Calgary City News Blog

Calgary City News Blog

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  • Recognizing Calgarians who improve life for people with disabilities 2 December 2016 With upcoming Federal Government accessibility legislation and the increasing need for more accessible services, what can we do to make Calgary a more inclusive city?

    Today we celebrated International Day of Persons with Disabilities by recognizing local organizations and innovators who are leading the way to improve life for people with disabilities in Calgary.

    2016 ACA annual award recipients and special guests.

    “People with disabilities have so much to contribute to our communities and our economy,” says Nabeel Ramji, a member of the Advisory Committee on Accessibility (ACA). Nabeel works as the Manager of Strategic Atlantic and Real Estate Finance at Strategic Group. He also has cerebral palsy. “This is why we chose the theme of ‘Live, play, work and thrive in Calgary’ for this year’s event. Regardless of one’s ability, as a community we can collaborate to ensure that everyone has access to equal opportunities towards a full and active life in Calgary.”

    Awarding Calgarians who make a difference

    Mayor Nenshi recognized the contributions of those who work tirelessly to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities in Calgary. The winners of the ACA’s annual awards are:

    • The Access Recognition Award was awarded to Darlene Boyes of Calgary Recreation for her expertise in supporting the Recreation Accessibility Study. The study audited 45 City-operated facilities and recommended improvements to increase accessibility. Darlene’s passion, advocacy and expertise help ensure City facilities are physically accessible, welcoming and inclusive.
    • The Advocacy Award recognized Mark Burzacott of Between Friends, an organization dedicated to creating social, recreational and self-development opportunities for people with disabilities to connect, grow and belong. Through Mark’s work, he removes barriers of isolation and participation. He recently developed a Sensory Room, a therapeutic space for members, at the Between Friends Camp Bonaventure.
    • The Ella Anderson Accessible Transportation Award was given to Stephen Hansen for the formation of Access Calgary, now Calgary Transit Access. A visionary in accessible transportation, he was instrumental in creating Access Calgary in 2001 to ensure people with disabilities could use transit to meet their diverse needs. Today, Calgary Transit Access provides over one million trips each year to nearly 15,000 Calgarians that are unable to use Calgary Transit services due to a disability.

    Sandra Jansen provided greetings on behalf of the Government of Alberta and Sheila Serup presented two 2016 Awards of Excellence to Ms. Lynn Wheadon and Dr. Dorothy Badry on behalf of The Premier’s Council on the Status of People with Disabilities.

    These awards acknowledge only a small fraction of the total contributions by Calgarians to support the well-being of people with disabilities in our city.

    Making accessibility a priority for everyone

    Minister Kent Hehr spoke about the importance of developing an upcoming Canadian Accessibility Act. Nicole Jackson of Accessible Housing talked about Accessible U which includes toolkits and practical information about accessibility in the residential environment. Councillor Druh Farrell concluded the formal portion of the event by sharing how The City is improving accessibility. Attendees had the opportunity to meet with local organizations who support a variety of disabilities in Calgary, including Deaf and Hear Alberta, CNIB, Accessible Housing, Between Friends and March of Dimes Canada.

    The City of Calgary’s Advisory Committee on Accessibility provides advice on important issues that impact the needs of people with disabilities, including building design, transportation and services.

    Happy #IDPD2016 everyone! For more information about what The City is doing to improve accessibility, visit

    Watch footage from the ACA annual awards and International Day of People with Disabilities event.

  • New Open Data Portal Now Live! 30 November 2016 On the heels of being named one of the top “Open Cities” in Canada by the Public Sector Digest in their annual Open Cities Index report, The City of Calgary has launched an upgraded Open Data Portal with enhanced data analysis features, new data visualization tools, and API capabilities for easier app development for developers.

    This new Portal allows us to share more, better data with citizens, while also allowing citizens to interact with our data in new, more intensive ways.

    “Where the old Open Data Catalogue gave citizens access to download our data, the new Portal allows citizens to really take
    a deep dive into our data and interact with it in a more intense way,” says Leader of Intellectual Property & Access Marketing in Corporate Analytics & Innovation Dale McNamee. “We’re excited to keep growing the number and types of datasets that we make available on the Portal and, of course, to see what new developments will come from them.”

    With the launch of the new Open Data Portal, The City will be retiring the old Catalogue at the end of the year. To make the transition to the new Portal smoother for users, we’ve migrated the current catalogue to, which will remain live until December 31, 2016.

    Interesting in seeing the different kinds of datasets that The City makes available to the public for free (and without restrictions)? Visit the new Open Data Portal today!

    Fast facts about open data

    • “Open data” refers to data that is made available for free, without restrictions (anyone can use it) and can be used for any purpose, including commercial use
    • The City of Calgary joined the ‘open data movement’ in 2010 to provide centralized and easy access to City data
    • The City’s old Open Data Catalogue received an average of 14,000 downloads and 7,000 unique visitors every month. With the new Portal, these numbers are anticipated to increase significantly.
    • 22 mobile apps have been created and brought to market using The City’s open data, and combined have over 750,000 downloads
  • Calgary’s Southwest Ring Road: connecting people and communities 29 November 2016 With work beginning in the 1950s to determine its location, followed by 60 years of planning and design, we’re now only months away from crews breaking ground on Calgary’s Southwest Ring Road (SWCRR). For the next five years, the Government of Alberta’s recently hired contractor Mountain View Partners, with its subcontractor KGL Constructors, will work to complete the new 21 kilometre highway. Travelling between Highway 8 and Macleod Trail S.E., the SWCRR makes our city’s road network better.
    Westhills Way, behind the Westhills shopping area, opening 2020.

    “We’ve been waiting a long time for this missing piece in our road network and we’re excited to see it move forward”, says Julie Radke, Manager of ring road integration. “But we have a lot of work to do to make sure this piece of ring road fits with our existing roads.”

    The City of Calgary’s to-do list includes four new road connections at Westhills Way, 90 Avenue S.W., Southland Drive, and 162 Avenue S.W. The City is also improving four existing roads:

    “We’ve already completed the new Westhills Way connection and we’re on schedule to begin work on four other road projects in 2017”, explains Radke. “We’ll finish our work one or two years before the ring road opens, but that means there’s no doubt they’ll connect and be ready on opening day.”

    When completed, The SWCRR will connect to major highways and the existing Stoney Trail, improving the road network for reliable goods movement, more options for traveling around the city, and shortened travel times for people driving between communities and popular destinations in and outside Calgary. It’s a big part of Council’s priority, A City that Moves.

    More information on the SWCRR:

    Public information sessions
    Tuesday, Nov. 29, 5-8 p.m. at Calgary First Church of the Nazarene – 65 Richard Way S.W.
    Wednesday, Nov. 30, 6-9 p.m. at Bishop O’Byrne High School – 333 Shawville Boulevard S.E.

    Constructing the Ring Road: final design, schedule and traffic detours
    Web page:

    Constructing Calgary’s connections and road improvements:
    Web page:

    History and location of the ring road (interchanges, bridges and roads):
    Web page:

  • Calgary’s Winter Recreation Guide will help you stay warm this winter 29 November 2016

    As the winter chill begins to set in this year, Calgary’s Winter Recreation Guide has hit stands and online at the website, offering thousands of ways to help you and your family stay warm and active through the colder months. And with a range of beginner classes that won’t hurt your body, your pride, or your wallet, the adage “no pain, no gain” has never been less true.


    Here are some fun beginner classes that we recommend to help make those winter months fly by:

    • Dance 101 for adults  
    • Skating and Hockey courses for both adults and kids
    • Drawing for the Completely Intimidated  
    • Improvisation courses
    • Golf (yes, we have indoor intro courses through the winter for kids and adults!)
    • Potter’s Wheel Basics
    • Belly Dance
    • Strength for Women  
    • Burlesque – Girls’ Night Out
    • Karate, Aikido or Tae Kwon Do 
    • Rock climbing

    For those new to fitness routine, just getting back in, or rehabilitating after an injury, we also offer a range of gentle fitness courses, which you’ll find in the guide.


    Joining a class doesn’t have to break the bank – all programs are priced to be affordable, and our Fair Entry program also provides fee assistance to qualified individuals. There are a number of programs at Village Square Leisure Centre that you can try for just a toonie. We want you to be more creative and active more often, and our winter programs can help you do just that.

    Registration begins today – pick up a copy of the program guide at your local Calgary Recreation facility, or customize your own at
    Register soon to ensure your space, and don’t forget to let us know how you stay active on Facebook or Twitter using #GetMovingYYC!
  • Updating our Civic Sport Policy – we want to hear from you! 29 November 2016
    A lot has changed since 2005. For one thing, you could visit Blockbuster on a Friday night to rent a movie. The top tech trends included dancing to your own ‘Ipod’ and flipping your Motorola Rzr cellphone. And, if you are a sports fan, then you likely remember the incredible (and misleading) performance by Lance Armstrong at the Tour de France. You may also remember that in 2005 Calgary was the first municipality in Canada to adopt a policy aimed at fostering sport.

    Updating our Civic Sport Policy.

    Council approved the Civic Sport Policy in 2005 but since then our population has grown by nearly 500,000 people. Along with this growth, there is increased demand for accessible sport opportunities and quality sport amenities. It’s for these reasons The City is looking to refresh this policy and ensure it continues to be meaningful for Calgarians.

    “We are looking to see how the policy has shaped sport opportunities in Calgary and how we can do better,” says Greg Steinraths, manager of Sport Partnership in Calgary Recreation. “Whether it’s amateur or professional sports, our goal is to clearly understand our role and how The City can better facilitate and support the broader sport delivery system.”

    We want to hear from you! There is no doubt that sport plays an incredibly important role in the cultural fabric of our city. Moreover, sport provides significant economic and social benefits, which is why we are asking for input from stakeholders such as Sport Calgary, Calgary Sport Tourism Association and sport organizations.

    So far, we’ve talked to a lot of individual Calgarians too! From education providers, and volunteers from the LGBTQ community, to new Canadians and amateur athletes but now we’d like to hear from you. Whether you’re involved in sport or not, are a coach, ref, or a parent whose children participate, please review what we’ve heard so far and give us your thoughts on the future of sport in Calgary.

  • GetMovingYYC with free events across Calgary 28 November 2016

    Sedentary lifestyles are on the rise. On average, Albertans sit almost 9 hours per day (2015 Alberta Survey on Physical Activity).

    Together, with our community recreation partners we are challenging Calgarians to break the cycle and to move more.

    Simple actions have big impact

    Moving more doesn’t have to be a life changing commitment to ‘exercise’. In fact, making small, simple changes to your everyday routine can significantly improve your health. It’s as simple as taking the stairs instead of the escalator; cycling instead of driving; standing instead of sitting; or going for a walk instead of watching TV.

    Join the movement

    #GetMovingYYC is an awareness campaign aimed at turning the curve on sedentary behaviour by getting more Calgarians more active more often. Over the course of the next week, (Nov. 26-Dec.3) Calgarians are invited to participate in free events being hosted across the city. 

    Join the movement and the conversation. Use #GetMovingYYC on social media and show us how you move! For a schedule of free events and fun ideas on how to stay active visit

  • Evaluate concepts for the south end of Shaganappi Trail on November 24 21 November 2016

    Shaganappi Trail has long served as a vital link in Calgary’s transportation network.

    It’s time to think of the future and how it can better serve citizens. That’s why The City of Calgary is conducting a transportation corridor study that will identify short- and long-term recommendations for the south end of Shaganappi Trail.

    Citizens shared their concerns and ideas on how to improve the study area starting last year. The study is currently in Phase 2: Concept Development and Analysis. Join us at the open house on Thursday, November 24 at the Foothills Academy (745 37 St. N.W.) to help evaluate preliminary concepts for the study area.

    “The infrastructure was built in the 1960s and is the remnant of a freeway plan that was never built,” says Project Manager Lei Ma. “The study will help us understand how to reconfigure the roads to better meet the needs of the community and Calgary’s transportation network for the next 30 years.”

    There will also be an opportunity to provide input online around the same time. The input received throughout the engagement, along with technical review, will help us identify a set of recommendations to present to Calgarians in spring 2017.

    To learn more about the study or to sign up for email updates, visit

  • Saying goodbye to Car 2001 – our very first LRV 17 November 2016

    On September 20, Calgary Transit began the decommissioning process on Car 2001 – the very first Light Rail Vehicle (LRV) to arrive in Calgary.

    It was made by German manufacturer DUWAG and was delivered to Calgary Transit on April 18, 1980. The grand opening of the CTrain was on May 25, 1981 with Mayor Ralph Klein at the helm of the first train.

    Car 2001 was in service for 35 years and has travelled over 2.5 million kilometres during that time. It’s had 44 new tires, 514 routine maintenance and service inspections, the bogies (the framework carrying the wheels and axels) were rebuilt four times and the body was refurbished once in 1998.

    Decommissioning the vehicle involves removing the items of value so they can be reused to keep other LRVs running.

    Over the next few years more of these original LRV cars will be retired as Calgary Transit increases their inventory of the new Mask CTrain cars. Calgary Transit is still considering whether to keep one of the old cars for historical purposes. That decision will be down the road if funding becomes available.

  • City’s new pothole innovation could save thousands on road repairs 17 November 2016 From May to August of this year, The City’s 14 asphalt hot boxes filled over 5,000 potholes. The hot boxes are a single-purpose piece of equipment, and can’t be used without an operator.

    “Our crews started looking for a multi-functional piece of equipment,” says Roads Maintenance Manager Bill Biensch. “There were products on the market but they did not fulfill all our requirements.”

    So instead, a City-specific design was created. With a focus on increasing utilization of City fleet, Fleet Services, in collaboration with Roads, designed a new slide hot asphalt carrier that can be slipped onto the box of Snow and Ice Control (SNIC) trucks. After about 350 hours of engineering time and 800 hours of manufacturing, Fleet Services developed a prototype asphalt hot box that would slip into the back of the truck was delivered.

    “By using the SNIC trucks, which are parked in the summer, we turned these units into multi-purpose trucks that can be used year-round,” said Majid Asefi, Fleet Operations Manager. “This saves The City a significant investment in purchasing the additional chassis that was previously required.”

    The redesigned unit, which was fabricated in-house at the Fleet Fabrication and Welding shop, also allows the Roads crews to use the recycled asphalt pulled up from construction zones. After collecting the asphalt, recycling it is a four-step process:

    1. Apply emulsion (a liquid solution) to the asphalt carrier
    2. Apply emulsion to the asphalt
    3. Load the asphalt carrier with material
    4. Bake at ~ 350 °F for 8-12 hours

    After these four simple steps, the asphalt is ready to reuse!

    Crews can let the material bake during peak traffic periods in the afternoon, then get back out on the roads in the evening to start filling potholes. The baking process can occur without an operator while crews attend to other maintenance work, which makes the machines even more efficient. Crews can recycle up to four tonnes of asphalt each time the cycle runs, at a total cost of just $29 per tonne. For every tonne recycled, we save $141.

    The first trial used asphalt from manhole work in the southwest, which was re-purposed for a pothole in Charleswood. With a successful trial under their belts, crews are looking to turn more trucks into multi-purpose pieces of equipment. If two trucks could each recycle three tonnes of asphalt each day, crews could re-use almost 100 tonnes of asphalt every month, saving around $14,000.

    As the temperature cools down, crews may soon switch to snow and ice control. To prepare for next year’s summer road work, Fleet Services has refined the initial design and is currently building six additional units.

    For more information, visit the City’s Roads Maintenance program page.

  • Animal Services adopt-a-thon offers special rates to find your fur-ever friend 17 November 2016
    There’s only a few days remaining in the Animal Services adopt-a-thon which ends on Sunday, November 20. Making the choice to adopt a dog or cat from Calgary Animal Services is not only a great option for finding the perfect furry companion, it also helps reduce the number of homeless pets in Calgary by giving a loving animal a fur-ever home.
    Many studies show that pet ownership can improve your overall health by easing feelings of loneliness, providing opportunities for socialization and even just encouraging you to get outside and exercise. While there are many benefits for people, making a pet part of your family is a big commitment. Like people, pets have very different personalities, and physical and social needs. If you are considering pet adoption, we recommend spending time researching and finding the pet that best suits your family situation, your lifestyle and your stage in life. By taking time in the beginning, you can find the perfect pet for you.  

     During the adopt-a-thon, adoption rates are half price:

    • $100 for dogs
    • $75 for cats

    November is also Senior Pet Month at The City. Senior pets are dogs and cats that are seven years and older. To help celebrate this special month, we’re offering extra special rates for seniors adopting senior pets.

    Drop by our Animal Services Centre at 2201 Portland St. S.E. We’re open every day:

    • Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m
    • Saturdays and Sundays, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

    You can also visit our web sites to view our adoptable catsand dogs.

  • City recognizes Bullying Awareness Week and National Child Day 16 November 2016
    This week (November 13 to 19) is Bullying Awareness Week in Canada. The City of Calgary is helping Calgary’s youth tackle this problem by partnering with the Dare to Care Bullying Prevention program and local schools and teachers to educate children on prevention.
    Bullying is a form of youth violence that can have lasting impacts on young people and lead to

    serious mental health issues that can last throughout a person’s life. Despite the seriousness of this issue, it is estimated that only four per cent of students who experience bullying report it to their teachers, parents or other adults. Supporting youth through skills-based programs is an effective way to help young people, both victims and bystanders, do the right thing by reporting bullying and knowing how to act when it happens

    Six tips to help prevent bullying

    Kids, parents and teachers all play a role in preventing bullying. Here are six tips from the Dare to Care Bullying Prevention program for dealing with bullying. 
    • Try and look calm and confident, even though it can be difficult. Some bullies are trying to get you to look upset and you can take away their fun by refusing to give them what they want.
    • Think about when the bullying happens. If possible, avoid that place or person, and try and get support from friends so you aren’t on your own.
    • Write down the name of the people involved in the bullying behaviour, what they are doing and when it happens. Remember, if the mean-spirited behavior only happens once or twice it is conflict. If it happens for a week or longer, it is bullying. Knowing the difference between conflict and bullying is important.
    •  Keep talking and get support from your teacher, youth worker, friends and family. It’s a myth that telling will only make it worse. In reality, bullying can be stopped if adults and peers get involved.
    • Avoid cyberbullying by challenging yourself with these three questions:
      • Could I show the picture or words to the persons face?
      • Would I be O.K. if someone sent that picture or those words to me?
      • Could I show it to everyone in the school, and to my parents and grandparents
    • If the answer to any of these questions is “no,” then delete and walk away. Do not send!
    • If you are hurt or your belongings are damaged, keep evidence to show an adult.

    National Child Day wraps up Bullying Awareness Week

    On Sunday, Nov. 20, The City is also celebrating National Child Day, and this year’s theme, ‘It’s Our Right to Belong,’ is a perfect way to wrap up Bullying Awareness Week. We’re celebrating with the Winterfest event at Ralph Klein Park. Here are some examples of the great free activities and entertainment for the whole family from 1-3 p.m.:
    • Get creative in our crafts room
    • Join a guided park tour
    • Test out your birdwatching skills
    • Make some memories in the Belonging Photobooth and find out more about bullying prevention
    • Join firefighters to learn about fire safety

    Looking for activities close to your community? We are offering free public swims on National Child Day for children and youth under 18 at our fitness and leisure facilities at select times across Calgary.

    The City also supports everyone’s right to belong in Calgary communities through Fair Entry – programs and services for low income Calgarians . Here children and adults who qualify will find a one-stop service to receive special pricing on everything from bus passes, to recreation and other City programs and services.

  • Brand new sidewalk, streetlights, revitalize Kensington 10 November 2016
    After several months of hard work and dedication, the Kensington revitalization project is complete! Calgarians can now enjoy 16 blocks of upgraded streets and infrastructure in Kensington’s urban village – one of Calgary’s most iconic neighbourhoods.

    “The City would like to thank residents and businesses in Kensington for their support and patience during the project. With their help, we’ve been able to complete this project on time, improving safety and mobility for everyone who visits the Kensington area,” said City of Calgary project manager Erin Ward. “This is a project that cements Kensington as a destination for all Calgarians.”

    Improvements in the area included the replacement of sidewalks, trees, street lights and street furniture. In total, the project crews installed:

    • 29 garbage cans 
    • 47 bike racks
    • 11 benches
    • 30 pedestrian lights
    • 3 newspaper corrals 
    • 35 energy-efficient LED streetlights
    • 3 km of new sidewalk concrete

    In partnership with Calgary Parks, more than 60 new trees were planted along Kensington Road and 10 Street NW, including Brandon Elms and Patmore Green Ash trees.

    These changes not only beautify and visually enhance the community, but make it safer, too. LED streetlights reduce electricity consumption while providing better quality of lighting on Calgary’s roads and sidewalks. This improves visibility for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists. And new concrete sidewalks, which replace the interlocking stones, reduce trip hazards for pedestrians.

    For more information about the project and to see past updates, visit

  • Memorial Drive Trees: A Living Commemoration 8 November 2016 One of the most recognizable roads in Calgary is Memorial Drive. Running along the Bow River in the heart of the city, this route is lined with thousands of trees. As Remembrance Day approaches, we share some history on those trees, which serve as a living memorial to the men and women who died during World War I.
    Trees and pathway along Memorial Drive

    Thousands of Canadians died during the war, and many of their bodies were never brought home. The trees were planted along Memorial Drive to create a living memorial, in hopes that this would bring some comfort to grieving families, who had no grave to visit.

    The first tree was planted on Sunnyside Boulevard (now Memorial Drive), in the spring of 1922, by Mayor Adams. More than 3,200 trees were planted between 1922 and 1928.

    With many of the original trees now nearing the end of their lifecycle, The City is planting new trees through its Landscape of Memory project which aims to protect the existing legacy and continue the historic, environmental and cultural integrity of Memorial Drive. This project includes the introduction of a variety of new tree species, to increase biodiversity and general urban forest health.

    Memorial Drive continues to grow and evolve as a living memorial to the events and people that have shaped Calgary’s landscape. The ongoing “Landscape of Memory” project focuses on themes of remembrance, legacy and history and what they mean to us, as Calgarians. The trees of Memorial Drive are one way we, as citizens of Calgary, celebrate and remember the sacrifices that others made in the name of peace.

    Memorial Drive’s trees:

    • The majority of trees planted from 1922 to 1928 were Populus wobbstii, –more commonly referred to as poplars. These poplars are now at, or nearing the end of their lifecycle.
    • The trees are thought to have been wild trees brought to Calgary by miners returning from Drumheller.
    • In 1922, the trees were sold for $1.
    • Metal discs were attached to stands in front of each tree. The discs were inscribed with the year, the donor’s name and a tag number.
    • City of Calgary Parks began cloning the original poplars in 2001 to continue the tree’s heritage. Today we have 1,500 offspring growing in Grand Forks, BC.
    • All the poplar trees along Memorial Drive are female, but one. Female poplars bear the cotton – which provides food for ducks, carries tree seeds and provides nesting material for birds and animals.

    Submitted by Anna Blaxley, Calgary Parks

  • Road Safety a concern for The City in November 4 November 2016 Spring forward, fall back — that’s how most of us remember daylight savings. When the clocks go back an hour this weekend, The City is also asking Calgarians to think about how you will stay safe during these longer dark winter days and nights.

    “Pedestrian injury collisions are consistently the highest during the month of November,” says Tony Churchill, Leader of Traffic Safety. “This is due to factors such as increased hours of darkness, late morning and early evening sun glare, and the time change.”

    The City of Calgary, Calgary Police Service, Alberta Health Services, the Alberta Motor Association and other traffic safety partners work together to reduce the number and severity of pedestrian collisions.

    Through education, enforcement and engineering strategies, these partners are striving to improve intersection safety in Calgary.

    One way is through The City’s ‘Look out for each other’ safety campaign which reminds citizens that safety on Calgary’s streets is the shared responsibility of all users of our roadways.

    Tips for people driving:

    • Never drive distracted – put away cell phones and other distractions
    • Stop for all pedestrians crossing in a crosswalk – it’s the law. 
    • Ensure proper visibility of your vehicle. Make sure your windshield and headlights are clean and don’t obstruct your view. 
    • Drive at a safe speed and be aware of pedestrian activity around you.
    • Never pass a vehicle at a crosswalk. 
    • Make eye contact with people crossing the roadway.

    Tips for people walking:

    • Unplug headphones when crossing the street. 
    • Hang up your cell phone until you are out of the intersection. 
    • Look up and make eye contact with the approaching driver and make sure the driver sees you. 
    • Peak around stopped cars while crossing intersections to ensure other vehicles aren’t coming.

    “Whether we are driving, walking or cycling we are human and all make mistakes at times. We need to help each other by being alert and ready to react for those times when other people make a mistake so that no one gets hurt,” says Churchill. “The City is doing a lot to improve our infrastructure to be safer, but how we use that infrastructure will always impact safety outcomes. Let’s all work together to get where we are going safely.”

    Visit to learn more about the Calgary Safer Mobility Plan.

  • Calgary building permit values spike in October 3 November 2016 October has been a record month for building permit applications in Calgary, a strong indication that despite the current economy, developers remain confident in the Calgary economy in the longer term.

    Total construction value for building permits in October 2016 was over $1.5 billion, the highest value in a single month on record in Calgary. We saw a 36 per cent increase in single family homes and a 47 per cent increase in new commercial buildings in October 2016 compared to the previous month. This beat last October’s record of $1.47 billion, which was when an updated Alberta Building Code was implemented.

    This month’s spike in applications can be attributed to the Nov. 1 implementation of the National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings and Section 9.36 of the Alberta Building Code, both of which bring in energy efficiency requirements.

    “Many of those applying for a building permit prior to the Nov. 1 energy code deadline have been in the planning stages for a long time,” says Justin Pockar, energy and environmental coordinator at The City of Calgary. “If they were to follow the new energy efficiency requirements, they would face significant design changes that could result in increased cost and time delays.”

    For those applying after the Nov. 1 energy code deadline, The City has developed tools, checklists and resources to help builders adopt these new standards for both commercial and residential buildings. The initial deadline for energy code compliance was May 1, 2016, but was extended by the Government of Alberta in order to give builders more time to familiarize themselves with the requirements. As a result, both The City and builders have been preparing for these changes for over a year.

    Construction projects that have taken out building permits, while not a guarantee of completion, are a strong indicator that projects are moving forward in 2016 and 2017. They could take two or more years to complete. Here are some of the projects we saw come in this month:

    • Intergulf developments mixed use tower in the Beltline. Total construction value: $95,321,510
    • Crosstown, residential towers on Macleod Trail. Total construction value: $111,118,472
    • The Orchard, a mixed-use development in the Beltline. Total construction value of tower 1: $57,876,300
    • Marriott Hotel in the downtown commercial core. Total construction value: $57,487,700
    • Skyview Ranch, a multi-phase apartment complex and retail. Total construction value: $55,725,500

    Building permit construction values by quarter, January 2014 – October 2016

  • Sunny side up! New map shows the solar potential of your roof 2 November 2016
    Wondering about the potential amount of sunshine on your home’s roof and how it compares to other homes? Check out the Solar Potential Map to find out!

    In today’s world, data is power and in the case of the new Solar Potential Map released on The City’s Map Gallery, solar data can help Calgarians make some powerful decisions about powering their homes.

    The new solar potential map is intended to be a starting point for Calgarians who are curious about the viability of solar as an energy source for their particular home or building. Using data collected in 2012 and 2013, the map shows all buildings in Calgary’s city limits and their varying degrees of solar exposure, on an annual basis, in generalized optimal conditions.

    “The solar potential map can be the first step in determining if a solar energy system could work on your home”, says Liz Findlay, the Manager of Geospatial Business Solutions, the group who created the map. “But this is just the first step. People considering a solar installation should contact a solar system professional to conduct a thorough assessment for their particular building and location”.

    The best place to look for solar professionals is the Canadian Solar Industries Association (CanSIA), which has an online member directory.

    Solar energy isn’t just for homes. The City is a leader in tapping into the potential of the sun. Various City facilities already have solar systems installed to off-set some of their electricity needs and costs. You can find the particular locations on the solar potential map using the information icons on the map or scrolling through the project listings on the left side bar. To find your home on the map, simply type your home address in the search bar.

    “The City is using some of this solar data as an initial assessment tool for City-owned facilities that may have potential for solar technology”, says Arsheel Hirji, the Leader of Sustainable Infrastructure in Engineering & Energy Services. “We then conduct a more extensive evaluation of the sites, including structural evaluations, financial viability, detailed solar exposure evaluations and secured funding sources.”

    One facility in particular, Southland Leisure Centre, just celebrated the one year anniversary of its solar system installation and the data is impressive. Here are some quick facts:

    • In 2015, The City installed a 153 kWp solar photovoltaic (PV) system at the Southland Leisure (The City’s largest solar system to date). 
    • Even with the rainy and cloudy summer of 2016, the project produced 179,665 kWh of electricity in its first year of operation. 
    • This is enough electricity to power 24 Calgary homes for a year and is equivalent to the emission reductions of removing 23 passenger vehicles from the road. 
    • The system displaced approximately $26,000 in electricity charges. 

    The geospatial and sustainable infrastructure experts who have led the solar data work are part of Corporate Analytics & Innovation (CAI). The CAI business unit works with other City service areas to use data, analytical tools and technologies to help make better decisions, and improve City operations and services.

  • Calgary Fire celebrates everyday heroes for going ‘Beyond the Call’ 21 October 2016 The Calgary Fire Department recognized local heroes for their contributions to the community with an annual awards luncheon on October 20. The Officer’s Mess Hall at Fort Calgary made a striking backdrop for presenting medals and certificates to emergency personnel and ordinary citizens whose extraordinary actions saved lives and properties.

    Twenty-seven Calgarians from all walks of life were honoured for their quick thinking and decisive actions in medical emergencies, fires, avalanches and other hazardous incidents.

    Fire Chief Steve Dongworth was joined on stage by Deputy Mayor Jim Stevenson and City Manager Jeff Fielding, to hand out awards for three levels of recognition:

    • Appreciation: recognizing individuals for providing basic first aid or an act of kindness to a victim at a CFD-attended emergency scene.
    • Recognition: acknowledging individuals for their significant effort to aid in a CFD-attended situation where citizens or property are in danger. Their actions often result in injuries being avoided or property being saved.
    • Commendation: recognizing individuals for proactive actions that save lives, even if it means risking personal injury, to ensure the safety of others. The recipient’s actions go well above and beyond expectations.

    Calgary Fire Department Public Information Officer Carol Henke, who acted as the event’s Master of Ceremonies, noted that recipients represented a diverse cross-section of Calgary’s communities, which included young children, new Canadians and an off-duty firefighter. “Despite being so different, these recipients have one thing in common,” Henke said. “They all rose to the occasion and put the needs of others ahead of their own – something we can all be proud of.”

    Dallas Kaquitts performing the Honour song

    To close out the luncheon, Stoney Nakoda drummer Dallas Kaquitts performed the Honour song in a heartfelt display of appreciation.

    Firefighter and Medal of Bravery recipient Benoit St. Pierre was also featured on the CBC’s morning show The Eyeopener to recount his experience saving a group of back country skiers from an avalanche.

    Members of the public can nominate citizens, firefighters or other emergency responders for recognition by contacting 311. For more information on the Calgary Fire Department, please visit

    Submitted by Irina Mazursky, Calgary Fire

  • Alberta ushers in new era of energy efficiency 19 October 2016 By Justin Pockar, Energy and Environment Coordinator

    As the Energy and Environment Coordinator for Building Regulations at The City, it’s an exciting time for me – and for our province. For the first time in Alberta’s history, we have adopted energy efficiency requirements in our building codes.

    The National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings (NECB) and Section 9.36 of the Alberta Building Code, which will come into force on Nov. 1, 2016, were adopted as part of a commitment to improve energy efficiencies in buildings and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

    I think the most important part of having energy efficiency standards is that they become universal. In the future, regardless of where you live, you are assured some level of energy efficiency. It won’t be a huge change, but it will be a change for the better. Buildings will have improved usability, energy performance and quality of construction.

    Codes set minimum standards, so they have a much more severe effect on lower-quality buildings than they do on the higher-quality ones. For those already constructing energy-efficient buildings, you might see some of your competitor buildings increase in cost. This makes the better, more energy efficient buildings more cost-competitive and therefore makes energy efficiency a much more sellable asset.

    What will the energy requirements affect?

    Both codes cover a wide range of building components and systems and can include building envelope, electrical and mechanical systems. Generally, the NECB applies to large commercial and residential buildings that are over 600 m2 in building area or three storeys in height, and Section 9.36 of the Alberta Building Code covers houses and small buildings.

    For single family homes, the code talks about minimum efficiency on your furnace, hot water heater, minimum standards on thermal performance for windows, walls, roofs and more. It’s basically a way to save energy on the day-to-day running of your home.

    The NECB covers all the above as well as interior and exterior lighting, more complex heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, combined hot water systems, and power distribution components and motors.

    Compliance paths

    One of the most important aspects of the new requirements is the flexibility with compliance they provide engineers, architects and designers. The new requirements give guidance while still allowing design teams to explore multiple options.

    Both the NECB and ABC 9.36 offer a design team a choice of three compliance paths; prescriptive, trade-off, and performance modeling.

    The prescriptive path requires meeting all requirements outlined in the code. It is typically the simplest compliance path to follow, but may not be appropriate for all buildings.

    The trade-off path allows for more flexibility in your design, allowing you to trade elements within a portion of the design, like the building envelope, so the overall performance is equal or better to the prescriptive path without meeting every prescriptive element found in the code.

    The performance compliance path provides the most design flexibility. You must demonstrate that your proposed design will not consume more energy than an equivalent building built to prescriptive requirements. This path is the most complex, and requires the use of a computer simulation, but offers significantly more design freedom

    Following these requirements will incur a small cost to builders. At The City, we are not naive to the difficulty that changes like this present. We’ve really tried to go out of our way to help builders adopt these new standards. We’ve put together web information for both commercial and residential buildings on what the standards are and how to comply. We’ve tried to instill a sense of flexibility and a provide paths to painless compliance.

    To learn more and to download compliance documents from The City of Calgary, visit and

    Justin Pockar is the Energy and Environment Coordinator with The City of Calgary’s Calgary Building Services Business Unit. For the past nine years in this position, he has worked to advise the construction industry on sustainable building practices.

  • 4 things you need to know this Halloween 13 October 2016

    The spookiest time of the year is coming up soon—Halloween! Calgary is coming alive with ghouls and goblins of all ages roaming around the city. Some will be in search of treats, others tricks, but everyone can find a fun way to celebrate the season!

    Calgary has no shortage of parties, activities, and deals to explore. Here are four you don’t want to miss out on.

    • Halloween Swim Coupons

      Let’s face it: the kids are going to get a lot of candy. But you can give the kids a healthy alternative that will keep them – and their parents – happy. Instead of traditional sugar-filled Halloween sweets, treat your trick or treaters with a coupon for a free swim at a Calgary facility! With one coupon, preschoolers, children and youth ages 2-17 can enjoy a free swim. For just $5, you can buy a booklet of 10 coupons. Halloween swim coupons are available to purchase online, at Calgary aquatic & fitness centres, leisure centres and at the recreation Business Services centre. More information here.

    • Halloween Boo Bags at North Mount Pleasant Arts Centre, Oct 28

      Decorate a frightening loot bag with your kids this Halloween! We’ll supply a fabulous instructor and all art supplies you need. Bags are $10 each. Kids must be accompanied by a parent or caregiver. Space is limited. To register, call 403-221-3682. This activity takes place on Friday, October 28, 4:30-6:00pm.

    • Monster Mash Halloween Bash at Village Square, Oct 28

      Come dressed in your favourite costume and join us for free creepy crafts, ghostly games, and ghouly activities. We are proud to partner with Aspen Hand in Hand Parent Link Centre and Village Square Library to provide recreational child and family-friendly events. This is a free family friendly event that takes place from 4:30-6:30pm on Friday, October 28.

    • Cemetery Tour, Oct 29

      Spend an afternoon in the cemetery before Halloween! Join knowledgeable tour guides on a walk through time to learn about the people, personalities and events that shaped the vibrant city Calgary is today. This is a free tour that takes place on Saturday, October 29, at 2pm. Meet at the Galloway House, the building near the Union Cemetery main gate. Vehicle entrance is off Spiller Rd. opposite Cemetery Rd. S.E.

    Enjoy your Halloween! Be sure to stay safe – here are some tips to make sure the holiday is a happy one for everyone in your family.

  • Main Streets: More than just streets 12 October 2016 Main streets are important to the long-term growth of our city because they are vibrant areas for people to live, work and visit. Not only do they offer a variety of diverse lifestyle choices for housing and transportation, they form part of the fabric of daily life. Main streets are more than just streets, these are the places where you grab coffee, run errands, meet friends and are unique and vital destinations.

    The Main Streets initiative aligns to the long term growth goals of the Municipal Development plan by directing growth to existing main street areas. These areas have the capacity to support future population increases and commercial opportunities, and are located along a Primary Transit Network for easy accessibility.

    To understand the unique requirements of growth in these areas, The Main Streets initiative considered:

    • Calgarian’s desires for their main street areas
    • Market demand for the location and timing of new development
    • Local planning and policy goals

    Throughout an extensive public engagement process, in which Calgarians thoughtfully provided their input, some of the most important outcomes expressed by main street users included:

    • A vibrant public realm
    • A variety of retail and small businesses
    • A unique character

    These desired outcomes were considered along with market demand (i.e. development and investment interest) and local planning (i.e. current zoning and policy goals). Based on this approach, seven main streets were identified as ready for change and redevelopment in the short-term. City planners then looked at the solutions that would work in these areas to enable desired growth and change.

    1 Avenue NE: supporting a growing population

    Community desires

    Market outlook

    Local planning/policy

    Want more community gathering spaces and a high quality street while maintaining a small town feel

    ·         868 residential units are expected to be built over the next 25 years driving commercial and retail opportunities

    ·         The Bridgeland/Riverside Area Redevelopment Plan (ARP) provides policy that promotes and encourages growth along 1 Avenue NE

    ·         Current zoning does not allow population and employment levels to fully meet MDP growth targets

    36 Street NE: enabling a more creative use of existing space

    Community desires

    Market outlook

    Local planning/policy

    Want a safe and comfortable multi-modal main street with high quality public transit facilities and more landscaping

    ·         214 residential units are expected to be built over the next 25 years, starting gradually between 2016 and 2020

    ·         Many sites have potential for larger scale projects including medium-term opportunity for residential, office and retail development

    ·         Local planning does not provide the proper framework for main street development as envisioned by the MDP

    ·         Current zoning does not facilitate mixed used development and makes more creative use of large commercial sites a challenge

    16 Avenue NW (Mongtomery) and Bowness Road NW (Montgomery): encouraging population growth

    Community desires

    Market outlook

    Local planning/policy

    Want safe and vibrant main street sidewalks, a variety of businesses and effective reuse and renewal of older retail

    ·         Both main streets have not been overly active locations for new development

    ·         Commercial and retail opportunities will be driven by population growth in the immediate area

    ·         The Montgomery Area Redevelopment Plan (ARP) provides policy that encourages pedestrian focused commercial and mixed use buildings along the main streets

    ·         Current zoning does not allow population and employment to reach MDP growth targets

    17 Avenue SE: better aligning to MDP growth targets

    Community desires

    Market outlook

    Local planning/policy

    Want more amenities, gathering spaces that showcase cultural diversity, employment opportunities, safe and vibrant main street sidewalks and improved connectivity to the city

    ·         1,794 residential units are expected to be built over the next 25 years, starting between 2016 and 2020 and gradually increasing.

    ·         Many sites along 17 Avenue SE have potential for larger scale projects including short to medium-term opportunity for residential, office and retail development

    ·         Current zoning does not match up with the City Council approved Southeast 17 Corridor: and does not allow for development to reach the growth targets outlined in the Municipal Development Plan

    17 Avenue SW (from Crowchild Trail to 37 Street SW): encouraging more commercial and retail development

    Community desires

    Market outlook

    Local planning/policy

    Want development of vacant sites and Tecumseh site, and to retain character

    ·         Approximately 3,340 homes are expected to be built over the next 25 years, starting gradually between 2016 and 2020

    ·         Potential for further retail and commercial development opportunities

    ·         Killarney/Glengarry ARP provides land use policy that support MDP goals

    ·         Westbrook Village Station Area Plan is directed by the goals of the MDP

    ·         Current zoning allows for a range of mixed use and apartment development but restricts commercial uses and there is limited opportunity for street-level access forms of multi-residential development

    37 Street SW: encouraging more commercial and retail development

    Community desires

    Market outlook

    Local planning/policy

    Want more of a destination, more vitality and better managed parking

    ·         Approximately 3,208 homes are expected to be built over the next 25 years, starting gradually between 2016 and 2020.

    ·         The Westbrook Mall site has potential for office and general commercial retail development at a larger scale than most main street sites.

    ·         The current zoning does not allow the street to grow over time to meet MDP growth targets

    Drop by an upcoming information session in October to review the proposed solutions and the specific tools and techniques that will be used to enable growth and change in these main street areas. Visit for event details.


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