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Back  |  January 25, 2019  | 

Happy New Year! (I know January is almost over but we can still say Happy New Year, right?)

I began our first Council meeting of 2019 with a very simple New Year’s resolution. My goal for this year is to reject negativity and focus on the positive opportunities in front of us. It seems to be very fashionable these days to hone in on what’s going wrong instead of what’s going right, but that doesn’t get us far.

When I look back at 2018, it really was a remarkable year. There were so many great things; renaming the Reconciliation Bridge, launching the MAX Rapid Transit network and the opening of the new Central Library, just to name a few. This past summer, The Economist Intelligence Unit named us the best city in North America and the fourth best in the world in which to live. Despite all the challenges we face, this place is truly incredible.

Of course, 2018 was also a tough year, particularly in the last few months. Too many of our neighbours are feeling the pain of unemployment and the economic recovery feels stalled out. Many of us are impatient, frustrated, and even angry. How can we take that and channel it into a positive view of our future?

My sights for 2019 are squarely focused on the future of our city. There are a number of very complex economic and social issues we have to address. We have to create, attract and retain jobs. We have to help small businesses prosper. We have to fix the challenge in the downtown. We need both immediate and long-term solutions to improve our downtown and mitigate the impact of the shift of non-residential property taxes on businesses outside of the core. And we need community-focused solutions to combat social disorder, addiction and mental health issues. We need to find ways to build much-needed infrastructure across this city.

I have been asking our partners at both the provincial and federal governments to work with us on what I’m calling a Calgary Strategy. We need our government partners to come to the table to work with us on solutions to these issues. But it’s not just governments that will need to come together in 2019 – it’s the entire community. It’s by all of us working together, using our everyday hearts and our everyday hands, that we will truly be able to fulfill the promise of our city.  

We can’t allow down talk about Calgary and our economic challenges to dominate the narrative about who we are. We are so much more than that. We all need to be selling Calgary – to Calgarians, to Canadians and to the world. We all know how amazing this place is and we know the potential that’s just on the horizon.

I hope that you’ll join me in taking on this resolution to focus on opportunities for Calgary in 2019, to look forward, and to be grateful for the chance each of us has to build a life in this beautiful place. It’s going to be a great year.​​​​​​

Categories: Columns; Better economy; Even smarter City Hall; Stronger communities

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