Calgary City News Blog
- City of Calgary launches new commuter information portal 15 April 2014
Calgary.ca. The portal, called Getting Around Calgary, is dedicated to providing quick and easy travel information for Calgary commuters.
Inside commuters will find how to get to and from their destination with information, tools and resources about the various travel options available within Calgary. Whether you choose to walk, ride your bike, take transit , carpool or carshare, Getting Around Calgary will have you on your way allowing you to choose the most convenient, cost effective and environmentally sustainable way to travel.
Calgary commuters will also find links to up-to-date road reports, pathway and bikeway maps and transit route and schedules so you can avoid congestion and get to your destination safely and conveniently.
Interested in reducing the environmental footprint of your commute? Getting around Calgary also provides information about work options like telework for reducing and even eliminating peak hour commutes. You can even take part in various programs and partnerships and track the benefit your alternative commute has on the environment while reducing congestion for all Calgarians.
To find out just how easy getting around Calgary can be, visit Calgary.ca/gettingaroundcalgary.
- Mayor Proclaims April 13-19 as Public Safety Telecommunications Week 15 April 2014
Before the police, firefighters or paramedics arrive, The City of Calgary’s emergency communications officers (ECOs) are there.
Each year, Public Safety Communications (PSC) personnel evaluate and dispatch required resources for nearly one million 9-1-1 and non-emergency calls for the Calgary Police Service, Calgary Fire Department and Alberta Health Services.
As the ‘first’ of the first responders, ECOs serve as the critical link between citizens and the emergency help they require.
Mayor Nenshi's proclamation
In honour of the important work these individuals do and in celebration of National Public Safety Telecommunications Week, Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi has proclaimed April 13-19 as Public Safety Telecommunications Week.
Public Safety Communications was established in 2006, integrating emergency communications officers from the Calgary Police Service, Calgary Fire Department and Calgary Emergency Medical Services. The unique model sees more than 300 trained ECOs connecting citizens with The City’s nearly 3,500 firefighters, police officers and paramedics.
For more information on Public Safety Communications visit http://calgary.ca/911.
- Calgary welcomes new City Manager 14 April 2014
Today, The City of Calgary was introduced to our new City Manager, Jeff Fielding.
“It was important we cast a wide net to find the best person to lead this organization. Council and I are very pleased to find such a qualified candidate in Jeff Fielding,” said Mayor Nenshi. “His public service experience, including a history working for The City of Calgary and his citizen-focused approach will serve The City of Calgary, and Calgarians, well.”
Fielding is a seasoned municipal administrator who's brought innovation and excellence to cities across Canada since beginning his career in municipal government in 1978. Currently, Fielding is the City Manager of the City of Burlington, and will begin his role with The City of Calgary on June 2. Prior to that, he was City Manager with the City of London for nearly eight years.
"I am excited and honoured to be chosen to lead an exceptional organization in a world-class city,” said Fielding. “I have always been drawn to Calgary because of its vibrancy but I was drawn to this role based on the direction The City is taking,” he added. “I’m looking forward to working with Administration to support the Mayor and Council. Together we’ll continue to deliver the daily services Calgarians need and prepare to meet their expectations for the future.”
- Making sense of the census on City Matters 14 April 2014 Census takers will continue collecting data throughout Calgary neighbourhoods until April 22.
Paul Denys, Leader of Election and Census, explains in the video below what the census is and why it is so important to participate in the annual count.
For more information on census collection, visit Calgary.ca/census.
- Helping Calgarians prepare for high water: A message from our Mayor 14 April 2014 The City continues to take steps to prepare for potential flooding this year and citizens should too.
Calgarians can go to a new website at calgary.ca/floodprep for up-to-date information on the spring high water season and what is happening in our community. The site contains information on what The City is doing to prepare for high water season and what steps Calgarians should take to prepare themselves and protect their families in the event of future flooding.
“We are committed to continue sharing information with the community as it becomes available and to helping Calgarians take steps to prepare for future flooding,” said Mayor Naheed Nenshi. “We can’t prevent flooding but we can improve our readiness and response should there be any flooding.”
In addition to the website, The City's planning a series of videos and public information sessions designed to keep Calgarians informed.
Updates are also available through The City’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, our Newsroom, email alerts and mobile app.
Calgarians can also listen for Alberta Emergency Alerts and sign up for provincial notifications at www.emergencyalert.alberta.ca.
- Video Update: City of Calgary flood resiliency and spring preparations 10 April 2014 The City is committed to helping Calgarians recover from last year’s flood and prepare for the possibility of future floods.
On Wednesday, April 9, Mayor Naheed Nenshi, Bruce Burrell, Director of the Calgary Emergency Management Agency and Rick Valdarchi, Program Manager with Water Resources outlined
the status of our ongoing flood recovery initiatives as well as how we’re preparing for the possibility of future flooding.
Beginning Monday, April 14, Calgarians are invited to visit calgary.ca/floodprep for the latest information on flood preparation, river and stream flow advisories and community information sessions.
- Hundreds of youth line up for job opportunities with local employers 9 April 2014
Youth and young adults were lined up for hours before the doors even opened as The City of Calgary kicked off its 16th Annual Youth Hiring Fair. The fair was held at Stampede Park’s BMO Centre.
“Helping young people get off on the right foot is so important,” says Arlas Gilles, a Youth Hiring Fair organizer with The City of Calgary. “This event provides opportunities for youth to get the experience they need to build confidence and skills in the job market. A strong and productive workforce ultimately benefits our city as a whole.”
Only hiring fair exclusively for youth
Mike Schmidt lined up hours ahead
Today’s event features more than 5,000 full-time, part-time, seasonal and career opportunities offered by over 80 local employers.
Mack Skorpack of Shakers
“It seems like there will be a lot of jobs here - a lot of big companies,” said Schmidt as he waited for the doors to open. “I heard there will be on-the-spot interviews.”
More than 80 local employers on hand
Employers, such as Shakers Fun Centre, were equally happy to see so many qualified young people with the potential to fill needed roles within their organizations.
“We hire 40-50 positions around this time of year for summer jobs,” said Mack Skorpack of Shakers. “It would be ideal if we could fill those positions here today.”
For more information regarding the Youth Hiring Fair and opportunities to participate next year, visit www.nextsteps.org.
More photos can be found on Flickr!
- Citizens encouraged to provide input for Municipal Government Act review 9 April 2014
The Government of Alberta is undertaking a review of the most important piece of legislation for municipalities – the Municipal Government Act (MGA). The MGA outlines how every municipality in Alberta operates, how municipal councils function, how municipalities serve citizens, and how citizens work with their municipalities.
This review will focus on three main areas:
• Governance and Administration
• Planning and Development
• Assessment and Taxation
Although the MGA has been previously amended in response to new trends and issues, this is the first comprehensive review of the legislation since 1995. Since then, Calgary has grown tremendously and now faces a variety of challenges and opportunities that didn’t exist before. The goal of this review is to ensure modern and effective legislation is in place for municipalities, citizens and businesses in Alberta.
The City of Calgary will participate in the MGA review and the Government of Alberta’s consultations being held in Calgary from April 9 to 11.
Calgarians are also encouraged to participate in this important process.
To provide your input in person, attend the public open house on April 10 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Radisson Hotel in Calgary (6620 36 Street N.E.).
Visit the MGA review website to register for the open house session, or find other ways to get involved online. Registration preferred, although not mandatory, for the open house.
- The City of Calgary partners with Calgary Horticultural Society Garden Show 8 April 2014 Being YardSmart is about enjoying an inviting, beautiful yard that’s low maintenance, low cost and easy on the environment. Following basic YardSmart principles will set you up for gardening success in Calgary.
Whether you are new to gardening or are an advanced gardener, get inspired and prepared for the 2014 gardening season at this weekend’s Calgary Horticultural Society Garden Show at Spruce Meadows.
The City is fortunate to have the Calgary Horticultural Society as one of our partners, and together we collaborate on projects such as community gardens, gardening workshops and producing brochures that support gardening enthusiasts during our short growing season.
$15 admission ($10 for Calgary Horticultural Society members) includes
- Access to the Gardeners' Marketplace with over 90 exhibitors
- Cooking demos by Atco Blue Flame Kitchen
- Planting demos - with lots of free plants to give away, over 300 burpee home gardens veggie plants
- Advice from Gardeners helping Gardeners
- Special presentations
- Family activities
- Display Garden Competition and our Art in the Garden Container Competition
- Your census answers count for Calgary school boards 8 April 2014
Taking a few minutes to answer census questions will help Calgary school boards plan for the future.
“Information collected from the census informs school boards of how many kids are living in your community and how to best allocate resources for new students,” said Anne Trombley, Manager Calgary Board of Education Planning & Transportation.
School boards also use census data to plan for new schools and to examine how existing schools are being utilized.
“A lack of census responses can lead to false indicators,” explained Melissa Ummard, Planning Officer at the Catholic School Board. "We hope that by sharing information about the uses of census data - such as education planning - that more Calgarians will see the value in participating."
Census takers are knocking on doors until April 22. City identification badges are worn by all census takers; if it is not in plain view just ask to see it. If you’re not home, the census taker will leave a phone number where they can be reached to arrange the completion of your census. All information provided is secure.
For more information on census collection, visit Calgary.ca/census.
- Learn more about the Centre City cycle track network at upcoming info sessions 8 April 2014
As part of providing Calgarians with more transportation choices in Calgary’s busiest area, the Centre City, The City is taking a recommended Cycle Track network to the Standing Policy Committee on Transportation and Transit on April 16.
You can learn more about cycle tracks in Calgary’s downtown at the following information sessions:
- Hotel Arts (119 12 Avenue S.W.), Wednesday, April 9, 5-8 p.m.
- Devonian Gardens (#400, 317 7 Avenue S.W.), Thursday, April 10, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
- Dragon City Mall (328 Centre Street SE), Thursday, April 10, 2:30-5 p.m.
- Calgarians being asked to be a good neighbour 7 April 2014
After an exceptional winter, and record amounts of snow and gravel on Calgary’s roadways, more than ever, The City of Calgary is asking that Calgarians “be a good neighbour”.
Keeping Calgary clean is a collaborative effort and The City is asking all Calgarians to help make the city a beautiful place to live by doing their part― move vehicles and blue and black carts from the street when sweeping is scheduled.
To keep the 2014 tax increase down, council had asked City administration last fall to find savings across all departments. The discussion and planning for cuts actually began last summer, and last Monday, March 31, 2014, Council reviewed the proposals and approved the reduction to the Spring Clean-up (street sweeping) program.
The program has been reduced by $700,000 or 10 per cent.
The Transportation department proposed the reduction to the Spring Clean-up program because it has the least impact on citizen safety when compared to other programs like pothole repair, streetlighting or paving.
The City’s annual Spring Clean-up program is scheduled to start on April 22, 2014, weather permitting. All streets will be swept. The program will experience some changes due to the budget reduction, including:
- Each road will only be swept once. If a service request is received for a second pass (parked cars or blue/black carts on the road resulting in debris left behind), crews will not be able to accommodate these requests.
- Vehicles will not be towed. Cars that remain parked on roadways during scheduled street cleaning will no longer be towed. Debris left from sweeping around parked cars will be left behind. This change alone results in roughly $250,000 of savings for The City.
- Spring Clean-up activities will extend through the summer months. In past years, crews have completed street sweeping in time for Stampede. Due to the changes in resources this season, crews will continue street sweeping activities after Stampede and throughout the summer months. The significant amount of snow we’ve had has also delayed our start.
If debris is left behind because a car or cart has not been moved and you want to be a good neighbour, you can sweep the debris yourself. If you decide to sweep missed debris yourself, please follow these suggestions from Waste & Recycling:
- When cleaning up gravel, dust, rocks and other debris put all materials into a garbage bag. This will help keep the air free of dust and keep our collection vehicles clean as well.
- Rocks and other material may be heavy and needs to be double-bagged to avoid punctures and rips in the bags.
- For your collector’s safety, make sure your bags are not overweight and place all debris inside your black cart for removal.
Although Spring Clean-up’s official start date is April 22, you may see sweepers sooner in your area as crews take advantage of the fair weather for winter sweeping.
To find out when sweeping is scheduled for your community, watch for signs in your area, visit www.calgary.ca/sweep or contact call 3-1-1.
- Bringing the grid to new community planning 4 April 2014
Gridded street networks: versatile and efficient for communities old and new
The grid network provides many route options and direct
access to destination points
If you take a drive or stroll through some of my favourite neighbourhoods like Sunnyside, Marda Loop, or Parkdale, you’ll notice they were all built using this grid network. This planning tactic is what makes these places desirable to many.
The modified grid network provides multiple route options
and convenient access to destination points,
although less so than the grid network.
In the southeast, for example, a grid network would allow 52 Street SE to continue south into the Rangeview area allowing direct access to amenities and shopping destinations along that corridor. In Cornerstone, a grid pattern could connect 60 Street NE north of Airport Trail. The grid would also allow these communities to adapt to change in market trends over time by establishing an adaptable street network from the beginning.
A curvilinear network often provides fewer route options
and less convenient access to destination points.
We can also angle the grid, which is an option being considered in Rangeview to preserve stunning views of the Rockies to the south and west for future residents who will surely come to love that aspect of their community. Alongside the grid planning work, we’re also looking at park spaces and local retail and pathway networks linking natural areas, all within a 10 minute walking distance of the residential areas. These are all feature elements that the inner city communities mentioned above are also known for.
Are you thinking of moving to a new community one day? We’d love to hear your thoughts on these plans. To learn more please visit www.calgary.ca/cornerstone and www.calgary.ca/rangeview and if you have a few minutes to spare, please go directly to our online survey for Rangeview or Cornerstone.
As a planner, I’m excited to be working on plans for new areas of Calgary that emulate what we’ve all come to love about our city.
Jill is a Planner in Planning, Development and Assessment who is part of a team working on the Area Structure Plans for Rangeview and Cornerstone.
- Swing into spring with The City’s new golf app 4 April 2014
The City of Calgary Golf Courses app, powered by Gallus Golf, includes:
• GPS yardage
• Interactive scorecard
• Satellite hole flyover
• Online tee-time bookings
• Leader board for group outings
• Tracking golf rounds
• Special offer notifications
• News updates, and more
“We're excited about the special features of the app that help players enhance their game,” says Kyle Ripley, Manager, Golf Course Operations at The City of Calgary. “And it can all be shared easily with friends on Facebook.”
2014 golf season begins
Shaganappi Point Driving Range opens Saturday, April 5. Other courses at McCall Lake, Confederation and Shaganappi Point (including the other two driving ranges) are scheduled to open during the week of April 7. Temporary greens and reduced fees will be in effect.
Note: The schedule is tentative and based on weather and course conditions.
For full details on The City’s golf course and range opening schedule, the new app and information on The City of Calgary golf courses visit calgary.ca/golf.
- Warming up for the annual Youth Hiring Fair on April 8 3 April 2014
Calgary youth and employers are starting to think about summer jobs.Nearly 80 employers are looking to fill thousands of jobs at this year’s annual Youth Hiring Fair on April 8 at Stampede Park’s BMO Centre.Organizers from The City of Calgary Youth Employment Centre expect more than 5,000 employment opportunities for young job seekers. The positions include full-time, part-time, seasonal work and career opportunities.The event is free for youth aged 15-24. For more information on the Youth Hiring Fair visit www.nextsteps.org or connect with us on LinkedIn.
View more videos on our YouTube channel!
- Frogs aren’t the only thing with a lifecycle: Communities have one too 3 April 2014
Posted by Derek Pomreinke
I moved to Calgary ten years ago and I can honestly say that it was the best choice I ever made. This city’s energy, culture, entertainment and career opportunities are so robust that it’s easy to picture living the rest of my life here. Since I am now considering buying a home, I have been thinking lately about the differences between living in new communities and older ones.
Through my work at The City, I know that communities go through a regular and predictable pattern over the course of their life. This community lifecycle pattern affects many different aspects of each neighbourhood and gives each part of Calgary a different flavour.
Because new communities are usually on the edge of the city, housing is available at a relatively low cost that is more affordable for young, first-time home buyers. As a result, the first group of residents moving into a community is typically young couples who either have children or are looking to start a family. Businesses that open in these communities know their market and provide services for the family and home.
Fifteen to twenty years later, the population of the community starts decreasing as children grow up and move out. The community schools have fewer students and businesses start to change to meet the new market demands. The price of homes has usually risen beyond the reach of new entry-level home buyers and so the community has to build cheaper housing options in order to attract new young families and maintain a high enough population to support the desirable businesses and schools.
At this point, communities typically start to see the development of more medium-density and multi-family housing like apartments, townhouses, secondary suites and duplexes. The community starts to be rejuvenated with a new generation of residents and there is a unique mix of new and old. Over the years, the added density and new development also allows for infrastructure upgrades and new businesses, which further add to the character of the area.
Calgary has many communities at each of these lifecycle phases. Many of our established communities were recently at the point where their population was declining, but now we are seeing signs that these areas are entering the next lifecycle phase and are starting to rejuvenate themselves and grow again. We will need to continue this trend by offering cheaper housing options in these areas if we are going to meet our Municipal Development Plan goal of accommodating half our population growth in established communities.
Each of these community phases may be attractive to me at different points in my life, and the great thing about Calgary is that I’ll always have those options. As the city grows, we will continue to see our communities transform as they move through this lifecycle, so no matter where I choose to buy a home I will likely get to experience most of these phases – which will keep both my life at work and home interesting for years to come.
Derek Pomreinke is a Planner with The City’s Geodemographics team in Land Use Planning & Policy.
- Help The City collect transportation data by opening your door for census takers 2 April 2014
Civic census takers will be knocking on doors in all Calgary neighbourhoods now through April 22.
All census takers will have City identification badges and ask for a few minutes of your time. Answering their questions will help The City better plan programs and services that meet your needs.
Although civic census is collected annually, every third year the census also collects data about transportation. The City then uses this information to determine the best infrastructure for each community.
This year, we'll be asking what mode of transportation you use to get around Calgary. Your answers will help us monitor progress of the Calgary Transportation Plan, which provides policy direction on multiple aspects of our transportation system.
So whether you walk, ride your bike, take transit, or drive your car where you need to go, providing information to census takers will make a difference in transportation choices for Calgarians.
If you’re not home, your census taker will leave a phone number where they can be reached to arrange the completion of your census. All information you provide is secure.
For more information on census collection, visit Calgary.ca/census.
- New interactive sculpture will allow park visitors to get creative 1 April 2014 Calgary’s Chinook weather phenomenon is legendary. It is also the inspiration for The City’s newest public art installation, which will use colour and light to enhance visitors’ experiences at Barb Scott Park this spring.
But unlike the uncontrollable weather, this interactive sculpture, dubbed Chinook Arc, will allow visitors to change its light sequence using hand movements. The sculpture will be highly visible along 12 Avenue S.W. and its soft glow will provide a reminder of warm Chinook winds during the dark winter months.
The artists, Creative Machines, say the shape draws inspiration also from the historic Beltline streetcar loop that once encircled the neighbourhood.
Collaborative design to collaborative art
Chinook Arc also extends the creative collaboration already begun during the consultation process and incorporates community involvement.
Extensive community consultation identified a desire for public art to be included in the development of the new park’s development plan. Public art funds, as dedicated by Council policy, were used to help fund this piece and the final design was chosen by a panel of five Calgarians, representing both the neighbourhood and the local arts community.
The total budget for this interactive sculpture was $370,000.
Installation will close one lane
Fencing of the site has begun in preparation for the installation beginning on March 31. One east-bound lane of 12 Avenue S.W. and the parallel sidewalk will be closed for most of the day on March 31. No other impacts are anticipated to commuters or surrounding residents or businesses during the estimated three-week installation process.
The new Barb Scott Park is named after one of Calgary’s longest serving aldermen, who represented Ward 8 for seven terms. Scott passed away recently at the age of 83.
Follow the installation process on Twitter @Chinook_Arc.
- City’s latest communication channel appeels to all Calgarians 1 April 2014 The City of Calgary uses multiple channels to communicate with Calgarians. Calgary.ca, receives an average 20 million visits annually. This very blog had more than 1.8 million visits in 2013, and Calgary leads all Canadian municipalities in terms of social media reach with nearly 100K followers on Twitter and 29K Facebook fans.
However, these digital channels do not reach all Calgarians. To fill this gap, on April 1, 2014, The City signed a partnership deal to put City messages on stickers on all bananas sold in Calgary.
“Research shows that all Calgarians buy groceries and bananas are a must on everyone’s shopping list.” says Cindy Pickett, Communications Director for the City.
“We’ve tried various non-digital channels, but by far (bananas) are the most appeeling to us” added Jacob George, Manager of Corporate Marketing. "Our hope is to connect with Calgarians, one byte at a time."The City's marketing team hopes to bring this tactic to fruition following approval by Council later this month.The initial pilot doesn't include organic bananas but The City hopes to expand the program in the fall.
- Work on riverbank stabilization and critical erosion sites continues 28 March 2014 Nine months after the June 2013 flood The City of Calgary along with the Government of Alberta are continuing work to stabilize and repair riverbank erosion sites.
The City has assessed more than 30 km of damaged riverbank on the Bow River and more than 5 km of damaged riverbank on the Elbow River. Sites were then prioritized based on a triple bottom line policy. This approach considers the economic, social and environmental costs and benefits for each project.
Erosion sites were categorized as critical, high, medium and low priority. Six erosion sites were identified as critical meaning work was required prior to the next high flow event as there was an immediate risk to public safety and critical infrastructure. Riverbank stabilization is complete on critical sites at 8 Avenue at 22 Street SE in Inglewood, Home Road and 52 Street NW and Memorial Drive at 3 Street NW. The City will be returning to these sites to complete final landscaping and plantings which will add to the ability to withstand future high water events Work has begun on critical sites at Memorial Drive at 3 Street NW and will begin at Diamond Cove SE in Douglasdale in the next few weeks. Riverbank stabilization on critical sites will be complete by the end of June 2014.
27 sites were categorized as high priority. These are sites that if not addressed would be at risk for further damage to the bank. In addition the riverbank repair was necessare to facilitate repair to adjacent damaged infrastructure. In April The City will begin work on three sites at Lindsay Park, Langevin Bridge and Sandy Beach. The remaining sites will be completed by the end of June 2014.
“Damage to the riverbanks was extensive,” says Frank Frigo, Senior Planning Engineer with The City. “About 35 km of riverbank have been severely eroded along the Bow and Elbow Rivers. Nearly 100,000 tonnes of rock will be used in riverbank work at the six critical sites.”
Bank restoration design and delivery are very complex and require consideration of a number of elements. In addition there are challenges posed by the location of the work.
“Riverbank work is complex” said Frigo. “We conduct hydraulic modeling to ensure we understand the impacts our project will have on the river and nearby infrastructure, utilities and properties.”
The City is working closely with the provincial and federal governments to ensure river navigation, public lands and environmental regulations are addressed.
For more information on flood recovery projects including riverbank stabilization and erosion sites visit Calgary.ca/floodrecovery.