September 2023 Newsletter
Hello Ward 14!
September is sneakily one of the most beautiful times of year in Calgary. It is still warm (but not too warm), it is usually dry (although hopefully not still too dry this year), and the kids are back in school. I have a few things to share with you this month starting with where to find some useful webinars for homeowners and businesses.
Catch up on the City’s Home & Small Business webinar series
While the City’s webinars take a break, you can watch the previously recorded sessions or let us know what topics you want to learn more about by sharing your feedback HERE. New webinar topics will be launching soon. You can stay in the know by visiting calgary.ca/webinar.
Be Safe. Watch Out. Park Smart.
With the excitement of return to school comes many distractions – distractions that can be dangerous for both drivers and children.
This September, the City and I want to remind and encourage anyone who is driving kids to school to operate their vehicles safely and responsibly. We ask parents and guardians not to park where it’s prohibited during drop off and pick up times, such as blocking crosswalks, laneways and private driveways.
Pick up and drop off times can get quite busy. Give yourself extra time to navigate safely around schools, whether you are walking, wheeling, or driving.
For those who drive, you can help alleviate congestion by parking a block or two away and walking in, wherever possible. And please talk to your kids about safe practices like using crosswalks with patrols, and not jaywalking across the roadways as a shortcut.
Learn more by visiting calgary.ca/BeSafe and let’s all have a safe school year!
Public Input for Housing Task Force
The cost of housing is a big, and important topic right now. It is also an extremely complicated one. The City of Calgary is trying to tackle the problem of the rising cost of housing, and some of the steps it may take have far-reaching implications. Naturally, this is something that you should have a say in, and I want to make sure that the City of Calgary and I have your input.
Recommendations of the Housing and Affordability Task Force will be discussed at the City’s next Community Development Committee meeting. This is the continuation of a discussion that began in June. Some of the recommendations have financial implications, some have implications to the property rights of landowners, and some will have implications for the way communities are built and look in the future.
The recommendations meant to lower the cost of free-market housing will specifically increase the amount of units allowed on lots that previously only allowed single-detached homes. This means that all single family lots in Calgary could potentially go from allowing one dwelling unit to allowing four attached units and four additional secondary suites. The recommendations also propose the removal of any requirement to provide onsite parking.
These are things I think the people of Ward 14 will be interested in. I hope you will take some time to learn about these recommendations and have your say. It will help guide me when Council eventually comes to a decision point and votes. I will do what I can to guide you through the process. A good place to start learning more is at engage.calgary.ca/HATaskForce.
The Community Development meeting is scheduled for September 14, starting at 9:30 a.m. in Council Chamber. Since this is one of the Standing Policy Committees, the public will be allowed to speak to items before the committee, for 5 minutes per person. You can register to speak in person or virtually in advance using our Public Submissions form at Public Submission to City Clerks (calgary.ca). You can also show up that day and register to speak in person. I encourage you to sign up in advance if possible. Other details about participating in meetings can be found at Council and committee agendas, minutes and video (calgary.ca).
How to Navigate the City’s Website – Episode 2: City Council
Considering the last topic, I thought it might be useful to delve into where general information about City Council lives on the City of Calgary website. This one is straightforward and has a wealth of information. I will show you the easiest way to find it.
When you start from the top of calgary.ca you will see a menu along the top. Click on the part that says “City Council” and more options will appear. The great part about this is you will see this menu from almost any City of Calgary webpage, not just the homepage at calgary.ca. This will show options to visit sites for each Council member, including the Mayor and myself. It also has links entitled:
- Find your councillor & ward
- Contact your Councillor
- Watch live Council webcasts
- Council meetings
- About council
- General Ward Information
They are all self-explanatory (and remember they might be laid out differently based on what type of device you are using), but because public input is top-of-mind I want to explore the “Council Meetings” section a little more.
Clicking on “Council Meetings” will take you to a hub of information that you need to inform yourself about—you guessed it—Council meetings. This includes everything from the meeting calendar, to Council records, to policy and bylaw libraries, and even a “Council vote dashboard”. Of course, this is where you will find information on how to take part in and follow Council and Committee meetings too.
I encourage you to visit the website and poke around a bit. You never know what useful tidbits you might find. I am also happy to take suggestions on how to improve it if you have them.
-Councillor Peter Demong