Calgary City News Blog
- Pilot project plans for new communities more efficiently 11 March 2014
Posted by: Jamal Ramjohn & Nicole St. Arnaud
Did you know we’re expecting up to 124,000 new Calgarians in the next five years? To address this growth, Council has asked us to pilot a program to streamline the process for planning new communities.
For each new community in Calgary, an area structure plan is created to guide its growth. These plans direct decisions about the provision of essential services and facilities, land uses, transportation systems, population, jobs and densities, and the sequence of development. City staff from various departments work with key stakeholders like community residents, business owners, landowners and developers to create these documents.
For the pilot, we’ve focused on condensing the planning process by dedicating more staff resources to these projects and by finding efficiencies. One of our biggest wins has been from the creation of the New Community Planning Guidebook, a document that consolidates policies common to our most recent area structure plans. This means that each new area structure plan we create requires significantly less policy written into it because the policy is already established in the guidebook.
When the pilot project wraps up at the end of August 2014, we will be reporting back to City Council.
The goal is to have two area structure plans produced within a 12-month timeline – one for a new plan area called Rangeview in the city’s southeast and one for a new plan area called Cornerstone in the city’s northeast. In fact, we’re creating six new area structure plans by the end of 2015.
Once these new area structure plans are approved, further development processes occur such as land use amendments and development permits, which allow the plan area to develop. How long this development takes generally depends on market conditions. Our work is a foundational piece for planning great new communities and responding to Council’s request for increased planning efficiency, which means putting shovels in the ground sooner, en route to the nextCITY.
Want to learn more about this project? Check out our video with Matthias Tita, Director, Land Use Planning & Policy.
Jamal Ramjohn is a Senior Planner and Nicole St. Arnaud is Planner with The City of Calgary’s Land Use Planning & Policy unit. Jamal and Nicole are project managers for the Area Structure Plan Pilot Project.
- Catch basins and warm weather 10 March 2014 With ongoing snow melt, The City of Calgary Water Services crews are continuing their efforts to address problems with frozen catch basins and pooling. Additional crews have been brought on to help manage priority calls including:
- Property damage – water entering houses or garages or business causing damage
- Accessibility – open manholes, playground zone, school zones, hospital zones, handicap access and bus zones
- Flooded roadways including intersections
Since Friday, March 7, Water Services has received approximately 1,200 catch basin-related calls. Ten percent of the calls were property damage-related and 30 percent are considered high priority accessibility issues. There are approximately 48,000 catch basins in Calgary.
If you find a catch basin problem, we advise you not to try clearing it yourself as you cannot see potential hazards under the water's surface.
What can home-owners do?
Melting snow can impact your home, but simple actions like shoveling snow away from your foundation, clearing snow, ice and debris from your eavestroughs, pointing downspouts away from the house (not towards your neighbour’s) can make a big difference.
We thank Calgarians for their patience as crews attend to calls on a priority basis. For other tips on protecting your property from water due to snow melt visit calgary.ca/flooding.
Contact The City of Calgary's 3-1-1 Operations Centre to create a service request or submit the details online. If you're calling from outside the local calling area, dial 403.268.CITY (2489).
- Celebrating International Women’s Day: Marion Nicoll’s artful mark on our city’s history 10 March 2014
"Presence VIII (Man And His World Exhibition)," by Marion Nicoll
© Glenbow Museum, 2014
This Saturday marks International Women’s Day. A day we can look back on the incredible leaps and bounds made in women’s rights, and celebrate those who helped bring us to where we are today. Calgary artist, Marion Nicoll, was one of the women who has made her mark on our city’s history.
Marion Nicoll was born in Calgary in 1909, and grew into a passionate and determined artist, studying at the Ontario College of Art, and at the Provincial Institute of Technology in Calgary. Marion became the first female instructor at the Provincial Institute of Technology and Art, (now the Alberta College of Art and Design), was the first woman from the prairies admitted to the Royal Canadian Academy and was one of the first artists to use an Apple computer to produce limited edition prints with the McPaint program. She pushed the boundaries of art and inspired three generations of students to do the same. Her works are known for bold forms and contrasting colours, representing the world through an abstract lens.
Calgary Public Art’s Collection Coordinator, Quyen Hoang, sees artists like Marion Nicoll as an essential part of progressing society.
“Artists help us question the status quo, see things from different perspectives… that constant questioning is what keeps us progressing as a society and as human beings. That we’re not just complacent in where we are at, but that we’re always pushing the institutions that are there to serve us,” says Quyen. “Marion Nicoll had a very independent spirit. She and her husband Jim Nicoll were very determined to encourage the arts in Alberta and I think through their own work… their own practice and their efforts to promote others, they helped to create a unique community.”
You can find two of Marion Nicoll’s pieces on display now in the Municipal Building Atrium – titled January and February, part of the Civic Art Collection.
“Life is constantly changing and our ideas are constantly changing as well. That’s what I like about art and artists,” says Quyen, “They connect us to a different way of thinking. They give us the criticality that we need to be able to be more than what we are.”
The Civic Art Collection is a collection of artworks managed by the Public Art Program and held in trust by The City of Calgary for the citizens of our community. It serves as a cultural legacy for all citizens of Calgary.
- Mayor Naheed Nenshi calls out for kids' flood-related art 7 March 2014 As part of The City’s commemoration to the worst natural disaster in our modern history, Mayor Naheed Nenshi invites all Calgarians aged 12 and under to submit their drawings and photos to share their experiences during the 2013 flood and flood recovery.
“The flood of 2013 hit Calgary hard and we recognize some Calgarians have faced extremely difficult times this past year,” says Mayor Nenshi. “But the flood also saw our community spirit grow stronger.
One of the ways we want to remember June 20, 2013 and recognize that community spirit is by calling on the children of Calgary to show us their experience of the flood through art and photography. We’ll look back while moving forward with hope and optimism.”
This artwork will be unveiled June 20, 2014, and used in a large-scale display in the Municipal Building and at various locations throughout the city and online.
How to participate
Kids across Calgary, 12 years and under, can submit a photo or drawing relating to the 2013 flood, recovery or preparedness. It should be 8.5 x 11 inches, either landscape or portrait.
Submissions are accepted from March 7 until April 4, 2014 by mail, in person or by email. Find submission details at calgary.ca/floodrecovery or call 311.
- Have your say on Calgary's future 7 March 2014
Action Plan 2015 – 2018 public engagement is happening until March 21! Board our Take Action bus or participate online to help shape Calgary’s future.This weekend we will be at Market Mall, Beddington Towne Centre, Country Hills Library, Signal Hill, and Crowfoot Library. Visit the Action Plan website for details or to find an event near you.
- Safety campaign aims to ensure flood property repairs are done right 5 March 2014
The 2013 June flood impacted over 2,600 buildings in Calgary, requiring plenty of repairs and new construction work to be completed in homes, businesses and multi-residential buildings. Property owners are being reminded to obtain applicable permits, and to have necessary inspections completed to ensure their flood repairs have resulted in a safe building.
We're also reminding property owners that have applied for the Government of Alberta’s Disaster Recovery Program (DRP) that the deadline to obtain permits is March 31, 2014. If you haven't obtained permits before this date may not be eligible for assistance from the DRP in the event of a 2014 flood. For more information contact the DRP office at 1-888-671-1111.
Calgarians are encouraged to visit calgary.ca/floodrecovery, or to contact 311 to learn more about permitting and inspection requirements for homes, businesses and multi-family dwellings.
- Info session: Spring flood preparedness and Elbow River bridge design 5 March 2014 Flood preparedness and rebuilding efforts are on the agenda at an information session in southwest Calgary March 11.
At this information session, Calgarians can learn more about what steps are being taken and what they can do to better prepare for spring and the potential for high water flows.
The City and Province are investigating a number of mitigation options to ensure communities are better able to address and deal with potential flooding in the future. Mitigation measures include both short- and long-term projects to help protect against future floods, reduce negative downstream impacts, and bring together projects at the regional and local levels.
Drop-in information session
Tues., March 11, 5-7:30 p.m.
Christ Church, 3602 8 St. SW
Staff from the Government of Alberta and various City departments will be in attendance, including:
- Transportation Infrastructure
- Development & Building Approvals
- Flood Recovery Operations
- Water Services
- Finance & Supply
- Calgary Emergency Management Agency
- The City’s Expert Management Panel on River Flood Mitigation
This drop-in session is also an opportunity to learn about and offer input into the replacement of three pedestrian bridges along the Elbow River. The Transportation Infrastructure (TI) project team replacing the bridges will be available for open dialogue, to share bridge design concepts, and to get your input on design preferences like railings, cross bracing and tower colour.
“Everyone associated with this project has been working hard to get these bridges replaced as soon as possible,” says project manager Charmaine Buhler. “A suspension-style bridge design concept was selected to replace the bridges, based on its fit with our design criteria, and on feedback from the community.”
Bridge project information and a design preferences survey will be available online until March 24. Bridge construction should start this spring and the bridges should open by December 2014.
Visit our flood recovery website for more info on emergency preparedness and recovery projects.
- Action Plan 2015-2018 public engagement begins today 3 March 2014 Help us understand what YOU value most by participating in Action Plan 2015 - 2018 from March 3 to March 20, 2014.
Finding the right balance between investing in quality public service and keeping tax rates affordable can mean something different to every Calgarian - and we want to hear all of your perspectives.
Rather than hosting an open house, which can sometimes have fewer citizens in attendance than City staff, we've transformed a Calgary Transit bus into a lean mean Action Plan machine.
The Take Action bus is scheduled to make an appearance at over 20 public engagement events along its route, collecting your opinions and suggestions as its noble passengers.
“Starting March 3, Action Plan is going to where the people are – attending public spaces like malls, dog parks, recreation facilities, and farmers markets. At least one engagement opportunity is planned for every Ward in Calgary during this period,” said Action Plan Program Manager Sarah Woodgate – indicating that public engagement is just one step in a year-long process.
Too cold out for you to board the bus? No worries. You can visit the Action Plan website to participate online using our fancy new tools such as the:
- Budget Simulator: citizens consider City services and make some tough choices on spending priorities, based on the impacts to service that each scenario presents.
- Priorities tool: citizens tell us what important priorities The City should focus on for the next four years.
- Discussion Forum: an open forum, where citizens can submit ideas, comments and thoughts on City spending, priorities, budget, or anything else. Fellow citizens can comment and vote on any of the submitted ideas, or start a new discussion thread themselves.
A detailed summary of all ideas and suggestions will be given to Council and City departments for consideration in developing Council priorities, business plans and budgets. As well, a summary of citizen engagement will be announced publicly in April and shared on the Action Plan 2015 – 2018 website in May.
Look for Action Plan in your community and have your say!
- Get ready to get active with spring and summer recreation 28 February 2014 Our first ever combined Spring & Summer Program Guide has hit the stands. Offering more than 3,000 registered programs and 6,500 drop-in opportunities, there's something to suit just about anyone.
"With warm weather just around the corner, it’s exciting to plan how you will get active and make the most out of your spring and summer,” says Michelle Tait, program and service coordinator in Recreation.
The Spring & Summer Program Guide includes fun day camps like Nature Discovery, Arts Smarts, Junior Golf Camp, or Swim & Fun. There are even sailing and soccer day camps, giving your children a great opportunity to try new activities.
Browse the guide for special offers like Wild Wednesdays at Village Square Leisure Centre for half-price admission, or golf nights, art programs and special events such as the city-wide Canada Day Party.
The online My Rec Guide provides a customized registration experience based on your interests, location and age. In addition, it can be translated into 71 languages.
Registration begins March 3 and spots fill fast, so be sure to strike while the iron's hot!
Sign up online at calgary.ca/recreation or by calling 403-268-3800.
Get active. Get creative. And have fun with City of Calgary Recreation. There’s more than you think.
- Fix-a-Leak contest begins today 27 February 2014 We're calling out for all Calgarians to take the leaky toilet test from February 27 to March 9, 2014, to find out if your toilet is wasting water.
For your chance at winning a $500 gift card to RONA, simply follow the instructions below:
- Drop – Put several drops of food colouring into the toilet tank and wait 20 minutes.
- Peek – Look in the bowl. If the water changes colour, you’ve got a leak.
- Repair – If the water changes, your toilet is leaking and needs repair.
- Save – Congratulations! By repairing just one toilet, you could save $100!
The contest is open to all Calgarians from February 27 to March 9, 2014, and will award the winning submission with a $500 gift card to RONA!
- Photos should clearly show the colour change in the toilet tank after drops of food colouring or a leak detection tab are added to the tank
- Find sample submission photos on the Rethink Water Facebook page
- The contest is open to all residents of Calgary, Alberta who are 18 years of age or older
- Limit of one entry per household
- The winner will be selected through a random draw on Tuesday, March 11 and the winner will be notified by a personal facebook message by 4 p.m. on March 11.
- You're Invited: Calgary’s Cappy Smart Band celebrates 20-years of musical excellence 26 February 2014 The Cappy Smart Band has been bringing joy and providing top-notch entertainment to Calgarians for more than 20 years.
Calgary Fire Department, this fun and talented 40-piece band will be celebrating its 20-year anniversary with a free concert for the public on Sunday, March 2, at 2 p.m. in the Leacock Theatre at Mount Royal University.
This will be the second complimentary concert that the Cappy Smart Band has performed in celebration of its anniversary. The first concert was in November 2013 and a third concert is being planned for June 2014.
The trio of concerts marks two decades of the Cappy Smart Band’s revitalization. In the late 1800s the band was formed by the first full-time Calgary Fire Chief James ‘Cappy’ Smart. The group of musicians played for all kinds of city events, from ice cream socials to operas, before they folded in 1914 when all its members joined the war effort. The Cappy Smart Band was re-established almost 80 years later in 1993 thanks to support from a Calgary businessman, David Mitchell, whose father had been a close friend of Fire Chief Smart.
Although admission for Sunday’s concert is free, donations in support of the Cappy Smart Band are welcome.
For more information on the Cappy Smart Band visit CappySmart.com
- Students learn their municipal ABC’s at City Hall School 26 February 2014 Citizenship and municipal governance come alive at City Hall School for both students and teachers.
This week-long, custom-designed educational program for Calgary students in Grades 3-12 is delivered in partnership with The City of Calgary's Community & Neighbourhood Services and Campus Calgary.
City Hall School provides teachers the opportunity to meet curriculum expectations through meaningful connections to the real world. The program also encourages students and teachers to participate in the public realm, helping to create a connected city of informed, civically-engaged citizens.
Teachers and students work with City of Calgary employees and meet with Council members as they learn more about City services, municipal governance and what it means to be a Calgarian.
Any Calgary teacher can apply to participate! Teachers interested in applying for the 2014-2015 school year are encouraged to visit our website for more information.
Applications for the 2014-15 year are due April 8, 2014.
- Report to Calgarians - Fix a Leak 25 February 2014
1 in 4 toilets is silently leaking, wasting water, and costing you money.You could save up to $100 a year with this simple test to find and fix leaky toilets.Visit http://goo.gl/lAALHB for more info.
- Lower deck of Centre Street Bridge & Memorial Drive are now open 24 February 2014 The lower bridge deck of the Centre Street bridge and all lanes of Memorial Drive have been reopened to traffic. Motorists are reminded to drive with care, especially in this area, as patches of ice may remain.
An early morning watermain break resulted in traffic disruption during this morning’s commute. The lower deck of the Centre Street Bridge and eastbound Memorial Drive were closed due to pooling and freezing water. As an interim measure, westbound Memorial Drive was altered to two way traffic.
Water Services quickly turned off the water source while Roads crews began to clear water and ice from the roadways. Water Services has begun to repair the break, located in the 100 block of 8 Avenue NW. Water service to approximately 20 homes has been disrupted. Emergency water has been supplied for the affected homes.
Further traffic disruptions are not expected while repairs are underway. The City would like to thank Calgarians for their patience.
- City crews working to re-open east-bound Memorial Drive 24 February 2014
The lower deck of the Centre Street Bridge is currently closed to traffic however the upper deck remains open to north and southbound traffic. City of Calgary Water Services has successfully shut down the source of the water flow. Some homes in the area will have disrupted water services.
More information to follow.
- Have your say in the future of municipal golf in Calgary 21 February 2014 Share your opinions on the proposed closure and redevelopment of McCall Lake Golf Course and how it relates to the entire municipal golf system at The City's upcoming open house sessions.
When: Tuesday, February 25, 2014 & Thursday, February 27, 2014
Time: 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. (Tuesday & Thursday)
Where: Southland Leisure Centre (Tuesday) & Genesis Centre of Community Wellness (Thursday)
Over the next 10 years, approximately $35 million will be needed to address life-cycle requirements across the municipal golf system, of which $6.7 million is required at McCall Lake. The northeast golf course also runs an average annual deficit of between $200,000 and $250,000.
Redevelopment of McCall Lake Golf Course is being investigated as an option to sustaining municipal golf as:
• No further operating or capital funding will be required for this asset.
• Potential land sales could provide the $35 million needed for life-cycle requirements at the remaining municipal golf courses over the next 10 years.
A concept plan of the site includes the potential development of a commercial/industrial area and recreational campus.
***Please Note: The Manager of Golf Course Operations Kyle Ripley will make a presentation at 6:30 p.m. during each of the open house sessions.
All information gathered during engagement will be provided to Council as part of the feasibility study for its consideration moving forward.
Open house details
• Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014 – 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Southland Leisure Centre (2000 Southland Dr. S.W.)
• Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014 – 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Genesis Centre of Community Wellness (7555 Falconridge Blvd N.E.)
- City Employees Recognized by Province for 2013 Flood Efforts 21 February 2014 The Province of Alberta’s “Heroes of the Flood” program gave Albertans the chance to recognize people who went above and beyond to help their friends, family and neighbours recover from the June 2013 floods. More than 1,300 Albertans were nominated – including a number of City of Calgary employees.
Elbow Park during flood recovery
Three of those employees are front-line staff from Waste & Recycling Services: Chris Kostyniuk, Jason Davis and Jolen DiGirolamo. They moved thousands of kilograms of flood waste off our streets- helping to keep Calgarians healthy and our streets clean and safe.
Jason Davis Waste & Recycling Services Jolen Digirolamo, Waste & Recycling Services
Jolen Digirolamo collected flood waste, working 16-hour shifts for six straight days. “The public was awesome,” he recalls. “When I pulled up in Stanley Park they were congratulating me. They hadn’t seen a garbage truck in days. I had a swarm of people rush the truck because they were so happy.” Jolen takes away positive memories, saying “it felt great seeing how a city helps each other in a disaster. It was awesome to see Calgary come together.”
The flood directly impacted Chris Kostyniuk, as some of his family was heavily hit; but his job as a City employee was front and centre. “It was not only a privilege but a duty to help out the people of this city we serve,” he says. “If it ever happens again (**Knocks on wood**) I will be there to help. This is our city. This is my privilege.”
Going forward, each of the 1300+ nominees will receive a letter and certificate from the Government of Alberta; the Province will pick the top 100 and the top 100 heroes of the flood will be announced in the summer.
For more info, check out a complete list of the nominees and a PDF poster of all the nominees.
- Calgary Transit's new fleet hits the streets 21 February 2014
The first of 150 brand new 40-foot New Flyer buses have hit city streets.
Increased accessibility, passenger safety and comfort, fuel efficiency and technology enhancements are just a few of the bells and whistles the new rides offer.
Comparing these buses with Calgary Transit’s retiring fleet is much like comparing apples and oranges - a difference customers will surely notice and appreciate.
Calgary Transit Fleet Manager Russell Davies explains how these new buses will help Calgary Transit reach the directives of its RouteAhead 30-year strategic plan in the video below.Quick Facts- All buses are expected to be delivered by the end of 2014- Calgary Transit currently has 1,100 buses in its bus fleet- The oldest bus in Calgary Transit’s existing fleet is a 1978 GMC 40' high floor bus-In a typical bus' service lifetime, it will consume 70 oil changes, 42 tires and 813,385 litres of fuel
- Flood preparedness info sessions planned 18 February 2014
Albertans living in flood-affected communities are worried about the spring melt and the potential for flooding that accompanies it.
The City of Calgary and the Government of Alberta understand those concerns and want to help residents and businesses better understand the potential for flooding and know how to be prepared.
Calgarians are invited to attend two information sessions later this month to learn more about what steps are being taken and what Calgarians can do to better prepare for spring and the potential for high water flows.
Officials from The City and the Province will be at the Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Association, 1320 5 Ave. N.W. on Monday, Feb. 24 from 5:30-8 p.m. and at the Bowness Community Association, 7904 43 Ave N.W. on Wednesday, Feb. 26 from 5-8 p.m.
Staff from The City's Flood Recovery Operations Centre and Water Services will be available to share information and answer questions about measures taken to repair and upgrade infrastructure damaged in last June's flood. Staff from Development & Building Approvals will be available to assist property owners still going through the repair process. The Calgary Emergency Management Agency will be offering information on what individuals can do to prepare for emergencies and what They City is doing to improve preparedness and emergency response. A representative from The City’s Expert Management Panel on River Flood Mitigation will also be in attendance.
Representatives from the Province's Flood Recovery Task Force, Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resources Development and Alberta Emergency Management Agency will be on hand to discuss mitigation being undertaken by the Government of Alberta. Officials will also provide information on spring readiness, snow melt, weather patterns and what agencies are doing to monitor the situation leading up to spring high water flows.
In addition to recovery efforts, The City and the Province are investigating a number of mitigation options to ensure communities are better able to address and deal with potential flooding in the future. Mitigation measures include both short- and long-term projects to help protect against future floods, reduce negative downstream impacts, and bring together projects at the regional and local levels.
The Province is hosting a series of similar sessions in other flood-affected communities in the coming weeks, including High River, Bragg Creek, Canmore and Drumheller.
To learn more about The City of Calgary's flood recovery and mitigation efforts and well as tips on personal and family preparedness, visit Calgary.ca/FloodRecovery. To learn more about the Province's work, visit http://www.alberta.ca/Flood-Recovery.cfm
- Calgary Transit Love Bus cruises city streets 14 February 2014 To celebrate Valentine's Day and show appreciation for their customers, this afternoon approximately a dozen cupids boarded Calgary Transit's Love Bus armed with flowers and candy.