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Alberta provincial election: infrastructure gaps

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2019 provincial election: closing Calgary’s infrastructure gap

​​We’re getting Calgary back on track. New Provincial investments in infrastructure can help our economy recover by creating jobs, and keeping communities resilient, safe and vibrant.

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Closing infrastructure gaps

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<div class="ExternalClass543F63D8D7C641A9AC0D040D2ABFAA13">Build Calgary, strengthen Alberta </div>

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http://www.calgary.ca/citycouncil/YYCmatters/Pages/AB2019/pillar4.aspx#FundCriticalProjects, https://spprd-authoring.calgary.ca:47443/citycouncil/YYCmatters/Pages/pillar4.aspx#FundCriticalProjects

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Fund critical projects

Build Calgary, strengthen Alberta
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Flood protection & mitigation

Mitigate risk and build resiliency

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Fund critical projects

Build Calgary, strengthen Alberta

Calgary has a 10-year infrastructure gap worth about $5.67B including critical maintenance and legal obligation.

Provincial funding is needed for the highest priorities:

  • Increasing affordable housing
  • Future phases of Green Line
  • Field House
  • Arts Commons
  • Flood Mitigation on Bow and Elbow Rivers

Question: Improving quality of life through public infrastructure investment in the Fieldhouse

Calgary may be known as a winter sport city, but facilities for year-round training are sorely lacking. Calgary remains the only major Canadian city without a proper indoor facility for athletics and other field sports. As a result, Calgarians are denied opportunities that are available to their counterparts in Edmonton (where there are three such facilities) – opportunities to train, to try new sports, and to host major sporting events. A Fieldhouse has been at the top of The City of Calgary capital priorities for several years, but it has been difficult to find the funding to build it. Does your party commit to funding part of the construction of this important community facility? How much?

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The Alberta Liberals fully recognize the importance of and the urgent need for a multi-sport fieldhouse in Calgary. The lack of even one such facility is clearly not befitting a city of Calgary’s size and stature.

We acknowledge that funding from other levels of government will likely be needed, and are fully amenable to discussions with city officials on provincial involvement in such an important capital project. Given that Calgary city council is still actively discussing possible ways to fund the construction of a fieldhouse, and we are not privy to all the pertinent information, it would be irresponsible and disingenuous of us to arbitrarily commit to funding a certain percentage or dollar figure at this time.

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Like the proposed Arts Commons expansion, the Fieldhouse expansion is a very exciting and ambitious proposal that we agree would make a significant difference to the quality of life for Calgarians.

We understand that this project has been part of Calgary’s long-term vision for over a decade. As you know, the province made a significant $700 million commitment to supporting Calgary’s Olympic bid – support that would have helped make progress on this long-standing infrastructure request – provided that a majority of Calgarians supported the bid through a plebiscite. Following Calgarians’ rejection of the Olympic bid, we have indicated that we remain open to considering the Fieldhouse and other renewals to Calgary’s Olympics facilities as part of our ongoing discussions around the capital needs of Alberta’s cities and communities.

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The Alberta Party would consider a targeted investment in the long-overdue fieldhouse for Calgary.

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In response to our survey the Green Party submitted the following statement, presented here in full.

The Green Party of Alberta has generally not adopted policy to the level of fine detail that your survey requests. In general, the Green Party supports law and public finance reform that would better recognize the key role that city governments play in meeting the needs of Albertans.

Some specifics: The Party is supportive of developing and expanding public transit systems wherever feasible in the province. Provincial funding would come from the retained portion of the carbon tax.

The Green Party supports the development of a long-term capital plan for additions to, and maintenance of, that portion of the social housing stock that is owned by the province and municipalities.

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Calgary’s lack of a fieldhouse is certainly disappointing, particularly given our size and climate. Rather than travel the province making politicized infrastructure announcements, however, a United Conservative government will implement a transparent and objective process for determining infrastructure priorities. A fieldhouse will no doubt rank well on that list, and this list will ensure fairness for Calgary on all its infrastructure needs.

Question: Improving quality of life through public infrastructure investment in Arts Commons

Arts Commons is where arts, culture and community meet. It is one of the busiest facilities in the city with six resident companies, including the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra and several theatre companies. Its educational programs make the arts accessible to students and other vulnerable groups. The work created and performed inside their walls tell the story of our city, our country and, of our common humanity. Those stories no longer fit within the space available and Arts Commons has a vision for a new building that will revitalize our downtown and create more opportunities for arts and culture in our city. Does your party commit to funding this important community priority? What mechanism will you use? How much will you commit?

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As with the fieldhouse proposal, the Alberta Liberals acknowledge that funding from other levels of government will likely be needed to see such an important capital project through to fruition. We are fully amenable to discussions with city officials on provincial involvement. Again, given that we are not privy to all the pertinent information, it would be irresponsible and disingenuous of us to arbitrarily identify a funding mechanism or commit to funding a certain percentage or dollar figure at this time.

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We know that Arts Commons is one of Calgary’s most important cultural hubs, attracting over 600,000 visitors to over 1,800 performances every year right in the heart of downtown. As you know, we have made a significant commitment to downtown revitalization through granting a 20¬year extension to the Calgary Rivers District Community Revitalization Levy to help facilitate a massive expansion of the BMO Centre. This expansion will create 2,250 jobs and contribute $223 million annually to Alberta’s economy. In addition to supporting the BMO expansion, this extension will allow for $140 million in infrastructure upgrades in Victoria Park and future transformation of Arts Commons.

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An Alberta Party-led government will continue with the existing revenue sharing model for Calgary and Edmonton while developing a modernized MSI formula to assist other municipalities in achieving their capital priorities.

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In response to our survey the Green Party submitted the following statement, presented here in full.

The Green Party of Alberta has generally not adopted policy to the level of fine detail that your survey requests. In general, the Green Party supports law and public finance reform that would better recognize the key role that city governments play in meeting the needs of Albertans.

Some specifics: The Party is supportive of developing and expanding public transit systems wherever feasible in the province. Provincial funding would come from the retained portion of the carbon tax.

The Green Party supports the development of a long-term capital plan for additions to, and maintenance of, that portion of the social housing stock that is owned by the province and municipalities.

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As stated for the fieldhouse, a United Conservative government will implement a transparent and objective process for determining infrastructure priorities so that valuable initiatives like this are never neglected in favour of lower priorities.

Question: Collaborating to align school planning with community planning

Calgarians expect their elected leaders on their school boards, on their city council and those serving in their provincial government to collaborate on solutions to ensure school planning and construction timelines are aligned with community planning and build out. Does your party commit to working collaboratively with The City of Calgary and our local school boards to ensure school and community planning are better aligned with Calgarians’ expectations?

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Yes. A respectful, collaborative relationship on new school construction is in everyone’s best interests, and the Alberta Liberals recognize that local officials are often best positioned when it comes to communicating the needs of the communities they represent.

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We know how important it is for families to have schools in their neighborhoods. We are proud of our record of having completed over 170 school building projects over the last 4 years and we are committed to continue investing in the priorities of Alberta families. We also agree on the need to better align school and community planning, and to that end if re-elected we would be happy to work with the City and with school boards on this important matter.

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Education is the top priority for the Alberta Party. Another top priority is to shift the focus of government from serving the needs of government, to serving the needs of Albertans. This requires both cultural and structural changes in how government operates.

One of the best opportunities for this is in aligning planning for critical infrastructure like schools in new communities. Parents and students shouldn’t have to bus long distances when new communities are built, and governments at levels should coordinate efforts rather than wait until school availability is a crisis.

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In response to our survey the Green Party submitted the following statement, presented here in full.

The Green Party of Alberta has generally not adopted policy to the level of fine detail that your survey requests. In general, the Green Party supports law and public finance reform that would better recognize the key role that city governments play in meeting the needs of Albertans.

Some specifics: The Party is supportive of developing and expanding public transit systems wherever feasible in the province. Provincial funding would come from the retained portion of the carbon tax.

The Green Party supports the development of a long-term capital plan for additions to, and maintenance of, that portion of the social housing stock that is owned by the province and municipalities.

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Absolutely. A United Conservative government will welcome all innovative ideas and won’t let jurisdictional silos prevent Albertans from getting the biggest bang for their infrastructure dollar.

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Flood protection & mitigation

Mitigate risk and build resiliency

Our downtown and Bow River communities are still at risk for flooding. A future Bow River reservoir would help manage flood, drought, and water supplies related to climate change.

  • Calgary needs Provincial support to complete the technical work and immediately fund the best upstream solutions to protect Calgary
  • We want to extend the 5-year Province/TransAlta agreement to help protect communities in Calgary against impacts of flood and drought
  • Continued Provincial support of Calgary's community-level flood mitigation 

Question: Committing to upstream flood mitigation and water storage on the Bow River

Significant upstream mitigation work and a water storage solution are required for the Bow River in order to secure long term resilience against drought and to protect Calgary’s downtown against a 1 in 200 year flood. Does your party commit to completing the technical work and immediately funding the best solution(s) proposed to protect Calgary?

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Yes. The importance of protecting Calgary and, in particular, its downtown commercial core, from another devastating flood cannot be overstated. The Alberta Liberals believe that upstream flood mitigation work and the construction of a reservoir on the Bow River is urgently needed to complement the Springbank Off-stream Reservoir and the flood protection that the latter will eventually provide on the Elbow River. We understand that as many as three possible sites have been identified, including expanding the current Ghost Reservoir, the western outskirts of Calgary near the Glenmore Reservoir, and near Morley. As things are still very preliminary at this stage and little information is publicly available, we are unable to offer an evidence-based opinion on the merits of each prospective site.

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On Friday, March 22, 2019, Rachel Notley announced a $1 billion commitment to build additional, layered, upstream flood mitigation projects on the Bow River, including a major new dam project (or dam upgrade). We are committed to moving immediately on the components of the strategy that involve operation changes or revised contractual terms. We are also committed to continuing the work to identify and construct a new dam.

This commitment builds on work undertaken by the Bow River Working Group, which identified three options for water storage projects upstream on the Bow River:

  • A new Glenbow Reservoir
  • A new Morley Reservoir
  • Expanded capacity at the Ghost Reservoir

Mitigating flood water on the Bow River is a complex undertaking, but it is absolutely necessary to protect Calgary. This major project will be conducted in four phases, and is expected to take 10 years:

  • Phase 1: Initial Conceptual Assessment study (underway)
  • Phase 2: Feasibility Study, Consultation and Project Selection
  • Phase 3: Detailed Design, Engineering, and Regulatory Approval
  • Phase 4: Construction

Full funding for this critical project has been allocated from the Climate Leadership Plan, as part of Rachel Notley’s ongoing effort to build and adapt critical infrastructure to the realities of more extreme weather events resulting from climate change

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In addition to the Springbank project, the Alberta Party supports the work underway to build a water retention dam on the Bow River. We believe a new reservoir is required to meet Calgary and southern Alberta’s long-term water needs. Such a project would meet both flood mitigation and drought mitigation objectives.

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In response to our survey the Green Party submitted the following statement, presented here in full.

The Green Party of Alberta has generally not adopted policy to the level of fine detail that your survey requests. In general, the Green Party supports law and public finance reform that would better recognize the key role that city governments play in meeting the needs of Albertans.

Some specifics: The Party is supportive of developing and expanding public transit systems wherever feasible in the province. Provincial funding would come from the retained portion of the carbon tax.

The Green Party supports the development of a long-term capital plan for additions to, and maintenance of, that portion of the social housing stock that is owned by the province and municipalities.

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We are committed to doing our job to keep Calgarians safe, beginning with completing technical work for the Bow and prioritizing funding as appropriate. Considering the NDP’s utter failure to move Springbank dam forward, they have no credibility on this file. The year-long federal environmental assessment has been paused since June 29, 2018 while the federal government waits for information the province has failed to provide.

Calgarians need a government that doesn’t just care about their interests, but understands the solutions and is competent at delivering them. A United Conservative government will get Calgarians back to work and competently manage the files that matter to Calgary families.


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