October 2022 newsletter
In this issue: Updates on traffic in Ward 1, Green Carts and yard waste, recent Council decisions, and the municipal budget
Hi Ward 1!
It's now been one year since I was elected as your councillor for Ward 1, and the year has flown by! I'm thankful for the opportunities I've had to work on your behalf and connect with so many members of the community.
This is a great opportunity for me to re-introduce my team in the Ward 1 office and into introduce a new member. Marley Gillies, my Executive Advisor, and Connor Molineaux, Communications and Policy Leader, are available to respond to your questions and concerns in addition to supporting my work at Council. I'm also very pleased to welcome Nadia Friesen, Business & Planning Strategist, on board. Nadia brings years of experience from City Administration in Planning & Development and Business & Local Economy.
All of us in the Ward 1 office are at your service. You can reach out through any of the methods at the bottom of this newsletter and we will ensure you get connected with the right person.
At Council's annual Organizational Meeting earlier this week, I was honoured to be re-appointed as chair of the Infrastructure and Planning, Business Advisory, and Event Centre committees. I'm looking forward to continuing some great work that we started to make this the best City possible for Ward 1 residents and for all Calgarians.
– Sonya Sharp
Valley Ridge pathway repairs
We know Valley Ridge residents are eager to see the pathway connection to Bowness Park repaired following heavy rain this past June. The pathway is within the boundaries of the Stoney Trail construction project, and the province is responsible for these repairs. Councillor Sharp has been advocating to the Minister of Transportation and the MLA for Calgary-Bow on the importance of this path and the need for timely repairs.
According to the Minister's most recent update, there is still no timeline for repairs. Alberta Transportation continues to explore both interim and permanent solutions. Until a plan is finalized, the pathway remains closed. Councillor Sharp would encourage concerned residents to contact their MLA for further information and to offer feedback. Contact details are here.
Community traffic updates
Country Hills Blvd & 112 Ave NW
Royal Oak residents may have noticed some changes at the intersection of Country Hills Boulevard and 112 Avenue. Councillor Sharp has been working closely with The City's Mobility unit to improve safety and address concerns related to the movement of heavy-haul trucks turning onto 112 Ave.
As a result of those discussions, barriers have been put in place to make pedestrian crossings safer by relocating the crosswalk to be in the direct line of sight of drivers.
These changes are temporary and their effectiveness is still being assessed. We have heard some community concerns regarding the traffic congestion consequences of this change.
Councillor Sharp is committed to exploring all possible options to improve this intersection, including a more permanent solution. However, further improvements will take additional time and funding. We don’t have a definitive timeline for when further improvements will be in place, but it remains a high priority.
Sarcee Trail & 34 Ave NW roundabout concerns
Over the summer, Councillor Sharp heard many concerns regarding the new roundabout at Sarcee Trail and 34 Ave NW next to the new Superstore. Area residents were concerned about the safety of the roundabout and issues with speeding given its close proximity to the townhouses to the north.
Councillor Sharp worked closely with the Mobility unit to improve the roundabout's safety. The speed limit has been reduced to 30 km/h, additional signage has been added, and barriers now separate the road and the adjacent pathway and homes to the north. Councillor Sharp is happy to see these improvements in place and will continue to monitor the area to ensure that the area remains safe for all users.
Silver Springs Neighbourhood Streets pilot project
As a result of increased costs and supply chain issues, construction on additional improvements to the Neighbourhood Streets pilot project, including extension of the bike lanes to Sarcee Trail, has been delayed until Spring 2023. There have also been a few minor changes to the proposed improvements. More details are available on the project website.
West Calgary Ring Road
Work continues on the provincial Stoney Trail project with major progress in recent weeks. The permanent ramps to Valley Ridge and Crestmont from east and westbound 16 Ave and Stoney Trail are now complete and open. Please take extra attention and slow speeds in the area to account for these changes.
Updates on City services
Bi-weekly Green Cart service resumes and last chance to drop off yard waste
Beginning November 1, Green Cart pickups will return to every other week. With less yard waste, fewer materials are collected in the winter months. Less frequent collections require fewer City resources and continue to meet the needs of the majority of Calgarians.
Calgarians can drop off yard waste free of charge at City landfills. With our warm fall, the deadline for drop-offs has been extended until December 3, 2022. Loads should contain only leaves, branches, plants and grass clippings. Other organic waste can continue to be added to your Green Cart.
Professional dog walker off-leash permits
As of September 30, professional dog walkers are required to obtain a permit from The City to walk more than six dogs off-leash in an off-leash area at a time. Details on the permits are available at Calgary.ca.
This new policy was developed following industry consultation through the Business Advisory Committee, chaired by Councillor Sharp. We hope the new arrangement proves an effective compromise to balance the industry's needs against community concerns.
Scam text messages and phone calls
There have been reports of a number of scams circulating with messages claiming to be from The City of Calgary, Calgary Parking, Enmax, and others. Targets receive phone calls or text messages claiming that they have outstanding fines or unpaid bills.
The City does NOT send text messages demanding payment. The Calgary Police Service has valuable tips on recognizing and reporting these scams.
Updates in brief
- The amnesty period to legalize existing secondary suites ends on December 31, 2023. For details on how to legalize your suite, visit calgary.ca/suites. Renters can check if their secondary suite is legal by checking the Secondary Suites Registry.
- Transit tickets are now available for purchase directly in the official Transit app. Calgarians can now conveniently plan their trips and purchase their fares all in one place. Details on the Transit app are available on calgarytransit.ca.
- The pilot project permitting bikes on CTrains during all sevice hours has been extended until March 31, 2023. You can submit your feedback here.
News from City Council
Service Plans & Budget
This November, Council will consider The City of Calgary's 2023-2026 Service Plans and Budget. These important documents are developed by City Administration in response to Council's stated priorities. They set out which services and programs The City will deliver over the next four years, what they will cost to support, and how much you can expect to pay in taxes.
Council get its first look at the Service Plans and Budget on November 8. Then, Council will spend the entire week of November 21-25 deliberating on the budget and deciding on any changes that need to be made.
Councillor Sharp's priorities are to keep taxes as low as possible while continuing to deliver the quality services that Calgarians rely on. In this economic environment, many Calgarians are struggling with affordability. That means that this budget will require some difficult choices. We will continue to share updates as work on the budget progresses.
If you have any feedback on the Service Plan and Budgets to share with Councillor Sharp, we encourage you to get in touch!
Land Use Bylaw changes
Last month, Council approved changes to the Land Use Bylaw to simplify the process for so-called "missing middle" housing. In a number of Calgary neighbourhoods, there have been an increasing number of proposals for row-house style developments where a single parcel of land is developed into several dwellings and secondary suites all accessed at-grade rather than through interior corridors like an apartment building.
Council has already been approving this type of housing for years. But for each individual development, Council had to pass a bylaw creating an individualized "direct control" district, meaning there was little consistency between proposals.
The recent changes create a new district called H-GO that sets a common standard for this type of land use. Changes to the existing R-CG district will also permit this type of housing on midblock parcels instead of corner lots exclusively.
There will be no blanket rezoning as a result of these changes. Any applications related to these districts will still require approval by Council and Administration and include an opportunity for public feedback.
Councillor Sharp is disappointed that there wasn't more public engagement on these changes. In response, Council has approved Councillor Sharp's motion to clarify how Planning & Development approaches public engagement so that we can consider what changes might be needed in the future.
If you have any outstanding questions about these changes, please reach out to our office or visit Calgary.ca for a detailed overview. We'll include some frequently asked questions in our next newsletter.
Event Centre update
The City of Calgary and the Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation (CSEC) have agreed to begin formal discussions with a fresh start towards a new event centre. CAA Icon, experts in structuring deals for major sports and entertainment venues, will now be representing The City during these discussions.
As Chair of the Event Centre Committee, Councillor Sharp is pleased to see this work continue and is confident that this approach offers the best path forward.
Find more details in The City's news release.
Councillor Sharp believes that the recent provincial interest in the project is a positive development, and is looking forward to conversations about what a provincial role might be.
Updates in brief
- Council recently approved a new single-use items strategy to complement the upcoming federal ban on single-use plastics. The strategy includes a charge for new bags (kept by businesses) and voluntary reduction of other single-use items, but no additional restrictions. There will be additional opportunity for public feedback and a final decision from Council before the changes come into effect in 2024.
- Safety in the community and on Transit remains a high priority. The City recently partnered with The Alex to deliver a Community Mobile Response pilot project to help those experiencing behavioural or mental health crises. We look forward to more progress in the coming months.
- Also on safety, Councillor Sharp and Councillor Spencer recently co-hosted a Business Advisory Committee townhall with the Calgary Police Service to discuss the crime issues and trends that businesses face. We hope to organize similar events for businesses and the community in the future!
- Council recently approved a requirement for home-based childcare businesses to obtain a business licence. These businesses were some of the few not already required to obtain licences. Councillor Sharp is confident this change will improve safety in this vulnerable and essential sector. The change takes effect January 1, 2023.
In the coming months, The City will no longer be advertising public hearing notices in the Calgary Herald for land use matters. All upcoming hearing notices will be available at Calgary.ca. Notices will continue to be posted on the affected parcels and adjacent property owners notified.
Categories: General, Newsletter