January 2019 Newsletter
Happy New Year Ward 14!
This is a time about new challenges, new beginnings, and just new things in general. Regardless, I am going to rehash some topics from December. They deserve more attention.
Snow and Ice
In December I talked about how we clear sidewalks of snow. Calgary has approximately 5,700 km of sidewalks, but that is just a fraction of the snow that we have to deal with.
When it snows, the City has a set plan for its response. Roads are cleared based on a Council-approved priority system—the 7 Day Snow Plan – which prioritizes roadways based on daily traffic volumes.
The plan is activated when snow stops falling, but even before the seven-day plan is activated, crews are out on major roads plowing snow to prevent build-up and applying anti-icing material. This work minimizes the impact of a snowfall on the heaviest-traffic routes.
Day 1 begins after the snowfall ends. Crews spend the first 24 hours plowing and removing snow on Priority 1 routes, which include:
- Major roads with more than 20,000 vehicles per day, such as Crowchild Trail and Macleod Trail. (Deerfoot Trail and Stoney Trail are maintained by the Province)
- Business routes with more than 8,000 vehicles per day, such as those downtown.
- Downtown cycle tracks
- Designated sections of pathway
- Sidewalks bordering City-owned properties
- Pedestrian overpasses, LRT platforms and other public properties with high-volume foot traffic
Day 2 begins 24 hours after a snowfall ends and crews have completed at least 90 per cent of the work on Priority 1 routes. Priority 2 routes include:
- Roads with 5,000-19,999 vehicles per day, such as Acadia Drive
- Intersections and crosswalks controlled by traffic lights
- Designated emergency routes (like around hospitals and fire stations)
- Bus routes
- Roads with on-street bike lanes
- Trouble spots
Day 3 begins 48 hours after the snow has stopped. Priorities include:
- Turn lanes and on/off-ramps on P1 and P2 routes
- Windrows at busy crosswalks and wheelchair curb ramps
- Designated feeder/collector routes that connect to P2 routes
- Playground zones
- Designated hills
- Intersections controlled by stop or yield signs
Day 4 begins 72 hours after a snowfall ends. On days 4 through 7, crews work in residential areas to:
- Pack down soft snow and level out ruts.
- Sand/salt driving lanes
- Clear bus pads
That is the process, and sometimes when there is significant snowfall a parking ban will be called. You can learn more about all of it at calgary.ca/snow
Now, I have been around long enough to know that sometimes this process doesn’t work as smoothly as it should, and that not everyone is going to agree with all the priorities that have been set. If you think it is broken, I need to know so I can help fix it. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you see something going wrong with this process.
If you have the time, I would also highly recommend being a snow angel for someone who might need help shoveling their walk. Doing so is an act of humanity and kindness whose benefits can’t be overrated. If you know a snow angel who deserves some recognition, you can nominate them at calgary.ca/snowangels.
Assessment Notice Mailings and Customer Review Period
A big part of your tax bill is how your property is assessed, and you only have one opportunity to contest that value annually. This year, notices will be mailed on January 3. The customer review period will start on that day, and end on March 12. Every year, I suggest to people that they take advantage of this opportunity to make sure that the details of their assessment are correct.
Reviewing the notice and pamphlets that you receive in the mail is a good place to start. There you will find your assessment notice (with your assessed value and some general details about your property), along with other information about how your property is assessed, and how it relates to your taxes.
The next thing to do is to visit calgary.ca/assessment. There you can view and manage your assessment details, calculate your property tax, and compare with other properties using the Assessment Search function. This where you can really get down to the details, and that is exactly what you should do. If you find that some of the details of your property are incorrectly represented, or that the value given just doesn’t make sense to you.
If that is the case, then I urge you to contact the assessment department before March 12. Someone will be able to go over your assessment with you, and make sure that all the details the City has about your property are correct. There is NO FEE to call the assessment department! If there is truly an error, they will correct it. If you are still not convinced, they can also arrange your official appeal for the complaint fee indicated on your notice.
You can call them at 403-268-2888, and if all else fails don’t hesitate to contact me.
It’s time! My first Counciltalk session of the year is on January 12 from nooon to 2 p.m. at the Queensland Community Centre. My second Counciltalk session is on January 26 from noon to 2 p.m. at the Eaglequest golf course in Douglasdale. Visit calgary.ca/counciltalk for the other Counciltalk dates, times, and locations.
-Councillor Peter Demong