Calgary City News Blog
 

Calgary City News Blog
 

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  • 1 Street S.W. underpass enhancements begin 23 January 2015
    Artist’s rendering of design of new look walkway
     January 26 will see the start of construction on enhancements to the 1 Street S.W. underpass to provide greater safety and comfort for users of the underpass pedestrian walkways.

    A number of safety and comfort issues were identified at the underpass including poor lighting, water drainage problems, uneven sidewalks and general deterioration of the underpass structure. Through a collaborative design process, enhancements were developed for both the underpass structure and the pedestrian environment extending from 9 to 10 Avenue S.W., including improved lighting, new sidewalks and guardrails, integrated art and wayfinding elements, water mitigation and painting of retaining walls and structure beams.

    “The 1 Street S.W. underpass enhancement project is part of a broader underpass improvement program being implemented by The City to improve the pedestrian environment and underpass connections between the Beltline and downtown communities,” said Graham Gerylo, Centre City Implementation Project Manager. “The 1 Street S.W. underpass was prioritized for enhancement because it has the highest pedestrian use of all Centre City underpasses (9,500 pedestrians per day), was identified by community stakeholders as an important gateway connection, and in recognition of its significance as a heritage structure.”

    The budget for this project is $3.8 million and it’s anticipated that the enhancements will be completed by the summer of 2015.

    “Calgary Downtown Association is very excited about seeing improvements to the various underpasses in the centre city, starting with 1 Street,” said Maggie Schofield, Executive Director of Calgary Downtown Association. “Underpass improvements are extremely worthwhile investments toward a safer, more inviting space that we are pleased to support, both as a stakeholder, and financially.”

    1 Street SW underpass from 9 Avenue
    “This has been a great collaborative effort involving many groups and organizations in working towards the enhancement of a very well-used pedestrian corridor and important connector to downtown.”

    This project will result in some underpass pedestrian and road restrictions and closures. Starting Sunday, January 25, the west side pedestrian walkway of the 1 Street S.W. underpass will be closed between 9 Avenue and 10 Avenue until the enhancements on the west side are completed. During this time, pedestrians will need to use the east side pedestrian walkway. One lane of southbound vehicle traffic will also be closed during construction on the west side.

    When the enhancements on the west side are completed and it is opened to the public, the east side pedestrian walkway (as well as one lane of southbound vehicle traffic) will be closed until those enhancements are finished.

    For more details about the project, go to calgary.ca/1stunderpass.

  • What to do about those windrows 23 January 2015 What is a windrow?

    Fortunately, this winter Calgary hasn’t seen too many snowfalls. However, we have been hearing some concerns about the snow that is there and want to address them.

    According to The City’s Snow and Ice Control Policy, crews are mandated to maintain the driving lane on residential streets to a safe, reasonable winter driving condition. Crews do this by “flat-blading,” turning the blade under a sander downward to flatten the snow to a hard pack so it is easier to drive on.

    While this is good for motorists, the snow left over after crews have flat-bladed, can create some extra work for property owners. The reason is because flat-blading causes a continuous a build up of snow along the side of a roadway, also known a  windrow that can be difficult to remove, especially if left too long.

    There is a windrow in front of my driveway, who’s clearing it?

    The clearing of windrows in front of driveways left by snow plowing equipment is the responsibility of the adjacent property owner, much like sidewalk shovelling. Plow operators make every attempt to keep driveways clear or keep windrows as small as possible, but any spillage that does occur is the responsibility of the property owner.

    What does The City do about windrows?

    City forces do their best to keep windrows small by evenly distributing the snow on either side of the road, however, after heavy snowfalls windrows can build up. If a windrow is taller than 30 centimetres and impeding a resident’s ability to enter their driveway a crew can come by and assess the windrow and remove if required.

    Citizens should contact 311 if they have concerns about a windrow.

    Visit calgary.ca/snow for more information on how The City clears snow.

  • Southeast Transitway on track for 2017 – get involved! 21 January 2015 26 kilometres. 15 stations. Development opportunities. Your new transit route.

    The Green Line will be an important piece of Calgary’s transit network, connecting southeast and north-central Calgary with high quality transit service.

    The Green Line will be made up of two legs: the North-Central leg will run from North Pointe to downtown, and will connect with the Southeast leg, which will extend to the community of Seton.

    Plans for the Southeast Transitway are moving along quickly. The new route will run for 26 kilometres, from the community of Seton to downtown, and will include 15 new transit stations. The line will initially carry only buses, but will be designed so it can be converted to LRT in the future, as funding and land becomes available.

    So when can we expect to see this new line? The first stage of construction will involve building a Transitway (aka a roadway that is used exclusively for transit) between 4 Street S.E. and Douglas Glen. Construction will begin in 2017, and is expected to be complete in 2021.

    Get involved in the future of public transit in southeast Calgary!

    We need your input on route refinement, station design, and transit oriented development.

    Join us at three upcoming information sessions to learn more about the project and the many opportunities to provide input.

    Join us to learn more about the project and the many ways to provide input:

    • January 20, 2015: Fort Calgary - 750 - 9 Avenue S.E.
    • January 21, 2015: Cranston Community Centre - 11 Cranarch Road S.E.
    • January 22, 2015: Glenmore Inn - 2720 Glenmore Trail S.E.

    Drop in between 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. All sessions are open to the public.

    Find more information about the Green Line Southeast Transitway page online.
  • Interested in doing a job that counts? The City is recruiting annual Civic Census takers 15 January 2015 Census taker recruitment is now underway with The City’s annual Civic Census beginning in April. We're looking for nearly 1,000 flexible workers to help with door-to-door census data collection and recording.


    "Census workers are essential to the collection process," says Leader of Election and Census, Paul Denys. "We need people interested and available for flexible short-term work beginning in May."

    Being able to walk in seasonable weather conditions and to easily operate a tablet computer are considered assets to become a census taker. Work schedules are set by each individual, but some work may be required during evenings and weekend when most people are at home.

    Census takers will be assigned an area to collect census information, generally between 400 to 600 dwellings, and should take no longer than three weeks to complete.

    If you're interested in becoming a census taker, download an application online today. Applications are accepted in-person at The City of Calgary Election and Information Services’ office at 1103 55 Ave NE, between 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m., Monday to Friday. Applicants will also be required to complete a written skills assessment test (approx. 30 minutes to complete).

    Find more information about the Civic Census and how to become a census taker at Calgary.ca/census
  • Snow on Calgary Roads: What The City's doing & what you can do 9 January 2015 A snowfall warning has been issued for the City of Calgary. Environment Canada expects amounts totaling between 10-20 centimetres on Tuesday.

    All available City Roads crews and equipment are currently working on Priority 1 routes throughout the city. This includes major commuter roadways such Macleod and Glenmore Trail. Due to the cool temperatures crews will be using pickle, a salt/gravel mixture that provides traction on icy winter roads. This work will continue throughout the afternoon rush and into the evening as outlined in The City’s Seven Day Snow Event Plan.

    With the exception of trouble spots, including hills, bridge decks and ramps, crews are not expected to move onto the Priority 2 roads until tomorrow and/or 24 hours after the snow has stopped falling. Priority 2 routes are classified as roads which carry 5,000 to 19,999 vehicles per day, like Kensington Road and Acadia Drive, and are typically bus routes.

    As snow continues to fall, motorists are advised to drive with caution, particularly on bridge decks and ramps, as these areas tend to become icy in colder temperatures. Calgarians should drive to winter conditions and consider giving themselves extra time to get to get home from work.

    At this time The City does not anticipate the need to call a Snow Route parking ban.

    Please follow the Transportation Department on Twitter @yyctransport, or visit calgary.ca/roadconditions for traffic updates.

    How we respond to snowfall

    Roads maintains public thoroughfares to the Snow and Ice Control policy standards during winter months by:
    • Laying down gravel, salt and/or pickle and plowing roadways
    • Snow removal and storage
    • Sidewalk snow removal in the downtown core
    • Snow fencing where required
    • Free sand locations
    To help remove ice on residential sidewalks, homeowners can pick up free sand and salt-coated gravel at most Fire stations and Roads Maintenance District offices. See sanding box locations near you.

    Winter driving tips
    Calgarians are reminded to drive to winter conditions, especially in residential communities. Some tips for winter driving include:
    • Winterize your vehicle, consider installing snow tires.
    • Give yourself extra time to reach your destinations.
    • Reduce your speed and turn on your headlights.
    • Leave extra distance between you and the car ahead of you.
    • Do not pass working sanders or equipment.
  • Snow Angels program recognizes the angels among us 7 January 2015 The Snow Angels program recognizes Calgarians who volunteer their time and energy to help neighbours with mobility challenges or busy schedules to clear the snow from their walkways.

    Not only are Snow Angels helping their neighbours shovel snow; they're also helping to prevent passers by from slipping and falling in winter conditions.



    Earn your wings by clearing snow and ice from your neighbours sidewalk. We also encourage Calgarians to nominate their Snow Angel to ensure they are recognized for their great contribution to our city.
  • Nominate a deserving individual, organization or business for a Calgary Award 7 January 2015 Calgarians have until Friday, Feb 27, to recognize fellow citizens for their contributions in making Calgary a dynamic, progressive and compassionate city.
    Calgary Award

    Calgary Awards is a City of Calgary initiative that has been recognizing exceptional citizens since 1994.

     “Calgary’s greatness is due, in large part, to the commitment of citizens to build the better community they want,” said Mayor Naheed Nenshi. “Our city is filled with tireless, dedicated, and brilliant citizens. Please take a moment to recognize an amazing person, or group of people, that you know is making Calgary even greater.”

    With 17 awards in five major categories, The City proudly celebrates the difference Calgarians make.

    Nominating an individual, corporation, community group, school or an organization is easy. Follow these steps:

    • Step 1 – Review the award categories and determine which category is most appropriate for the person, organization or group you wish to nominate.
    • Step 2 – Submit a letter of nomination, two to five pages in length, describing in detail why the nominee deserves the award. You may also submit supporting materials.
    • Step 3 – Complete the nomination form.
    • Step 4 – Mail, fax, email or hand-deliver your nomination package by Friday, Feb 27, 2015.

    Additional information, award categories and nomination criteria can be found at calgary.ca/calgaryawards, by phoning 403-268-8881, or e-mailing calgaryawards@calgary.ca
  • 2015 Assessment Notices mailed; 60 day customer review period begins 5 January 2015 Today The City of Calgary will mail over half a million property and business assessment notices and marks the beginning of the 60-day Customer Review Period.



    “We are committed to delivering fair and equitable assessments and encourage all property and business owners to carefully review their assessment and contact us during the Customer Review Period if you have any questions or concerns,” said Nelson Karpa, Director/City Assessor.

    Changes to the 2015 assessments can only be made if an inquiry is received during the Customer Review Period which runs from Jan. 5 to March 6, 2015.

    The 2015 median single residential assessment is $475,000 compared to $430,000 in 2014. The 2015 median residential condominium assessment is $290,000 compared to $260,000 in 2014.

    As required by provincial legislation, the 2015 property assessments reflect the market value of property as of July 1, 2014 and the physical condition as of Dec. 31, 2014. The 2015 business assessments reflect the typical net annual rental value of premises as of July 1, 2014.

    The Assessment Search website (calgary.ca/assessmentsearch) offers tools and resources to help property and business owners review their 2015 assessment. The Assessment Notice provides a unique Access Code to securely log in to Assessment Search.
  • Christmas tree pick-up starts next week 2 January 2015 For the fifth year, The City will be picking up your Christmas tree for mulching if you receive residential garbage collection. Here are some important reminders.

    - Have your tree out by 7 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 9 and leave it out since different collection crews pick up trees than your regular garbage collection. Trees will be picked up within three weeks.

    Check out our status page to find out when we've finished collecting trees in your community.

    - Remove all lights, ornaments, tinsel, string and tree stands.
    - Do not wrap or bag your tree.
    - Place your tree near where you have your garbage collected. To help out your collector, make sure the tree isn't blocking access to your blue or black carts.

    You can also bring your tree to any of the eight temporary drop-off locations. They are open from Dec. 26 – Jan. 31.

    • Bowness Fire Station, #15 6328 35 Avenue N.W.
    • Prairie Winds Park, 223 Castleridge Boulevard N.E.
    • Bottomlands Park, St. George’s Drive and 7 Avenue N.E.
    • Marda Loop Communities Association, 3130 16 Street S.W.
    • Parks Compound, 10312 Sacramento Drive S.W.
    • Spyhill Landfill, 69 Street and 112 Avenue N.W.
    • East Calgary Landfill, 17 Avenue and 68 Street S.E.
    • Shepard Landfill, 114 Avenue and 68 Street S.E.

    For landfill hours and program information, visit Calgary.ca/waste. Landfills are closed on Sundays.
  • Skating at Bowness Park to open for Christmas 29 December 2014 Lace up your skates - the Bowness Park lagoon will be open for skating on Christmas Day!

    “We’re really pleased to be able to open the lagoon for skating this year, after being closed for the past two years due to the park’s redevelopment,” says Doug Marter, manager for Parks.

    “There’s just something magical about this park and skating on the lagoon, especially at Christmas with the lights twinkling and the fire crackling.”

    Along with skating, visitors will also have the opportunity to enjoy new features. A new central pedestrian area offers visitors a place to sit and warm up by the new fire pits, as well as easier access to the lagoon.

    Later in 2015, the stunning new teahouse will feature a restaurant and market aptly named Seasons of Bowness Park which will offer visitors delicious snacks, tasty meals, or a cup of coffee while watching the kids skate or simply taking in the remarkable view of the lagoon.

    “The redevelopment of the park was designed to allow Calgarians better access to the water,” says Marter. “We’ve also reconfigured the trails and pathways, and moved the Parks depot away from the river bank so citizens can connect with water and nature while in the park.”

    Creating a functional and enjoyable space to be used year-round as well as sustaining the ever-increasing number of visitors was an important priority, adds Marter.

    “It’s been a long process,” says Councilor Ward Sutherland. “Especially with Mother Nature throwing us some challenges - the June 2013 flood and the September 2014 snow storm. But, we are excited to once again enjoy this great park and be part of the memories that future generations will treasure.”

    NOTE: The concession building is still under construction and skate rentals are not available at this time. Please make sure to bring your skates and any other supplies needed.

    Celebration in February

    In February 2015, The City of Calgary and the Bowness Community Association will host a city-wide celebratory skating party, with brief speeches from The City of Calgary and Province of Alberta officials, as well as the local community.

    All Calgarians will be invited to the skating party on February 7, so be sure to watch for details on the Bowness Park Redevelopment web page. Activities will include skating, a sleigh or wagon ride, local music, hot chocolate and refreshments (while supplies last). We look forward to seeing you there!

    The City of Calgary Parks has five other outdoor skating rinks. Please visit calgary.ca for a complete list and the status of skating.
  • Efficient planning speeds up West Village development 29 December 2014 Written by Joachim Mueller

    The timing couldn't be better for West Village Towers, a large development that City Council approved last October. The project will add 584 much-needed residential units, up to two storeys of commercial uses, and likely an urban supermarket to the west end of Calgary’s Downtown. As an urban planner, I’m pleased to see how well this development aligns with our vision of a vibrant Centre City, and I’m excited about how efficiently we processed the applications for it – in half the time it would normally take!

    West Village rendering - Photo by Wexford Developments
    We were able to work faster because the West Village Towers project was processed as a concurrent application, meaning that City staff processed the rezoning and development permit at the same time. Typically, a developer has to go through the entire rezoning process before coming back to apply for a development permit. Allowing a developer to do these two things at the same time is a way we can work more efficiently and get better outcomes for all parties involved.

    Concurrent applications were an idea that came out of Transforming Planning, and it is now being tested as we work to make that vision a reality. It reduces the time and expense required for developers trying to get a proposed development approved and it allows staff to evaluate it more holistically. This reduces the amount of red tape and allows needed housing to be built more quickly, without reducing the amount of input the public gets onto future development.

    Typically, a rezoning can take up to six months to be approved, with the development permit taking another six months after that. We were able to complete both of these approvals with the West Village Towers in just over six months. But, taking less time is not the only thing concurrent applications accomplish. Holding these two processes together makes it easier to work collaboratively with developers and communities on a proposed development, because all aspects of it are being discussed at the same time.

    Joachim Mueller, Senior Planner
    Concurrent applications are just one way that we are working to improve Calgary’s planning system, but there is a lot of other work underway to make the changes that were recommended from the year-long Transforming Planning project. For information on what all is happening, please look on our website at www.calgary.ca/NewPlanningSystem.

    Joachim Mueller is a Senior Planner with The City’s Planning, Development & Assessment department.
  • Visit whatgoeswhere.ca – your best source for disposal information 27 December 2014 If you've bought a new TV or received a new kitchen appliance for Christmas, there’s no need to scratch your head wondering what you to do with your old gadgets. We have the answers that’ll make it a snap to do the right thing.


    Visit whatgoeswhere.ca and type in your item to find all the best options for disposing of your old stuff. With responsible disposal information on more than 200 items, in many cases you’ll find alternatives other than dumping them in our landfills.


    What Goes Where? will tell you which cart to use at home, or if the item is still useable it’ll link you to nearby charities where it can be donated. For other items that need to be disposed of safely or recycled elsewhere it’ll point you to locations across the city.


    Help clear out the Christmas clutter and make your Christmas a little greener using the What Goes Where? tool this holiday season.
  • Flood permit grant program extended through 2015 24 December 2014
    Janet Boyd's home - Before
    It's a Christmas present Janet Boyd has been waiting for.

    The Calgary senior’s home, is finally rebuilt 18 months after the Alberta floods destroyed it. A permit grant program jointly funded by the Canadian Red Cross and The City of Calgary helped Boyd complete her Mission-area home’s rebuild.

    Boyd, 81, left her home with only a suitcase when the flood waters came in June 2013. Her son, Peter, said she lost "a lifetime of memorabilia, pictures, and family mementos” when the water destroyed her ground floor condo unit.

    The condo, which represents a valuable asset for the senior on a limited income, has undergone a complete rebuild.

    Boyd’s son says his mother will always be grateful to The City and Red Cross for the support offered through the Flood Permit Grant Program.

    Peter & Janet Boyd's home - After
    The initiative, launched May 1, 2014, covers the costs of new city permits for such things as building, electrical and plumbing work when repairing or rebuilding properties damaged by the 2013 flood. Boyd’s son called the program “a good experience in a bad circumstance.”

    Being able to access the joint permit grant program was a huge help. In addition to saving the cost of the permits, Boyd was able to access permits without waiting.

    “I don’t know how much time that saved us,” says Peter. “Even if it was an hour, it helped.”

    Now that the condo is done, Boyd, who currently lives in a nearby seniors’ residence, is debating whether she will move back into her home or eventually sell it. Regardless of what happens, Boyd is grateful for the flood permit grant program,

    The program has been extended through to December 2015 to help those Calgarians who are still trying to rebuild and recover from the flood. Calgarians interested in applying for the permit program can contact the Red Cross at 1-866-696-6484. The Red Cross will work with applicants to discuss and assess their needs.

  • Taxi safety tips for the holidays 22 December 2014 Safe taxi taking habits are good to know. It’s important for you, the passenger, and the driver to respect the ride.

    Tips to ensure a safe taxi ride:
    • When hailing a taxi, be sure the driver and vehicle are licensed. Look for a taxi plate on the rear bumper of the vehicle. 
    • The driver’s badge should be posted in a visible location and are typically placed on the passenger side visor. If you are not able to see it, you can ask to see it.
    • Whenever you get into a taxi, take note of the cab number and company. Knowing these numbers will help you track down lost items or if you want to share a compliment or concern about your ride.
    As of Friday, Dec. 12, The City has added 57 more cabs to city streets from the 126 taxi plate licences approved by Council on Sept. 22.

    Administration and Council agreed more cabs on the road for the holiday season would mean better service.

    The 126 taxi plate licences are mandated to be in service and available for dispatch calls on Friday and Saturday evenings, making it a little easier to find a cab during peak period times.

    There are many different ways to get a cab:
    • Try using an app to access a cab. Checker, Associated, and Calgary United Cabs all have an app that connects you with a ride. 
    • If you call a cab company and get put on hold, don’t hang up and redial, stay on the line for faster service.
    If you have a compliment or concern related to taxis or limousines contact us online through 311.

    Submitted by Carissa Vescio, Animal & Bylaw Services

  • Recycling advice to keep you on Santa’s “Nice” list 22 December 2014 We’re making a list, and checking it twice... on which materials are naughty and nice. Okay, okay that’s not how the song goes, but it’s a good reminder that while your blue cart can help you deal with a lot of the extra packaging you have around the house, not everything can be recycled.

    To stay on the “Nice” list, here’s a quick guide to help with the holiday clean up.

    Always Nice – put these items in your blue cart

    Always Naughty – keep these items out of your blue cart

    • Wrapping paper (crumpled into balls)
    • Bubble wrap (bundled inside a plastic bag)
    • Boxes
    • Christmas cards and envelopes
    • Gift bags (handles removed)
    • Tissue paper


    • Foam packaging
    • Ribbons and bows
    • Decorations and ornaments
    • Christmas lights
    • Plastic moulded packaging
    • Bagged recyclables





    Top three holiday recycling reminders

    1. Recyclables need to be loose in your blue cart, not in bags.
    If you use bags to collect all the wrapping paper and boxes, remember to empty the contents of the bags into the blue cart. Recyclables need to be loose so they can be sorted by the machines at the recycling facility.

    2. Not sure if an item can be recycled? Check out whatgoeswhere.ca
    What Goes Where? is an online search tool that provides donation, recycling and disposal options for your holiday items.

    3. Is your blue cart full? Your options for extra recyclables:
    • Break down boxes to make the best use of every square inch of space inside your cart.
    • Consider hanging on to your extra recyclables for next week’s collection when you have more space in your cart.
    • Bring them to a nearby community recycling depot. Keep in mind that our depots fill up quickly during the holiday season, so it’s best to take note of a couple locations in case one is full.

  • Calgary Transit now 100% accessible 18 December 2014 Calgary Transit has retired the last high-floor bus in the fleet, making the system 100% accessible.

    The entire fleet of 1,100 buses has been transitioned to low-floor buses that allow a ramp to be lowered to make it easier for customers with mobility issues to board the bus.

    Barry Lindeman is an advocate for people with disabilities and uses a wheelchair himself. He said it’s a big step forward for Calgary Transit.

    “Now you know, every route, every stop (you’re) going to be able to get on,” he said. “I think it’s great...You know you can get everywhere from the Saddledome to COP.”

    This is a milestone event for Calgary Transit as they work to ensure the transit system can be used by all Calgarians, whether by bus or CTrain, or through Access Calgary — a division of Calgary Transit that provides transportation for people with disabilities who cannot use regular transit service.

    “It’s very important for us,” said Russell Davies, Manager Transit Fleet. “About four years ago, we made a commitment to convert our whole fleet over by 2015 so we’ve done this a year ahead of schedule.”

    Calgary Transit has been moving towards this goal since 1993 and has been careful to maximize the value of older buses, while keeping in mind the accessibility needs of Calgarians. The last 117 high-floor buses in the fleet had a combined mileage of 108 million kilometres.
  • Seven tips for a greener Christmas 18 December 2014 The City of Calgary is encouraging all Calgarians to “green their Christmas” this year with some simple holiday behaviours that lighten our environmental impact.

    Every holiday season, residential electricity use in Calgary peaks. Claire Beckstead, Corporate Environmental Specialist for The City of Calgary says it doesn’t have to be complicated to green your holiday plans. “There are many simple green actions Calgarians can take that reduce our impact on the environment while keeping the fun and excitement of the season.”

    • Choose efficient holiday lights: Consider cutting back on the number of holiday lights or switching to LED lights, which can use 90 per cent less energy than regular holiday lights. Get even more savings and convenience by putting your exterior lights or tree on a simple and inexpensive timer, allowing you to automatically control the length of time your lights are on.
    • Lower the thermostat: Home temperatures will warm up naturally while cooking, and while hosting family and friends. Also, consider a programmable thermostat that will automatically lower the temperatures while you are away from the house for holiday events or travel plans.
    • Consider travel choices: Much of the holiday season’s impact on the environment comes from travelling and fuel consumption. Take transit or walk to shopping destinations and avoid congested store parking lots. If you must drive, carpool and travel during off-peak times to limit idling.
    • Give green: Consume less stuff and instead give more quality time by volunteering together or giving gifts of passes to local sites or events. Or, do your shopping at a local craft fair to find unique gifts made of up-cycled, natural materials; make your own special gift; or, give gifts that give back in energy savings, like LED nightlights, programmable thermostats or solar chargers for phones and tablets.
    • Choose food that’s local and organic: Food that travels a long distance has a large carbon footprint and many of the staples of a holiday feast can be found locally. Consider shopping for your dinner at markets or stores that supply local and organic products.
    • Decorate naturally: Deck the halls with non-toxic, long-lasting decorations made from wood, ceramics and felt. Plastic and single-use decorations can contain BPA- or PVC-laden plastics. An artificial tree cannot be composted and has three times more impact on climate change and resource depletion than a natural tree.
    • Wrap creatively: Forgo the wrapping paper – wrap instead with this years’ calendar, newspaper comics or part of the gift itself, like clothes or dish towels. If you do buy wrapping paper, pick a kind that isn’t metallic or foil, as these cannot be recycled.


    The City of Calgary has an environmental target to reduce corporate and community greenhouse gas emissions to 20 per cent below 2005 levels by 2020. For more information on ways to help save energy every day, visit calgary.ca/saveenergy.
  • New Year's Eve: Skate, swim and dance into 2015 17 December 2014 This New Year’s Eve, ring in 2015 with a free Outdoor Celebration and countdown to midnight at Olympic Plaza, a free Family Dance Party at the Municipal Building atrium, or a Family Pool Party at Village Square Leisure Centre (regular admission rates apply).

    Outdoor Celebration

    Come down to Olympic Plaza and countdown to midnight with a free Outdoor Celebration where festivities run from 9 p.m. to midnight. Bundle up, bring your ice skates or borrow from us onsite, and cuddle up by the fire pit while sipping hot chocolate. Enjoy tunes spun by a DJ, ice sculptures and fantastic fire dance performances.

    Family Dance Party and kid’s countdown

    Put on your dancing shoes and join us for the Family Dance Party from 7 to 9 p.m. at Municipal Atrium (City Hall). Have fun at this free and warm celebration with music, games, crafts and living statues.

    Share your big resolutions for 2015 on the glow-in-the-dark resolution wall. Wear neon, white, or anything that glows, and join in on the kid’s countdown at 9 p.m.

    Family pool party 

    Families can also choose to swim, jump, splash and slide their way into 2015 with a pool party at Village Square Leisure Centre from 5 to 8 p.m. Boogie to the sounds of a DJ in the wave pool, make special crafts, and enjoy treats, prizes, and a pool party countdown! Regular admission rates apply.

    Getting to and from the events

    Calgary Transit is providing late night New Year’s Eve service to connect you to and from events safely. CTrains will run every 15 minutes with the last CTrain leaving downtown at 3 a.m. A number of main bus routes will be running every 30 to 45 minutes with the last trips leaving downtown at approximately 3 a.m.

    Grab your sweetie for a New Year’s kiss, and watch the spectacular countdown to officially ring in 2015.

    Join the event on Facebook for regular updates, visit our website or call 311 for more information.

    Submitted by Lauren Greschner, Recreation


     

  • City launches the Heritage Conservation Learning Guide for teachers and parents 12 December 2014 The City’s Heritage Planning team has launched a learning guide that aids teachers and parents in planning heritage conservation lessons for grade 1-6 students. The guide makes it easy to teach young students about the importance of heritage conservation by providing information on The City’s practices, links to external information and ready-to-implement learning activities for each section.

    In the guide, teachers will find lessons and activities intended to teach students how to look for heritage features, how to examine their own home compared to those built in other countries or time periods, how to decide whether or not to preserve a building or structure, and how Calgary’s past can be explored through heritage buildings, structures and places.

    Teachers and students are often particularly interested in The City’s Historical Evaluation System: the criteria used to determine if a building, structure or place should be recognized as “heritage”. Many people consider age to be the deciding factor, when in fact there are 9 different criteria used to identify the value of Calgary's historic resources.

    The 19 page learning guide includes helpful images, links and lesson plans to aid any teacher. View the learning guide online.
  • Helping you stay safe this holiday season 11 December 2014 The holiday season is about giving and being able to enjoy time with family and friends. To help you have a safe holiday season, we'd like to share a few messages.

    Report Impaired Drivers initiative

    Public Safety Communications – Calgary’s 9-1-1 centre – has partnered with the Calgary Police Service and Mothers Against Drunk Driving for the Report Impaired Drivers initiative.

    Drunk driving is an emergency. If you see someone showing signs of driving drunk, pull over where it's safe and call 9-1-1. Do not attempt to follow the driver or place yourself in danger. Once reported, we will take all impaired driving calls seriously and will send the appropriate emergency responders.

    Prevent a house fire

    Did you know the winter months are some of the busiest months for the Calgary Fire Department? With everyone using more heating appliances, lighting and decorations, candles and doing more cooking, the risk of a house fire increases.

    To share important fire prevention and safety information, we've put together a short video with tips to help you stay safe over this holiday season.


    Just a reminder, never leave cooking and candles unattended. More tips on home safety.

    Prevent accidental 9-1-1 calls

    Every day, Public Safety Communications responds to about 300 pocket dial calls. It takes between 30 seconds to 10 minutes to call back each pocket dial to ensure it is not an emergency and everything is okay. And if we can’t get a hold of the person by phone, we dispatch police to the location to see if there is an issue. This costs Calgarians $1 million each year.

    So what can you do? Prevent accidental calls: lock and store your phone carefully. If you do accidentally call 9-1-1, please stay on the line.

    Submitted by the communications team, Community Services and Protective Services


 


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