June 2018 Newsletter
Hi Ward 14!
I think most Calgarians are itching to spend some time outside when June rolls around. Everyone is looking to have some fun.
Fun Summer Activities
I don’t usually go into much detail about recreational programs. In my printed column there is just not that much space. But online I have unlimited space, so I am going to share some fun summer activities available to you and the rest of the family. Here it goes...
From June 3-9, the City of Calgary is celebrating seniors. As part of Seniors’ Week, the City of Calgary is hosting a number of free "try it" fitness classes. Opportunities include aquacize, gentle yoga, art exploration, nordic walking and tea and coffee socials. Visit calgary.ca/seniorsweek for details.
Don’t get me wrong, I have some issues with the City being involved in golfing. For now, it is a fact of life, and I don’t know many fathers who don’t enjoy golf. This Father’s Day, you can treat your Dad (and the whole family) to free golf with a round at Richmond Green and McCall par 3 on Sunday, June 17. Your regular green fee will be waived for a small cash donation made in support of the Kids on Course Junior/Family Subsidy Program for economically disadvantaged youth/families.
The City of Calgary’s Golf Event Nights also begin in June. There are Ladies, Beginner, and Family Nights (free golf for juniors on family nights.) and also free tips from a golf pro along with spot prizes and giveaways. Visit calgary.ca/golf for more info and course locations.
Canada Day Celebrations
This is a great way to spend Canada Day with your loved ones. There will be a range of free, family-friendly activities across the downtown area and Confederation Park. Check calgary.ca/canadaday for updates on performers, events and activities.
After School Programs
The City of Calgary offers many After School programs for free or at low cost. Youth are provided positive, fun and supervised after school programs in schools, recreation buildings, and community facilities across Calgary. Children and youth grades 1-12 can drop into a weekday program in their community and take part in a variety of activities from 3-6 p.m. Activities may include basketball, swimming, arts, leadership, skating, sports and much more. These programs are designed to help kids stay productive, increase their self-esteem, and teach them skills that will follow them throughout their life. Learn more at calgary.ca/afterschool.
Many other fun activities
There are many other options to take advantage of. So many that they are too numerous to go into in detail. If you have the time, visit calgary.ca/playschool for programs for preschoolers, calgary.ca/pools for what is going on in City-run pools, calgary.ca/daycamps for day camps, and calgary.ca/register for many other programs.
Ward 14 Wordsmith Award
In their studies, the grade six students of Alberta learn about government, including municipal government. I have been inviting the grade six students of Ward 14 to participate in a writing contest for seven years now. The goal is to inspire the kind of passion for democracy and public service that my colleagues at City Hall share, but may overlook as a given sometimes. What I have always said is that if I can inspire just one, then the endeavor has been worthwhile. It is great if we can teach some kids about government, and this year is a very special year for the Ward 14 Wordsmith Awards. That is because, after seven years, the inaugural class is now eligible to vote!
Congratulations Nicole Ibragimov! Nicole attends Mrs. Alaina Crone’s grade 6 class at Fish Creek Elementary School in Sundance. She won with her amazing knowledge and writing skill that stood out amongst the most participation I have had to date. She takes home the award, a trophy, a signed Johnny Gaudreau jersey courtesy of the Calgary Flames, and her entire class visited City Hall for a tour!
Thank you to all of the teachers who spent extra time to make this happen, the principals and vice-principals who supported them, and to all the students who wrote the essays. They were very impressive!
My position on Calgary’s Olympic Bid
The City of Calgary is currently grappling with the prospect of bidding for the 2026 Winter Olympic Games. City Council created the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Assessment Committee to advise itself on that topic. I was voted Vice-Chair of this committee, and am also a well-known skeptic when it comes to the Olympic bid. I want to take a moment to explain how I came to my opinion of the Olympic bid and how I intend to approach my role on the Olympic Committee.
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. In the beginning that is what it was about.
Over a year ago, Council - with my support - voted to spend about $3 Million for a preliminary assessment of our Olympic facilities, and (more importantly) an analysis of Calgary’s Olympic legacy/sporting infrastructure gap. When that report came back, it indicated the cost to Calgarians to upgrade our facilities would be the same with the Olympics or without. That is where my support for pursuing the Olympics ended.
Since then the process has been a series of gambles at the expense of the taxpayer. The initial $3 Million was followed by another bet of a couple million to determine what it would cost to host the Olympics. Then a few more million were put on the table for more analysis, and to find out if the Province and the Federal Government would get involved. Each ante has come with some sort of misstep that has damaged public trust.
I am very concerned with our ability to actually host the Olympics if we have such difficulty just deciding on whether or not to bid on them. We would be dealing with billions of dollars, and small mistakes could have huge financial consequences. Not to mention we would be getting in bed with an Olympic organization whose motives and track record are questionable at best. The IOC would like us to be a guinea pig for their new format. I think it is better to let some other city wager that they have changed their ways.
Whether I agree with this situation or not, the will of Council is to move forward. We now have the City of Calgary, the Province of Alberta, and the Federal Government contributing roughly $10 Million each to explore and prepare for bidding on the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. The Province has stipulated that we must conduct a plebicite in order to move forward and we have a committee dedicated to advising Council on the topic.
As an Olympic dissenter, I am in a unique position and serve an important role on the Olympic Committee. I will serve you and make the best of the position I have been put in. I still feel that the Olympics are not right for Calgary, but I will do my best to approach this with neither blind faith nor total pessimism. I will keep you informed, and keep my comments clear of rhetoric.
As my employer, and the employer of everyone who works for the City of Calgary, you will be asked to vote on whether you want the Olympics or not. Quite frankly, I know you will make the right decision.
This will be the first ever Counciltalk in McKenzie Lake. It will also be the last Counciltalk before we take a bit of a break for the summer. Join me at the McKenzie Lake Community Association (16198 McKenzie Lake Way SE) on Saturday, June 23. Make sure to note the late start though. We will be there from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. I hope you can take advantage of this opportunity, but it won’t be the last. Look for the next scheduled Counciltalk at calgary.ca/counciltalk.
- Councillor Peter Demong