October 2022 Newsletter
One year later
Exactly one year ago, you elected me to be your city councillor. I cannot thank you enough. It has been such an incredible journey and I wake up every morning looking forward to making things better for Ward 5. I’m proud of the work I’ve done both in the ward and with my colleagues on city council. Over the past year together we invested in improving snow clearing service, supporting our firefighters and police officers, increasing tree planting, and housing the homeless in Ward 5.
We have another big month coming up preparing for the 2023-2026 budget. I continue to gather input from you both by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and at the doors. I cannot speak for you until I hear from you! So continue to send me your thoughts, concerns and comments and we will move Ward 5 FORWARD TOGETHER.
We continue to receive many emails and calls about homeless encampments and panhandling in Ward 5. While the solution to finding them permanent housing and treatment for their illnesses requires bigger, systemic policy decisions, we can help by making small changes to our behaviours.
When we encounter folks asking for spare change, we naturally want to give these folks food and money, and I appreciate your generosity. However, the Calgary Police are running a campaign encouraging you to help in other ways. Giving money to a charity that serves vulnerable people is far more impactful. For example, the Calgary Food Bank turns $1 in donations into $5 worth of food to distribute. A fantastic organization called Be The Change YYC is currently running a clothing drive, collecting winter coats, mittens, hats, and other warm clothing to give to the homeless. Donations to organizations like the Drop-In Centre or Inn from the Cold mean they can continue to run their shelters.
By giving to organizations instead of directly to people, they will see there's nothing to gain from panhandling in the community, and they'll be discouraged from returning. More importantly, it keeps these folks safe as they're not walking into traffic. CPS recommends the following approach: if you are asked for money outside a business or a transit station, politely explain that you don't have any change. It's important that while we may not have anything to offer, we still need to treat these individuals with dignity. Most folks will thank you and continue with their day.
However, if there is an instance where you feel unsafe, you may call the police. You can continue calling 311 for encampments, so the city's response team can check on them and help them find better, safer shelter. I truly understand your concerns as residents in Ward 5, and I will continue to work on supporting impactful, dignified solutions.
Connecting our roadways
First, some housekeeping! If you're wondering what happened to the Roads department, this team recently changed its name during the complete realignment of departments in the City of Calgary Administration. Now called Mobility, it includes roads, cycling paths, sidewalks, and other infrastructure that keeps us moving all under one umbrella.
In late September, the director of the Mobility Department (formerly Roads) joined me for a tour around Ward 5. I was pleased to point out the recently installed left turn traffic signal at 60th St. and Airport Tr. I also showed him locations that need pedestrian crosswalks and flashing beacons to improve safety.
One of my priorities for the upcoming budget discussions is ensuring we have funding to complete missing road and transit connections in Ward 5. During the October 4th City Council meeting, I asked administration for the next steps on critical projects, like increasing bus service within the ward, expanding the BRT route, extending the Blue Line further north, and increasing road connectivity. They confirmed these projects are top priorities for them as well, and they are engaging with other levels of government for funding support.
Thank you to those who continue to bring up these much-needed improvements in conversations and emails. Your collective voice helps put these priorities at the top of administration’s list.
Touring the ward on two wheels
Following the Mobility tour, I hopped on an e-bike and toured parts of the ward with volunteers from Bike Calgary. We had perfect weather for it and seeing the community from a different perspective was awesome. I particularly loved when residents waved and said hello to us. The northeast has some wonderful cycling paths, including parts of the Rotary/Mattamy Greenway that circles the entire city. Definitely spend a day to check it out if you haven't already!
However, we came across a few areas that needs attention and would help complete the cycling network. These are areas such as between 89 Ave and Saddlecrest Blvd behind Saddle Ridge School where the path just ends. Or at 80 Ave between Saddle Ridge and Taradale where the path ends at a road and there isn’t a proper crossing to get to the other side. These are also on the long list of needed improvements I shared with the Mobility team and my office will be in contact with them regularly to see how work is progressing.