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Title: Calgary's Cannabis Legislation

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COCShortDescription: On April 5th at the Combined Meeting of Council, my colleagues and I discussed and debated bylaws related to the public consumption of recreational cannabis.

COCDescription: <p> On April 5th at the Combined Meeting of Council, my colleagues and I discussed and debated bylaws related to the public consumption of recreational cannabis.</p> <p> As many of you know, the Federal Government intends to make the sale and consumption of cannabis legal in Canada this summer. Smoking is the most common way to consume cannabis and that trend will likely continue. Edibles, or food products made with concentrated cannabis oils, are set to become legal in 2019, but this type of consumption is not as common.</p> <p> As a City Councillor in Ward 8, I know that 70% of my constituents rent their homes. Throughout the debate on public consumption of recreational cannabis, I advocated for residents of Calgary who live in multi-family dwellings and renters who are bound by their leases, which do not allow smoking. This means that once recreational cannabis consumption becomes legal, these people will effectively not be able to consume cannabis in via smoking (or vaping). I also shared my concerns for visitors to our city and the message it sends when they realize they are not able to consume cannabis outdoors or on the premises of their hotel, many of which are completely non-smoking. Tourism and business travel are major economic drivers in Calgary and we want to encourage people to visit our great city, not push them away with unfriendly bylaws that stigmatize legal activities.</p> <p> Many people have reached out to my office through social media or email with their support for social cannabis clubs and I also share support for these venues, however, as it currently stands, we have not developed legislation for cannabis lounges or any other public cannabis consumption areas. This is work we still need to do.</p> <p> Over the last year-and-a-half, the City has done thorough engagement on recreational cannabis and we heard from nearly 15,000 Calgarians. Online engagement showed only 19% said it should be like the rules for drinking alcohol in public. Whereas over 60% felt it should be treated the same as smoking and 42% said that it should be less restrictive than Alberta’s liquor laws for public consumption.</p> <p> So, where do we go from here?</p> <p> I will be working to include provisions in our bylaws to allow for public consumption of recreational cannabis. I will continue to enlighten my colleagues as to why this is important to me and to residents in Ward 8. I want to put Ward 8 neighbhourhoods first by making it possible for all residents to consume cannabis safely and legally.  </p>

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Back | April 23, 2018

On April 5th at the Combined Meeting of Council, my colleagues and I discussed and debated bylaws related to the public consumption of recreational cannabis.

As many of you know, the Federal Government intends to make the sale and consumption of cannabis legal in Canada this summer. Smoking is the most common way to consume cannabis and that trend will likely continue. Edibles, or food products made with concentrated cannabis oils, are set to become legal in 2019, but this type of consumption is not as common.

As a City Councillor in Ward 8, I know that 70% of my constituents rent their homes. Throughout the debate on public consumption of recreational cannabis, I advocated for residents of Calgary who live in multi-family dwellings and renters who are bound by their leases, which do not allow smoking. This means that once recreational cannabis consumption becomes legal, these people will effectively not be able to consume cannabis in via smoking (or vaping). I also shared my concerns for visitors to our city and the message it sends when they realize they are not able to consume cannabis outdoors or on the premises of their hotel, many of which are completely non-smoking. Tourism and business travel are major economic drivers in Calgary and we want to encourage people to visit our great city, not push them away with unfriendly bylaws that stigmatize legal activities.

Many people have reached out to my office through social media or email with their support for social cannabis clubs and I also share support for these venues, however, as it currently stands, we have not developed legislation for cannabis lounges or any other public cannabis consumption areas. This is work we still need to do.

Over the last year-and-a-half, the City has done thorough engagement on recreational cannabis and we heard from nearly 15,000 Calgarians. Online engagement showed only 19% said it should be like the rules for drinking alcohol in public. Whereas over 60% felt it should be treated the same as smoking and 42% said that it should be less restrictive than Alberta’s liquor laws for public consumption.

So, where do we go from here?

I will be working to include provisions in our bylaws to allow for public consumption of recreational cannabis. I will continue to enlighten my colleagues as to why this is important to me and to residents in Ward 8. I want to put Ward 8 neighbhourhoods first by making it possible for all residents to consume cannabis safely and legally. 

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Back | December 21, 2017

I’ve always loved the holidays. It’s not just the warm family dinners, or getting out to the Rockies to ski or snowboard, or even presents under the Christmas tree. It’s the kind and generous attitude with which Calgarians approach the season and their neighbours. Our city is known for our hospitality, but, during the holiday season we always seem to one-up ourselves. You can see it everywhere – on the faces of kids in the corner store and in the kind smiles of Calgarians bundled up behind countless layers of clothing – and it makes me immensely proud to live and be from this wonderful place.

As lights and decorations find their way onto neighbouring businesses and homes, I hope that all Calgarians will consider taking the time to spread the joy of the season through their own acts of public service. This can mean gathering some friends or co-workers and volunteering your time at a local soup kitchen, helping to shovel a neighbour’s sidewalk, or donating gently-used winter clothing to those in need. The options to give back and support your community are endless. If you have questions about how you can get involved in your community, contact your local Community Association or our office through email (ward08@calgary.ca) or phone (403-268-2431), we’d love to hear from you.

I wish you all the very best this holiday season and through the winter. Stay warm, keep safe on the roads, and have fun. 2018 is going to be a great year!

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Back | June 06, 2016

Ward 8 is lucky to have so many great seniors' facilities operating in our neighbourhoods. Organizations like the Kirby Centre, the Good Companions 50 Plus Club, Open Door Senior Fellowship, Bow Cliff Seniors and more offer great programming and services for those seeking to stay engaged and active.

In celebration of all that seniors bring to our city and community, this week (June 6 - 12th) is Seniors' Week! There are tons of events taking place all over the city. Some are specifically for seniors while others are for the whole family to enjoy. Learn more about Seniors' Week here.

Also for seniors, 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. By providing 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.

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Back | May 08, 2018

Earlier this week, The Star Calgary ran an Opinion Editorial of mine concerning my take on the Olympics and my role as the Chair of the Council Olympic Committee. You can see the article here, or read it below.

I remember 1988; well some of it anyway. The torch on top of the Calgary Tower was big and bright. The Jamaican bobsled team was a real thing, and everybody wanted them to win. Hidy and Howdy visited our elementary school which was exciting. Even at eight years old, I could feel the wave of excitement and pride, and the sense that our city had finally made it onto the world stage.

It is easy to be nostalgic about ’88. Calgarians came together to do something far more challenging, complex and demanding than anything the city had done before. The world was treated to an outstanding Olympic Games, and they got to see what Calgary’s civic spirit really looks like. We even made money and retained an amazing legacy of facilities and infrastructure!

Now we’re considering doing it again.

There is no doubt that if we bid for the 2026 Olympics, we are well positioned to win. But the question today is: Should we bid? Nostalgia should not be the basis for that decision — this is not 1988. Costs are way up and revenue opportunities are down. Purse strings have tightened. International sport is rife with mistrust and scandal. Calgarians are justifiably unsure whether 2026 represents the same opportunity as 1988.

This is the debate I must oversee as the new chair of City Council’s Olympic Committee. Our job is to dispassionately and impartially explore the options, seek out the minefields, lay out the risks and opportunities for Calgarians, because within the year you will decide whether or not we submit an Olympic bid. Our job is to provide you with all the information you need to make this important decision, and keep the train rolling so that if you decide to proceed, we are ready. It’s an immense undertaking, and time for us on the committee to roll up our sleeves and get to it.

Here’s what we need to do:

  1. Engage with you. You will vote on a plebiscite for the 2026 Olympics, but that can’t be your only role. We need your experience, insight and feedback as we explore a potential bid. Many of you volunteered in 1988, and some went on to attend, volunteer or work for other Olympic Games around the world. You know when this works, and when it doesn’t.
  2. Be open with you. Calgarians rightly expect this process to be open and transparent. Only if we are honest about the nuts and bolts of this potential bid will we as a city be able to make the right decision, based on evidence, reason and common sense.
  3. Determine the financial viability of hosting the Games. At a high level, it’s estimated the Olympics will cost $4.6 billion. That’s a hefty price tag. We need to talk about the pitfalls of debt, potential white elephants, delays and overruns, and unpredictable social costs, and contrast these to potential benefits to our infrastructure, businesses, investment climate and tourism. We need to supply Calgarians with the information to answer a simple question: Can we afford this?
  4. Get the plebiscite right. You will decide whether or not we make a bid for the 2026 Olympics. It’s our job to arm you with the best possible evidence and insight, and to ensure the plebiscite question is straightforward and unbiased.
  5. Co-operate with the provincial and federal government. We need to know that our partners in Edmonton and Ottawa are willing to share in the costs and risks as well. This is Calgary’s decision, but if we go ahead, we all need to pull together to build the best possible bid.

City Council’s Olympic Committee will be diligent, meticulous, and tireless in our pursuit of clear answers. We will do all of this in the spirit of transparency. We are committed to putting you in the best possible position to make this decision.

My son will be nearly eight years old in 2026, the same age I was in 1988. I’d love for him to see the Calgary Tower’s Olympic flame light up the winter prairie sky; to watch Canada’s athletes compete in new as well as refurbished sports complexes; to high-five Hidy and Howdy 2.0. Maybe more than anything, I’d love to say to him a couple months later, “And get this: we did it on-budget.”

But if we don’t think that can happen? Let’s be OK with saying no. I know that whether or not we pursue a bid for the 2026 Winter Olympics, the costs and benefits are his and his generation’s to bear. And concern for the future of their city says tread carefully, thoughtfully and methodically. As Calgarians, let’s be committed to doing all of our homework and trusting in the collective wisdom of our neighbours when we vote.

If the answer is yes, then let’s ensure we put our best foot forward. If the answer is no, then let’s be OK with saying no, and continue our work building a great city. 

Categories: Arts & Recreation; Councillor’s initiatives; Councillor; Recreation; Transit; Ward Office

Back | June 13, 2017

I am happy to announce that Council just approved an initiative I championed that will make it easier to do business in Calgary. This initiative removes significant barriers and will save businesses tens of thousands of dollars when they take a leap and choose to make a significant investment in Calgary.

Starting June 26th you will no longer require a development permit for changes of use, exterior alterations and small additions in the Beltline or Downtown. We are calling this the Centre City Enterprise District. This presents a balanced approach to a bold idea. It provides for a short term action and stimulus for building owners and businesses in the Centre City. This program is all about cutting red tape and supporting our business community.

Specifically, Bylaw 30P2017 accomplishes the following:

  • Establishes a boundary for the Centre City Enterprise District
  • Exempts change of use applications within the Centre City Enterprise Area from requiring a development permit, provided it is for a listed use in the district;
  • Exempts applications for an exterior alteration within the Centre City Enterprise Area from requiring a development permit, unless it is a building on the Inventory of Evaluated Historic Resource;
  • Exempts applications for an addition for an addition less than 1,000 square metres in size within the Centre City Enterprise Area from requiring a development permit, provided the proposed development still meets Section 24 Conditions for Development Permit Exemptions; and
  • Exempts any applicable parking requirements

Last fall with vacancy rates at an all time high in both the Beltline and the Downtown Core, I heard from building owners and businesses who were struggling to make ends meet and be nimble in a changing economy. Where we have businesses willing to be flexible in order to respond to a difficult economy, so should our Government. We should be open and responsive, especially now, to be sure that we can support, not hinder, those who are looking to start a business.

I want to thank Calgary Economic Development, City Administration, BILD Calgary, NAIOP, our Business Improvement Areas, Community Associations and small businesses across the Centre City for coming together in such a collaborative way to support growth in our city.

If you have any questions about the Centre City Enterprise District you can contact my office at ward08@calgary.ca or the Planning Services Centre at 403-268-5311. 

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Back | March 03, 2018

At the end of January, I was happy to support my colleague Councillor Farrell’s Notice of Motion to improve snow clearing on our City sidewalks. The communities in Ward 8 are diverse in age and mobility. Also, the sidewalks in Ward 8 see some of the most foot traffic in all of Calgary. With that in mind, we’ve asked the City to come back to us with solutions that address things like: identifying high-priority networks including missing links, better coordination between Roads, Transit, Parks and other City departments that handle snow clearing, guidelines for clearing wheelchair ramps, curb cuts and sidewalk crossings of laneways, and more.

Our communities are great places to live because we support and care for our neighbours. Whether you’re eight years old or 80 years old, you should be able to walk, bike, get to and from transit, and drive safely in Calgary. Keeping that in mind, if you’re able, helping to clear a neighbour’s sidewalk, or a crosswalk near your house goes an incredibly long way.

“Lucky and proud.”

That’s how a lot of people describe their feelings when they nominate a Snow Angel. Many are seniors without the strength to clear their walks. Others may be on the mend from surgery or an illness and their physical ability is limited. Sometimes it’s a neighbour who is just having trouble coping with added responsibilities in his or her life.

When you pick up your shovel to clear your walk this winter, take a few extra minutes to help a neighbour too. You’ll make it easier for everyone to travel your neighbourhood and build a sense of community at the same time. For more information, visit calgary.ca/SnowAngels

Categories: Snow and Ice; Walking and Cycling

Back | August 23, 2016

Two weeks ago, my team and I decided to hop on our bikes and tour around Ward 8. Strong cycling and pedestrian infrastructure has always been important to me and there's no better way to stay connected to what's working and what needs to be fixed than by getting out into the community and testing it out. Along our ride, we stopped to visit some new developments in Rosscarrock and Marda Loop while also exploring some of the great new neighbourhoods that will become a part of our ward following the 2017 election. I have to say, there’s something exciting about experiencing communities on foot or by bike that you just don’t get when you’re in a car.

Starting at City Hall, we hopped on the CTrain with our bikes and rode to the 45th St Station. Getting off the train, we made our way down through Killarney, Richmond, and South Calgary before taking a quick intermission for lunch and visiting the new Voltage Creative Garage in Marda Loop. Afterwards, we biked through some of the neighbourhoods that will join Ward 8 after the upcoming ward boundary changes, like Altadore and North Glenmore Park. It was great to see such diversity in housing stock in these neighbourhoods. From single family homes built in the 50s, 60s and 70s to new, modern duplexes and town houses all coexisting in harmony. We then biked back up towards Mount Royal University and witnessed the strides in commercial and residential development in the area and just how beneficial the SW BRT will be for so many Calgarians commuting to school or work. Finally, we headed back North and ended the ride by grabbing some Village Ice Cream at their new Garrison Corner location.


Tour Our ride route through Ward 8

One of the main reasons behind this bike tour was to experience the multi-modal improvements being made to 20th Street SW. With a bike lane from 17th Avenue all the way to Glenmore Trail, brand new paved roads and accessible sidewalk improvements, this project is a part of our effort to make Calgary more connected for all Calgarians. I hope that you enjoy it as much as we did!

If you have any questions about the 20th Street Bikeway, visit the Calgary website here. If you have any questions for me and my team, don’t hesitate to reach out by e-mailing us at ward08@calgary.ca or call us at 403-268-2430.        

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Back | May 30, 2017

Reminding myself to take the time to reflect on the last 3.5 years in office isn’t something I have done nearly enough, but as I sat down with my staff this week to review the projects we’ve delivered and the progress we’ve made, I’ve been really blown away. One of the first things I did when I took office was to translate my campaign platform into a strategic workplan. I wanted to be sure that the promises I made to Calgarians who elected me were turned into a something that I could constantly refer to and track our success. While our workplan was distilled into three specific sections: Re-invest in our Communities, Connected Neighbourhoods, and Thoughtful Development, we identified specific tasks within these three sections for every single neighbourhood. I’m incredibly proud to say that we delivered on the vast majority of our tasks for our 16 neighbourhoods so far.

These tasks ranged from traffic calming and paint the pavement efforts to saving heritage resources like McHugh House and bringing about the first off-leash park in the Beltline. I want to take the time to thank the Calgarians who live in the neighbourhoods of Ward 8 who helped my office impact so much positive change for our neighbourhoods. This work wouldn’t have been possible without all of the phone calls, emails, and meetings I have had over the last 3.5 years. Your dedication to making your neighbourhoods better is truly at the heart of our local democracy.

Some of the things I’ve been most proud to advocate for on behalf of Ward 8 residents have been:

  • Cycle Tracks: I believe a great city is one that offers as many safe, reliable and affordable means of transportation as possible. Introducing the Cycle Track Pilot and seeing it through to its permanence is something I’m immensely proud of.
  • Sprawl Subsidy: Calgarians who live in the inner city will no longer be subsidizing suburban development at such an unsustainable rate. The new Off-Site Levy Bylaw ensures that developers will have to pay for the full cost of building new homes, which will help to spur more re-development in our established neighbourhoods. This is one of the most significant pieces of legislation that the City has worked on in years and will help enable re-investment in the neighbourhoods of Ward 8.
  • Uber: I’ve long been aware of how frustrating it was to get a safe taxi ride home in Calgary. With the introduction of Uber over the past two years, we’ve seen the transportation industry completely shift. I heard from hundreds of you who were looking to have faster and more reliable transportation options, or from some who wanted to be able to make a bit of money on the weekends to help pay your bills. Having successfully brought about a bylaw that allows for both taxis and companies like Uber to exist means that all Calgarians win.
  • Downtown Underpasses: This was high on my list of priorities as I took office – nearly 45,000 Calgarians use our underpasses to get to and from work every single day. I believed that these public spaces needed to be invested in and made better. Now, we’ve got new, safer, brighter, and more pedestrian friendly underpasses at 1st Street, 5th Street, 8th Street, and 4th Street is funded and underway.
  • Main Streets: Ward 8 sees more development permits than any ward in Calgary. Change in any neighbourhood can sometimes be difficult to understand or agree with. However, the Main Streets program is taking a holistic view of how growth should take place in our neighbourhoods while also providing residents with better certainty and understanding when it comes to the planning process. Most importantly, these neighbourhoods will be seeing significant investment - $20 Million, from The City like improved streetscapes, increased walkability, and more traffic calming. 

The check marks next to these tasks don’t just reflect something being done, they reflect real, tangible ways that neighbourhoods and residents lives have been made better. Having the responsibility and honour of serving the communities that I spent all of my childhood growing up in is never lost on me. I want to thank every resident who volunteers with their Community Association, who comes out to attend their neighbourhood Stampede BBQ or that submit 311 requests when they see something amiss – you’re all a big part of why our neighbourhoods are some of the best places to live. If you have any questions or thoughts on how we can make your neighbourhood better, reach out to me at 403-268-2431 or ward08@calgary.ca

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Back | April 07, 2016

Our unseasonably warm winter almost made me forget that spring is on our doorstep. Aside from being able to start barbeque season early, the warm weather meant the City saved $1 million in our Snow and Ice Control budget and that our Roads crews have been able to get a jump start on much needed road repairs. Now, with spring actually here, I am excited to see our parks turn green and to see our roads and sidewalks cleaned up for motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians.

The City’s Roads Department have launched a brand new fast-tracked program this year that targets sweeping to be completed by June 1st. With June being our city’s rainiest month, we can reduce the impact on our environment and our waste water treatment facilities by removing all the salt, sanding materials and debris that accumulates during the winter months before it’s swept into our storm water systems. Residential sweeping will be done 7 days/week this year, up from the previous 4 days/week, and major roads and commercial/industrial roads being done during the night (Monday – Thursday). With sweeping starting two weeks earlier, all of us will be able to enjoy more of our great summer months with safe and clean streets.

Spring Clean-up helps keep our city beautiful and makes for a safer commute for everyone. Make sure you’re doing your part by watching for the “No Parking” signs and by moving your vehicles as well as your blue, black and green bins. Keeping our city clean is a collaborative effort and it takes everyone’s help. For up to the minute information and status updates on roadways and to find out when sweeping is scheduled for your community, visit calgary.ca/sweep.

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Back | May 24, 2016



The Beltline Neighbourhoods Association: A new Community Association for the Beltline

May 25 at 7pm at the Calgary Opera Centre (1315 7 St SW) is the Launch Party and Inaugural AGM for the brand new Beltline Neighbourhoods Association. 22,000 people now call the area home, and more people deciding to live longer in the Beltline. This Community Association represents a really exciting opportunity to make the neighbourhoods in the Beltline an even more enjoyable place.

For those of you who live, work, or play in the area, the event will kick off at 7pm with an open house with groups from throughout the Beltline (The Calgary Public Library, some of our city's local cycling groups, social agencies operating within the Beltline, the City, and more), and it’s a great opportunity to come down, meet members of your community and learn more about what’s going on.

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Back | July 29, 2016

Last week, Calgary announced the results of the 2016 CivicCensus. I’d like to thank each and every Ward 8 resident who took the time to fill out the census, as it provides valuable information to help make informed decisions about our city. Here’s a small summary of some of the important statistics from this year’s census.

Calgary’s population had a net population increase of 4,256 while Ward 8 saw a small decrease of -1,404 residents from last year. This likely doesn’t come as a shock to most of you seeing as our City faced a challenging end of 2015 and start of 2016. In Ward 8, our population dropped slightly but our housing stock remained steady and even rose by 527 for a total of 54,490 dwellings in 2016. On a community level, the Beltline comes in as the second largest community with 21,958 residents; only second to Panorama Hills and interestingly, the neighbourhood of Rosscarrock saw an increase of more than 10% in population whereas the neighbourhood of Cliff Bungalow had a decrease of approximately 6 – 9%. Conversations about changes in density and population are ones I am constantly having with many of the communities in Ward 8. At first, the topic can often seem overwhelming, but the reality is our city is going to continue to grow and change. New neighbours and different landscapes are a certainty but it’s up to us as citizens to participate in the conversation around how our communities best approach this change.

Scrolling trough Twitter this morning, I noticed a comment from writer Jeremy Klaszus (@klaszus) that really summarized my feelings towards the growth of our city. He remarked, “City life is a continuous negotiation, in tight quarters, with people who bother us and think differently than us, we somehow have to remain open not closed off.”

To learn more about population shifts in your community, or to explore all the information the census has to offer head to Calgary.ca/census for more information or contact my office at ward08@calgary.ca or 403-268-2430. 

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Back | May 03, 2016

Last Monday, Council unanimously approved changes to the city-wide Brewery, Winery and Distillery bylaw. The new definition and rules allows micro-breweries and alcoholic beverage manufacturers to serve and sell their products where they make them, without having to rezone their facilities. Ultimately, this new bylaw allows for a range of sizes and formats of breweries to bring their products to market. For many micro-breweries, a significant barrier to entering the market tends to be the cost and volume associated with bottling or canning beer. Now, with the new land-use bylaw, mirco-breweries will be able to sell individual growlers (1.8L bottles) of their product which can be enjoyed at home and then brought back to re-fill.

Having just visited Portland in April, this change to our city’s bylaw was top of mind. I was astonished by the micro-brewery culture they’ve fostered. It was a great example to me of how small businesses can thrive and be creative when non-limiting frameworks are in place. Calgary has a vibrant beer and spirit industry with local companies like Big Rock Brewery, Wild rose Brewery, Village Brewery, Tool Shed Brewery, Last Best Brewery & Distillery, Eau Claire Distillery and new companies that will soon by setting up shop on 17th Ave like Trolley 5 and Mill Street.

I want to thank the hardworking and dedicated teams in Planning & Development and Community Standards who worked in partnership Calgary breweries & distilleries. I look forward to seeing how Calgary's craft beverage industry continues to grow in the coming years.

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Back | May 09, 2017

As the 17th Avenue Re-construction Project gets underway on the very East end of the Avenue, we have to think about how we will be detouring around construction areas. To help both visitors and neighbours in the Beltline, we're changing 14th & 15th Avenues into one-way streets. One of the largest priorities was to be able to maintain continuity and reliability for transit routes while keeping them as close the 17th Avenue as possible. Second to that, I know how important on-street parking is to residents of the Beltline. Having two one-way couplets allows us to save nearly all on-street parking in the neighbourhood with the only exception being new bus stops that will need some space. Having said all this, I know many of your daily routines will see some shifts, so I ask that we all have some patience as these changes take place.

I’ve heard some residents of the Beltline share some concerns that the change to one-way streets will possibly increase traffic and speeds and decrease safety. One of my staff lives on 15th Ave and we've talked quite a bit about how she commutes either by bike, car or foot along the avenue. Some important information to know is that all street parking will remain which acts as a natural form of traffic calming. Secondly, all the existing stop signs along both avenues will remain – the only time they might change is if a detour is being re-routed along a side-street and traffic needs to be mitigated accordingly. Thirdly, traffic detoured to 15th and 14th Avenues from 17th Avenue will only happen in 2-3 block sections (where construction is taking place) and will be re-routed right back onto 17th Avenue. This is important not only for residents of the beltline, but for businesses along the avenue. Lastly, these detours will only take place during the 3-4 months of construction, the remainder of the year, 17th Avenue will operate as usual.

As the road will become marginally wider since it will be only one direction of traffic, we're looking at ways to calm traffic on both 15th and 14th avenues – for example, painted bike lanes are one option we're exploring for 14th and 15th Avenues. There's no doubt that construction is frustrating, but the reality is that the Avenue is badly in need of repairs. The utilities are anywhere between 60-100 years old, and the road itself is about 30 years old. The thought process behind the one-way streets is to alleviate the headache of constantly changing detours and to provide residents and visitors some certainty and consistency about how to get to work and get home. To learn more about the 17th Avenue Reconstruction Project and the associated detours, click here. If you want to chat more or have any other questions, feel free to reach out to my team at caward8@calgary.ca or 403-268-2504. 

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Back | January 27, 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. Through this process, Calgarians explored the benefits, impacts, constraints and trade-offs of those ideas. 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.

Visit calgary.ca/crowchild for event details for your community and other opportunities to provide your input as they become available. 

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Back | June 16, 2017

By now many residents of the Beltline have heard the news of a proposal to open safe consumption site at the Sheldon Chumir Health Centre. First I want to talk about why we need a safe consumption site and then I want to let everyone know the details of the consultation that will be taking place with the community over the coming months.

We are facing a serious health crisis that needs health-focused solutions. Over 150 Calgarians died of overdoses last year and we are headed down a similar path this year with over 50 overdose deaths in 2017 already. There are already unofficial consumptions sites throughout the Beltline and Ward 8 – whether it’s back alleys, public restrooms, or parks. Providing a safe and supervised location that ensures medical professionals are on hand, clean needles are distributed, and, most importantly, where access to further help with their addiction is available is crucial in dealing with this crisis. We know that supervised consumption sites are most effective when paired with mental health services, housing supports, treatment programs, as well as other health and social services. A lot of these services are already offered by the Chumir Centre making it an optimal location. Safe consumption sites in other cities have been shown to not only save lives and improve health and reduce long term addiction, they have also been shown to have no increase in drug use or criminal activity in the areas where they are based.

We can’t arrest our way out this health epidemic. There has to be a complete strategy of prevention, harm reduction, treatment, as well as enforcement. The Calgary Police Service (CPS) believes this site will be a crucial tool in fighting this crisis as they are simultaneously focused on cutting off the illegal supply of these drugs. The CPS will target drug trafficking and those who prey on vulnerable, addicted people. There will be no tolerance for drug trafficking to those who are seeking assistance through these services. This crisis is a tragedy that is affecting thousands of families across this city, Calgary Police and Alberta Health Services are in agreement – this the best path forward. At the end of the day we have to keep in mind that a safe consumption site will save lives. In the coming weeks AHS will be sending out postcards and emails to residents and businesses within a two-kilometre radius of the Chumir Centre. The postcards will be asking people if they are interested in small group discussions where feedback will be gathered in a discrete and confidential setting. The specific dates and times for these sessions are not set, but are expected to begin in the end of July. Sessions will be approximately two hours long with presentations from AHS at the beginning detailing the nature of a safe consumption site. Participants will then be asked to provide feedback on what they believe the strengths and weaknesses of the proposed space are.

This is a tough and complicated subject and I wish there wasn’t a need for sites like this. However, the consensus between the health community, Provincial Government and the Calgary Police Service makes it clear that this is necessary and I trust their expertise. I encourage everyone who lives in the Beltline to participate in the consultations and to give your honest feedback. We cannot begin to solve the opioid crisis without taking some brave steps. If this can save lives and help people get back on the right track, while at the same time not increasing or encouraging criminal activity, then I feel it’s the right thing to do. If you have any questions or concerns feel free to reach out to my office at ward08@calgary.ca.

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Back | March 15, 2016

Everyone is a pedestrian at some point in their day. Whether you’re out with your dog, grabbing a coffee with friends, or parking your car and heading into work. Investing in pedestrian networks not only makes our communities more walkable, but the ripple effect reaches local businesses and strengthens the social fabric of our neighbourhoods. I’m proud of the strong history of walking that is designed into many of our Ward’s older communities. For example, Sunalta’s narrow tree-lined streets with homes that face the sidewalk, Mission’s short blocks that offer multiple route choices and connectivity to river pathways, or Wildwoods’ parks that connect to the Bow River’s paths. That being said, every neighbourhood has that intersection no one likes crossing, or that street you’d rather bypass on your way home. I believe everyone deserves to feel safe and comfortable as they walk anywhere in this city.

My passion for making Calgary an Active City will require us to make a fundamental change that recognizes walking as a valued mode of transportation. For that reason, I’m hopeful for Council’s upcoming pedestrian strategy, Step Forward. Focused on “improving pedestrian safety, reducing pedestrian-vehicle collisions, providing universal accessibility, and, promoting walking as a viable part of Calgary’s multi-modal transportation system”, Step Forward’s first order of business is simple: make walking safer. Recommendations like reducing the speed limit to 40km/hr on residential roads, expanding the safe and active routes to schools programs and building more Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons for cross-walks improve safety for both pedestrians and motorists.

Our city’s population is projected to grow by 30,000 per year, over the next five years. There’s no doubt that this growth will impact traffic volumes. While driving will always play a role in our lives, building and improving pedestrian infrastructure will serve all Calgarians. Ultimately, whether behind the wheel or on foot, the goal is to make everyone’s experience better.

Growing up in Ward 8 has given me the time to explore the unique aspects of each neighbourhood, as well as see where we can do better. Continuing down the path of creating a better Calgary is going to take constant work and an open mind, and I feel that this strategy is another step toward making Calgary even better.

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Back | June 21, 2016

This year’s property taxes were mailed out at the beginning of June and since then we have received numerous calls and emails asking why has there been an increase and why it’s so high. I’d like to give you some background information to help understand where the numbers are coming from and where exactly your tax dollars go. Every year, the City of Calgary collects taxes on behalf of the Provincial Government. This year, the City collected $784.8 million on the Alberta Government’s behalf which is an increase of $69.6 million from last year. The increase in the Alberta Government’s provincial property tax results in an increase of approximately 10.2 per cent for residential property owners and 4.6 per cent non-residential property owners in Calgary. In light of the downturn in the economy and to help local property owners and corporations facing revenue shortfalls, City Council reduced the 2016 municipal property tax increase by 1.2 per cent to 3.5 per cent for both residential and non-residential property owners. This will assist property owners without impacting the delivery of City services or service levels. When the 10.2 per cent increase passed down from the Alberta Government and the 3.5 per cent municipal property tax increases are factored together, the result is a combined property tax increase of 6.1 per cent for the typical residential property owner.

The municipal tax rate has increased this year for the following reasons: After the approval of Action Plan 2015-2018, the economic downturn began to affect The City and the community we serve. Municipal revenues have dropped below the level budgeted in Action Plan. At the same time, the most recent civic census shows that overall service demand and growth pressures in the community have remained high and actually exceed earlier forecasts.

There’s no doubt that we are in a difficult economic climate, the reality is that Calgary as a city is still growing. Last year alone we saw an increase of approximately 40,000 people to the city. An increasing population means an increased need for services and infrastructure. It is also important to note that 75% of the money the City collects to fund police, fire, transit, roads, parks and more. To see where you property taxes are being spent, follow the link and enter your 2016 property tax amount.


Property Taxes are due by June 30th or alternatively; you can make paying your property taxes easier through the City’s Tax Instalment Payment Plan (TIPP). You can make monthly payments towards your property tax instead of paying it in full once a year. Visit www.calgary.ca/TIPP or call 311 for more information. 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. The Alberta Government offers a Seniors Property Tax Deferral Program that allows eligible senior homeowners to defer all or part of their property taxes through a low-interest home equity loan with the Alberta Government. For more information go to www.seniors.gov.ab.ca or call the Alberta Supports Contact line at 1-877-644-9992.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact my office at ward08@calgary.ca

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Back | January 21, 2016

Extraordinary times, it’s said, call for extraordinary measures. And I doubt that many in Calgary would question that right now is an extraordinary time.

At this point, recapping all of the things going against the province and our city in particular feels unnecessary. Whether it’s oil prices, the housing market, or job losses, the challenges Calgary currently faces are well understood.

Against such a dismal backdrop, the city is working to figure out what we can do to help Calgary through this downturn and ensure that we’re still intact and ready to go when conditions improve.

To that end, at the next City Council meeting I will propose that we give businesses across Calgary a $30 million rebate on their business tax this year and an additional $30 million in 2017.

It’s a plan that’s certain to raise any number of questions. How will we pay for this? Could this money be better used elsewhere? Why this and not something else?

Calgary, as we know, has been on a good run over the last few years. During those more fortunate times, the City has been prudent enough to put away almost $300 million into what’s known as the Fiscal Stability Reserve. The tax relief I’m proposing will come from this rainy day fund.

Of course, the solid financial footing that Calgary enjoys is no accident. The City has made prudent choices around spending, which include not raiding the piggybank at the first sign of trouble. This certainly isn’t that.

The sudden drop in oil prices was enough to throw the entire country into a recession. Canada will be lucky to avoid the same fate this year and Alberta definitely won’t. As for Calgary, it’s no surprise that we’re at the epicentre of this hardship.

Personally, I don’t know a single person without a friend or family member looking for work. Jobs are the bedrock of any economy and it wasn’t long ago that this type of unemployment would have been unthinkable in Alberta. But here we are.

The City is already going ahead with plans to help our economy become more resilient in the medium and long term, but the positive effects of these will take time to show up on the ground. Tax relief for businesses will provide an immediate counterweight to the economic shock we’re now facing.

It will by no means be a panacea, but it will help small and medium businesses at a time when they need it most. Whether a coffee shop, a contractor, an oil company, or a retailer, you don’t have to look far to find a business that’s dealing with falling revenues and higher costs. 

An investment made in businesses right now will be paid back as they continue to hire staff, meet payrolls, and pay taxes. Helping local businesses stay on their feet during this downturn fosters a virtuous cycle with direct and indirect economic benefits for the city as a whole. Everyone, after all, works somewhere.

During the good times, our local businesses account for a disproportionately large amount of the city’s operating budget. Now that times aren’t as good, it’s the City’s turn to step up and support them.

The city has the financial strength to pay for this plan while still maintaining a healthy reserve fund, a strong financial position, and ample liquidity. The businesses that we’ll be supporting now, which helped build the fund in the first place, will be the same ones replenishing it in the years to come.

A rainy day fund, by definition, exists for when times get tough. As the rain starts to fall on Calgary in earnest, it’s incumbent on the city to open up an umbrella.  

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Back | April 27, 2016

On Monday, Council made several decisions with regards to the CalgaryNEXT proposal and the environmental remediation of the West Village.  The decisions were one step in determining both how the West Village and the CalgaryNEXT proposal might move forward, with many steps still to come.

West Village

In my view, the most important resolution from Council’s meeting was the decision to separate the environmental remediation in the West Village from the CalgaryNEXT proposal. Regardless of whether the West Village is picked as the location for the CalgaryNEXT project we must move forward with environmental remediation for the area, and I am happy that Council voted to address the contamination issues independently of the Flames proposal. 

I am supportive of Administration’s assertion that the polluter should pay the costs of remediation. With that said, it is likely that the question of “who pays?” will take many years to resolve, and we cannot ask the neighbourhoods surrounding the West Village to wait for a drawn out process to solve an environmental issue that has been left on their doorsteps. I will continue to advocate for a timely solution to the environmental contamination.

CalgaryNEXT

A report from Administration outlined many of the high-level considerations and costs associated with the CalgaryNEXT proposal in the West Village. The Flames organization will be given an opportunity to respond to the report, and were also given the option to work with the City and stakeholders to begin exploring the potential for an alternate site on or near the Stampede Grounds. Without shutting the door on the West Village, Council also approved exploring the potential for another location for the CalgaryNEXT proposal in the Stampede/Victoria Park area.

To be clear, this doesn’t mean that a decision has been made on the location – rather, the City has determined an approximate range of costs that can be attributed to the development of the West Village, as well as those associated with the CalgaryNEXT proposal. There are more steps to come before any decision is made on a location for the project.

What comes next?

A common question I receive is on the costs associated with the proposal. My position has consistently been that public money must result in public benefits. When a decision on location has been made we are likely to see a further breakdown of costs and infrastructure. Without that breakdown, it’s very difficult to determine public benefit. Until such a breakdown is presented, I will not be advocating for one location over another.

As the Flames, the City, and other stakeholders continue to examine locations, costs and timelines, I will remain very firm in my belief that regardless of the location, the surrounding neighbourhoods must be at the table. For CalgaryNEXT to be a success – whether in the West Village, Stampede/Victoria Park, or anywhere else – there must be extensive engagement with residents.

Council will continue to evaluate the costs, benefits, locations, and timelines, both for the West Village and the CalgaryNEXT proposal. Council’s decisions on Monday were just one step in that evaluation. I will continue to work with the neighbourhoods surrounding the West Village on environmental remediation, and with the neighbourhoods that surround both potential CalgaryNEXT locations as this process moves forward.

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Back | January 12, 2016

Yesterday, Council approved a new off-site levy bylaw that will not only fund much-needed city-wide infrastructure, but also help the City of Calgary achieve financial sustainability in the coming years. I have long argued for this sort of sustainable, thoughtful action, and am extremely pleased that we are delivering on a plan that will see our city’s development pay for itself by 2018.

Off-site levies are among the tools that the City of Calgary uses to achieve financial sustainability, and are in place to help pay for major off-site infrastructure such as water and wastewater treatment facilities, recreation centres, and connecting pipes. Due to persistent and high population growth, increased infrastructure costs, and outdated language, the old off-site levy bylaw had to be revisited. The City of Calgary worked collaboratively with members of the land development and home building industry to ensure a transparent, fair process in coming up with this new bylaw. Many industry leaders are strongly and vocally in support of these necessary changes, which come into effect on February 1.

Until now, the City of Calgary subsidized suburban development by paying for half of all water and wastewater infrastructure costs in new neighbourhoods; the City paid for all of it up to 2011. Over the next three years, the City will phase in new rules in which developers will be responsible for all such costs. This is good news for our established inner city neighbourhoods, which have borne much of the cost for our city’s outward march of growth. It’s also good news for our efforts to encourage density, as natural incentives for increasing the per unit utilization of land will soon come into place. Finally, it’s great for our long-term fiscal outlook: new suburban homes could become slightly more expensive (perhaps by 1%), but in exchange we won’t need to go so far into debt to keep up with the urgent growth needs of our city.

This is a big step for Calgary, and one of which I am incredibly proud to have been a part. Learn more about the new Off-Site Levy Bylaw, or contact my office if you have any questions. 

Categories: Cost of growth; City Finances; Development

Back | November 13, 2015

You may already know that I am strongly in favour of safely allowing Uber and other ride-sharing companies to provide their services in Calgary. On its own, the old and tired taxi system simply doesn’t work for us anymore, and it’s time to shake things up. Calgarians want the freedom to choose how to get around, they want fresh and original solutions to mobility, and they want healthy competition in the marketplace. Of course, taxis still have a place in our city, and they will continue to do so for a long time to come. But their monopoly is over.

I have used ride-sharing apps before in other cities, and can attest to the ease and convenience of this kind of service. It isn’t perfect, however, and when it comes to safety the City of Calgary needs to ensure that we get things right. On Monday, my City Council colleagues and I will decide how to move forward with regulations that allow Uber and other private-for-hire companies to do business in Calgary. And, let me be clear: some level of regulation is necessary – doing nothing, and making no change to the Livery Transport Bylaw, is simply not an option.

Regardless of my opinion on the matter, and until it changes, Uber drivers in Calgary are indeed breaking our law. So let’s change it, and change it thoughtfully. It is not too much to ask private-for-hire drivers to acquire the proper insurance and pass a criminal background check. And it is certainly not too much to ask for our regulatory framework to accommodate not only these drivers, but the customers who are hungry for an innovative, convenient and proven choice. Calgary is ready.

I will keep you updated as this issue unfolds. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch with my office

Categories: Transportation; Uber

Back | October 04, 2018

As chair of the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Assessment Committee, I'm pleased to let you know that we have begun the public engagement process that will help Council decide whether or not to proceed with a bid to host the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Many of you have specific thoughts and feelings about a potential bid so here is your chance to share them directly with Council.

Online engagement has begun as of early October. You can provide your comments and concerns through the City of Calgary website.

In addition to the online feedback portal, there are opportunities for in-person engagement during city-wide open houses and pop-up events. More events will be listed at www.engage.calgary.ca/2026Games.

 

Many of you have asked me why we're going through with a plebiscite on November 13th if it's non-binding. I've publicly stated that the plebiscite will be the final arbiter of whether or not we bid on the Games and I still feel that way. I will not go against the wishes of Calgarians, regardless of the outcome of the plebiscite. The engagement process is important too, because although the plebiscite will tell us “yes” or “no”, your feedback provides the “why”.

If you have questions concerns about a potential bid, we want to hear them. Maybe you've heard something and need to clarify if it's true or not. Whether your mind is made up or you're still "on the fence", please attend one of the sessions or contribute to the online engagement listed above.

I encourage you to visit the Elections Calgary website at www.calgary.ca/vote2018? for details on the plebsiscite, including who is eligible to vote, where to vote, and advance voting on November 6 and 7. Should you be unable to make it to any of the in-person votes, mail in ballots are now available by phone, fax, or through the website.

The question on the ballot

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

The question on the ballot will be:

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

__ I am for Calgary hosting
__ I am against Calgary hosting

At this point I'd like to extend my deepest thanks to everyone for their thoughts, ideas, concerns and feedback as we have moved through this project.​​

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Back | November 11, 2015

I delivered the following speech at the Remembrance Day Ceremony at Central Memorial Park on November 11, 2015.


Honoured veterans, special guests, ladies and gentlemen, my friends.

It is with tremendous humility and honour that I stand before you today on behalf of Mayor Nenshi and City Council, and share with you these precious moments of remembrance and respect.

One hundred years ago yesterday, a father in Calgary received a letter from Great Britain, informing him that his son, John Turner Bone, had gone missing in France. John Turner Bone was a graduate of Western Canada College – what we now call Western Canada High School – and he was a sub-lieutenant in the British Naval Air Service. It was later reported by cable that the young Calgary aviator had perished on October 18, 1915. The name John Turner Bone would be etched into the stone of the Cenotaph at Western Canada, and it can be seen there today.

Yesterday, I laid a wreath on that stone. I was surrounded by the students of Western Canada, the high school I myself attended. They lined up outside, many more could be seen peeking through the windows from their classrooms above.

They were solemn. They were silent. They were the same age as John was when he gave his life, and they knew it.

John lived here. Like the students I saw around me yesterday, John was born on one side of a century, and he lived to see great change on the other. His feet, I’m sure, passed over this very spot. He grew up with his family here, he laughed with his friends here, he started to become a man here. Because of John, and his compatriots, this place is sacred.

Can you imagine what this city looked like 100 years ago yesterday, when John’s father received the mail that told of his son’s death?

Take a moment to think of it.

It’s important, because everything you see around you now – the towers, the homes, the bookstore, the church, the hospital, the community, the city, this beautiful and fitting park – all of this, every square inch, we owe to John Bone. We are building this city and this country on his dreams as well as our own. And how perfect is it that John’s fellow students at Western Canada, who walk in his footsteps exactly one hundred years later, understand his sacrifice and seek to become better because of it.

We are better because of John Bone. We are a nation because of this young man. We dream our biggest dreams in freedom and in dignity because of him, and because of every man and woman who have fought for this great country and continue to do so this very day.

We are here today because of them, and for them, and with them. And we will always remember them.

Thank you.

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Back | October 21, 2015

I commend each of you who went out and voted in the 2015 federal election. We had the highest voter turnout (just over 68%) in twenty years! As the campaign ends, and signs are removed from yards, many are left with questions as to what will happen next.

The Liberal Party, headed by Justin Trudeau, won 184 seats and will form a majority government. The transition from Prime Minister Harper to Prime Minister Trudeau and the new Cabinet will take a few weeks, and will happen roughly as follows.

First, Prime Minister Stephen Harper must submit his formal resignation to the Governor General. Concurrently, Prime Minister-designate, Justin Trudeau, will build his core team. The Cabinet is made up of Members of Parliament from regions all over Canada and will lead various ministries and agencies. Although rare, the Prime Minister-Designate may select Members of Parliament from outside their party as ministers.

The Prime Minister and Cabinet will be announced by November 4, and sworn into office at a ceremony with the Governor General at Rideau Hall in Ottawa no later than November 15.

While the new government is formed, changes to the other political parties will be seen as well. Although Stephen Harper will remain a Member of Parliament, representing Calgary Heritage, he has announced that he will step down as leader of the Conservative Party. An interim leader will be selected until a new one is elected by party members. Thomas Mulcair, leader of the New Democratic Party, will remain as party leader.

For more information on the election results visit elections.ca

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Back | October 13, 2015

Halloween is just around the corner! This means hundreds of carved pumpkins will be disposed of in November. Each year the City of Calgary runs a Leaf & Pumpkin Composting Program to turn our unwanted yard waste into nutrient rich compost. The Leaf & Pumpkin Composting Program runs until November 8.

On average, yard waste makes up a third of household garbage. When waste is brought to the landfill, it is tightly compacted and is unable to obtain enough oxygen to biodegrade, and will instead release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

Try out a paper yard waste bag instead of a plastic bag. These bags are 100% compostable and can be found at many local yard and garden retailers. Plastic bags are still accepted, but paper bags are preferred.

In Ward 8, there are drop-off locations at the Marda Loop and Wildwood Community Associations. For a list of the other 34 locations and more information on the Leaf & Pumpkin Composting Program visit: www.calgary.ca/leaf

Do you want nutrient rich compost to add to your garden next spring? Learn how you can make your own compost at: www.calgary.ca/composting

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Back | October 06, 2015

How do you get around Calgary?

The way people get around Calgary is changing! Car2Go has brought us into the world of carsharing, cycling is increasing, Uber is looking at Calgary, and transit ridership continues to grow. As we change how we get around, the City of Calgary is running a variety of programs to encourage us to explore different transportation options.

October is carpool month!

From October 5 - 30, I encourage you to give carpooling a try. It is as easy as catching a ride with your neighbour or co-worker. Carpooling is a simple way to save money on gas, parking, and vehicle maintenance, as well as helps to reduce traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions.

Don’t have a neighbour commuting to the same part of the city, or a co-worker that lives nearby? Check out www.carpool.ca to find a commuter match using their safe and secure database. Carpool.ca has helped match thousands of commuters with carpool groups since starting in 2000.

The Pedestrian Safety Campaign

The City of Calgary Pedestrian Safety Campaign The City of Calgary, Calgary Police Services, and many other partners in traffic safety are working to reduce the number of vehicle-pedestrian collisions. Together they have launched a Pedestrian Safety Campaign to emphasize that the safety of pedestrians is the shared responsibility of all users on our roadways and sidewalks. With over 500 pedestrian accidents each year, it is important that we all “Look out for each other!”


Some tips to make sure you arrive safely to your destination:

  • Drive at a safe speed and remember to watch for pedestrians
  • Make eye contact with drivers before stepping into a crosswalk
  • Use intersections and properly marked crosswalks when crossing the street

More information and safety tips can be found at www.calgary.ca/lookout

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Back | September 30, 2015

Yesterday, the City of Calgary launched a new searchable, online registry for legal and safe secondary suites in Calgary. This registry is aimed to promote the importance of public safety and make citizens aware of the safety requirements for a secondary suite. Now it will be easier than ever before to determine if the suite you are living in, or looking to rent or buy, has been registered and approved by the city. 

If a suite has been inspected, has all necessary permits, and meets the requirements outlined by the Alberta Safety Code, it will be listed in this registry. An approved suite will be issued a numbered sticker that corresponds with their address. Owners then have the opportunity to place this sticker on the entry point of their suite to inform current and future residents that their home is both safe and legal.

Another secondary suites development this past month was the introduction of the Development Permit Exemption Program. If your property is zoned to allow a secondary suite, or you already have a Land Use Redesignation, then you can skip the development permit process – allowing you to invest more time and money into the development of your suite!

To learn more about the Development Permit Exemption Program, or to check if your property is listed in the new registry, visit calgary.ca/secondarysuites.

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Back | August 24, 2015

Last week, the City announced that each of Calgary’s approximately 180 school zones would be transitioned to a playground zone. This is reflective of Council’s decision in July 2014 to establish consistency and avoid confusion in areas with reduced speed.

The most important outcome of school zones becoming playground zones is that you must now reduce your speed every day as opposed to just on school days. There is no longer any guessing about whether or not a school is in session and you must always reduce your speed.

It is also important to note that playground zones are in effect every day from 7:30am until 9pm. Prior to July 2014, playground and school zones had variable times, causing confusion.

It is essential for the safety of every parent and child that the rules of the road are obeyed, and you travel at a maximum 30km/h whenever you see a playground zone sign. According to Calgary’s Safer Mobility Plan, the reduced speed limit may add 4-10 seconds of travel time to your journey, but it increases the survival rate of pedestrians in the case of collision by up to 70%.

If you have safety concerns about cars speeding or driving recklessly in playground zones, the best way to let the City know is through a Traffic Service Request. Let’s be patient, let’s be smart, and let’s be safe.

Categories: Safety; Traffic

Back | July 28, 2015

For several years now, we have been discussing proposed developments in a western area of our city next to Canada Olympic Park that has come to be called the Paskapoo Slopes. Recently, a developer came forward with a plan that would develop one-third of the privately-owned land, leaving the rest to the City of Calgary Parks department as a natural preserve. A final proposal came before Council this month as a change of land use, and it stirred up a lot of debate and concern amongst Calgarians. From the beginning it was crystal-clear to me that Calgarians from every corner of the city care deeply about this land, and want it to be preserved.

Last week, Council debated the proposal at length, and we decided that it did not go far enough in protecting the Paskapoo Slopes. Instead, 16 thoughtful amendments were brought forward to ensure that accessibility, heritage value, and the area’s sheer wilderness were preserved, and I voted with eleven other members of Council to approve the land use change. Ultimately, I felt that the amended development will comprehensively protect wildlife access and the natural state of the area.

The Paskapoo Slopes are very important to our city, and they carry a unique cultural and environmental heritage. Council’s decision yesterday lays out a plan for what may be built. For the ideas to be carried out there will still be further development applications and a rigorous process. Because the land is deemed to be so special, anything built on the site will be highly scrutinized – my colleagues and I, as well as all Calgarians, will watch this space very closely.

I am very thankful to the hundreds of citizens who took the time and wrote our office, made submissions to the City, and participated in the Public Hearing. I could not have made the informed decision I did without their help. I hope that those who made their voice heard in this conversation will stay involved with the project, and ensure that the compromises and promises made are held to the highest standard. The Paskapoo Slopes are in good hands, and they will remain an attractive, protected and natural destination for us to visit far into the future. 

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Back | June 29, 2015

Today, Council decided not to move forward with a proposal to reform the secondary suites process in wards 7, 8, 9 and 11. While I have fought long and hard for us to implement meaningful and thoughtful change on this file, and am certainly disappointed with this outcome, I respect the will of Council. I intend to work with my colleagues in the coming months to come up with other ideas to tackle affordable housing in Calgary, as well as to ensure that Calgarians live in safe homes.

However, make no mistake: secondary suites will return. Whether in the fall or in 2016, or after the next municipal election, or in a decade, the underlying challenges that our city faces have not been met. The unnecessary red tape of going to Council for a suite application will continue to force people underground, meaning a loss in tax revenue and an increase in the amount of unsafe housing. We have merely kicked the can a little further.

I wish to thank all of those in Ward 8 and beyond who made their voices heard in this debate, and contributed to the public discourse on this difficult, divisive and complex topic. Lack of action is frustrating, but we are better for having had the dialogue. I'd also like to thank the folks in City Administration who for years have worked tirelessly on secondary suites at the behest of Council. I can understand how City Staff may be disheartened by Council's decision today, when all of their efforts were concluded with yet another "no" -- but I assure you that the work we've done on this will ultimately form part of a better, more enlightened and more coherent decision to reform our broken process, somewhere down the road.

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Back | July 14, 2015

This summer, the Shaganappi Point Golf Course is marking its centennial, and so the City of Calgary is proudly celebrating 100 Years of Golf.

Shaganappi Point was founded in 1915, one year before the Centre Street Bridge was finished. It was built thanks to the Parks Calgary Superintendent, William Reader, who thought that it would be an effective way to use park area and increase streetcar revenue. It’s an interesting parallel to the recent introduction of the West End LRT Line which stops right beside it at the Shaganappi Point stop.

Once development began, it only took the City a remarkable 26 days to open. It cost the city $637.26, which would be $13,257.00 today, and a round of golf only cost $0.25 ($5.20 today).

By the 1940s Shaganappi Point Golf Course adopted a dual purpose: golfing in the summer, and both downhill and alpine skiing. Even though the course is no longer used for downhill skiing, it is usable for cross-country skiing every year from November to March.

Here are a few fun facts about the course:

  1. In the early days of skiing at the course, they didn’t actually use a snow blower when conditions were poor. They broke up chunks of compact snow using a grain blower, which is pretty ingenious.
  2. Shaganappi Point hosted the Kodak Hot Air Balloon Festival during the 1988 Winter Olympics.
  3. A tree that resides on the 8th Hole received designation as an Alberta Heritage Tree in 2008. It is a large willow tree nicknamed “Willowmena”.

Join Councillor Woolley and the Ward 8 team to celebrate this landmark anniversary by playing a round! Shaganappi Point Golf Course has 27 holes, a 48-stall driving range, and is open seven days a week during the summer. It is located at 1200 26th Street and overlooks downtown Calgary.

Learn more about Shaganappi Point and the 100 Years of Golf celebration. If you have any of your own stories or mementos, share them with the city

Categories:

Back | August 05, 2015

With the Calgary Folk Music Festival and the Calgary International Blues Festival ending July and starting August with a bang, it’s time to start looking forward to a whole whack of other music festivals that our city offers. There’s a festival each week all the way through the rest of August and into the first weekend of September, and there is surely something for everyone regardless of musical taste. All you need is some friends and a few tickets and you’ll be able to celebrate Calgary’s incredibly diverse musical scene.

Afrikadey! World Music Festival

August 5-8 at Prince's Island Park

This festival brings Africa’s creativity and culture into the spotlight with visual art, literature, food, and music.

Chasing Summer

August 7-8 at Fort Calgary

Electronic Dance Music (EDM) is Chasing Summer’s specialty and they’re bringing some global names this year. This is for a high-energy crowd so make sure to party responsibly.

Calgary ReggaeFest

August 13-15 at Shaw Millenium Park

ReggaeFest aims to share Reggae Music and culture. They’ve coined the term Rastagarian for a Calgarian who loves Reggae so head out and become a Rastagarian with them.

Opera Village

August 13-22 at the East Village Riverwalk Plaza

A very different kind of music festival, Opera in the Village takes over the East Village to deliver various operatic performances in an outdoor open-air tent.

Expo Latino

August 28-30 at Prince's Island Park

The Island gets taken over once again as Latin music, dance, food, and art are highlighted to share a rich Latin culture with the rest of Calgary.

One Love Music Festival

September 5 at Shaw Millenium Park

The only single-day festival of the summer, One Love is Western Canada’s biggest hip-hop music festival.

X-Fest

September 5-6 at Fort Calgary

Leading into Labour Day and the start of the school year for many, X-Fest brings a tremendous line-up of alternative music artists for one last celebration of the summer.

Festival Information:

http://afrikadey.com/

http://www.chasingsummerfestival.com/

http://www.reggaefest.ca/

http://www.calgaryopera.com/festival

http://onelovefestival.ca/

http://xfestcalgary.com/

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Back | November 23, 2016

America that banned sports ramps on private property. In the mid 1980’s it seemed like my predecessors on City Council viewed skateboarding as a “fad” and a nuisance to the community. I think it’s pretty clear that times have changed which is why last year I brought forth a Notice of Motion to engage with Calgarians and to look at changing the rules. A large part of my job as a City Councillor is to make laws to keep our city safe, and I take this very seriously. That being said, another part of our job is to recognize when certain bylaws are no longer serving our city and neighbourhoods. Approximately 34,000 Calgarians of all ages skateboard in our city. This doesn’t include Calgarians who love other wheeled sports like BMX, scooters and in-line skates.

After a significant amount of engagement with residents all across the city, we found that most Calgarians who participated were supportive of sports ramps on private property. Through the collaboration of the Calgary Association of Skateboard Enthusiasts and City Administration we found proposed dimensions and materials for the sports ramps. We also thoroughly tested the sound volumes on a number of different ramp surfaces to ensure that the decibel level didn’t exceed our existing Noise Bylaw. If you’d like to read the report presented to the Committee on Community and Protective Services, you can do so here.

Ultimately, I truly believe that fostering a space for kids to play and discover a new sport is quintessential to making our neighbourhoods better and until very recently, skateboarding was the only prejudiced sport in the view of our Land Use Bylaws. There’s no doubt that since its inception, skateboarding has had a rebellious reputation, but I’ve been witness to the creativity, freedom and inspiration that can come for the sport. I personally know passionate Calgarians who skateboarded all throughout their youth and have since become prolific musicians, managers of incredible restaurants and respected film directors.  When I asked them what inspired them to continue to push themselves in their careers more often than not their answers centered around lessons they’d learned through skateboarding.​

Categories: Arts & Recreation; Recreation

Back | April 27, 2015

Yeah baby!

The Calgary Flames have made it to the second round of the NHL Playoffs, and later this week they'll face the Anaheim Ducks in the next seven-game series.

As a born and raised Calgarian, I can't imagine not being a fan of the Flames. I remember that historic push to the Stanley Cup Final back in 2004 as if it was yesterday. The Red Mile on 17 Avenue was never decided upon: there was no edict or bylaw or order from above. The people of Calgary congregated there to revel in our team, and I think, to celebrate our city's coming-of-age. And now we're back at it again.

One of the reasons the Red Mile became world-famous eleven years ago was for its remarkably peaceful, positive and friendly atmosphere. Tens of thousands of fans came out and filled the street with a C of Red, and through six euphoric weeks and four intense rounds not a single window was broken. Calgary Police, Fire, EMS and other services did a terrific job, but in the end it was Calgarians who safely and responsibly demonstrated the spirit of their city.


17 Avenue, April 25, 2015

Let's make the 2015 run for the Stanley Cup even better. Keep in mind that many folks live on or very near to 17 Avenue, and while they are aware of where they live and what the Playoffs mean (they're not out to kill the fun), they are entitled to common courtesy just like everyone else. If you head out to the street after a game, remember to use your head: don't bring alcohol outside, dispose of your waste properly, respect private and public property, be considerate to everyone, regardless of gender or colour of their jersey, and don't forget that we're all neighbours.

Be good and have fun out there, Ward 8. Go Flames Go!

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Back | May 25, 2015

Construction of Calgary’s Cycle Tracks Network is well underway in the downtown core and Beltline, and I’m hopeful that some of the routes will be open to thousands of bicycle users soon. In the meantime, please make sure you keep off of the tracks: until all barrier, paint and roads work is complete, the tracks remain dangerous and are not to be used.


Next month we’ll be officially kicking off the Cycle Tracks Network with a bicycle-and-family-friendly party in the Beltline. I hope you’ll join me at Barb Scott Park (9 Street and 12 Avenue SW) from 11am-3pm on Sunday, June 21, for the formal ribbon-cutting, live music with Sled Island, food trucks and plenty of bike-parking. Bring your family and friends, and we’ll send these beautiful new bike corridors off in style!

The Cycle Tracks Network pilot project has been the product of lengthy, rigorous and in-depth research and planning work by City Administration. In fact, when compared to the rather small capital investment cost, this project has seen the most extensive planning and public engagement process that the City of Calgary Transportation Department has ever undertaken. Next year we’ll review the outcomes and make a decision on the future of this project.

Of course, due to both construction and the new bike lanes, there are adjustments; it will take some time for commuters, downtown parkers, businesses, pedestrians and cyclists to get used to the new tracks. The City is removing four lanes of vehicular traffic and taking out a good number of parking stalls on the five affected roads. Even though there are over a hundred other lanes in the Centre City, and more parking stalls will be added than have been lost, I appreciate the inconvenience that many Ward 8 residents and business owners have experienced, and will ensure that any long-term difficulties are addressed through this pilot project.


For more information about this the Cycle Tracks Network, please visit calgary.ca/cycletracks. You can also get in touch with my office.        

Categories: Transportation

Back | April 20, 2015

Save yourself a knock on the door and help the City of Calgary become more efficient and innovative in the way it delivers services. Until Friday April 24, complete the 2015 Calgary Civic Census online. You'll need the access code that was mailed to you in March. If you didn't receive one or have misplaced it, call 403-476-4100 or email census@calgary.ca. And, if you are ultimately unable to do it online, don't worry: City census takers will still be going door-to-door in May.

The annual census is a critical tool for our municipal government to function properly, intelligently and effectively. Good, reliable information is the basis of so much that the City does each day, and for how decisions on our city's future are made. 2015 is the first year that the City of Calgary is giving people the option of submitting their information online, and this new service should help save money, streamline data collection, and make the whole process easier for residents.

Interested in further information about the Calgary Civic Census? Check out the Frequently Asked Questions, peruse census results from past years, or learn more about the City's Transforming Government initiative, for which the online census is an excellent example. 

Categories:

Back | June 01, 2015

The City of Calgary is conducting a new six-phase study for Crowchild Trail from 24 Avenue N.W. to 17 Avenue S.W. Much of this critical arterial road dates back to the 1960s, and has not kept up with our city's growth. It's time to look at new options for renewal.

In Phase 1 of the Crowchild Trail Corridor Study, the project team worked with an 18-member citizen-Engagement Design Team to develop an engagement plan for the remainder of the study. Phase 1 is now complete and the Final Report is available at calgary.ca/crowchild.

Phase 2 of the study, which focuses on confirming the project goals, will now take place from June to August. Over the next few months, The City will be asking Calgarians to help identify project goals for the Crowchild Trail study. This is an important part of the study process as the project goals will help guide the development and evaluation of short, medium, and long term plans for the corridor as the study progresses.

Over the next two months, there will be multiple opportunities for you to get involved — in person and online. The City wants to know what you think is important for the study to achieve when considering communities that border Crowchild Trail, how people travel along and across Crowchild Trail, and other goals that should be considered.

More information about how you can provide your input will be available at calgary.ca/crowchild starting Friday, June 5, 2015.

Categories: Transportation

Back | May 13, 2015

Yesterday, Council took a small but important step forward on secondary suites. We were up and at it until 11:15pm, and agreed in principle to the proposed bylaw amendments to reform the secondary suites process in wards 7, 8, 9 and 11. To be clear, Council has not fully approved the bylaws and nothing has changed: only first reading passed, and three are necessary. Second and third readings have been referred to City Administration, and they'll be bringing them back to us on June 29.


This positive outcome is the product of compromise. A new amendment to the proposed changes was agreed, which requires a registry and additional neighbourhood feedback for legal suites. We are working through these new changes, and I hope we can agree on June 29 to reform the presently broken process by which Calgarians in these four wards can build a legal and safe secondary suite.

As you may know, this is a difficult, complex and divisive issue, and I both recognize and value the peoples' different opinions. It has taken us, as well as residents, community associations and City Staff, a lot of effort to get this far. If you have any questions, please take a moment to read my FAQ on Secondary Suites, or contact my office.

Categories: Development

Back | May 04, 2015

Tomorrow, you have a responsibility to go out and vote in Alberta's general election. This small, simple act of democracy, which requires no great measure of your time and thought, is the bedrock of our nation's success and the means by which we secure our common future.

We all know that it's easy to stay at home. It's easy to simply not show up to the ballot box. Nobody has to know you didn't vote, after all. And you might even think it's more productive: how could one person possibly make a difference?

Here's the thing: decisions are made by those who show up. And you're not just one person. In 2012 almost half of eligible voters in this province chose not to cast their ballot. Can you imagine what would have been different if each of them had voted?

Apathy is boring. The outcome of this election doesn't have to be. Vote tomorrow.

For information on when, where and how to vote, visit Elections Alberta.

Categories:

Back | May 01, 2015

My office has been receiving questions about a letter regarding flood mitigation that is currently circulating in Calgary. I’ve had a chance to review this letter, signed by Emma May and distributed by the Gordon Dirks campaign in Calgary-Elbow, and must take issue both with its tone and its inaccuracies.

Here are some facts:

  • Opposition parties in this election have clearly outlined their flood mitigation plans. Though one may disagree with these plans, it is irresponsible to say that they do not exist.
  • Recommendations from both the provincial Task Force and the expert panel on flood mitigation measures in Alberta indicate the potential for three Elbow River mitigation options:
  • The Springbank off-stream diversion and storage site
  • The Glenmore Reservoir Diversion Tunnel
  • The McLean Creek dry dam
  • The Government of Alberta has approved only the first of these three mitigation options.

The City of Calgary’s analysts have determined that one option is not sufficient for protecting our city from future flooding. Council has been clear and consistent on the need for two of the three mitigation options to appropriately protect our river communities.

The 2013 flood was traumatic, devastating and forever imprinted on Calgary’s memory. Yet it was also the moment when our city came together. I remember being evacuated from my home, and instead of getting left out in the rain, I experienced the overwhelming support of Calgarians from every corner of the city and every walk of life. A partisan and frankly dishonest letter such as this is a far cry from the common spirit that we found two years ago.

Our neighbourhoods want to know they’ll be safe in the future, myself included. Even in the silliness that comes about in an election, each party has different opinions on what is best, and that’s okay. Letters that whip up fear, however, are inappropriate. The flood is not a bargaining chip.​

Categories: Food 2013

Back | April 13, 2015

On Saturday, April 11, I joined the Calgary Association of Skateboard Enthusiasts as well as community members and skaters at large for the annual cleanup of Millennium Park. It was a little easier than the same event last year: months of warm weather had cleared up all of the snow, and wind had pushed much of the garbage out of the park to be picked up by City cleaners. Still, we had enough brooms, donuts, hot chocolate and coffee to go around, and it was a great chance to have fun doing something productive, and to connect with the community.


No matter how mild the winter, spring always means cleaning in Calgary. So if you have a similar event happening in your neck of the woods, don't hestitate to get in touch with my office


  

Categories: Events

Back | February 09, 2017

Calgarians who choose to live in the communities of Ward 8 often do so because of how close our neighbourhoods are to great amenities, because it gives them the ability to walk or bike to work, and it allows them to be connected to the heart of the city. Knowing how much local and commuter traffic our communities see, pedestrian and motorist safety are top of mind for me.

Recently, my colleagues and I on City Council requested that the Calgary Police Service work with Administration to develop a Community Traffic Enforcement plan. One of the most important elements of creating this plan is taking time to meet with communities to both educate and get feedback on concerns and areas where residents feel solutions are needed. We'll be hosting a Ward 8 community traffic safety meeting to match the valuable input from residents of every neighbourhood with the expertise of our City staff and CPS.

I hope you can join us on March 9th at 7pm at Good Companions - 2609 19 Ave SW. For more information click here. If have any questions feel free to contact my office at ward08@calgary.ca​ or 403-268-2431.

Categories: Traffic; Transportation; Walking and Cycling

Back | April 08, 2015

After serving the citizens of Calgary for many years, Earl Schwindt is proud to say that his neighbours are there for him. Earl, who retired 23 years ago after more than three decades of public service with the Calgary Fire Department, is honoured to nominate his Snow Angels, Charles Laberge and family.

The Laberges have been shovelling Earl’s property for several years now. Earl has nominated the family before, and is doing so again in appreciation for their continued dedication. He also hopes that by sharing his story, it will encourage others to help their neighbours.

When asked why they do it, Allison Laberge simply answered, “Why not? It’s something that is so simple and it really means a lot to the person you’re helping out. We hope that our ‘pay-it-forward’ attitude inspires other neighbours to do the same.”

The Laberge sons help clear the snow when their parents can’t get to it, or if the snow is coming down hard and a second or third shovelling is needed.

“By helping our neighbours and not asking for anything in return, we’ve taught our boys that helping others, even if it’s something very small, means a lot to that person.”

Being a Snow Angel also creates great opportunities for neighbours to meet and connect, creating a sense of community and building up the neighbourhood. I send my thanks to the Laberge family for their dedication to helping out their neighbours and building the community, and to all the other Snow Angles who make the extra effort.

If a Snow Angel has helped you out this winter, you have until April 17, 2015 to nominate them to be recognized by The City of Calgary and have their name entered into a prize draw. For more information on the Snow Angels program, or to nominate a Snow Angel who helps you, visit The City of Calgary online or call 311. 

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Back | April 07, 2015

The Spring Roads Clean-Up is just around the corner, with the 2015 program set to begin on April 13. This annual program removes sanding and debris that have accumulated on roads and major sidewalks during the winter months.


During the 2014 Spring Clean-up program, 14,358 lane kilometres ere swept, removing almost 50,000 cubic metres of material from our roads. If all that debris was shoved into McMahon Stadium, the pile would be 12 feet high!

This is obviously a huge undertaking, so the City needs your cooperation in helping to keep the street clear when street sweepers are coming through your neighbourhood. Sweeping operations do a great job of collecting up to 81% of the material applied to roads in the winter. However, when cars or blue, black and green carts are not removed from the street, that number drops down to about 56%. If street sweeping coincides with garbage collection in your area, bring your carts onto the sidewalk next to the curb so that they do not interfere with the street cleaners.

If debris is left behind because a car or cart has not been moved, you can sweep the debris yourself, double-bag it, and place it inside your black cart for regular pick up. If you decide to sweep residual debris yourself, please keep in mind the following suggestions from Waste and Recycling Services:

  • When cleaning up gravel, dust, and rocks, put all materials into a garbage bag. This will help keep the air dust-free, and keep the collection vehicles clean as well.
  • Rcks and other debris material will likely be heavy, and may need to be double-bagged to avoid punctures and rips in the bags.
  • For the safety of your garbage collector, make sure the bags are not overweight, and place all the debris inside your black cart for removal.

Pre-sweeping is currently happening in areas that regularly see high volumes of on-street parking, and the entire Spring Clean-up program is expected to be completed in time for Stampede. To find out when sweeping is scheduled for your community, watch for signs in your area, call 3-1-1, or visit www.calgary.ca/sweep

Categories:

Back | March 18, 2015

Over the last three years, a growing fleet of blue-and-white Smart cars has hit our roads and transformed the way thousands of Calgarians travel. The phrase, “I’ll just grab a car2go”, has become part of our daily language, and the additional transportation option has made getting around Calgary easier, simpler and cheaper, especially in Ward 8. More than that, car-sharing – a system of car rental where members pay by the minute, can locate and unlock the nearest vehicle by smartphone, and park in over 100 square kilometres of the city – has shown us what the future could be like, and how we can work together to make our city’s transportation network even better.

My wife and I use car2go ourselves, sometimes many times a week, and I love it. So it should come as no surprise that I am a vocal proponent of car-sharing in committee and on Council. My position on this has been affirmed over the last couple days when I received over 500 letters of strong support for car2go. Many of these were from car2go members, but some even came from folks who have never used the service before, but who know why it is so important.

Car-sharing is a big win for our city, but as it grows and becomes more and more part of how we get around, it also presents some challenges. Over the last few weeks I have worked closely with car2go to respond to these, and to enhance the city’s current parking policy, specifically in regards to what is called “clustering” (where large numbers of car-sharing vehicles are packed into busy areas such as downtown in peak periods). In most areas of Calgary’s inner city, car2go vehicles are in strong demand and thus have a high turnover, so this is usually not a problem. But there are some spots where chronic clustering needs to be addressed.

Today, in the City’s Transportation & Transit Committee, we discussed a few changes to the existing policy and decided to forward them to Council. Aside from some minor policy tweaks, the most significant proposed change is that car2go, and any car-sharing operator, will be asked to redistribute “clustered” vehicles during peak periods, which is likely to be in the city centre during the morning rush.

To clear up any confusion, the adjusted policy will not restrict members to only park in certain areas, and nor should availability of vehicles be at all limited by the City. Those of us who use car-sharing services will not be responsible to prevent clustering, and there will be no change to where we can park the vehicles. In fact, if the new policy changes are accepted by Council, the City will discount car-sharing parking fees by 25%. And, as car2go representatives themselves indicated at committee, Calgarians are pretty good at clearing up most clustering themselves, so the City might not even need to step in.

As a regular user of car2go, it is obvious to me, and quite exciting, that car-sharing will play a vital role in the multi-modal transportation network of Calgary’s future. This is why it is so important that we get our policies right, and get them right now, and why we must continue to work together to overcome the various challenges.

If you're interested you can read the proposed policy or visit car2go Calgary and Calgary Carshare. And, as always, if you have any questions please contact my office.        

Categories:

Back | March 30, 2015



As you are doing your spring cleaning this year, 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 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 Clean-ups

Over 100 community cleanups will be taking place from May to 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 the fast and easy online search tool, calgary.ca/whatgoeswhere to find the best way to dispose of your items. 

Categories: Waste and Recycling

Back | March 31, 2015

For those who live in Ward 8, it isn’t hard to see that we need more licensed taxis in Calgary. Over the past 30 years the number of licenses that we have released to the market is quite simply not keeping pace with the incredible population growth (we have doubled in this timeframe) in our city. This growth will continue, economic downturn or otherwise.

I was deeply disappointed yesterday when seven members of Council, including the Mayor, voted to delay the release of 129 new taxi plates in our city. Although the reasoning was given that our city’s population won’t grow as fast as once predicted, I voted against the deferral because we’re already behind – even with zero growth, we still need more licenses.

The urban landscape is changing rapidly, and Calgarians are getting around in all sorts of ways that don’t depend on vehicle ownership. More and more we’re using bicycles, skateboards, carpooling, services like Uber and car2go, taxis and our own two feet. Council’s decision to delay harkens back to an old way of thinking that just doesn’t fit anymore.

I will continue pushing hard on this issue, and I hope not only to make our taxi system work better and more effectively for all Calgarians, but to bring our entire transportation network in line with a reality that is obvious to most of its daily users: Calgary has been a big, dynamic and forward-thinking city for a while, and it’s time we caught up.

Categories: Transportation

Back | March 23, 2015

On Thursday, March 19, the City of Calgary hosted a public engagement session for the "STEP FORWARD" Pedestrian Strategy project, where members of the public were asked to share their thoughts on what's important to them as pedestrians in their neighbourhoods. With the feedback from this and previous sessions, the City will build a strategy to secure our city's walkable future.

The engagement session was held at the CBE Education Centre on 12 Avenue and 8 Street SW, with the aim of attracting citizens from the downtown and the Beltline.


Approximately 70 people, including seniors, parents with young children, people with disabilities and many professional and trade persons who live and work in the area, came over and left behind a table loaded with comments. Some of these included:

  • Better lighting •Improved crosswalk timing
  • Reduced speed limits in residential areas
  • Better sidewalk conditions


CBC News media also attended the event to interview the project manager and participants for a report they featured.

There will be a second phase of engagement in April. For further project details, please visit the Step Forward website. Those who were unable to attend the event can still provide comments and suggestions through the project's online engage website, MindMixer.

Categories: Transportation

Back | January 10, 2017

Last week, Calgarians received their property assessments in the mail. The 2017 property assessments reflect the market value of properties on July 1, 2016, and the physical condition and characteristics of properties on Dec. 31, 2016. The 2017 business assessments reflect the typical net annual rental value of business premises on July 1, 2016. Each year, the assessment process provides market value assessments used to determine the distribution of property and business taxes in Calgary. As you may know in June of last year Council agreed on a 0% tax increase for 2017. With your assessment, you can calculate your estimated taxes here

Our business community makes up a large portion of our tax base and with our city’s recent economic downturn I know a lot of businesses are struggling. I have been and will continue to fight for small businesses and I know that the $15 Million earmarked in our budget for business tax relief in 2017 is just a start.

For both residential and non-residential owners, it’s important to review your assessment and make sure everything is correct. If you have concerns, he 60-day Customer Review Period runs from January 5 – March 6, 2016. If you have any questions about your assessment, call The City at 403-368-2888. Also, you can roughly calculate your 2017 Property and/or Business Taxes based on your assessment at www.Calgary.ca/assessment.​

Categories: Tax

Back | March 02, 2015

Yesterday I attended an information session at the Killarney Community Hall about secondary suites in Calgary, and the proposed bylaw change that will reform and streamline the application process in the inner-city wards (7, 8, 9 and 11). A secondary suite Those who came and spoke with me and City staff were able to get answers to many of their questions about the proposal to come before Council this spring, and about secondary suites in general. Of course, not everyone could make it. So I've decided to answer some of your common questions on this website.

If your questions are not addressed in this FAQ, try visiting www.calgary.ca/suites. And, as always, you can get in touch with my office.

Categories: Development

Back | October 14, 2016

Today, we opened one of the city and the Beltline's newest community parks - Thomson Family Park!

Thanks in part to a very generous contribution by the Thomson Family and to the hard work and dedication of the Calgary Parks department, the inner-city has a beautiful new park, playground and lawn bowling green along 16 Avenue between 11 and 12 Street SW.

When I was first elected in 2013, increasing and rejuvenating park space in the inner city sat at the top of my list. Green spaces like this don't only create a sense of vibrancy and encourage a community to become more engaged, these are spaces for residents get to know their neighbours. I'd like to think that kids could meet their new best friend on this playground, that more Calgarians might discover their love of lawn bowling , and that family and friends will just be able to new memories in the inner city.

The redevelopment of this park wouldn't have been possible without the help of the Thompson Family. At the park's opening, Hugh Thompson reminisced about how his mother grew up in the Connaught neighbourhood, went to a school nearby and  up playing in this exact part, "We dedicate the new park to the citizens of Calgary, to recognize the good fortune Calgary has given our family,” said Hugh.

To learn more about Thomson Family Park, visit calgary.ca/thomsonfamilypark.​​

Categories: Arts & Recreation; Recreation

Back | March 09, 2015

In just under a year it will be mandatory for all multi-family complexes in Calgary to offer on-site recycling of certain material. This new requirement will help improve our city’s waste management process and reduce the amount of recyclable material that is sent to the landfill. It’s an important step in making Calgary a leader in smart growth and sustainability.

By February 1, 2016, all multi-family complexes will have to:

  • Offer on-site recycling storage.
  • Make sure there are enough containers to hold all the recycling in the complex between collection days. 
  • Accept at least the same material as blue carts (i.e. paper and cardboard, glass bottles and jars, food cans and foil and plastic bags and containers).
  • Arrange to have the material removed and recycled. 

Because there are so many different types of multi-family buildings, flexibility and choice are core principles of the bylaw change. Each complex can decide how and where to store recycling, and whether to hire a company to recycle or do it themselves. The City will not provide collection, but will support this initiative through education, communication and by monitoring compliance.

Questions?

Information for building residents, building owners and managers, and private recyclers is now available at www.calgary.ca/multifamilyrecycling. Also, there will be an information and networking session about multi-family recycling at Fort Calgary on April 8 at 6pm. Register here.

How’s It Going?

I want to hear from you about how this transition to multi-family on-site recycling is going: are there hiccups along the way? Has the City communicated this change in regulations clearly and effectively? Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with my office. 

Categories: Garbage

Back | February 13, 2015

This week our city lost one of its pioneers. On Tuesday, February 10th, Michael Green was killed along with four others in a car accident north of Regina. Barely more than 24 hours later, hundreds of Calgarians including Mayor Naheed Nenshi and Councillor Evan Woolley gathered at the Arts Commons' Big Secret Theatre (where Michael had hit the stage only a few weeks before) to honour the man, the artist, and the citizen-extraordinaire.

Michael Green was co-founder and co-artistic director of One Yellow Rabbit Performance Theatre, a company that has pushed the boundaries of artistic expression in Canada and elevated Calgary's cultural profile around the world. He founded and curated the city's annual international arts festival, the High Performance Rodeo, which in 2016 will have its 30th year. He was curator and creative producer of Calgary 2012 when our city was named Cultural Capital of Canada. He performed, wrote, directed, managed, nourished, championed, celebrated and built theatre. He touched countless lives in this city and abroad. He was an inspiration, a mover and shaker, a city-builder, and a friend.

The loss to our city is tragic and irreparable, but Michael's legacy will live on.

Categories: Arts & Recreation

Back | February 18, 2015

If you have been following me at City Hall, you know that I have been working hard to increase the supply of affordable housing across Calgary. Our city is experiencing unprecedented growth. Last year 15,000 babies were born and 25,000 people moved here, making Calgary the fastest growing city in Canada. I don’t expect the current economic situation to significantly reduce the long-term demand for more affordable housing options in Calgary.

 

All these people need somewhere to live, and secondary suites are, in my view, one of the best tools that we have to accommodate our city’s growth. Secondary suites aren’t going to house everyone, but they are a simple and market-based solution that makes living in Calgary safer and more affordable. Each unit of affordable housing costs the City three hundred thousand dollars while secondary suites are paid for by the homeowner. Our current process around secondary suites isn’t working for people who want to build suites, or for neighbours who want more predictability in how suites are approved or denied. We can, and must, do better.

 

Council has debated the topic many times over the last decade and the result has consistently been the same – dozens and dozens of reports, each one calling for suites to be permitted across more of the city. Despite clear evidence that reform is needed, Council has continued to vote against any meaningful changes to its secondary suites process. Change in our city can be uncomfortable for some, and I respect that. I will work to make sure the improved process works.

 

After a lot of hard work I am happy to announce that this spring a bylaw will come before Council that, if passed after thorough public consultation, will allow secondary suites to be permitted throughout four Calgary wards, including Ward 8. This would be the biggest step forward on secondary suites in many years.

 

The City of Calgary is hosting a number of information sessions to answer any questions you have about what those changes would mean, and what the requirements will be to build a secondary suite if the bylaw passes. Below are the details:

922 9th Ave SE
Saturday, February 28th
12pm-4pm
 
2828 28th St SW (Ward 8)
Sunday, March 1st
3pm-6pm
 
4520 Crowchild Trail SW
Monday, March 2nd
6pm-9pm
 
750 9th Ave SE
Wednesday, March 4th
5pm-8pm
 

These sessions will have answers to common questions about secondary suites, specifically in regards to:

  • Parking
  • Traffic
  • Landlord/tenant issues
  • The requirements to build a suite
 

These info sessions will be a great chance to address the opportunities and perceived challenges. I’ve addressed some common questions below.

Opportunities:
 

Seniors and individuals on fixed income – We have seen an increasing number of applicants coming before Council for rezoning who are on a fixed income and see a secondary suite as a way for them to be able to stay in their neighbourhood. Similarly, we’ve also seen more applications from families building a suite for their aging parents to live in.

 

Young families and first time buyers – The average cost of a home in Calgary is $450,000 and climbing. It is even higher in our established Ward 8 neighbourhoods. Young buyers cite cost as the top barrier to purchasing a new home. A secondary suite provides a stable source of income to help first time buyers afford a mortgage, and contribute to the vibrancy of our communities.

 

New Calgarians and students – Calgary has the lowest vacancy rates and highest rental prices in the country. In addition, last year we saw 25,000 people move to Calgary. Suites can provide housing options around post-secondary institutions and in popular established neighbourhoods to ensure those new Calgarians can find somewhere to live. When suites aren’t permitted in an area, they are currently being built illegally. Illegal suites don’t follow health or safety regulations. Permitting suites will make it safer for people who are already moving into our neighbourhoods.

A more predictable process – Currently different zoning bylaws mean the process for approving secondary suites is different between neighbourhoods.  With consistent zoning the process will be more predictable and straight forward for applicants and their neighbours.

Perceived Challenges:

Parking – In Calgary there is no limit to the number of cars that can park at any house, be it rental or owner-occupied. Rental units typically have a lower occupancy rate than an owner-occupied detached house. However, to ensure parking isn’t an issue, the bylaws will require secondary suites to provide off-street parking. This is a concern that, with all other types of land use, is dealt with at the development permit stage.

Maintaining R-1 neighbourhoods – Zoning defines the housing form, not the tenants within. Residents with R-1 zoning will keep their R-1 zoning. Secondary suites will be approved on a case-by-case basis just as they are now, except that City Administration will review applications instead of City Council.

Tenant/landlord maintenance issues – The City is currently reviewing the Community Service Bylaw, which deals with enforcement of poorly maintained properties. These enforcement bylaws are a more appropriate avenue than zoning to deal with the challenges that a fractional proportion of renters, landlords and homeowners create, rather than permitted zoning.

Change to neighbourhoods – Based on uptake in areas that currently allow for suites, uptake will be roughly one suite every two blocks. Allowing accessory units increase the value of a home while maintaining the character of the neighbourhood.

See you there!

The info sessions will give more in-depth answers to these questions, and any others you have. You can attend any of the four info sessions, which are spread through the four wards that the bylaws will affect. I will be at the session in Ward 8, at Killarney Community Hall on March 1, from 3-6pm, and I look forward to chatting with you about secondary suites. 

Later this week I will be posting some additional information specific to the new bylaw for the four wards. If you have further questions about affordable housing and secondary suites in Calgary, please do not hesitate to contact my office.

Hope to see you March 1.

Evan

Categories:

Back | January 30, 2017

As we find ourselves settling into 2017, there’s no denying that Calgary has experienced dramatic change. In less than two years, we’ve gone from the fastest growing city in North America, with a projected growth of 40,000 people per year, to experiencing a significant economic downturn, a 40% downtown office vacancy and almost no growth. The ripple effects of this significant downturn have been felt by every industry and community in Calgary. My office and I have been hearing from concerned residents who have been asking important questions on subjects like taxes, infrastructure, spending and the economy. These conversations have led my office to propose business tax relief, continued investment in infrastructure for neighbourhoods that have been and continue to take on density and to host a summit on innovative solutions for our downtown office vacancies. While our city’s economic landscape may have shifted, Calgarian’s spirit for innovation, exploration and prosperity has always remained.

In January, as property assessments were mailed out, hundreds of businesses in Ward 8 found themselves saddled with a drastic increase in their property value. The drop in downtown office vacancy meant that the City saw a loss of nearly $2 Billion in assessed value and that tax base had to then be dispersed to non-residential properties city-wide.  Thankfully, as a result of my 2016 Business Tax Relief notice of motion Council and Administration were able to bring forth a successful $45 Million Municipal Non-Residential Phased Tax Program (PTP) to help ease the burden.  This means that nearly 6,000 businesses – many of which reside in The Beltline, will see their non-residential property taxes capped at an increase of 5%.  To learn more or to see if you qualify, visit this link.

While the PTP is only valid for 2017, I’m working closely with the Chamber of Commerce and Calgary Economic Development to continue to explore ways to diversify our economy. In partnership with Councillor Druh Farrell, our Downtown Economic Summit in February helped to illuminate new possibilities and opportunities for our downtown core. In terms of diversification, the City and Calgary Economic Development are actively seeking global businesses to establish head quarters in Calgary and to capitalize on the ever growing technology focused start-up industry.

I’ve always said and will continue to say to anyone who asks: Calgary is an incredible city to live in. Every month I’m blown away by community members volunteering their time to keep making their neighbourhoods even better, by the steady stream of new local businesses taking the leap and opening their doors and by a city filled with people who are here to support them. If you ever have any questions, concerns or ideas my office is here to help. You can reach us by email at ward08@calgary.ca or by phone at 403-268-2431.​

Categories: Tax

Back | February 06, 2015

Last month, The City of Calgary mailed out over half a million property and business assessment notices. I wanted to let you know that the customer review period has started at this time.

Property and business owners have from January 5 until March 6, 2015 to review and ensure that their 2015 assessments are accurate. The City of Calgary will, if needed, amend property and business assessments if an inquiry is received during this review period.

Please take some time to take a look at your assessments – please understand that any inquiries received after March 6 will not be reviewed.

As required by provincial legislation, the 2015 property assessments reflect the market value of property as of July 1, 2014, and the physical condition as of Dec. 31, 2014. The 2015 business assessments reflect the typical net annual rental value of premises as of July 1, 2014.

The Assessment Search website offers tools and resources to help property and business owners review their 2015 assessment. The assessment notice provides a unique access code to securely log in to the Assessment Search tool.

Should you have any questions about your assessment, please contact the Assessment Customer Inquiry Representatives:

Phone: 403-268-2888 (Mon. – Fri. 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.) or 3-1-1 (after 4:30 p.m. daily and on weekends)

Categories: Tax

Back | February 23, 2015

I’m happy to tell you that the busiest underpass beneath the CPR line that links downtown with the Beltline is finally getting a makeover. This is a project that I have pushed hard for, and I’m glad to report that construction has begun on the 1 Street SW Underpass Enhancement Project. More than 9,500 people walk through this underpass every day, making it the most used in all the centre City. This underpass has been in dire need of work for some time, and the enhancement will include improved lighting, new sidewalks and guardrails, water mitigation and public art, while respecting the unique heritage status of the site.


Note that while construction is underway in the coming months, pedestrian traffic will be restricted to only one side of 1 Street, while one lane will be closed to vehicular traffic.

A big thank you to the Canada Pacific Railway, Fairmont Palliser Hotel, Calgary Downtown Association and Victoria Park BRZ for donations that helped the City move ahead with this project. The 1 Street underpass should be complete by this summer, and it will make pedestrian travel in the area safer and more comfortable.

For more information on this and related projects, check out the Centre City Underpass Enhancement Program, or contact my office

Categories: Transportation

Back | December 19, 2014

Seasons greetings! I would like to wish you a safe and fun holiday. It has been a busy year, and I am looking forward to whatever 2015 may bring.

If you’re looking for some activities this New Year’s Eve, take a look at some of the events that The City is putting on. The Outdoor Celebration and Family Dance Party are free of charge:

Outdoor Celebration

Count down to midnight with a winter party at Olympic Plaza where festivities run from 9 p.m. to midnight. Bundle up, bring your ice skates or borrow from us onsite, and cuddle up by the firepit and sip hot chocolate. Enjoy music, ice sculptures and fantastic fire dance performances. Grab your sweetie for that News Year’s kiss, and watch the spectacular countdown to officially ring in 2015.

Family Dance Party

Taking place at the Municipal Building from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., the Family Dance Party is a free, safe and warm way to celebrate with dancing, games, crafts and living statues. Wear neon, white or anything that glows, and join in on the kid’s countdown at 9 p.m.

Family Pool Party

Families can also choose to swim, jump, splash and slide their way into 2015 with a pool party at Village Square Leisure Centre from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Boogie to the sounds of a DJ in the wave pool with inflatable toys, nuclear balls and bouncers. The party also includes crafts, treats, prizes, and a pool party countdown! Regular admission rates apply.

There will also be extended New Year’s Eve transit service.

Here is what service on New Year’s Eve will look like:

  • CTrains will be running every 15 minutes with the last CTrain leaving downtown at 3 a.m.
  • Routes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 17, 24, 112, and 301 will be running every 30-45 minutes with last trips leaving downtown at approximately 3 a.m.

Happy holidays from our team to you and yours.

Best regards,

Evan Woolley and the Ward 8 Office.

Categories: Councillor; Events; Ward Office

Back | December 16, 2014

This past couple of weeks, we have had several reports of break-and-enters around our communities. Many house break-ins are committed by culprits who are looking for easy opportunities. If you can take those opportunities away, you can help protect yourself and your property. I’d like to share some quick and easy tips from the Calgary Police that can help to protect your home:

Start outside: Trim plants in your yard to eliminate potential hiding places for burglars. Consider using a type of fence that offers a compromise between privacy and visibility. Pay particular attention to trees growing near your house — could a burglar climb a tree to get onto the roof and then enter through an upper-storey window? If you’re in a condo or apartment, how easy would it be for someone to climb in through one of your windows?

Show your pride: Keep your yard maintained to give the house a lived-in, cared-for appearance. Cut the grass, plant flowers, and remove dead branches and debris. This sends the message that you care about your home and your neighbourhood.

Light it up: Install exterior lights to brighten dark areas around doors or windows to make them more easily seen by passersby. Motion-sensor and photo (light) sensitive lights can help. Also make sure that emergency personnel can easily see your address from the street and back alley, even at night.

Lock it up: Keep house doors locked when you’re inside. When you’re out in your back yard, keep your front door and windows locked — and vice versa. Also, keep garage doors closed and locked.

Check your doors: Exterior doors and frames should be made of wood or steel, which are harder to force open than hollow-core doors. Frames around outside doors should fit snugly against the door. Glass in outside doors should be at least 1 metre or 40 inches from the lock or be unbreakable. If you don’t have glass in the door, install a peephole viewer so that you can see who is outside without opening your door.

Use deadbolt-style locks: Secure all outside doors with deadbolt locks (which require a key to lock and unlock them from outside). Reinforce the locks with longer screws and strikeplates to make them less vulnerable to being forced open. Door hinges should be attached securely by screws that go through the door frame into the supporting stud — the hinges shouldn’t be exposed on the outside.

Double-check your windows: Take a close look at your windows, to see how they operate and how they lock. If any of the locks are broken or no longer work properly, replace them. To keep sliding doors and windows from being lifted out of their tracks, limit clearance by installing screws that protrude down from the top track.

Putting it all together: You can take other measures to help you keep your home safe: Consider installing a monitored alarm system to warn you of dangers such as break-ins, fires or carbon monoxide poisoning, for example. It’s easy for people to see inside your home at night when the lights are on, so keep window coverings closed during night-time hours. And always close and lock any windows that could be used to gain access to your home while you’re sleeping — even on those hot summer nights.

For more crime prevention tips, visit the Calgary Police website

Categories: Police; Safety

Back | December 08, 2014

The 4-year Action Plan budget wrapped up last week and I’m happy with how the process went. Administration came forward with a good budget based on the tax rate my Council colleagues and I gave them to work within. Growth is expensive. This budget was designed to keep up with our rapid growth, without providing any additional services. We managed to keep the tax increases relatively low without dramatically altering our services.

Ward 8 constituents have been clear: Keep an eye on how dollars are being spent, but if the City can provide good quality services, infrastructure and projects then we are willing to pay for them. To drop the tax rate any lower means that our roads don’t get cleared of snow, our streets don’t get cleaned and the bus doesn’t come as often.

Moving forward, as we adjust the tax rates over the next 3 years, I am supportive of providing more transit. This past May when we initially set the tax rate, I made a motion to increase transit funding. That motion failed. I’m glad that my Council colleagues were willing to relook at the idea and add some additional transit hours during the process, and moving forward I will continue to push for more. 

One thing I was disappointed by was the lack of a commitment to pedestrian infrastructure in this budget. Whether we’re walking to work, walking to the bus, or walking to our car, all Calgarians are pedestrians. I look at the underpasses downtown, with more than 40,000 people walking through them every day, and I know that there is value in investing to make them cleaner, safer, and better. As a Council we have talked about how to make getting around on foot in Calgary a better experience, but that was cut from the budget. Over the next 3 years I will keep pushing for investments in pedestrian infrastructure.

Visit the calgary.ca newsroom for more details on the Action Plan budget

Categories: Budget; Councillor; Councillor’s initiatives

Back | October 02, 2014

On November 4, The City of Calgary will release its next four-year strategic plan & budget for public review. As part of The City’​s regular cycle of municipal elections and business planning, Action Plan is how we connect our City’s day-to-day operations with its long-term goals, as well as balance providing great services with affordable tax rates for all Calgarians.

​​The Action Plan process launched last March with a broad-reaching citizen engagement campaign. Informed by engagement results, as well as other inputs like major economic and demographic trends, City finances and legislative obligations, Calgary City Council drafted and approved its Priorities for 2015 - 2018 in May.

Over the summer, City staff created plans and budgets in response to Council’s Priorities within spending limits identified by Council. The result, Action Plan 2015 - 2018, identifies how The City will deliver 44 of Council’s strategic actions over four years, representing over $20 billion of capital infrastructure investment and service delivery. We will also continue to provide nearly 100 different kinds of front-line services that support citizens in their daily lives.

Visit calgary.ca/actionplan to see the full plan on November 4, as well as City performance measures, benchmarking, citizen engagement, budgets and detailed Council Priorities. After Action Plan is released, Council will consider the plan for approval during two weeks of deliberations from November 24 to December 5, 2014.

Find out more and get involved! From November 4 onward, citizens can comment on the proposed plan on calgary.ca, by filling out a comment card at your local public library, or by contacting 311. As well, citizens are invited to sign-up before November 19 to speak during Council deliberations or submit a presentation in advance for consideration by November 13. All feedback will be shared with Council.

It’s your City, your future: Action Plan 2015-2018

For more information visit calgary.ca/actionplan 

Categories:

Back | August 28, 2014

As part of The City’s goal to provide Calgarians with better transportation choices, City Council approved a one-year pilot project for a cycle track network in April 2014. The cycle track network will include new cycle tracks on:

  • 5 Street (3 Avenue SW to 17 Avenue SW)
  • 12 Avenue (11 Street SW to 4 Street SE)
  • 8 Avenue (11 Street SW to 3 Street SW and 1 Street SE to Macleod Trail)
  • 9 Avenue (Macleod Trail to 4 Street SE)

There will be no cycle track on Stephen Avenue, however, a plan is being developed to create shared space for both pedestrians and bicyclists on these blocks.

Construction work on this project began at the end of the summer with the modification of certain traffic signals and since the fall, City staff have been seeking input on the designs from local businesses, residents, and community associations along each route. New vehicle lane markings are now being installed on the roads. The majority of cycle track installation work will take place in Spring 2015, with the cycle tracks and Stephen Avenue shared space set to open in July 2015.

The cycle tracks will connect to Calgary’s existing pathway and bikeway network, and can become a real, year-round transportation option for Calgarians.

Stay tuned for project updates. 

Categories: Councillor’s initiatives; Cycling; Ward Office

Back | August 08, 2014

The City of Calgary’s 311 Operations Centre is open 24/7! It’s there to provide the citizens of Calgary with direct access to a wide range of City information and services.

You can also access 311 Online through The City of Calgary website, which allows you to launch service or information requests. It gives users access to online forms, surveys, feedback, applications and other transaction-based services. If you use 311 Online, you will be asked to answer a series of questions in order to direct your request to the appropriate department, and then you will be provided with a tracking number for reference purposes.

311 can offer help and information for any number of things, including:

  • Requests for building or home inspections
  • Reporting missed garbage or recycling pick-ups
  • Road and sidewalk repairs
  • Broken streetlamps
  • Snow and ice concerns
  • Graffiti on public property
  • Pet licensing and animal services
  • The Snow Angels Program
  • Construction and detours
  • Bylaw services
  • Business registration
  • Catch basin concerns

The City of Calgary’s 311 Operations Centre is a useful and valuable resource for the citizens of Calgary and we encourage you to utilize it when required. 

Categories: 311

Back | December 20, 2016

Happy Holidays from Ward 8!

I’ve always loved the holidays. It’s not just because of the family dinners, or the chance to get out to the Rockies to ski or snowboard, or even the gathering of presents under the Christmas tree. It’s because of the kind and generous attitude with which Calgarians approach the season and their neighbours. We are a warm and giving people, but during the holiday season we always seem to one-up ourselves. You can see it everywhere; on the faces of kids in the grocery store and in the kind smiles tucked behind countless layers of clothing, and it makes me immensely proud to live in this wonderful city.

As lights and decorations find their way onto neighbouring businesses and homes, I hope that all Calgarians will consider taking the time to spread the joy of the season through their own acts of public service. This can mean volunteering your time at a local soup kitchen, helping to shovel a neighbour’s sidewalk, or donating gently-used winter clothing to those in need. The options to give back and support your community are endless. If you have questions about how you can get involved in your community, contact your local Community Association or our office through email (ward08@calgary.ca) or phone (403-268-2431), we’d love to hear from you.

From the Ward 8 office, we wish you a very happy holidays and a joyful New Year! Stay warm, keep safe on the roads, and have fun, 2017 is going to be a great year.

Categories:

Back | November 02, 2015

This month the City of Calgary will be engaging with citizens from all four quandrants and the centre city about sports ramps on private property. The City is asking the question, "Should skateboard or sports ramps (bicycle, in-line skates, roller skates, etc.) be allowed on residential properties?" The City is also seeking feedback from all Calgarians on the following:

  • A proposed maximum ramp size of 1.5 metres high by 5 metres wide by 6 metres long;
  • A development permit exemption for sports ramps within the allowable size; and
  • Proposed amendments to the Community Standards Bylaw (noise) as part of its comprehensive review that will address excessive noise related to sport ramp activities.


Calgary is the only major municipality in North America that bans sports ramps on private property, and we enacted the restriction in the 1980s when skateboarding was viewed by my predecessors on City Council as "a fad". Clearly, times have changed, and this is why I put forward my Notice of Motion in June to look at changing the rules after engaging with Calgarians on the issue. I am of course aware of the noise that sports ramps may cause, and this is reflected both in my original proposal and in the current engagement process. I trust that the Community Standards Bylaw, which is currently undergoing a comprehensive review, will adequately address noise concerns.

I hope you will engage with the City of Calgary on this issue, and provide your own perspective on how to accommodate skateboarding and other wheeled sports, and how to tackle noise. Please complete the quick survey and attend one of five open houses:

Tuesday, November 10, 6-9pm at Acadian Recreation Centre (240 90 Ave SE)

Thursday, November 12, 6-9pm at Winston Heights - Mountview Community Hall (520 27 Ave NE)

Saturday, November 14, 1-4pm at Alexandra Centre (922 9 Ave SE)

Tuesday, November 17, 6-9pm at Triwood Community Centre (2244 Chicoutimi Drive NW)

Wednesday, November 18, 6-9pm at Lakeview Community Association (6110 34 St SW)

Learn more about the City's sports ramps engagement program by visitng calgary.ca/SportsRamps, or contact my office with any questions or concerns. 

Categories: Community; Councillor’s initiatives

Back | January 04, 2018

Happy New Year! I was honored to be re-elected as your Ward 8 Councillor last fall, and to serve the neighbourhoods and residents in Ward 8.

I love Calgary and the neighbourhoods that I live in and represent. I have learned an incredible amount in this role and these last four years on Council have deepened my commitment to the city I grew up in.

With the ward boundary change, we welcome the communities of Altadore, Currie, Garrison Green, Garrison Woods, Lincoln Park, and Rutland Park to Ward 8.

We’re over two month sinto the new term, and we’ve hit the ground running. We’ve wrapped up the budget ad​justments for 2018 as part of the 2015-2018 Action Plan. I invite you to read my reflection on the deliberations on my blog.

My priorities for this term build on the collaborative efforts and big wins we achieved last term: securing funding for the green line, ending the sprawl subsidy, reinvestment in our inner-city infrastructure, and supporting tax relief for businesses. To help achieve these goals, I am serving on the following Boards, Commissions and Committees:

  • The Standing Policy Committee on Community and Protective Services
  • The Standing Policy Committee on Transportation and Transit
  • The Audit Committee
  • The Calgary Planning Commission
  • The Calgary Public Library Board
  • The Community Representation Framework Task Force
  • The Emergency Management Committee
  • The Calgary Arts Development Authority

There is still much more to do. The single biggest task I am faced with every day is this: how do we approach, plan for, and respond to the opportunities and challenges of change?

With this in mind, my focus is to:

  • Strengthen our economy
  • Reinvest in our neighbourhoods
  • Connect our neighbourhoods
  • Support thoughtful development

Having the responsibility and honour of serving the communities that I spent all of my childhood growing up in is never lost on me. I want to thank every resident who volunteers with their Community Association, or that submit 311 requests when they see something amiss – you’re all a big part of why our neighbourhoods are some of the best places to live. If you have any questions or thoughts on how we can make your neighbourhood better, reach out to me and my office at 403-268-2431 or ward08@calgary.ca.

Stay up to date on happenings in your neighbourhood, Ward 8 and across Calgary through this email update and my website. Stay connected daily on Twitter and Facebook.

Sincerely,

Evan Woolley

Categories:

Back | October 27, 2015

On Sunday October 25 my staff and I hosted Arts Day at the Wildflower Arts Centre. We invited all the residents of neighbouring Shaganappi Village for a free east African lunch, a live Afrobeats DJ, workshops for painting, sculpture, nature printing and dance, and an amazing drum circle to finish it all off. Turnout was incredible, and the event was a huge success. It was a great privilege to watch kids learn about their community, their culture, and how to express themselves through multiple mediums. And, of course, it was one heck of a lot of fun!

My office engaged with the community of Shaganappi Village for months to make this happen, and I hope that our work serves as a model for similar programs in the future. We hired professional local artists not only to share their skills on Arts Day itself, but to work with the community beforehand so that what was done on the day was reflective of the people, their culture and their community. We also asked folks to create their own art and showcase it on the day: this came in the form of visual art by the students of Families Matter, a traditional South Sudanese dance by female members of the community, and two knitted quilts that were presented at the end of the day -- one of which stated, powerfully, "United".

This sort of work is complex and challenging, and it takes a long time to build -- but it is also immensely rewarding, both for me and for everyone involved, and it is critical as we develop our communities in Calgary. Art is a bridge across cultures, neighbourhoods, people and politics, and this was so clearly demonstrated on Sunday. As Ward 8 Councillor I am committed to building such bridges, making these kind of connections, and strengthening our communities in exactly this way. I hope to do it again very soon.

 

Categories: Community

Back | January 23, 2015

The City of Calgary is in the beginning stages of restarting the Crowchild Trail Corridor Study.

This 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 that will be necessary in moving high volumes of traffic, while continuing to support all modes of transportation and minimizing impacts to adjacent communities.

The new study consists of six phases, and will provide multiple opportunities for public feedback during each project phase. The study will incorporate stakeholder and citizen feedback into the decision-making process. Stakeholders such as area businesses, land owners, community residents, and road users will all be able to provide input on future improvements to Crowchild Trail as the study progresses.

Phase 1 of the study will see an Engagement Design Team start up in order to answer the question "how do we have the most effective conversation possible about the Crowchild Trail Corridor Study?" The team will include a group of citizens committed to participate, and will represent different perspectives including neighbouring communities, the broader community of Calgary, and different types of Crowchild Trail users.

In early February, The City of Calgary will be inviting Calgarians to participate on the Engagement Design Team. An engagement program will be developed using Phase 1 input; this program will then be used during Phases 2 to 6, from spring 2015 to the end of the study in late 2016.

Please visit the Crowchild Trail Corridor Study website for more information, and for updates as the study progresses.

Categories: Community; Councillor; Traffic

Back | December 18, 2014

Continuing from the previous article, tips to keep your home safe, preventing residential break-and-enters doesn’t mean looking out for just your own home – it involves your whole neighbourhood. The first step you can take to prevent crime in your neighbourhood is to work together. The Calgary Police Service suggests these tips to help you get started:

Get to know each other: Become familiar with the routines in your neighbourhoods and get to know your neighbours. Help build community spirit by hosting community or street-wide block parties or yard sales. Be aware of strangers and call police at 266-1234 if something or someone looks suspicious.

Talk to each other: Good neighbours look out for each other and let others know when they will be away. Leave keys and emergency phone numbers with a trusted neighbour, friend or relative.

Keep up appearances: A well-kept community is less attractive to criminals and vandals. Appearance often reflects residents' concerns, pride and willingness to work together.

Register for HUB: Register for the free HUB system by visiting www.calgarypolice.ca. HUB is a police-operated computer system that sends out recorded phone messages about criminal activity, police concerns and tips affecting your community.

Be suspicious, and report the following to the Calgary Police Service:

  • Unusual noises, such as someone yelling for help.
  • Vehicles moving slowly and randomly through the neighbourhood.
  • A stranger running or walking randomly through the neighbourhood.
  • A stranger sitting in a car, stopping to talk to a child, or looking into homes or parked cars.
  • Furniture being removed from homes when the owners are on vacation or at work. • Abandoned vehicles.
  • Unusual activities of pets, such as the repeated barking of a dog that is normally quiet.
  • Someone going door-to-door soliciting, and who refuses to provide proper identification.
  • If you see homes with open doors, front doors with keys left in the locks, or a neighbour's car with the trunk left open, give them a quick call to let them know.

Don’t hesitate to call: Many people believe that the police don’t want to be called if the caller is merely suspicious. This isn’t true: when in doubt — call the police. Use the general police line at 266-1234 for suspicious activities; use 911 for crimes in progress.

If you have community concerns, you could also call your Community Resource Officer (CRO) - every district of the city has several of these officers who act as points of contact for community policing initiatives and problem solving. Check www.calgarypolice.ca for a district map and phone numbers or call the police general line at 403-266-1234 - they’ll put you in contact with the CRO who looks after your community.

Categories: Community; Police; Safety

Back | July 19, 2018

As we dive deeper into the heart of our summer months, I’ve seen our cycle-tracks, bike lanes and pathways get busier by the day. Steadily over the past four years, more and more Calgarians have been choosing their bike to get to and from work, school or whatever errand they have to run. Now, with established bike infrastructure in place, I’ve been hearing from quite a few people about “how great it would be to have a bike share program in our city” and I couldn’t agree more. So, I’m proud to be introducing a notice of motion on Monday for Council’s consideration in regards to a two-year Bike Share pilot program.

The City’s Transportation Department has been in discussions with a number of operators over the last year who are interested in introducing a program to our city. I believe there is a good opportunity for us to pilot a program at no cost to the taxpayer or the City and with great benefit to Calgarians in terms of increased transportation choice, job creation, and economic development.

The concept of bike sharing is as simple as it sounds. It’s as easy as grabbing your smartphone, scanning a code, paying a small fee, unlocking a bike and then riding it to your destination where you lock and place it for the next user. Whether it’s providing tourists coming to Calgary with a simple option to explore our city, helping a University student make their commute to school a little bit faster and easier, or offering an easy solution for you to simply get where you need to go; bike share has proven to be a great additions to any mobility network.

The bike share program that Calgary is looking at would be a system of bicycles available for short term rental that allows users to get a bicycle at one location and drop it off at another. "Dockless" or "stationless" means the bike share system has no physical stations, but instead has designated zones (called havens) where bikes will be placed and locked, ready for the next rider.

California-based bike share company, LimeBike, who have operated dockless bike and share programs within San Francisco, Berlin, Chicago and 70 other cities world-wide are a great example and are super interested in participating in our pilot. I have talked with them a lot about what works and what doesn’t. Their technology is sound; they have traditional bikes, e-bikes (power assisted), and powered scooters.

A really important factor moving forward with this pilot program for me was that it be rolled out at no cost to you or the City. Potential operators like Lime Bike will be assuming the full cost of implementing and running the pilot over 24 months. This also represents a huge opportunity for job creation in Calgary and would require leasing significant warehouse space across the city.

The City has been studying the feasibility of bike share in Calgary and when the report from an independent consultant​ came back to the City in 2012, we didn’t yet have the cycle tracks and had fewer bike lanes in general. In my role as City Councillor for Ward 8, I spend a lot of time thinking about the future of our incredible city – where will Calgarians live and how they will get around? Now, with the proliferation of our bike lanes and cycle tracks, along with steady increases in ridership, I think now is the time to take a step forward and try this out. 

Categories: Cycling

Back | November 07, 2014

I am happy to share some good news – Ward 8 has been approved for funding from the ENMAX Legacy Parks Program. This means that four well-used parks in Ward 8 will get a well-deserved makeover.

The ENMAX Legacy Parks Program is a capital funding initiative that allows Council to direct a portion of the annual ENMAX dividend to City parks.

Regional parks serve multiple communities and are popular recreation destinations for citizens. Unlike community open space, they are not acquired, funded, or constructed through the development and subdivision process. This is why they require alternate sources of funding. The ENMAX Legacy Parks Program has been instrumental in the acquisition, development and maintenance of a number of existing regional parks across Calgary since Council created the program in 2003.

Upcoming projects include:

Douglas Fir Trail –partial rerouting and construction of the trail addressing slope instability - $2.3 million

Edworthy Park – refresh of the regional park including a part of the Rotary Mattamy Greenway and upgraded off leash area - $2.1 million (phase 1 budget)

Thomson Family Park – construction funding to match the family’s private donation - $2 million

Century Gardens – additional construction budget to match preferred concept - $9.7 million

For more information on the program, please visit the ENMAX Parks Program, and visit Calgary.ca over the coming months for project updates. 

Categories: Community; Councillor; Parks; Ward update

Back | May 01, 2017

Today, Calgary’s sixth oldest house got a new lease on life. In partnership with the City’s Roads and Parks Departments, my office helped facilitate a lease agreement with the Beltline Neighbourhood Association (BNA) so that McHugh House can once again become a community hub.

Dating back to 1896, the McHugh House originally sat on land owned by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Calgary. However, in order to save the home from demolishment, I pushed the Council to move the house in 2014 to Humpy Hollow Park on 17th Ave and Centre Street. Now, through an innovative partnership with the 17th Avenue Reconstruction Project Team, they were able to invest the funds for their site office into McHugh House rather than in temporary construction trailers.

Now, the BNA will become stewards of the house and have announced their first community tenant - CJSW. One of CJSW’s first goals is to program youth music shows in the house as all-ages music spaces are few and far between in Calgary. I’m excited to see what other community organizations find their way to McHugh House and to see this home breathe vibrancy and activity to this corner of the Beltline.

To learn more about the plans for McHugh House and Humpy Hollow Park, click here.

Categories:

Back | November 28, 2014

The Citizen Satisfaction Survey 2014 results show that the vast majority of folks living in Ward 8 are happy to live in Calgary and within their communities. What the Ward ​8 results also indicate is that the priorities I ran on align with the priorities of the Ward.

The survey shows that Ward 8 residents want to see a greater priority place on:

  • Parks and pathways,
  • recreation and community services,
  • planning and growth management,
  • downtown revitalization,
  • cycling,
  • arts and culture,
  • multi-family recycling, and
  • homeless, poverty, and affordable housing.

Big wins for Ward 8 this year include the approval of multi-family recycling, the Centre City Cycle Tracks pilot project, and funding for some badly-needed inner city parks from the ENMAX Legacy Parks fund.

This is just the first step, and there’s still a lot of work to do in order to make Calgary even better. I campaigned on the idea of “communities first” last year. That still remains my top priority. I am working towards revitalizing our existing infrastructure, managing how our city grows, offering Calgarians more affordable housing options, and taking steps to make our communities even more vibrant.

I started here a little over a year ago because of my strong passion for my community and city. I still feel the same way, and am committed to making Ward 8 and Calgary a great place to live, work, and play.

Categories: Arts & Recreation; Budget; Community; Councillor; Councillor’s initiatives; Cycling; Development; Parks; Ward Office; Ward update; Waste and Recycling

Back | July 31, 2018

The downturn in the economy has increased citizen concerns around crime and social disorder in Calgary. These concerns are backed by statistics that show an increase in social disorder, especially in the downtown core and across our city.

Council has responded directly to these concerns by approving an almost $21 million increase to the Calgary Police Service annual budget. However, Calgarians continue to be affected by the fentanyl crisis, which continues to claim lives. The connection between drug addiction and social disorder is a proven one in which mental health plays a big role.

We must take a leadership role and develop a comprehensive strategy on mental health, similar to what we’re doing with homelessness. This is a key step in making everyone feel safe, whether they’re going to a restaurant downtown, or riding the C-train.

The Notice of Motion: Community Action on Mental Health and Addiction is a big and important first step! Find out more by clicking here.

Categories:

Back | May 23, 2017

This past week I was taking the #6 bus to get into work and I noticed how everyone on the bus came from different walks of life. It got me thinking about how transit is something that connects all of us and all of our neighbourhoods. Now, since the introduction of the Low Income Transit Pass, transit is accessible for nearly every Calgarian. For those who live in Ward 8, 22.5% of residents choose to take the LRT or bus to get to work, that’s 6% higher than the City-wide transit average of 16.43%! As our city continues to grow and change, we need to think about the future and how we can best serve Calgarians.

I've always believed that a city is always made better when it has more affordable, convinient and environmentally thoughtful methods of transportation.

Looking backwards a bit, in 2010, the City introduced the functional planning studies for the Green Line and after seven years of hard work, massive amounts of community engagement and thoughtful debate we now have a plan for Stage 1 of construction. While the Green Line largely serves communities in the South East and North, there is a vital connection that occurs through the Beltline. After a significant amount of engagement, feedback and discussion I’m excited that the Green Line will be going underground through the core of our City.

The tunnel in the Centre City offers the best opportunities for future generations of Calgarians. It allows us to maintain the pedestrian, cycling and vehicle connections in the core, while enabling future development to take place unhindered in our city’s economic centre. The City evaluated a number of options with the cost varying from $1.5B (street level) to $1.95B (fully tunnelled). All options evaluated in the downtown core required some length of underground tunnel in order to connect with the existing Red and Blue LRT lines. The fact is that it would not be possible to connect with these lines with a street-level system due to technical challenges with operating three intersecting LRT lines in addition to the existing road network, and the requirement to be under or over Canadian Pacific Railway’s main line. This option also reduces that potential impacts to Prince’s Island Park and the Bow River valley and was highly supported by residents and businesses in the area.

To summarize things easily, Stage 1 of the Green Line will:

  • Provide travel options to 191,000 existing jobs in planned station areas.
  • Jobs in the Stage 1 station areas are expected to increase to 225,000 jobs in the long-term (30+ years).
  • In the 10 years leading up to opening day, Stage 1 of the project is estimated to create over 12,000 direct construction jobs and over 8,000 supporting jobs (engineering, planning, administration, etc). This creation of jobs is in addition to the operating jobs for opening day of service.
  • Reduce greenhouse gases by 30,000 tonnes, the equivalent of 6,000 vehicles being taken off the road on opening day.
  • Connect over 2,300 existing affordable housing units within walking distance of the planned Stage 1 station areas.

With the Standing Policy Committee on Transit & Transportation supporting Administration's recommendations, we will now move forward to the report being presented to Council in June.

Categories: Transportation

Back | May 17, 2016

Earlier this month, we published "Neighbourhoods First", a Zine for the Ward 8 community. If you grabbed an issue of Beatroute or recently visited your local coffee shop, I hope you've taken the chance to check it out. We asked some great Calgarians to provide us with their insight on how our city and our communities can best approach, plan for, and respond to the opportunities and challenges of change. To learn more, check out the PDF below.

Neighbo​urhoods First Zine​

Categories:

Back | October 31, 2014

Click to view the original Evamy Ridge history letter.

Hello Everyone,

I am writing to everyone today to give some history, perspective, and the next steps on the potential sale of land along Evamy Ridge that share a boundary with the communities of Cliff Bungalow-Mission and Mount Royal (I have attached an image and diagram). If you live in the neighbourhood it is impossible to miss the hundreds of little orange signs throughout touting, "Stop Sale of Parkland." I have also received hundreds of emails and phone calls from constituents expressing their concerns about the loss of parks space. In neighbourhoods that already have a deficiency of parks space, the prospect of losing even a small amount becomes a very big deal. And so it should, we are a city that values our parks immensely. They are a reflection of our wonderful quality of life and belief in the importance of shared public space where we come to play, rest, eat, read, exercise, and think.

I do not believe that we should ever sell parks space, ever.

I first became aware of this file while knocking on doors during the election campaign. I knocked on the door of Charlene Prickett, who asked me if I knew anything about it. I did not, but said I would investigate. I contacted Rick Williams, Director of the Development Committee for the Cliff Bungalow-Mission Community Association. I had, until my decision to run for a Council seat, been the Environment Director for the community; I knew that if there was going to be one person who would know about what was going on, Rick would be a good bet. He was aware and we had coffee and discussed in some detail why the sale of this land should not happen, his frustrations with the lack of engagement, and what he would consider a poor process. I have attached the January 13, 2013 response from the community to the Sub-division application which will provide everyone with some very good information, from a policy perspective, about why the community is opposed to the sale of this land.

How did this all begin?

After the 2005 flood the slope along which Evamy Ridge runs began to destabilize significantly. Over a number of years the residents along Hope Street and Hillcrest Avenue negotiated an agreement with The City of Calgary (The City) about who was going to pay for the stabilization and rehabilitation of the slope. All property owners were asked to participate. Mr. Don Taylor, who owns the property at 638 Hillcrest Avenue, intended to redevelop his property and agreed to participate if he might be able to purchase the land currently under discussion. City Administration agreed to ask relevant City departments to see if the land should be deemed to be municipal surplus, and if a potential sale should be considered.

I want to provide some clarity as I feel there have been some misperceptions around what is actually being considered. There is no consideration to sell off the existing parks space. Property creep is something that happens across the city and often happens over many years, if not decades. It is an unfortunate reality and something that I feel we should be more diligent about. In this specific case the property in question began to creep towards the ridge dating back to the 1940s. Mr. Taylor, who I must take at his word, thought he had always owned the land and is now seeking to either lease the land or purchase a portion of the land which he had always thought was his.

I know there is much contention around this fact and I am unable to speak to who knew what. I spent my whole childhood clamouring along the ridges and deer trails in these neighbourhoods, and was always under the impression that the property in question was a part of the yard. That is in no way saying that we should not reclaim the land for the park and there are many examples of when we have done just that. In the case of fairness and clarity, we are not proposing to sell off what most of us would know and consider being the park space.

Under what process would the City of Calgary consider the sale of a piece of land?

​Anyone who wants to purchase land from The City must follow the same process. The first step is that the potential purchaser contacts The City with a request to see if there is an opportunity to purchase the land. A circulation through City business units is completed to see if the property is deemed surplus (a property that is under the stewardship of one business unit may no longer be needed by that specific business unit, but could be used by another business unit in the City). This is often an iterative process and at times, the initial review shows that the land is not surplus, but after several business units get together, joint solutions may be found that will allow the property to be sold. ​If the property is surplus, a land agent is assigned and negotiations begin. If the land agent is able to negotiate a deal with the potential purchaser, then reports are prepared to gain administrative approvals. Under the Real Estate Bylaw, the General Manager of Corporate Services has authority to approve some transactions; however, most go through the Land & Asset Strategy Committee and onto Council for final approval. In many instances, an intermediate step is required for Committee and Council to decide how the property is going to be marketed and set conditions such as selling price, etc. Once that is achieved, then the Administration is authorized to conclude the transaction in accordance with Council’s direction.

The lack of clarity around this process has been the source of much confusion and frustrations for members of the community. I want to express my sincerest belief that there is not some sinister plot from either the applicant or City Administration to collude to sell off parks space. There are thousands of small pieces of land all across the city and there is acknowledgement from Administration that we need more clarity around the disposition of land that was supposed to be used as parks space, but due to encroachment, was improperly converted into a private yard. Administration has been working to embed a clearer process of engagement with communities so that this will never happen again.

Why was there no community involvement in this process?

When the City of Calgary looks to dispose of surplus land there is no formal public process involved. The City of Calgary is the largest land owner in the city and owns thousands of small pieces of land across the city. As a part of the internal circulation process the area Councillor is engaged to act as the voice of the community. As I mention above there is clearly a flaw in The City’s process. As a result of this file, we will require public engagement so that this situation never happens again.

Why was the Property tax assessment so low?

When we look at the assessment of 638 Hillcrest Avenue S.W. from 2012, it looks astonishingly low and this has made many residents take a second look. I have attached a memo from the Mayor’s Office, who worked with The City’s Assessment Department to explain why the assessment for 638 Hillcrest Avenue SW was so low. The Assessment Department has stated that they took into account that each of the properties that were affected by the slope degradation required construction of a retaining wall to preserve the value of the property. The market value assessment was lower due to the fact that any prospective purchaser would incorporate the cost of building the wall into the purchase price of the property. The assessment department, which conducts assessment in accordance with a prescribed methodology, determined that the value of 638 Hillcrest Avenue was significantly lower due to the high cost of building a retaining wall along the property. This property has a much larger portion of the retaining wall than the neighbouring properties. The initial assumption was that the property owners would be required to assume the entire cost of the retaining wall, which was estimated at approximately $6.9 million. The total cost of constructing the retaining wall actually came to $4.9 million, only half of which would be allocated to the property owners. As a result of the updated construction costs, the property was issued an amended notice on February 13, increasing the assessment from $63,000 to $1,530,000.

So what happens next?

I have spent a considerable amount of time over the last year engaging residents and have been working closely with both of the affected Community Associations. We held an open house in June with a facilitator that allowed both communities as well as the applicant to present their sides and take questions from residents. You will find attached an engagement report on what was heard. I have done my best to address the questions that I was unable to answer at that event. Click to view the comments and feedback forms submitted.

A confidential report will be coming to the Land and Asset Committee on November 13th and your Community Associations have each prepared documents that will be attached to the report for review by committee members. At this meeting both Community Associations as well as the applicant will be given the opportunity to present to committee and to answer any questions the committee may have. All meetings with respect to the sale of land are held in-camera, as there will be discussions about the value of the land, all of which must be confidential. Committee will then make a decision that will be forwarded to Council in December for a final decision. It is very unusual for this committee to hear from the public but I have worked hard with the committee chair and City Clerks to provide your community associations with an opportunity to express their concerns.

I want to thank everyone again for their engagement and patience with this very important issue. I have received hundreds of emails and phone calls and I am sorry if I was unable to answer them all personally. I am looking forward to closure on this as I am committed to working with both communities to get to work on a green beltway that will protect and enhance green spaces in our communities.

Best,

Evan Woolley

Categories: Community; Parks; Transparency; Ward Office; Ward update

Back | December 05, 2017

Last week, my colleagues and I on City Council completed 2018 budget adjustments to the Action Plan. The approved 2018 Adjustments focus on the operating budget and the need to realign operating expenses with revenues, given changes in the economic outlook. With drops in transit ridership, landfill tipping costs and franchise fees Council was facing a $146 Million budget shortfall. Understanding this, we asked all departments at the City of Calgary to review their budgets and come forward with suggestions on ways to make savings and close this budget gap. Our goal through this process has always been to ensure that the required budget cuts had as little of an impact to front line services for Calgarians as possible.

Here is a high-level summary of Council’s decisions following several days of deliberations:

  • Municipal tax rate increase of 0.9 per cent. Combined with the carry-forward of 2.9 per cent tax rate increase that was rebated in 2017, taxpayers will see an average 3.8 per cent increase on the municipal portion of their 2018 property tax bill. This equates to approximately $5.70 per month for the average homeowner.
  • Closure of the $146 million operating budget gap through a combination of cost savings and service reductions based on the least harm approach.
  • 55 new members and body-worn cameras for the Calgary Police Service.
  • $4 million in one-time funding from reserves to continue funding the low income transit pass for Calgarians in need.
  • $3 million in one-time funding from reserves for safe communities, youth and low income programs, and crime prevention.
  • Dedication of $23.7 million in 2017 tax room to fund Green Line financing costs until 2044.
  • Approval of $1.7 billion capital investment in Calgary infrastructure and related jobs.

Through the week-long deliberations, I worked hard to strike the balance needed to close the budget gap while being protective of the pillars I believe our communities rely on:

Strengthening Our Economy

  • Small Businesses – I supported the renewal of the $45 tax rebate – a program I introduced this year to help small businesses in our community. Calgarian entrepreneurs are the backbone of our economy. For years, they have contributed to the prosperity of our city and while our economy is working its way back, I believe that moving into 2018 we need to continue to provide support for businesses to flourish.
  • Civic Partners – I supported the restoration of $1.4 Million to our civic partners (organizations like Calgary Economic Development, The Talisman Centre, Calgary Arts Development, etc.) whose work makes our city a great place to live.

Re-Investing in Our Neighbourhoods

  • Roads – Roadway infrastructure is incredibly important in Ward 8. Our inner city streets and sidewalks see significant amount of use from all Calgarians. I presented a Motion Arising that restored $1.2 Million in funding to go towards maintaining and re-paving our roads and sidewalks.
  • Police – I supported an increase to the Calgary Police Service budget which will see 55 new police officers on our streets to help combat the unfortunate recent increase domestic violence, car prowling and petty crime.
  • Safe Communities – I supported $3.0 million from the City’s Fiscal Stability Reserve to our Community Services department which works on initiatives for safe communities, youth and low income programs and crime prevention.

Connecting Our Neighbourhoods

  • Transit – I know that Ward 8 residents count on reliable, safe and affordable transit options to get them to where they need to go. I supported restoring funding to our Transit department to avoid dramatic service cuts to crucial bus routes in our communities. Also, I supported funding to continue our Low Income Transit pass in 2018 for Calgarians in need.
  • Green Line – What will be one of the largest infrastructure investments our city has ever made, I supported $23.7 million in 2017 tax room dedicated to fund Green Line financing costs for 27 years ending in 2044.

One of our most important jobs as City Councillors is to ensure Calgarians are getting the services they need at a fair price. Striking this balance means making difficult decisions, but I am passionate about continuing to build a vibrant and thriving city. Just this past Monday, my colleagues and I undertook the task of looking at our city, our economy and our communities with fresh eyes and began work to outline the priorities for Calgary and shape our direction for Administration for the next four-year term. I’m hopeful and excited to keep working in projects that make lives better for residents of Ward 8. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to my office by email: ward08@calgary.ca or by phone: 403-268-2341.

Categories: Budget; City Finances

Back | October 24, 2014

As the days grow shorter, it may be worth considering ways to improve security in your home and community. A great w​ay to do this is by increasing awareness, and keeping communication open between you, your neighbours, and the police.

Community members that look out for one another contribute to a safer atmosphere in and around their homes. These relationships help you get to know the schedules of your neighbours, so that you will notice if something is amiss. Please report any suspicious behaviour to the police non-emergency line at 403-266-1234, or call 911 for a crime in progress.

Some tips for home and garage break-in prevention:

  • Keep your doors locked, even when you’re home. Ensure your garage doors and windows are also closed and locked.
  • Install exterior motion lights to brighten dark areas around doors or windows, to make them easily seen by neighbours and passersby.
  • Always close and lock any windows that could be used to gain access to your home while you’re away or sleeping, even on hot summer nights.
  • Store important or irreplaceable documents and items away from your home, such as in a safety deposit box.
  • If you see homes with open doors, front doors with keys left in the locks or a neighbour’s car with the truck left open, give them a quick call to let them know.
  • Consider installing home and vehicle alarm systems and vehicle anti-theft devices.


Garages are a favourite target for burglars — they contain valuable items such as vehicles, garden tools and bicycles, and they’re often left open and unattended. The Calgary Police Service suggests these simple tips to help prevent thefts from garages:

  • Protect your valuables: Put curtains or blinds up to cover any windows in the garage, so thieves can't look for items to steal, or see if your vehicle is there.
  • Make it secure: The person-door between your house and attached garage should swing inward into the garage, be solid core, and have a deadbolt lock. The same goes for other exterior person-doors on your garage.
  • Don’t give thieves an open invitation: Keep your overhead door closed and your other garage doors locked, even when you are at home — this includes the door between your home and an attached garage.
  • Check your locks: Secure your person-doors with deadbolts (which need to be operated from the outside with a key).
  • Make it bright: Install lights near your garage to keep the area around doors and windows lit: These can be motion sensor or photo (light) sensitive, so that they turn on automatically when someone walks past or when the sun sets.
  • Put up a number: Put your house number on your garage, especially if it opens up into a back alley. This helps emergency personnel to identify which house is yours.
  • Keep records: Catalogue your garage’s contents, including serial numbers of valuable items and vehicle identification numbers. Taking photographs, videos or digital recordings of contents can also help police and your insurance company if there’s a break-in, fire, or flood.
  • Double-check: Never drive away without checking that your overhead garage door is down.

You are the eyes and ears of the community. If you see or hear of suspicious behaviour, don’t hesitate to call the police non-emergency line at 403-266-1234, or 911 for a crime in progress. For anonymous tips, contact CrimeStoppers using any of the following methods:

TALK: 1-800-222-8477

TYPE: tttTIPS.com

TEXT: tttTIPS to 274637  

Categories: Community; Safety

Back | October 10, 2014

Main streets are active areas that attract Calgarians to socialize, work, shop, dine, celebrate local events and are often important transportation routes.


Thriving main streets are ideal locations to live, work and play. The City’s Planning & Development team wants to explore how growth could happen in a meaningful way for residents, businesses and developers.

Starting in late fall of 2014, The City’s Main Streets initiative will analyze Calgary’s 24 main street neighbourhoods to inform future planning and development activities. The first step in this process is to gather local perspectives about main street issues, opportunities and outcomes.

We want to hear from you! Visit calgary.ca/mainstreets to learn how you can get involved and share your ideas about the success of Calgary’s main streets

Categories: Community; Development

Back | August 14, 2014

​​​With the new school year starting soon, I wanted to take a moment to remind community residents that school and playground zone hours have changed.

​​Both school and playground zones begin at 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. School zone hours are in effect on school days (make sure you take note of whether a school is in session year-round), whereas playground zones are in effect 365 days a year. During these hours, the speed limit is reduced to 30 km/h.

You may have noticed that the Transportation Department and Calgary Police have been focussing their efforts to educate Calgarians about these changes this summer, while signs are being updated with the new times. The Calgary Police will start enforcing the new times on September 1, 2014.

Categories: 311; Community; Police; Safety; Ward update

Back | August 08, 2014

Many of the phone calls, emails and letters I receive in the Ward 8 office are about road safety and traffic.

To answer resident questions, I often turn to other City departments and the Calgary Police Service (CPS) for help and information. For example, if a resident is concerned about driver behaviour (such as speeding or not stopping at intersections), my staff and I contact the neighbourhood’s Community Resource Officer (CRO) for assistance. The CRO ensures that the other officers are aware of the concerns, and try to increase enforcement where possible. The CRO also gathers documented complaints, reports made through the non-emergency CPS line, and collision data in order to determine where an officer’s presence is needed the most.

If a resident is concerned about traffic on local streets, I work with the Transportation Department and refer to the Traffic Calming Policy to look for answers. The Traffic Calming Policy helps the Transportation Department to determine the right solution, for the right place in order to ensure that no new problems are created in the process.

While my office can help coordinate residents’ concerns, I also encourage you to call 311. For example, requesting a community traffic or warrant study, or reporting community traffic concerns can all be done by calling 311 or submitting a request online. If you witness dangerous driver behaviour, you should always report this to the non-emergency CPS line at 403-266-1234 or 911 if it poses as an immediate threat to safety.

Categories: 311; Community; Police; Traffic

Back | November 14, 2018

​Calgarians have made their voices heard, loud and clear. They have said "no" to the Olympics, and they want to move on. The passionate and thoughtful debate about the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games is over. The next chapter in our city’s ongoing story of growth, innovation, and community spirit is about to begin.

I want to be clear about one thing: Calgarians want big things for our city. They just don’t want this. The outcome of this historic plebiscite might have been a lot different if our federal and provincial partners and the International Olympic Committee had participated with more interest and shown greater commitment to this project– if they had put a better, more concrete, less risky deal on the table with enough time for Calgarians to participate. That didn’t happen, and now it’s time for us to move on to bigger and better things.
 
I see this outcome as an opportunity. It’s a chance for us to put our focus on where it needs to be. On the Green Line. On affordable housing. On getting our economy back in shape. On investments in infrastructure in our neighbourhoods. And it’s a chance for the federal and provincial governments to look at the many projects that are right in front of us: initiatives no less important than the Olympics, but ones all the more urgent, doable, and necessary. There are great things on the horizon for Calgary, and there is an undeniable energy from Calgarians to seek them out. We don’t need an Olympic bid to come together and make our city the best it can be. Let’s go ahead and do it.
I want to thank everyone for their tireless and inspiring work on the 2026 Olympic bid. Even though the plebiscite will put an end to this journey, you have each been a powerful and selfless example to all Calgarians, and on their behalf, I thank you.
 
Now lets get to work!

Categories: Councillor; Ward Office; Arts & Recreation; Community

Back | December 17, 2018

The City of Calgary is faced with a challenging economic climate and we must ensure that we are using citizens' money effectively. This means we have to make tough choices around what the City can and can't afford to do. According to Alberta legislation regarding swimming pools, operators must follow best practices. Calgary has been operating safe pools for decades, using a 75:1 bather-to-lifeguard ratio as a guideline. In fact, Calgary has been exceeding what best practices have called for at a number of facilities. Most Calgary pools operate at around a 50:1 ratio, according to the Recreation department. The Lifesaving Society recently changed its' ideal ratio to 40:1. It's important to ask where this change came from. The Lifesaving Society Alberta Executive Director has stated that the change was not based off research and that it was achieved by amalgamating different standards across Canada, the United States, and Europe. Recreation has calculated that to meet these standards they would need to hire 45 new lifeguards. The resulting cost would be approximately $4,000,000 per year, which works out to about $89,000 per year per lifeguard (full-time equivalences).

That is $4,000,000 annually to solve a problem that does not exist. Since 1991, only five deaths have occurred at Calgary pools. One study out of the United States looked at 140 drowning deaths over eight years and found that the median bather to lifeguard ratio was 13:1. If people are drowning with 13:1 ratios how would 40:1 provide a safe environment? Across Canada, public pool drownings account for 1% of all drowning deaths (around five per year). As noted above, some City of Calgary pools currently operate close to the new proposed ratio of 40:1. There is no ratio put out in any legislation; legislation only calls for following best practices. Throughout the City of Calgary, many business units strive to but do not meet standards for best practices. For example, in some areas of the City, firefighters don't meet the seven minute response time guideline. The Roads department is not able to fully plow every street in the City. Best practices can be seen as something to strive for but in the real world with finite resources we must do the best we can within our means. At a time when Calgarians are tightening their belts and showing financial restraint, the City must do the same.

Recreation is wanting to conform to this new ratio of 40:1 to minimize risk and to ensure the safety of Calgarians. However, ratios should not be looked at out of context. In several public inquiries into deaths at pools the ratio was talked about . As noted in the 2008 Olds inquiry, "The ratio of bathers to lifeguards is important but must be put into context to the scanning zones and what is happening at the pool"; the ratio at the time of death was between 50:1 and 30:1. Deaths can happen with ratios below 10:1. The Royal Lifesaving Society has not provided any peer-reviewed research to back up their new recommended ratio. It is important that the City try to minimize risks where it can. To date there have been no inquiries by Administration regarding why the new ratio is needed or how it was calculated. We are asking that the Lifesaving Society provide us with research and reasons for the ratio change-- something they have not done.

My notice of motion proposes to save $4,000,000 annually by not hiring additional lifeguards.​

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

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

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