Responding to Calgary’s Cyclical Economy using Existing Tools
Working with partners to achieve progress on downtown revitalization
Calgary, as a whole, benefits from a strong downtown, as it contributes to its economic success and The City’s revenues, tax base, and ability to provide services.
Organizations across Calgary, including The City through Council direction, have undertaken research and planning initiatives that seek to address the crisis level vacancy in the downtown core and respond with actions. Downtown Calgary faces the challenges of a restructuring oil industry, office space oversupply and the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Downtown recovery will take time and requires intentional commitment from government, community, business, and partners to be bold and work together. The Downtown Strategy team is leading this charge and leveraging the collective efforts of The City and its public and private sector partners. Together, they respond to the prolonged economic challenges and capitalize on opportunities to create jobs, drive economic recovery, and revitalize and transform the downtown. The team, comprised of The City of Calgary, civic partners, community partners and business improvement areas, has developed a vision, roadmap and commitment to building a thriving, future-focused downtown.
In April 2021, City Council approved the Greater Downtown Plan and an initial investment of $200 million to support the actions outlined in the plan. This investment allows The City and its downtown partners to take bold action and make intentional investments in public spaces, support vibrant neighbourhoods, and ensure that Calgary continues to create a downtown where people want to live and work.
More recently, the province established the Calgary Office Revitalization and Expansion (CORE) Working Group, whose purpose is to make recommendations on the best path forward to fill office towers and renew the vibrancy of Calgary’s downtown core. The working group will assess existing findings and recommendations, determine their feasibility, and submit a final report by September 30, 2021.
New revenue through Fleet Innovations
Fleet Services is leveraging untapped revenue potential through the expansion of the Fleet Services’ Fabrication Workshop. This innovation will enable Fleet Services to increase its revenue beyond the current $8-9 million per year by designing and manufacturing fabricated items for external parties and municipalities.
The City often uses vehicles and equipment to meet service delivery requirements. Understanding the unique service requirements of customers leads Fleet Services to source the most appropriate solution to enable service delivery. Off-the-shelf solutions are often either not available in the market or require significant modifications to meet customer needs, which drives up costs.
In collaboration with Roads, Fleet Services designed, engineered and fabricated a slip-in asphalt carrier. This innovative piece of equipment, through its slip-in design, increases the utilization of the existing fleet of dump trucks. With the design of slip-in sanders and drip tanks, one dump truck now provides three distinct services:
- snow and ice control in the winter
- street clean-up in the spring
- asphalt recycler/carrier in the summer.
All three pieces of equipment are plug-’n-play using the same control system installed on the base dump truck. In less than 30 minutes, one operator can change the equipment and make the unit ready for the next application.
The design and manufacturing of slip-in products provides an innovative cost saving solution not readily available in the market, which has captured interest from external parties and municipalities. The design creates efficiencies in service delivery, reduces fleet expense and increases fleet utilization. Marketing and selling Fleet Innovations to external organizations creates a new revenue stream for The City while maximizing the use of existing facilities and equipment.