission will discuss the document in July 2013 and it will go to City Council in fall 2013.

Public realm (publicly owned streets, pathways, parks, and civic building) is an essential part of a vibrant city and this plan will help make Calgary’s Centre City an memorable place to work, live, and play.

Questions or comments about the project can also be directed at any time to the project manager:

Xia Zhang

Planner, Land Use Planning & Policy

Tel: 403-268-5339 Email: Xia.Zhang@calgary.ca

Categories: Council initiatives

Back | April 29, 2013

New this property tax season, the Seniors Property Tax Deferral Program allows eligible senior homeowners to defer all or part of their property taxes through a low-interest home equity loan with the Alberta government.

The Seniors Property Tax Deferral program and the Alberta government will pay all or part of your property taxes on your behalf. It works by giving you a low-interest loan that is secured against your home equity. The loan is repaid when you sell your house, are no longer eligible for the loan, or at any other time you choose.

Learn more and find out if you're eligible at www.SeniorsPTDP.alberta.ca, or call the Alberta Supports Contact Centre at 1 877 644 9992.

Categories:

Back | May 09, 2013

The ground-breaking ceremony for the new National Music Centre (NMC) was music to many ears on February 22, 2013. Currently, the National Music Centre reaches more than 75,000 people every year. Imagine how many more people will visit after 2015, when the new NMC is expected to open!

The new NMC will be over 160,000 square feet, allowing for lots of room for the 2,000 plus artefacts in their collection, two different performance spaces, studios, and diverse education programs. The collection of musical instruments and sound equipment will be available to artists for the creation of new works, including the Rolling Stones Mobile Recording Unit, where the Stones recorded Exile on Main St., and Led Zepplin cut the demo for Stairway to Heaven. The King Eddy Hotel will become part of the architecture and restored as a performance space.

The groundbreaking was the result of a lot of backbreaking work by many people with the NMC and in all levels of government. It will be another gem for Ward 7 and East Village. And what other building will be able to claim that Canada’s own Anne Murray broke ground?

Categories: Arts and Culture; Council initiatives

Back | May 09, 2013

A fun night out takes some planning – the right outfit, good friends, and a great location. You don’t want to be ready for a night on the town, and end up with slow service, ghastly washrooms, or out-of-control patrons. Best Bar None is a voluntary accreditation and awards program facilitated by the Alberta Gaming & Liquor Commission, and is in its second year in Calgary.

The BBN 2013 competition has just been launched and this year’s winners will be announced at an awards event in June. The competition provides some friendly competition between Calgary bars, and patrons benefit from the bars’ higher standards.

All accredited bars have the Best Bar None logo on their doors, and are also listed on the Best Bar None website. A quick check of the BBN website before you go out can change your evening from unpleasant to awesome!

Categories: Police

Back | April 16, 2013

The past year has been a busy one for the Calgary Homeless Foundation. The January 2012 “point-in-time” count showed the first reduction in homelessness in 20 years, and another count done in August 2012 showed a further decline. Since the 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness began in January 2008, more than 4000 men, women, and children have received housing and support.

The Calgary Homeless Foundation has also become a strong community leader, funding more than 40 different programs. They implemented Canada’s first Homeless Management Information System, began building a more coordinated homeless-serving system, created Canada’s first Plan to End Youth Homelessness, and will soon have Canada’s first Plan to End Aboriginal Homelessness.

Recently, the 10 Year Plan reached its halfway point. We are now less than 5 years from reaching the goal to end homelessness and there is much work yet to be done.

The City of Calgary values its relationship with the Calgary Homeless Foundation and the many partner agencies involved in the 10 Year Plan. The progress made in the past 5 years is remarkable and we look forward to furthering the work to end homelessness in the next 5 years.

If you would like to get involved and help the CHF reach their goal, have a look at the Get Involved webpage. From there, you can learn more, volunteer, or donate. You don’t have to be Bon Jovi to donate, any amount helps!

(Our article about the 2011 successes of the CHF can be found here.)

Categories: Affordable Housing

Back | May 28, 2013

City staff and stakeholders partner to deliver tomorrow’s planning system

Many current players within Calgary’s planning system, including City staff, communities, and builders, have expressed frustration about a process that sometimes stifles innovation, results in troubled working relationships, is overly complex, and limits collaboration and discussion. While many people are doing great work, the current planning process doesn’t live up to the potential of its people. This is a message that The City has heard consistently, regardless of audience.

As City Council noted when it launched Transforming Planning in June 2012, if we continue on our current path, we may not achieve our potential as a city as outlined in the Municipal Development Plan. The Transforming Planning team is working with City staff and stakeholders – industry, communities, and citizens – to design and deliver a results-based planning system that will help us build a vibrant, prosperous, and sustainable city.

At the core of this initiative is a working group that provides leadership and program development. Putting City staff, community, and industry at the centre of a major City initiative is an unusual approach, but it is beginning to yield results.

The working group is keen to implement improvements quickly, rather than wait until the end of a long study, so the Transforming Planning team will develop a new planning process and pilot development applications, concurrently. The results of the pilots will feed into the ongoing creation of the new planning system.

Beginning in March 2013, Transforming Planning will run began running a series of public engagement events on the emerging results. Please check Transforming Planning’s website for updates, email transformingplanning@calgary.ca. or follow on Twitter: @nextCITYyyc. ​​

Categories: Council initiatives

Back | April 04, 2013

RouteAhead, Calgary Transit’s long-term strategy for public transit over the next 30 years was approved by City Council on March 4. It is a comprehensive plan that includes ways to improve the customer experience, expand Calgary Transit’s network, finance construction and operating costs, and how to best invest our limited resources. All the recommendations in the plan are based on the feedback the RouteAhead team received during its extensive stakeholder engagement, and the goals of the Calgary Transportation Plan.

If you haven’t seen the plan yet, I encourage you to have a look on RouteAhead’s website. You’ll see that many of the projects will improve transit service in Ward 7, such as the North-Crosstown Bus Rapid Transit from Brentwood to Saddletowne, West Campus Mobility, and the North Central LRT.

RouteAhead focuses on improvements to customer service and includes better access and connections, shorter wait times, easier ways to pay, and an improved riding experience for the many Calgarians who take transit every day. Upgrading the system to four-car CTrains in 2015 will also greatly reduce congestion and make it easier for you to get to your destination!

Some interesting tidbits about Calgary Transit: in 2012 they had a ridership of 102,000,000 and provided 2.67 million hours of service. Calgary Transit has 970 buses, 192 Light Rail Vehicles, 163 bus routes, and 44 CTrain stations.

Categories: Council initiatives

Back | April 08, 2013

Get a behind the scenes look at what Calgary Transit employees do every day to keep your CTrains and buses running! On Saturday April 20 and Sunday April 21, you can get a free tour of the Anderson Garage and ride on the CTrain as it goes through the train-wash (a supersized car-wash!). There will be lots of giveaways and more.

The only way to get to and from the tour is a shuttle bus from Anderson Station. We encourage everyone to take transit to Anderson station, although parking will be available at the Anderson Station Park & Ride lot.

Tours start at 10am and will be every 15 minutes until 3pm. Tours last about an hour. To register, call (403) 262-1000, then press 9. Registration lines are open from 8 am to 12 noon and 1 pm to 4:30 pm, Monday to Friday. Registration closes Friday, April 19th at 4pm. You will be asked to choose a time slot when you phone. Register soon as spots are limited!

Categories:

Back | May 14, 2013

Hankering for a good read? Ever wish there was a library right on your corner? Do you have some books you’d like to share? Well, Ward 7’s latest initiative - the Little Free Library Project - was designed just for you!

A Little Free Library is pretty much as it sounds. It’s free. It’s a library. And it’s little. Very little. Think of a big birdhouse posted on a street corner or in a public area, but instead of birds, it houses books. You can see examples of Free Little Libraries online (Disclaimer: Ward 7’s Little Free Libraries will naturally be much, much cooler).

The books will originally come from the Library’s steward - a community volunteer that will help maintain and monitor their community’s Little Free Library. The books in the library will be free and available for anyone who wants a good read (no library card needed!). The intention is that the borrowed books will either be returned to the Little Free Library or replaced with other literary favourites. And if you’re not in a reading mood these days, these Little Free Libraries are a great place to drop off books that might be gathering dust.

Ward 7 and a great group of hard-working community volunteers are working together to assemble and install Little Free Libraries in every Ward 7 community. The libraries will be constructed of pre-cut and pre-drilled scrap material, donated by developers and builders working in the Ward.

Contact our office at ward07@calgary.ca or 403-268-2430 to find out where one will be in your community and how to get involved!

Categories: Arts and Culture; Community; Events; Ward office

Back | April 22, 2013

If you took a stroll in Nose Hill Park this winter, you may have noticed something new. In the fall of 2012, almost eighty interpretive and orientation signs were installed. Landscaping around the bases of the signs, including seeding and landscape repairs, will be completed Spring 2013.

As conditions allow, work will also begin this spring on trail rehabilitation, and the closure of informal, non-designated routes, starting in the western area of the park. This is a complicated process. Plans have been drawn up for the trail rehabilitation, but the challenge with working in a natural area is that what is drawn on a plan may not sufficiently reflect what is on the ground. This applies particularly to dirt trails, which can be impacted by subtle changes in topography, orientation, soil conditions, and vegetation. The technicians carrying out the work will evaluate these factors and compensate as needed. The overall alignment of the planned trails will not change, but there will be minor adjustments made to the planned route to ensure sustainable and low impact trails. This process, I learned recently, is called “ground-truthing”.

There is a large area at the top of Nose Hill the size of 424 football fields. It is a multi-use zone that can be used for off-leash dog walking, off-trail hiking, and off-trail cycling, and mountain biking. To help preserve the park’s sensitive ecosystems and vegetation, these activities are only permitted in the multi-use zone. Make sure to keep your dogs on-leash and stay on the designated trails and pathways when you are in other parts of the park.

Nose Hill is a very special place, and it is wonderful to see it maintained and cared for, by both the technicians who are restoring it, and the public who use it every day.

Categories: Cycling; Parks

Back | April 03, 2013

City Council has directed that the Crowchild Trail Corridor Study be put on hold until mid-2014, and as a result all work related to the draft plans presented at the fall 2012 open houses has stopped.

The public response to the Crowchild Trail Study encouraged the Transportation Department to take a step back and review the policy for transportation corridors, city-wide. The review will develop principles that will guide all future corridors studies, not just Crowchild Trail, and will include an improved framework for public consultation. Other objectives include the need to limit negative impacts on neighbouring communities, identify opportunities to enhance adjacent neighbourhoods, and ensure improved mobility for transit, pedestrians and cyclists as well as motorists. The new corridor policy framework, approved at the March 20, 2013 Standing Policy Committee (SPC) on Transportation and Transit, will be presented to Council for approval in May 2014.

Once the policy is approved, the Transportation team will reinitiate the Crowchild Trail Corridor Study, later in 2014.

“Network Planning is committed to ensuring that sustainable modes of transportation are not only considered, but are incorporated into all of our corridor studies.”  - Cameron Matwie, Manager Network Planning

Previous Council Direction

In December 2012, Council directed that all work on Crowchild Trail stop immediately, based on unanimous support for the Notice of Motion that The Mayor, Alderman John Mar and I brought forward. Council also directed a review of our corridor policy city-wide, which will ultimately guide Administration through a more collaborative process with citizens in all future Transportation Corridor Studies.

There is currently no funding available for Crowchild Trail corridor upgrades, so it is important that we take the time to get it right.

Crowchild Corridor Council (C3)

I am aware of the Crowchild Corridor Council that formed in response to the fall 2012 open houses, and it certainly doesn’t hurt for communities to get together to discuss issues. In fact, I encouraged it when I was worried that we didn’t have Council’s support to stop the draft plan. However, unanimous support of the Council motion removed the urgency and any need for immediate action by concerned residents. The Transportation Department are now required to invite all interested Calgarians to participate prior to creating new designs or proposing changes.​​

Categories: Council initiatives; Transportation; Ward office

Back | February 28, 2013

Winter is almost over and The City wants to know what you think about our Snow and Ice Control program.

We're asking Calgarians to participate in an online survey regarding our winter road conditions. The survey is approximately 15 minutes long and consists of questions ranging from residential road conditions to Snow Route Parking Bans. The City is also conducting a random selection telephone survey.

Survey results help us gauge how well we’re keeping Calgarians on the move during the winter months. Tell us what you think!

Categories: Transportation

Back | March 12, 2013

Created from humble beginnings in 1963, the Brentwood Community Association will celebrate its 50th anniversary this year. The Brentwood Community Association has grown and evolved over a half century, expanding their community hall from a small house-like structure to a large Sportsplex that is used by Calgarians from across the city.

Over the years volunteers and neighbours have joined together for various projects that have built a strong sense of fellowship. They have constructed playgrounds and a community garden, painted community murals, and built and installed several Little Free Libraries. In an effort to connect neighbours they started Meet Our Neighbours Day (MONday), when residents are encouraged to go for a walk at the same time in the evening on the first Monday of each month and chat with anyone they meet on the street. Residents of neighbouring communities have started to drop by on MONdays to enjoy the camaraderie.

To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Community Association, celebrations will be peppered throughout the year. On Saturday, April 27, 2013 they will host a 50th Anniversary Gala dinner and dance. Sunday, June 16, 2013 will be a family barbeque at the Brentwood Sportsplex. A Senior’s Tea is scheduled for Saturday, October 5, 2013. Teen’s can swim, watch a movie, and nosh on pizza on Friday, November 15, 2013. More details for all of these events can be found on the Brentwood Community Association webpage.

Categories: Community; Events

Back | January 30, 2013

At the direction of City Council, there are a number of initiatives underway at City Hall to improve efficiency and effectiveness. The Transforming Government strategy includes business planning, budgeting, performance benchmarking, measurement, and reporting. It also includes zero-based and service improvement reviews for several departments.

The zero-based review is a significant new component of the strategy beginning in the Parks, Roads, Water Services and Fire Departments over 2013-2014. Zero-based reviews examine all services and functions of the department ‘from scratch’ rather than build on previous budgets and tasks, to ensure that services are necessary and every dollar is well used.

A number of departments are undergoing service improvement reviews:

  • Next City: Transforming Planning is intended to radically improve planning and development services. A diverse team of citizen, community, and development industry stakeholders are reviewing the entire planning process to enhance the quality of decisions and efficiency. Mayor Nenshi, Alderman Carra and I sit on the Advisory Committee.
  • RouteAhead: A Strategic Plan for Transit is establishing an ambitious vision and implementation plan for the next 30-years of Calgary Transit.
  • Waste and Recycling Services are reviewing their collections programs including green carts, pending Council’s decision on a city-wide organics pick up. Potential for private sector involvement and the extension of the blue cart collection contract will be presented for Council’s consideration in early 2014.

A full account of the improvements to service efficiency and effectiveness will be provided to Council at the 2012 year-end business plan and budget report in March.

Categories: Council initiatives; Budget; Newsletter

Back | October 16, 2012

The Calgary Homeless Foundation moves from TAKING best practices from other places to BECOMING the best practice.

The concept of "Collective Impact" was first raised in Stanford Social Innovation Review's Winter 2011 issue, resulting in an overwhelming response from organizations and individuals interested in guidance on implementing these principles. In their follow up article, "Channeling Change: Making Collective Impact Work," the authors have held out the work of the Calgary Homeless Foundation as an example of "Collective Impact."

Congratulations to Tim Richter, the board, staff and partners of the Calgary Homeless Foundation.

Categories: Council initiatives

Back | March 12, 2013

In 2010, the Late Night Taxi Stand signs started popping up in Calgary’s busiest nightlife spots, designed to cluster waiting taxis for bar patrons who wanted to end their evening responsibly.

This program was a group effort between the City of Calgary, Calgary Police Service, the business community, and the local taxi industry to improve safety for customers getting in and out of taxis by providing a safe space for taxis to pull over. Another goal was to reduce the number of taxis double-parked in the middle of congested streets. The original signs were a bit confusing, so the signage was improved to make the taxi zones clearer.

The Late Night Taxi Stand program operates every Thursday, Friday and Saturday between the hours of 10 p.m. and 3 a.m.

Late Night Taxi Stands are located at:

  • 10th Ave between 1st and 2nd St (Vinyl Retro Dance Lounge)
  • 10th Ave between 2nd and 3rd St (The Mansion, Craft and Whiskey)
  • 11th Ave and 5th St (The Rhino )
  • 12th Ave and 5th St (Hudson’s)
  • 17th Ave between 4th and 5th St (Local 510, Ship and Anchor and the National)
  • 17th Ave at 7th Street (Melrose)
  • 16th Ave between 7th and 8th St (Metropolitan Grill)
  • 17th Ave between 12th and 14th St (Morgan’s Pub)
  • 4th St between 24th and 25th Ave (Wurst Restaurant and Beer Hall) – NEW STAND

Categories:

Back | October 16, 2012

Close on the heels of last spring’s inaugural poet laureate program, the Calgary Heritage Authority and the City of Calgary announced Calgary’s first Historian Laureate, Harry Sanders. The position was made official in June, when Harry was presented a laurel crown by Heritage Authority chair, Scott Jolliffe, in a hilarious history/poetry faceoff between poet laureate Kris Demeanor and Harry on Stephen Avenue. The Calgary 2012 celebrations and a number of important centennials, including Century Homes, The Calgary Public Library, Calgary Recreation, and the Calgary Stampede, have kept both of our laureates very busy. Kris and Harry are often seen together, marking noteworthy events and celebrations with poetry and fascinating tales of Calgary’s past.

Categories: Arts and Culture

Back | October 16, 2012

I thought I would share a little story about Bylaw Bill Bruce on the eve of his retirement.

Years ago I worked at the Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Association in senior's outreach and urban planning, where I met Bill in his capacity as head of Bylaw and before that, as a traffic technician.

A common fixture in the community was a long-time resident who we all knew just as Elizabeth. Elizabeth suffered from an obsessive compulsive disorder, and her yard was filled with heaps of refuse gathered from the neighbourhood. We would see Elizabeth on her daily walks, usually with a pack of scruffy looking Pomeranians in tow.

It came to our attention from one of her neighbours that Elizabeth's house was without power, heat or plumbing and likely had been for years. Bylaw Bill was called in, assessed the situation, and discovered more than 20 dogs in varying states of health and dreadful conditions in the home. A couple of residents demanded that Elizabeth be forced out of her house and institutionalized, but Bill patiently explained about her disorder and the steps he was going to take to improve her living conditions.

The community put an article in the Hillhurst Sunnyside Voice asking for help from the public while Bill worked on the logistics of finding Elizabeth temporary lodging. The bylaw team and neighbours, under Bill's guidance, emptied the house of its contents and then volunteer tradespeople descended to gut, rewire, drywall and re-plumb. One neighbour even sewed lovely floral curtains for every window. Furniture and appliances were donated from across the city.

Elizabeth was delighted to return to her fresh, clean home. Bill enforced a limit of two neutered Poms and visited her often to ensure that she didn't revert to her old habits. Neighbours checked in on her regularly with plates of food and baking and Elizabeth lived happily in her house until she died several years later.

After getting elected, I quickly discovered that Bill was a trusted adviser for Council members. Our calls were always answered, even on weekends, and we counted on Bill to resolve the most esoteric of problems. Bill would drop by City Hall with photos of kittens or puppies or occasionally a live one in his pocket, trying to peddle them off.

Thank you, Bill, for teaching us what it means to be a good neighbour, and for a million other things. 

Categories:

Back | March 12, 2013

Over the past year and a half, the number of burnt-out streetlights and the length of time that it took to repair them frustrated many Calgarians. In March 2012 the number of streetlight outages reached an all-time high of 1,933 at one time. While this number fluctuated from day to day, Council understood that this was not acceptable.

As a result, Council worked with Enmax to implement an enhanced service to replace the large number of burned-out streetlights and reduce the backlog of repairs. For the most part, streetlight repairs are now scheduled for the evening hours to avoid traffic and identify burnt-out lights more easily.

The City of Calgary has approximately 90,000 streetlights. The number of repairs required increased by 10% per year since 2009, due in part to aging infrastructure and a growing city.

To report that a streetlight is out please phone 3-1-1 or submit a service request online.

Categories: 311; Ward office

Back | March 12, 2013

The MyParking app from the Calgary Parking Authority is now available as a free download for iPhone users. This app is designed to make parking in Calgary easier with several handy features.

With a ParkPlus cell phone account, users can pay for their parking with the click of a button. Just log in with your account information and enter the zone number you’ve parked in. It will also tell you how much time is left before your parking expires.

To help plan your trip downtown, you can use the parking availability features to find an on-street and off-street parking space. View the number of available parkade stalls in real-time, or check where on-street parking is typically the busiest with the estimated on-street availability map.

The MyParking app also contains access to CPA’s Twitter feed (@CalgaryParking), how-to videos, and a direct link to its ParkAid services, which offers free tire inflation and battery boosting to ParkPlus customers.

The CPA is looking to develop the app for other platforms soon such as Android and BlackBerry.

Download the app from iTunes or the App store by searching “MyParking” or find out more at calgaryparking.com.

Categories:

Back | October 16, 2012

The new 4 Street S.E. underpass is now open, providing an important connection between Victoria Park and East Village. The project started out with a standard underpass design that included the demolition of the King Eddy and dark, narrow sidewalks typically seen in underpasses downtown. Wanting to set a new standard, we held a number of workshops and embarked on a new way of approaching underpass design that focused on creating a welcoming environment for pedestrians and cyclists.

The resulting discussion led The City to adopt new downtown underpass guidelines that won a national award this year for planning excellence. The LED lighting within the walls and handrails helps make the space more people-friendly and the kinetic art within the canopy allows pivoting fins to move with the motion of the wind or a passing train. We hope you appreciate not just the convenience that it offers but the connection to parts of the city that until now, have been isolated from one another.

Categories: Transportation

Back | March 07, 2013

In the winter of 2011 the outdoor ice rinks in Rosemont were voted as the Best Outdoor Skating Rink by readers of The Calgary Herald. The two Rosemont ice rinks are located in Confederation Park and have been around since 1966.

There have been several volunteers over the years that have maintained the ice on these rinks, and since 2008 the Rosemont Ice Guys have been recording their adventures in maintaining the rinks on their very own blog. The blog is how they keep track of how many coats of ice each rink has, how their snow clearing equipment (affectionately known as Bertha and Bruno) is holding up, and how the local Shinny teams are doing.

Categories: Arts and Culture; Community

Back | March 05, 2013

​​March 2013 will mark the first year of the Green Cart pilot program. Residents in the four pilot communities, including the Ward 7 community of Brentwood, have reduced their garbage year-round by 42 per cent. The City of Calgary’s Waste & Recycling Services continue to hear positive feedback from pilot participants. A December survey by Ipsos Reid showed us that participants have embraced the program and find it easy to do; 89 per cent of respondents were satisfied with the program and 91 per cent supported extending the program citywide.

What will happen to the green cart service after the pilot is over?

This spring, Waste & Recycling Services will bring a report to City Council with results from the pilot, along with recommendations on whether to pursue a city-wide program, which, if approved, could be rolled out across Calgary in 2016 at the earliest. We will keep you updated on decisions as they develop. In the meantime, Brentwood residents will continue to receive green cart service until the end of July. A four-month collection calendar is being delivered to the participants in March.

Too Good to Waste

Waste & Recycling Services has produced a video called Too Good to Waste that explains how a landfill works and why turning food and yard waste into compost for gardens, parks, and farms is a better than burying it in a landfill. By treating organic waste as a resource, we can save space in our landfill and take a critical step forward towards Council’s 80/20 by 2020 waste diversion goal.

More information

To find out more on this pilot program visit calgary.ca/greencart. ​

Categories: Council initiatives; Waste and Recycle

Back | March 12, 2013

The community of Hounsfield Heights Briar Hill was established in August of 1953. Prior to becoming a community, the land that many homes are currently built on was once part of the Riley Family homestead, settled in 1888. The homestead was annexed by The City of Calgary in 1906, the same year that it was first subdivided.

Over the years the community has developed a rich history that area residents are attempting to preserve. The community is compiling their history in an online History Book that dates back to the original settlers. Anecdotal stories from residents who lived in the community in the 1940’s and 1950’s provide a glimpse into what it was like to grow up in Hounsfield Heights Briar Hill when the community was just beginning.

Categories: Community

Back | February 07, 2013

In December 2012, Alderman John Mar and I, in collaboration with the Mayor’s Office, brought forward a motion to City Council regarding the Crowchild Trail Corridor Study in response to the concerns raised at the November open houses. Council supported the motion unanimously to put the Crowchild Trail Corridor Study on hold and direct further study.

Council directed City Administration to cease design work for Crowchild Trail, and create a new approach for all transportation corridor studies. The desired outcome is a policy that balances mobility through and across corridors for all transportation modes, with preserving and improving local communities as outlined in the PlanIt Calgary policy.

Council’s new directive removes the urgency felt by the communities at the open houses. The next steps below outline how the Transportation Department has been directed to move forward, and they are required to invite all interested Calgarians to participate prior to creating new designs or proposing any changes. It is important to note that there is no funding available for Crowchild Trail corridor upgrades, so it is important that we take the time to get it right.

Next Steps

1.Communication. Inform impacted residents and businesses of the new direction, and emphasize that the proposed design concepts from November 2012 open houses are not being considered.

2.New Work Plan. The Transportation Department is establishing a work plan for the Terms of Reference for corridor studies. Transportation will present the work plan to Council through the Standing Policy Committee on Transportation and Transit on March 20, 2013.

3.Terms of Reference. Through the remainder of 2013, the Transportation Department will be working with other City departments and engaging Calgarians to create a new policy for transportation corridor studies. This document, which will ultimately guide the implementation of future transportation corridor studies city-wide, will be presented to Council through the Standing Policy Committee on Transportation & Transit for approval in late 2013.

4.Crowchild Trail Corridor Study. The Transportation Department anticipates the Crowchild Trail Corridor Study will re-start in 2014, based on Council approved Terms of Reference that include policy on how to engage with Calgarians.

5.Consultation. All new work on Crowchild Trail will include a greater level of public engagement involving the communities along the corridor, with a particular emphasis on the most impacted neighbourhoods.  

Categories: Transportation; Videos

Back | January 30, 2013

The Transportation Department held open houses in November on the Crowchild Trail Corridor Study, where reaction to the plan ranged from dismay and outrage to unqualified support. While chatting with people at the open houses, I heard from many adjacent residents who felt that the transportation planners were focused on maximizing traffic flow with little consideration for neighbourhood impacts.

As a result of the concerns we heard at the open house, I am working with the Mayor’s Office, Alderman John Mar, and the Transportation Department on a Notice of Motion that will put the consultant team on hold and provide a more balanced approach. While this motion is not yet approved by the time of deadline for this article, the principles being discussed include the following:

  • Improve traffic flow for all modes of travel including walking, cycling, public transit and motor vehicles;
  • Protect and enhance neighbouring communities by reducing impacts on adjacent properties, reducing cut-through traffic, improving community parks and recreation space, and protecting the river and river valley;
  • Facilitate primary transit to downtown and between universities;
  • Improve walk/cycle connections;
  • Improve the quality of urban design;
  • Identify priority projects that would have the most benefit with limited resources.

We also agree that the priority is for a new engagement process to ensure the proper consultation with the neighbourhoods that are the most impacted. Ideally, this consultation will be conducted community by community, given the varying degree of benefits and impacts.

There is no current funding available for any improvements along Crowchild Trail, and work will not be realized for quite some time. However, I understand the immediate uncertainty residents are feeling until final decisions are made with the corridor, and therefore it is critical that we proceed with this new approach in a timely manner. 

Categories: Council initiatives; Newsletter; Transportation

Back | March 12, 2013

In 2012 a small group of dedicated volunteers created Century Homes Calgary, an event that celebrated the history of the first building boom in Calgary, which started in 1904 and peaked in 1912. Many of the houses that were built during this time helped create the vibrant and diverse inner city communities that thrive today.

The volunteer organizers worked with hundreds of homeowners to make the weeklong event a success. Over 500 homes were registered in 30 different communities. Homeowners researched the history of their home and its former inhabitants, and then created yard signs with the stories and history they discovered.

Once all the research was completed, and the yard sign ready for installation, the locations were added to the Century Homes Tour Map. Calgarians were encouraged to create customized walking tours of participating homes during Historic Calgary Week.

Century Homes Calgary was such a resounding success that the organizers were awarded the 2012 Governor General’s History Award for Excellence in Community Programming, one of the top honours an organization can receive in the field of history and heritage. Century Homes Calgary was such a success, with a small amount of funding from the City of Calgary and Calgary 2012, the organizers plan to make it an annual event.

If you’d like to participate or visit some of Calgary’s Century Homes this coming summer, they would be pleased to see you July 26th – August 5th.

Categories: Community; Events

Back | March 06, 2013

In December 2012 I had the honour of nominating five community leaders for a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal: Lily Kwok of Chinatown, Louise French of Dalhousie, Cheri Macaulay of Brentwood, Kris Olsen of Rosemont, and Ned Shillington of East Village. The Ward 7 office arranged a surprise event for the recipients and their families and presented the medals in City Hall’s historic Grant MacEwan Library on February 21, 2013. Mayor Nenshi was able to spare a few minutes to drop by for a spontaneous visit and to extend congratulations and thanks for their contributions to the wellbeing of our city.

All five of the medal recipients have dedicated countless hours to their neighbourhoods to make them wonderful places to live. I would like to congratulate Kris, Lily, Louise, Cheri, and Ned on receiving their awards.

Categories: Community; Ward office

Back | February 26, 2013

Walkability matters! More and more, studies show us that walkability is critical for health, wealth, and community growth. Organisations like the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as health boards across North America, are demonstrating a strong link between community design and total physical activity. This link is especially important as rates of obesity, in particular child obesity, and other lifestyle illnesses rise, resulting in an alarming prediction that our children will have a lifespan five years less than their parents.

Studies (Good for Business) also show that houses located within strolling distance of shops and services command a price premium and retain their value more than in less walkable areas. Walkability translates directly into reduced crime, improved traffic safety, and economic viability for local businesses. The emotional bond to where you live, achieved by bumping into neighbours or simply waving hello, improves neighbourhood safety.

For many, the notion of walkability means the easy distance to shops, schools, and services, and while people won’t walk if there is nothing to walk to, there are a number of other features that create a walkable neighbourhood. Connections to a network of sidewalks and pathways with plenty of intersections, interesting human-scaled buildings, street trees and parks, and a higher density of housing and population all contribute to the walking experience.

To connect residents to vital amenities, City Council recently adopted standards for new communities, requiring tree-lined sidewalks on both sides of the street. While retrofitting existing communities to be more pedestrian friendly can be a slow process, portions of the transportation budget have been redirected to gradually improve links to transit. Calgary is heading in the right direction.

Categories: Community; Newsletter; Transportation

Back | March 12, 2013

Many Ward 7 communities are undergoing redevelopment, whether it is an infill house or a larger multi-use building. As a result, many residents have questions and concerns regarding the construction sites in their neighbourhoods.

The Safety Response Unit has been working on a number of initiatives to improve the safety of construction sites within Calgary. They developed the Practical Guide for Construction Sites in Calgary, a document that outlines the responsibilities of those in the construction industry, and On-Site Construction Safety Best Practices. Construction sites that require safety fencing now must display an orange Construction Site Contact Info sign on site to help the public get in touch with the owner or contractor regarding any questions or concerns about the site.

Together, these measures will help us ensure that construction sites in our neighbourhoods are safe. If you have concerns about a site, and you are not able to speak with the owner or contractor, please phone 3-1-1 so that a development inspector can investigate.

Categories: 311; Community

Back | October 16, 2012

The Calgary Chinese Cultural Centre has been an important part of Calgary’s cultural and physical landscape for the past 20 years, inspiring social inclusion and providing a focal point for community activities.

The Centre’s ornate pagoda-style roof is a replica of the Temple of Heaven in Beijing, originally constructed around 1420 AD and listed as one of the World Cultural Relics by UNESCO. Built during the Ming Dynasty, the temple was a place for the Emperor to pray for a good harvest to affirm that he was still in good standing with the heavens.

To re-create the roof in Calgary, 44,000 unique clay tiles, kiln-dried using traditional Chinese methods, were brought from China and painstakingly placed on the pagoda roof in 200 columns. Like any facility after 20 years of operation, The Calgary Chinese Cultural Centre is faced with maintenance and lifecycle needs. The Calgary winters have been particularly harsh on the clay roof, and City staff is working with the Centre to provide Capital Conservation Grant funding and technical support to help with the intricate task of roof replacement.

Categories: Arts and Culture

Back | October 16, 2012

I have been a fan of container art spaces for some time having seen some fascinating installations in other cities. So when organizers approached our office about bringing containR to Calgary, I was thrilled to help. Their vision, to connect communities through public installations of “pop-up art”, fits beautifully with work already happening in Calgary.

I went to RiverWalk Plaza to watch the containRs being placed and was struck by how suddenly a once-empty space is becoming a “village”. These containRs provide intimate venues for all sorts of performances and give the performers freedom to experiment in a portable environment. Because of their portability, the containRs can bring culture to emerging areas like East Village. Just watching the set-up is a show in itself - a containR container ballet! Don’t worry if you missed the set-up, there will be plenty to see in the containRs during Fluid Festival.

The containRs are a great addition to the Fluid Festival, and it is wonderful to have such a successful venture from the 2010 Vancouver Olympics Cultural Olympiad in Calgary during our Cultural Capital of Canada celebrations.

Categories: Arts and Culture

Back | October 16, 2012

It’s your transit. Tell us where you want to go!

City Council is embarking on an exciting new plan for Calgary Transit. RouteAhead, a long-term strategy for public transit over the next 30 years, will focus on making transit safe, convenient, comfortable, and efficient.

Last May, the RouteAhead team started talking to Calgarians at community events and on the engagement bus, a travelling version of the Ward 7 Bow to Bluff storefront. Citizens were asked what they like, what they’d like to see improved, and what direction they think Calgary Transit should take in the future. Over 4,000 people met with the team on the bus and at these events!

The RouteAhead team is using the public feedback, as well the vision and goals set out in PlanIt Calgary, to draft a 30-year strategy. The plan will cover all aspects of public transit including where best to invest limited resources. In September, Council supported the guiding principles for the strategy as well as the evaluation criteria for rapid transit projects.

Now, the team is gearing up for its next phase of public engagement - giving Calgarians an opportunity to see what is being proposed, and asking them to weigh in and confirm that RouteAhead is on the right track. The final presentation to Council will be at the Transportation and Transit Committee on December 12. Stay tuned to www.routeahead.ca, follow the progress on Twitter (@routeahead) and look for the engagement bus in Ward 7.

I’m looking forward to seeing you on the RouteAhead bus!​​

Categories:

Back | October 16, 2012

Now that Calgary has piloted its first pop-up patio outside the busy Vendome in Sunnyside, we’re expanding the concept to pop-up parks and gardens. Built to be temporary and transportable, these affordable little public spaces are perfect for communities that have high residential densities and yet are severely deficient in green space. The first pop-up park will be located in West Downtown, home to a number of high-rise condos but few parks. The idea of pop-up gardens is being explored for the vacant lots and side streets of the Beltline, the highest density community in Calgary with the least amount of parks space.

Categories: Community

Back | July 19, 2012

To ensure a fun, safe night out on the town, Best Bar None, a program promoting higher public safety and customer service standards for bars and nightclubs, was launched in January.

Based on a successful program out of the UK and introduced in Edmonton in 2010, Best Bar None is an accreditation and awards program that promotes responsible management and operations of licensed premises. The program works as a collaborative between the licensed operator, the Province, Calgary Police, Bylaw and Licensing that has resulted in a marked reduction of alcohol related violence. More than 300 pubs, clubs, bars and lounges have been invited to take part in the program to make Calgary's nightlife safer and more enjoyable.

Look for the Best Bar None symbol at the entrance of your favourite pub or nightclub or encourage them to become a member.

Categories:

Back | July 19, 2012

Council approved the 2012-2014 Business Plan and Budget Cycle in late November 2011. Here are The City of Calgary department highlights.​

Categories: Budget

Back | July 19, 2012

The Calgary Parking Authority plans to pilot a new, automated parking enforcement tool in the Ward 7 communities of Hillhurst Sunnyside and Briar Hill, in an effort to boost enforcement while improving convenience for residents.

The Autochalk system will use on-board cameras that register license plates automatically, replacing chalking tires and writing tickets by hand. Parking permits and visitor's permits will be unnecessary under the new system. Residents will be able to register their license plates so they don't get ticketed and register guests on-line. Mass-parking exemptions would also be available for house parties and special occasions.

Categories:

Back | July 19, 2012

For the past five years, the Centre City team has been working diligently to make our downtown core a friendly, safe and vibrant place. Through the graffiti abatement program, Clean to the Core and enhanced streetscapes, they have achieved great success in changing what the downtown looks like.

If you have taken a walk late at night you may have seen members of the Centre City Safety Impact Team out, making sure that the downtown is a safe place for everyone to visit, day or night. A part of their work also involves working with the various businesses in the area, especially bars and restaurants, to ensure that patrons to these establishments have a fun and safe night out.

If you're interested in seeing what the Centre City team is working on today please take a look at their blog, Centre City Talk.

Categories:

Back | July 19, 2012

Over several months last fall the Bow to Bluff team asked Calgarians to contribute ideas on how to revitalize the public corridor along the Sunnyside LRT line from the Bow River to McHugh Bluff.

The Bow to Bluff project, spearheaded by a city-wide group of Calgarians interested in improving public spaces, garnered funding through Council's Innovation Fund. The fund was set up to encourage new ways to transform City processes and the Bow to Bluff project, with its unique public engagement process, has gained international attention. After receiving thousands of suggestions and working with Alderman Farrell and staff from a number of City departments, the Bow to Bluff team is ready to present their Urban Design Guide. David White, one of the original members of the Bow to Bluff team, was featured in Avenue Magazine for his involvement.

Categories: Community

Back | October 09, 2012

This summer marked the middle of City Council’s current term, and over the past month, Carol, Erika and I compiled a report on some of what I’ve been up to since 2010. Please see attached, The City of Calgary Ward 7 Mid-Term Report. ​Over the next year we look forward to working with you on the many exciting activities taking place in your neighbourhood.

Categories: Ward office

Back | August 08, 2012

Update as of September 2012:

Since rolling out green carts more than six months ago, Waste and Recycling have tested the carts through two seasons and continue to collect important information from residents and their collectors to help shape their recommendations for a city-wide program. Here are some program highlights from the summer.

One million kilograms collected and growing

In August we reached a true milestone – one million kilograms of compostable material collected through the green cart pilot.

We also conducted a study and found that 99 per cent of the material we receive is acceptable. This is great news because it means that residents have a good understanding of how to use the program and we are able to produce high quality compost.

Garbage amounts continue to fall

Our landfills typically see a higher spike in garbage over the summer, but in our green cart communities we saw a decrease in garbage and increased green cart participation with an abundance of grass clippings and other yard waste filling the green carts.

By keeping these compostable materials out of the garbage, pilot residents were able to reduce their garbage by 44 per cent compared to non-pilot communities.

Green cart residents adapt well to bi-weekly garbage collection

Across the four pilot communities, more than 90 per cent of homes can dispose of all their garbage in their black cart every two weeks without putting out extra bags. These results are equal or better than comparable neighbourhoods that receive weekly black cart collection.

Blue and green carts combined triple waste diversion efforts

By designing residential programs that are easy and convenient to use, pilot community residents are making bigger strides in diverting their waste from the landfill.

In fact, before blue carts were rolled out, Calgarians were recycling and composting about 20 per cent of their waste. Since then waste diversion has almost tripled to 56 per cent in communities with blue and green cart service.

Update as of August 2012:

Early March 2012 saw the start of the Green Cart Pilot project and it has already been declared a success! In the first 12 weeks of the project Waste and Recycling Services collected 440,605 kg of food and yard waste, which is enough to fill 17,000 bags of compost. The pilot communities have reduced their amount of garbage by 40% compared to communities that don’t have green cart collection.

The green cart pilot demonstrates how easy it is for Calgarians to reduce the amount of garbage that we send to our landfills. Table scraps, yard waste, weeds, meat and fish, dryer lint, paper towel and tissues, kitty litter and pet waste are among the long list of items that can be composted.

Update as of March 2012:

During the first week of March, The City began collecting compostable waste in Abbydale, Brentwood, Cougar Ridge and Southwood. I'm pleased to report that we're off to an impressive start with the green cart program. Collecting food and yard waste is completely new for most Calgarians, so it's encouraging to see so many residents making the effort to keep organics out of our landfills.

Like any new program that requires a change to our regular routine, it will take time to adapt. We have a great group of people handling collections in the pilot communities and they are taking extra time with the residents to make participating as easy as possible.

Green cart pilot project

The City of Calgary is one step closer to meeting its goal of 80% waste diversion by 2020 with the adoption of a residential food and yard waste pilot. Organics make up almost 60% of our residential waste. Public support for this important next step is high, with 83% of Calgarians surveyed supporting a curbside organics program.

Waste and Recycling Services is recommending a food and yard composting pilot starting in 2012 March. The pilot will be funded with the savings from operational efficiencies related to the Black Cart automation. The pilot will help us gauge citizen satisfaction and participation, understand collection volumes and frequency, and refine operational costs. Based on a successful pilot, the program could be expanded city-wide from 2015-2017, allowing for the design and construction of a composting facility for a large amount of organics.

Categories: Waste and Recycle

Back | September 21, 2012

During the winter of 2011/2012 the ice chiller at Brentwood Sportsplex stopped working properly, almost cutting the season short for many sports that relied on the Brentwood Sportsplex. The communities of Triwood and West Hillhurst stepped up and found ice time for the teams that were displaced as a result of the ice chiller failing. Alderman Druh Farrell speaks with Steve (Brentwood), Jim (Triwood) and Krista (West Hillhurst) regarding how the three communities pulled together and helped save the season.

Categories: Community

Back | August 08, 2012

Update as of August 2012:

City Council approved another phase of the Framework for Growth and Change at its meeting on 7 May 2012. The next step in this critical and complicated process is for City Administration to return in October with a prioritized list of near-term growth candidate areas, strategies for financing, funding, and land supply principles, and a service delivery structure.

Council has also directed Administration to rank candidate areas sorted by three categories: Developing Communities, Developed Communities and Industrial. By prioritizing all development based on logical patterns of growth, capital costs and long-term maintenance costs, we will be able to build a more cost-effective, sustainable city, and provide necessary upgrades to our established communities.

Update as of March 2012:

Alderman Farrell is pleased to report that significant progress is being made on the issue of cost of growth, particularly growth in new communities. As Calgary's population is forecasted to double by 2076, with half of this growth targeted for new development on the city's edges, the discussion around who pays for the necessary services has become urgent.

Residents in the new communities will require City services such as police and fire, transportation and transit, water servicing, recreation, and libraries. The amount needed to service this growth is $10 billion over the next 10 years.

City Council now recognizes how important it is that growth should pay for itself, rather than rely on support from existing taxpayers and ratepayers. Cities across North America are grappling with similar challenges and many are looking at Calgary's proposed model with interest.

The City is designing a groundbreaking framework that seeks to achieve walkable neighbourhoods with easy access to transit and amenities, while ensuring a logical and equitable approach to funding the necessary City services. Given that a new community can take up to 45 years to start paying for itself, it is critical that we adopt a more sustainable model.

On April 11, the new Framework for Growth and Change will be discussed at the Standing Policy Committee on Planning and Urban Development. You can present at the meeting, or email your letters in advance to cityclerk@calgary.ca.

Cost of growth

For many years, a large share of the cost of suburban growth has been covered by all Calgarians through property taxes and utility rates. A large portion of tax dollars are directed to new growth, rather than reinvestment and renewal in our established communities. Last July, City Council passed a set of principles to guide the new levy negotiations with the suburban development industry. These principles recommended development levies that would more closely reflect the true costs of growth.

The discussion around the cost of suburban growth has become an urgent one. Calgary has grown by 250,000 people (the population of Saskatoon) over the last decade and during this time, growth-related debt has ballooned to $1.5 billion. If left unchecked, utility debt alone is projected to rise to $2.5 billion by 2018.

It takes many years for a new community to fully build out, and yet these new communities still require the amenities afforded to all Calgarians, before there is a tax base to support the services. Improper timing of new development puts a significant burden on both the operating and capital budgets.

The principle of allowing housing choice – where you want to live in Calgary and in what type of dwelling – is an important one. It is equally important that the true costs are associated with the choices that we make and that they are not based on a public subsidy. This has been an important issue on Druh Farrell's agenda even prior to being elected in 2001, and she continues to be a strong advocate for finding a more sustainable growth framework for Calgary. ​

Categories:

Back | September 21, 2012

The City of Calgary welcomes Rollin Stanley as our new General Manager of Planning, Development, and Assessment. Rollin comes to us with 30 years of planning experience in the US and Canada, most recently with Washington DC’s Montgomery County, where he developed a reputation for inspiring innovation and ensuring high quality design and development. Rollin brings a fresh perspective on strategic urban growth that focuses on quality of life, land-use, and economics.

The timing for Rollin’s arrival couldn’t be better. Through a process called Plan It Calgary, City Council has already established a solid foundation for the future, with a forward-thinking transportation and land use plan. Rollin can focus his knowledge on implementing those plans, with the help of communities and the development industry.

Many Ward 7 residents and community associations have spoken to my office about the issues they encounter during redevelopment. As the chairperson of the Planning and Urban Development Committee and a member of Calgary Planning Commission, I will be working with Rollin on transforming the planning process.

Rollin’s first task is to work with the various departments under his leadership on how to improve the quality of decision-making while making it more efficient and user-friendly. Our office has already seen some positive changes. Rollin has gone on several walkabouts with Ward 7 communities to better understand their needs and aspirations, and I have arranged a meeting this fall with Rollin and community association representatives to further explore ideas.

Categories:

Back | July 18, 2012

The momentum created by the Chinatown Centenary continues to build wit​h a number of new community initiatives. The Calgary Chinese Community Services Association added several beautiful murals this fall, some highly visible and others tucked away in back lanes and rear courtyards. These murals started out as a simple graffiti abatement program by The City and have been elevated to expressions of cultural pride and diversity by the community, inviting the urban explorer in all of us to discover Chinatown's hidden gems.

Alderman Druh Farrell is also working with the landowners on the heritage preservation and restoration of the Canton Block. The next big project is the Sien Lok Park redevelopment which is currently in the design stage. A draft plan is being reviewed by the community and we hope to have a final master plan approved by Spring 2012.

Categories: Community

Back | July 19, 2012

In July of last year, City Council approved the motion to establish the honorary position of Poet Laureate. A citizen-led initiative, sponsored by the Calgary Foundation and several corporations, Calgary Arts Development Authority organized a poetry showcase with six of the final candidates.

The performances were riveting, with a wide range of style from hip-hop, to slam, to visual poetry, all to a sold-out audience. Today it's my pleasure to present Calgary's first Poet Laureate. He will join a world-wide and long history of poets laureate, with the likes of Chaucer, Longfellow, and Canada's current poet, Fred Wah. This artist is a fixture in Calgary's spoken word, literary and theatre communities, creating music and lyrics for numerous award-winning projects and performing around the world. He is a skilled, passionate and keenly insightful artist whose work is both accessible and deeply committed to an honest expression of what it is to be Calgarian.

Please welcome our first Poet Laureate, Kris Demeanor!

Categories:

Back | July 19, 2012

Cities across North America are transforming some of their on-street parking spaces into restaurant patios and tiny parks.

Alderman Druh Farrell first discovered these types of pop-up cafes and parklets while visiting Halifax for a conference, but soon learned that they are becoming commonplace in cities across Canada. Depending on the location, the low-cost seating areas can be movable, to be used during slow traffic times of the year or removed to allow for snow clearing, or more permanent, incorporating gardens and other landscaping.

Built to add public space and increase street safety, Calgary will be piloting the first pop-up cafe this summer on the west side of Vendome Cafe in Sunnyside. The pilot project has garnered a lot of interest from commercial districts around the city and we are now entertaining a list of interested businesses.

Categories: Community

Back | July 18, 2012

The urban laneway movement is sweeping many cities around the world, converting some of the most gritty and neglected places into charming spaces.

Calgary has its own secret gems rich with history just waiting for a bit of spit and polish. Rather than treating laneways as places for refuse and dumpsters, a network of laneways can be an important amenity. Shops and galleries that are off the beaten path allow for the discovery of the city's hidden spaces.

Over the next several months Alderman Druh Farrell will be working with City departments to identify a number of candidates for a laneway pilot, gauge the interest of the neighbouring landowners and then boil it down to two or three locations. Once the locations are finalized, The City will work with community and cultural groups to organize a makeover. The result can be a temporary "flash-mob" event for the pilot, but the long term goal will be to transform a few of our laneways.

Categories: Arts and Culture

Back | July 19, 2012

In the spring of 2012, the Dalhousie Community Association met with The City of Calgary and the Parks Foundation to discuss the process of replacing the existing playground equipment located in front of the Dalhousie Community Centre. Two years later, and after hundreds of volunteer hours, the new playground equipment was installed in September 2011 and is now used daily by neighbourhood children.

Categories: Community; Recreation

Back | July 18, 2012

Alderman Druh Farrell's notice of motion in 2010 resulted in a proposed Cycling Strategy and Pathway Safety Review that were both approved at Council on July 5, 2011.

It was encouraging to see the number of Calgarians who participated in the engagement process while the strategy was being developed. This strategy is the first step in creating a more bicycle friendly Calgary, so that all Calgarians can cycle safely regardless of whether they are commuting or exploring this beautiful city on bicycle.

Imagine yourself commuting on one of these lovely bicycles.

Categories: Cycling

Back | July 19, 2012

Over the course of several months, the Ward 7 office worked with the Highwood Community Association and Transportation Department to address concerns regarding traffic at the intersection of 40 Avenue and Hudson Road N.W. By working together, a solution was developed to stop cars from driving through the intersection and allowing cyclists and pedestrians to use the crosswalk safely.

Categories: Transportation

Back | July 18, 2012

The 10 Street N.W. bike lane pilot has generated a lot of attention and discussion over the past few months. Although 10 Street N.W. was adopted by City Council in 2001 as a major cycle route, it took over 10 years for policy to be implemented with physical changes to the road way.

The response from cyclists is generally very positive, however many citizens are wondering about the timing and rationale of the project. A lack of proper notice, signage instructing both motorists and cyclists on how to use the new lanes and Calgary's first "bike box," as well as the fact that the project took several weeks to complete due to weather and technical delays, added to the confusion. While the preferred timing for the pilot would have been springtime, it was far cheaper to implement at the same time as paving. The Roads Department has already done a post mortem on how to do a better job next time.

For the first few weeks of the project we saw significant traffic delays. Motorists seem to be adapting to the change and delays have been reduced considerably. Vehicles are getting through the traffic lights in one cycle and city staff are monitoring the project, collecting data, and will be making tweaks as necessary. We are asking cyclists and motorists to note specific hot spots and share recommended improvements with 3-1-1.

Pilot projects are an important way to introduce new ideas, monitor success, and fine-tune. The rush hour lane reversal on Memorial Drive and 10 Street is a good example: the first week was chaotic as drivers adjusted, several tweaks were made, and now it is considered a model of efficiency, reducing cut-through traffic in the neighbouring community and moving increased volumes in a very cost effective way.

City Council is committed to Calgary's Cycling Strategy. While we are lucky to have an extensive recreational pathway system, Calgarians have expressed a desire for safe and direct routes for on-street cycling lanes for commuting and getting about their neighbourhoods. 

Categories: Cycling; Council initiatives

Back | July 18, 2012

At the July 4 City Council Meeting, Druh Farrell proposed a plain language policy that will help promote clear communication by The City with Calgarians.

As best said by Tony Seskes at the Calgary Herald, "the weird language and strange acronyms used at City Hall can be as clear as mud in a muddy mud puddle with a pile of mud added for good measure." But this is about more than just acronyms and insider knowledge of terms. If The City really wants to engage with Calgarians and have them participate in the process, it is important to remove barriers, such as intimidating language and acronyms.

For a humorous take on this notice of motion, read Tony Seskes' article.

Categories: Council initiatives

Back | July 18, 2012

In November 2008, City Council approved my motion on the "prevention of social disorder and community impacts in and around licensed premises." The motion directed the Police Service, Fire Department, Licensing and other City departments to work with their provincial counterparts to reduce the disruption caused by bars and nightclubs on the surrounding neighbours and ensure a safe environment for patrons.

The main strategy behind this coordinated approach was to focus limited resources to identify and target the venues associated with the greatest number of problems. Only through working together were the responsible agencies able to address the cumulative impacts the licensed premise was having on a community. The multi agency groups dealt proactively with a wide range of issues including size and proximity limitations in residential areas; requirements for safety/security management plans, taxi stand and pedestrian drop off areas, and police checks.

In a report to Council last month, we learned that the collaborative approach is working well. 2011 represented the lowest volume of violent, intoxicated and disturbance calls in at least seven years and a 65% reduction in calls to Emergency Services versus the same period in 2008. The multi-agency group will continue to provide an annual update to City Council on their progress and recommend legislative changes as needed.

If bars and nightclubs are poorly planned and badly managed, the concerns around noise, social disorder, criminal activity and violence, can have a severe effect on the surrounding neighbourhood. Conversely, well-run establishments with a responsible operator can contribute to the diversity, economy and vitality of Calgary.

Categories:

Back | July 17, 2012

Druh Farrell initiated a study for curbside recycling in 2002, which resulted in the highly successful Blue Cart program and more recently the residential Black Carts. Next steps in this recycling initiative are:

  • Design a food and yard waste pilot program for 2012.
  • Work with the private sector to increase opportunities for multi-family residences, as 22% of recycled material from multi-family residences ends up in the landfill.

Food and yard waste, when they break down in the landfill, produce methane, a greenhouse gas 21 times more potent then carbon dioxide. It is important that the City work toward its 80/20 Recycling Target (80% of waste diverted, 20% to landfill), as Alberta Environment may institute mandatory financial penalties for landfill greenhouse gas emissions.

Accomplishments toward The City's 80/20 Recycling Target to date are:

  • Residential waste diversion has nearly doubled to 40% since introducing Blue Cart recycling.
  • Food and yard waste is the largest diversion opportunity, as it represents 57% of the remaining residential waste; a focus on diverting these materials will achieve the most progress toward the targeted 80% diversion.
  • Composting is a preferred approach to managing food and yard waste.

Categories:

Back | November 07, 2018

On November 13, Calgarians will vote on whether or not to pursue an Olympic bid.

Last week, after 10 hours of debate and a last minute funding proposal, City Council voted eight to seven to end the bid process—two votes short of a required supermajority. Despite hours of questions, many members of Council were still unclear on the details of the proposed new deal. Cuts to security funding with unresolved overrun guaranteesreduced affordable housing commitments, a speculative insurance package, and a lack of clarity on the funding breakdown were all red flags for Council.

This leaves the bid in an untenable situation: It limps forward to the November 13 vote without majority Council support and, notably, without support of the Chair of the Olympic Assessment Committee, Councillor Evan Woolley. As Councillor Woolley stated: “We promised to give Calgarians all the information, and we haven’t been able to deliver on that promise. I don’t have confidence that the numbers are going to add up.”

The City has run out of time to review the details of the new proposed deal, and how it fits into the City’s overall finances, before the plebiscite vote. More importantly, we have run out of time to deliver on three basic commitments we made to Calgarians before the vote: 

  1. We promised to give Calgarians at least 30 days to understand the bid details prior to the vote through robust and neutral public engagement. However, engagement was delayed, condensed, and hampered by a lack of financial details. It is now too late to engage Calgarians on the new proposal.
  2. We promised an independent cost/benefit analysis of the Games. Voting will be underway before this information becomes available.
  3. We promised a full understanding of the accumulated debt forecast of all mega infrastructure projects, as well as their impacts to our credit rating, operating budget, and capital budget. This will also be released after voting has begun.

Calgary is experiencing extreme financial pressures. A 30 per cent office vacancy rate and plummeting Downtown property values are causing an unprecedented tax shift that is hurting the entire city. The City is also about to start discussions on its four-year budget process one day after the plebiscite. With revenues down, we are already facing cuts to quality-of-life essentials. Meanwhile, Olympic costs are not yet included in our operating or capital budgets.

We will soon embark on the first phase of the $4.65 billion Green Line, the largest and most complicated project in Calgary’s history. Borrowing for the Green Line has taken us to a higher than usual debt level and we have enough capacity to add only the most important projects. Assuming the City pays for the Games by taking on more debt, there will be resulting property tax increases for homeowners and businesses. The other option would be to further cut City priorities and services to make room for Olympic spending.

The Olympic bid process has distracted us from focusing on these critical financial issues. We need all of our ideas and energy to solve the complicated challenges facing our economy. Continued borrowing in this climate will not be our salvation.

People are looking to the Olympics to solve our problems and create a vision for the future. However, the Olympics are an international sporting event, not a long-term economic strategy. The Games have a track-record of cost overruns without exception since the 1960s, and, as University of Calgary economist Trevor Tombe points out, the economic benefits of the Olympics are often grossly overstated. Those are some of the reasons why fewer and fewer global cities are bidding.

Economic development should create growth that is lasting, robust, and shared. While many see the Olympic Games as a way to recover from the recession, a mega-event eight years from now is not a silver bullet for all of our woes and ambitions.

The Olympics stand to divert our resources and funding from the thousands of everyday investments that provide high quality of life for Calgarians. The Economist has consistently ranked Calgary in the top five most liveable global cities, particularly because of that high quality of life. This is Calgary’s story and we need to build on it.

The challenges before us are serious, yet they are not insurmountable if we prioritize and focus. We need to work together to develop a bold, community-based, and innovative strategy for Calgary’s future that extends beyond one event. We must ask whether the Olympics fit into our vision rather than banking on the Olympics to define our vision.​

Categories: Blog; Affordable Housing; City Finances; Planning & Development

Back | November 15, 2018

‘One Calgary’ is the newest name of Calgary’s 2019-2022 budget plan. The name speaks to bringing all City services together to create a budget that reflects our shared vision and shared priorities. In September of 2018, City Administration briefed Council on draft plans for One Calgary. That preview concerned communities and Councillors alike.

We are facing an austerity budget, with various city-shaping projects and programs at risk of decreased investment. Administration proposed to reduce funding for the pedestrian strategy, Main Streets streetscape improvements, CTrain vehicle replacement, tree planting, and more. Many of these potential cuts would hit inner-city communities the hardest. City services not only increase Calgarians’ quality of life, but represent promises made to communities by the City.

Council also heard from various Civic Partners in dire need of continued investment. Arts and culture organizations, Heritage Park, the Aero Space Museum, and Telus Spark are all experiencing financial stress due to the struggling economy. Instead of increases to their funding, these organisations are also facing cuts. Their uncertain futures will be determined through this budget process.

While we consider cuts to programs and organisations that improve the quality of life for Calgarians, we are also pursuing major projects like the 2026 Olympics, a new professional sports arena, the Green Line LRT, and bringing online 14 new suburban communities. In the One Calgary debate, I will be advocating to Council to prioritize amongst these projects and to ensure sustainable funding for the everyday programs that matter to Calgarians.

The budget deliberations will take place on November 14, and 26-30. Visit Calgary.ca/OneCalgary for opportunities to provide feedback.​

Categories: Budget; Newsletter

Back | July 18, 2012

It's not often that people celebrate the closure of a business, but the residents and businesses in Banff Trail are thrilled to see the end of Savoury Lodge. The Savoury has long been a hotbed for criminal activity that often spilled over to neighbouring businesses and the CTrain station. The owners of the Savoury decided not to appeal a closure order by The City's Licensing Department after the Police Service amassed a shocking amount of evidence. The landowners are applying for a development permit for a better quality hotel that complies with the newly approved Area Redevelopment Plan that requires improved design and pedestrian infrastructure. The neighbouring businesses are looking forward to a bright future for Motel Village and are considering a name change to kick-start the new approach.

Categories:

Back | July 17, 2012

After 60 years of water fluoridation, it remains an emotional and divisive issue around the world.

In May 2011, Council voted to remove fluoride from Calgary's water system. Druh Farrell's motion to remove fluoride, which was signed by nine of her Council colleagues, included a resolution to redirect funds currently spent on fluoride to provide a more targeted approach to improve dental health issues for children living in poverty.

While compelling scientific evidence exists both for and against water fluoridation, the basic questions – is it safe, is it ethical and is it effective – became the real issue. At the same time, alternative options to water fluoridation are readily available, such as fluoridated toothpaste, dental treatments and tablets.

Many have asked why Council did not refer the decision to an expert panel. The panel offered to Council had already stated their support of water fluoridation. The City of Calgary established an expert panel in 1998 and agreed to reduce the level of fluoride to 0.7 mg/L because of a dissenting member who wanted it removed entirely. The reduced levels adopted by Calgary have just recently been adopted across North America, which demonstrates that the science is still developing, and the safe levels are not fully understood.

Scientific American published an interesting article in January 2008.

The Globe and Mail published articles both for and against fluoridation. The debate continues...

Categories: Fluoride; Council initiatives

Back | July 17, 2012

Legalized secondary suites provide benefits to both home owners and renters, if done properly. Other Canadian cities have successfully implemented a similar policy on secondary suites with no sharp increase in the number of applications for a secondary suite.

Legalizing secondary suites offers the following benefits to homeowners:

  • Provides some mortgage assistance to new home buyers.
  • Allows existing homeowners a way to supplement mortgage payments and operating costs.
  • Enables seniors on a fixed income to age in place.

Legalizing secondary suites offers the following benefits to renters:

  • Increases affordable housing options without the need for government subsidies
  • Provides safe accommodations that meet building and safety codes.

Issues that need to be addressed:

  • Absentee landlords who do not maintain the property in adherence with the community's standards and The City's bylaws.
  • Renters occupying all of the available on-street parking. This can be addressed through parking permits, and reviewing the parking situation prior to legalizing secondary suites.
  • Tracking homes with legalized suites, and ensuring the conditions under which the suite was legalized are maintained (i.e. owner occupation remains after a sale). This can be addressed in a number of different ways, and needs further investigation.
  • Enforcement of bylaw adherence and inspections by City officers. Ideally with legalized suites, there will be less need for bylaw services to address issues related to illegal suites, so that resources can be redirected appropriately. 

Categories: Council initiatives

Back | December 05, 2018

​Calgary. We are friendly. We are fearless and adventurous. We are hospitable, welcoming and warm. We are entrepreneurial. We solve problems.

December can be a delightful time for family gatherings, connecting with friends, and enjoying all that the holiday season brings. For many, however, it is not as enjoyable. Economic challenges, social isolation, and simply trying to get around our winter city can make this a difficult time for less fortunate families, people living alone, or those with high mobility needs.

I would like to think that as Calgarians, our generosity toward neighbours defines us as a city. Our friendly, fearless, can-do attitude prompts “acts of kindness” to help all Calgarians thrive during the winter months. While volunteerism is important year-round, this season brings increased demand for food, clothing, and holiday giving. Women’s shelters, programs providing support to families and vulnerable seniors, and food banks are in need of volunteers and donations. It does not necessarily take big acts of kindness to make a difference in someone’s life – small gestures, like shoveling a neighbour’s sidewalk, can have significant impacts.

The City needs to play its part too. As an advocate for people who walk, cycle, and have high mobility needs, I secured new funding for more snow clearing on sidewalks and pathways. We will now provide enhanced clearing on high priority wheelchair ramps, 24-hour clearing of all sidewalks adjacent to City property, and an additional 100 kilometers of pathway clearing. To help us do better still, you can help by reporting snow clearing concerns to 311.

Working together, Calgarians can make the winter months enjoyable for all. Dale, Romy, Katie, and I wish everyone a wonderful holiday season, and hope you find time to personally experience the things that make this season bright. Maybe lace up your skates and head to Prince’s Island Park or Olympic Plaza for a family skate. Whatever your plans, remember it is most important to be kind to yourself and to each other.

 

Categories: Snow and Ice; Newsletter


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.​