Hello Ward 6!
As we are officially into Fall, I hope you are back into the swing of things after a great summer. City Council is back in session and looking forward to working together for the betterment of our City. In the September edition of the newsletter you will read about 311 wait times, a neighbourhood naturalization pilot project, a Bylaw text scam alert and much more.
Queen Elizabeth II
We were saddened by the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. She devoted her life to public service and had a marked impact on Canadians lives. Her leadership transformed the Commonwealth, modernized the monarchy and supported racial justice. Her tireless charity work exemplified the breed of admirable women that we all loved and were inspired by. May she rest in peace.
311 Wait Times
The Ward 6 office has heard numerous complaints from our residents regarding 311 wait times. At the September 20 Strategic Meeting of Council, I posed the question to Administration - “What action is Administration taking to address the long wait times that can be experienced when calling 311”?
A number of key strategies have been implemented and are currently underway to address the wait times currently experienced by Calgarians calling into the 311 service. These strategies include increasing staffing to fill vacant agent positions, increasing digital service options, advancing initiatives to deploy service enhancements, as well as reviewing 311 Audit recommendations to improve service and reduce waits.
Here are key initiatives that 311 is doing to improve the wait times:
- To immediately increase capacity, existing trained “on call “staff were hired into temporary full time limited term positions effective July 11th. This directly increased phone capacity by 150 staffing hours per week and since June, this has helped reduced the average wait experienced by Calgarians by 12 minutes.
- Voice messaging on the front end of 311 is constantly updated to alert citizens of a service issue or seasonal service change, and that has helped prevent over 300,000 citizens from waiting to speak to an agent so far this year
- The City is currently working to implement a 311 callback service for Calgarians that would reduce waits and add convenience. We anticipate this feature to be operational at 311 in early 2023. If this option is deployed, a message outlining the current wait times will also be presented to callers giving them flexibility and the choice to either wait for an agent or use this new service option where a 311 agent can call back the citizen.
- The current service goal is to answer 20 percent of calls within 30 seconds or less. 311 is currently exceeding this goal. Work is underway to revisit performance metrics to match anticipated service demand into the next budget cycle that would be more reflective of the actual results
- 311 continues to work with its service partners to deploy their public facing services to digital channels. Currently, 75 percent of service request volume reported by the public has an online option. 36 new services have been added online since 2019. We anticipate through support from remaining service areas to digitize their services, it will further reduce pressure on the phone channel and reduce waits
- There is also work underway within the Executive Leadership Team to review some of the recommendations from the 311 Audit that will help support a common way of documenting and closing service requests. We anticipate that review will contribute to improved processes and governance that will help reduce unnecessary follow-up calls from the public on the status of an existing request
Provide your input on 2023-2026 Service Plans and Budgets
If you ever use City services like transit or recreation, you likely pay a fee when you do. How much you pay to use these and other City services that require a fee is shaped by The City’s User Fee and Subsidy Policy and approved by Council each year.
The last time the User Fees Policy was reviewed was 2012. Since a lot has changed over the last 10 years, we are now reviewing the current policy with the aim of having an updated policy in place for 2024. To make sure the updated policy meets the needs of Calgarians now and in the future, we need your input.
Please visit https://engage.calgary.ca/yourservices to share your thoughts on how user fees should be determined in our city and to learn more. Engagement runs until September 30. You can provide in-person input on September 27 at Westside Rec from 4:00p pm - 7:00 pm.
Sections of many parks and open spaces in Calgary are being naturalized through the reintroduction of native plant species as The City takes actions toward meeting a key biodiversity goal of restoring 20 per cent of its open spaces by 2025.
From September 20 until October 4, you will see informational signage located along roadways that were naturalized many years ago and the plants are well established:
- Sarcee Trail southbound, nearing the top of hill north of Bow Trail
- Sarcee Trail southbound, south of 17 Ave and the Optimist pedestrian bridge
Some potential benefits of naturalizing roadways that we are evaluating include:
- creating areas of urban meadow with pleasing visual appearance as alternative to manicured turfgrass in select roadside open spaces
- potentially lower long-term maintenance costs,
- drought resilience
- reduced invasive plant species (especially weeds requiring control or eradication under the Alberta Weed Control Act),
- provide sustainable, natural food sources and habitat for pollinators, other insects and small animals/birds,
- create better wildlife connectivity within Calgary, strengthening urban biodiversity and,
- use native plants to further support Calgary’s resiliency and response to climate change (e.g., native plants have deeper root systems that store carbon and help prevent erosion).
In Ward 6, Coach Hill is one of four municipal habitat restoration projects sites. In 2015, a small isolated natural area within a manicured park in Coach Hill was found to be filled with non-native caragana. With the goal of restoring the site to a native grassland-type setting, Calgary Parks began by removing the caragana.
In 2016 and 2017, rocks and large pieces of mulched caragana were removed and the weeds were sprayed and pulled. In 2018-2019, a native grass turf mat was laid down and trees, shrubs and wildflowers were planted. At the west end of the site is an existing patch of aspen poplar that was further restored by planting shrubs in the understory.
To learn more go to:
Bylaw Text Scam
Please be aware of a text scam currently circulating in our city regarding alleged overdue bylaw infractions. The text originates from a 281 area code; however, other numbers could be used. When the citizen clicks on the link, it brings them to a payment screen asking for credit details but does not say what type of bylaw infraction it is. This is NOT The City of Calgary, please do not respond to these texts or access the link.
The City’s process for bylaw fines can be found at https://www.calgary.ca/appeals/tickets.html
Municipal Complex Update & Counter services move temporarily
The Municipal Complex has reopened to the public following a temporary closure due to a break-in and small fires that triggered the sprinkler system in August.
- A temporary Fair Entry counter will be located on the third floor of the Central Library, 800 3 St. S.E. effective Thursday. Services will be available from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.
- Citizens can still apply for Fair Entry online or in person at the Village Square Leisure Centre location where there will be extended hours.
Low Income and Low Income Seniors’ Transit Passes
Once approved by Fair Entry, citizens can purchase their pass in the following ways:
- Low Income and Low Income Seniors’ Passes will be available at a temporary counter location on the third floor of the Central Library beginning Thursday, August 4.
- Online at calgarytransit.com/Shop beginning the 6th of each month for the following month.
- Get your pass mailed to you or use it on your smart phone. Visit calgarytransit.com/MyFarePasses for details.
- In person, beginning the 15th of each month, by showing your photo ID at the Centre Street and Bow Valley Parkade locations, and at the Village Square Leisure Centre.
- Cashier services will also be moved to the third floor of the Central Library effective Thursday.
- Services will be available from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
- The Taxation Service Desk will be moved to the third floor of the Central Library effective Thursday. The service will be available 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday.
- For online property tax information, including payment options, visit calgary.ca/propertytax.
Planning and Development Counter
- The Planning and Development Counter will move to the main floor of the Whitehorn Multi-Services Centre at 3705, 35 St. N.E. effective Thursday.
- Services will be available 8 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., Monday to Friday. Onsite parking is available. Enter through the side door.
- Applicants can continue to apply for business licenses and permits online at apply.calgary.ca. If you have questions about an existing application, please contact Planning Services. Our online chat and call centre remain open during regular business hours, Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.
The City thanks Calgarians for their patience and apologizes for any inconvenience.
Drive Safe YYC
If you have a new driver in your house here are some beneficial videos that Calgary Police Service Traffic Section have launched to educate and keep our roads safe.
Youth Employment Centre Fall Hiring Event
Know someone between the ages of 15-24 looking for work? (part-time/full-time/seasonal)
The Youth Employment Centre is holding an invitation-only hiring event to connect youth directly with employers hiring now and for the upcoming holiday season.
Here’s how it works:
- Book an appointment or drop in from Monday-Friday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the Youth Employment Centre to speak with an Employment Counsellor who will help with resumes, cover letters & interview strategies.
- Those who are considered a good match for one or more employers will have the opportunity to interview with them at a Fall hiring event on October 14.
October 14 is coming up fast, so make sure you visit the Youth Employment Centre soon! Visit https://www.calgary.ca/careers/youth-employment.html?redirect=/yec to learn more.
Ward 6 Community Association Events
Mark your calendars for these events happening in Ward 6!
- Halloween Costume Exchange: Sunday 23rd October, 2022 10:00am-2:00pm
- Halloween Handout, safe space at Westgate Hall: Monday 31st October 2022 at 5:00pm-9:00pm
West Springs/Cougar Ridge- www.wscr.ca
- Can you help? We are looking to fill some more volunteer shift spots for our upcoming Casino Nights Wednesday, September 28 and Thursday, September 29, 2022. If we don’t get enough volunteers, we will have to cancel and forfeit this funding which goes a long way to support our community. The good news, casino volunteers get rewarded! In addition to feeling good about giving back to your community, volunteers get free meals, access to a fully stocked candy and refreshments bar, and also get to choose an appreciation gift, including choice of: Cineplex movie and popcorn tickets, Jubilations dinner theater tickets, YETI ramblers or iFly passes.
Volunteers who need childcare in order to volunteer can expense their sitter fees. If this is something that you need in order to volunteer, please contact Eileen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Each shift you sign-up for gets you an appreciation gift and free meal from either Zen8 or Melrose at Cowboys Casino.
Please share this with your friends and neighbors to help us get these spots filled!
Please sign up before Sept. 27th at: https://urldefense.com/v3/__https://signup.com/client/invitation2/secure/5769930228556240117/false?fbclid=IwAR2XwOp7q2HPoSm2bIOYlnDvGJ7anw8L_tV8zkIhRmimGgvIZLrXPoTzrlA**Ainvitation__;Iy8!!JYTOG454!dN-1lV_FFMyQchYxDAURO3X0pMFrCITJVkVLJU6ncK5BtNwxlIR1oaNvb3IRaF-6EYA32zzBMnGFygXn31-DRs4I8A$
- WSCR Community Association- Preschool Skate Sept 30- Dec 5 www.wscr.ca/skating
Lori Gardner, Executive Assistant
Ralph Smith, Community Assistant
Suzy Trottier, Communications & Community Liaison
Categories: 311, Calgary Police Service, Community Associations, Parks, Scam, Youth Fair, budget