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Back  |  July 31, 2019  | 

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In the past few days, Calgary City Council has had to make decisions on two important projects: the Green Line and a replacement arena for the Saddledome. Both are considered large, in scale, scope, and budget. I’d like to shed a bit of light on my feelings on both plans.

The Green Line is Calgary’s largest infrastructure project that we’ve ever undertaken. It is a city-building project that has the ability to transform our city by enabling Calgarians to become more mobile and more connected than ever before. In my last blog post I explained our need to “get the Green Line right” by ensuring we don’t start building until the plan for the Green Line over the Bow River and through downtown is solidified. And this has to be a solid plan that both serves and enhances the most valuable part of our city.

At the Combined Meeting of Council on Monday, July 29, amendments were brought forward that incorporated a number of my suggestions. Among them are ensuring that construction will not begin until the downtown alignment is agreed upon. Other amendments include an independent third party review of the project and postponing the tendering process for the south leg until it’s been reviewed. These amendments have returned my confidence in the Green Line and I’m feeling more comfortable about the downtown route.
The other major project that has been very active is the proposed new arena. I’ve been supportive of the need for a replacement for the Saddledome and I’ve put in a lot of time into both the Beltline Area Redevelopment Plan and the Rivers District Master Plan. The thing that concerned me was the lack of consultation and engagement by the City. Less than one week to vote on a nearly $300 million investment at a time when we’re making $60 million in cuts to help small businesses was insufficient. I was given no explanation for the short timeline other than “momentum” or “because it’s a business deal”. Not to mention the fact that as a city we simply don’t do engagement in the summer time when many people are on vacation, away from Calgary and not plugged into civic issues.
 
 
As a Councillor, I have a duty to represent my constituents. From the hundreds of emails, phone calls, and texts I received about the areana deal in the short window, most residents of Ward 8 either were against it or simply wanted more time to get answers to their many questions.
That is why I wrote a letter to the City Manager, asking for fair and appropriate engagement by the city. I don't think anyone expected years of engagement and taking feedback to help inform a deal. But to push through with less than one week and an infographic that didn't fully drill down into details didn't sit well with me.
 
I will continue to work hard in the best interests of Ward 8 residents as well as Calgarians broadly. Don't hesitate to contact me if you'd like to provide feedback.

 

Categories: City Finances; Budget; Councillor’s initiatives; Transportation; Transparency

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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.​

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