November 2018 Newsletter
Hello Ward 14 column readers!
I hope you got lots of candy for Halloween. The leaves are almost gone, and here are some recurring topics that I want to touch on this month.
Residential speed limits
A few years ago, I played a part in implementing a pilot project for what we now call Rectangular Rapid Flash Beacons (RRFBs). The idea was to find the highest functioning crosswalk signals for the lowest cost, so they could be installed in more places around the city. The pilot lasted three years, and—based on solid evidence that they are a wise investment—RRFBs are now installed on a regular basis.
None of us want to see someone hit by a car, but I cannot support changing the base speed limit for the entire city based on no data at all. That is exactly what Council was asked to do on September 10. In fact, for the money required to change speed limit signs, we could install hundreds of RRFBs that have been proven to make streets safer for pedestrians.
Although I voted against this, it was passed by Council. The speed limits will remain the same at least until late next year, when we will be presented with a report on how the changes will be implemented. Hopefully there will be some actual data to look at by then, so that we can make the wisest investment possible, and change course if necessary.
Setting the City’s budget
I have been mentioning this for several months, but it will finally be coming to a conclusion in the last week of November. During that week Council will debate the City’s financial plan - and consequently its priorities - for the next four years. But my colleagues and I have been preparing for this for many months now.
Having some experience on Council now, I have seen a budget or two. There is one thing that won’t be the same though. Our budget and plans have always been based on the organizational structure of the City of Calgary: by department and by business unit. Frankly, that way of thinking has probably been setting us off on the wrong foot from the very beginning. It focuses on the process, and not the goal.
Starting this year, we will be doing things differently. We are moving to a service-based approach. That means we will be looking at our plans and budgets based on their associated service, and I am hopeful that this will turn our focus more toward what is truly important - the services we are actually here to provide. It will certainly allow me to better scrutinize the results of the money that the taxpayers are putting in.
The public is invited to attend and provide input to Council. Budget deliberations will begin at 9:30 a.m. and public presentations will likely begin shortly thereafter. You will find the agenda at calgary.ca/council, and I also suggest taking a look at calgary.ca/ourfinances, and calgary.ca/yourservices for some background information.
Mark your calendars! - Olympic Plebiscite
On November 13, you will be asked to vote on whether or not you want the City of Calgary to pursue a bid for the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic games. It is no secret that I have not been in favour of this pursuit. To me this decision must be about providing a tangible benefit to Calgarians. That does not mean just warm feelings of nostalgia, or civic pride. It means measureable assets for years to come, and that benefit must be better than all the other options associated with not bidding.
I have voted based on that philosophy, but the results of the vote on November 13 are every bit as important to me. I urge you to vote in the plebiscite, and to do everything you can to inform yourself. I promise you I will be taking note of the results.
Here are the basics:
- Advance voting: November 6 & 7 – from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
- Voting day: November 13 – polls open from 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
If you are looking to learn more, here are some resources:
- This is a good place to start if you are looking for more information. It is where the City of Calgary shares details of the bid and how it came to be.
- This is where you will find arguments from those in favour of an Olympic bid for 2026
- This is where you will find arguments from those against an Olympic bid for 2026
Green Bin – Seasonal Changes
Everyone should now be accustomed to their green bins. Based on experiences so far, it definitely makes sense to go to a seasonal approach. Starting the week of November 6th, your green cart will be collected once every other week. There will be no changes to blue or black cart collection, and the associated reduction in fees will be reflected on bills starting in January.
Weekly green cart collection will resume in April. Visit calgary.ca/collection to find your new green cart schedule.
- Councillor Peter Demong