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.
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.
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
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.
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.