Calgary City News Blog

Calgary City News Blog

  • Volunteers remove thousands of kilograms of garbage from Calgary parks and pathways 2 May 2016 A barbecue, an iPad and a one-armed teddy bear were just a few of the many strange items found at the 49th annual Pathway and River Cleanup on May 1.

    Bike volunteers delivered extra supplies throughout the event.
    Thank you to the over 2,500 volunteers who spent Sunday morning in the beautiful sunshine collecting more than 5,000 kilograms of garbage from our parks, pathways and river banks.

    A number of interesting items were uncovered during the cleanup, including a couch, lawn mower and animal skulls.

    Relive the highlights on our Storify

    Check out photos tweeted out by volunteers during the event to see some of the weird and wonderful finds.

    Volunteers included nonprofit organizations, youth groups, community associations, City staff and even cyclists, who delivered extra supplies to volunteers during the event.

    Cleanup sponsor, TD Bank Group, had over 80 volunteers, including retired Calgary Stampeder, Jon Cornish, who helped spruce up Pearce Estate Park.
    Retired Stampeder, Jon Cornish, lent a hand
    in Pearce Estate Park.

    Get involved in #yyccleans year round

    The Pathway and River Cleanup may be over, but help is always needed. Here are some ways you can get involved in keeping Calgary clean:

    Always pick up and properly dispose of your garbage, including pet waste and cigarette butts.
    Organize a community or school cleanup using our free The Litter Cleanup Kits (TLC Kits) available at nine city locations.
    Attend a P.U.P.P.Y. event to help pitch in and pick up in our city’s off-leash areas.

    To learn more about the Pathway and River Cleanup, or to find out how you can volunteer for next year’s event, visit

    Submitted by Regan Wetsch, Parks

  • New traffic calming device invented right here at The City of Calgary 29 April 2016 Creating safe streets for Calgarians to walk, bike and drive on is a top priority at The City of Calgary. The traffic calming program is meant to address existing and measurable traffic problems in a community. Community traffic studies are conducted to determine what traffic management measures can be taken to encourage safe driving by slowing down the speed of motorists.

    Senior Traffic Safety Engineer
     Tony Churchill
    All too often though, Senior Traffic Safety Engineer, Tony Churchill was getting requests for traffic calming in communities across the city that he was unable to fulfill for a variety of reasons including cost.

    “There are a lot of traffic calming measures such as curb extensions, small roundabouts and median islands that become quite cost-prohibitive due to pavement work, drainage issues and underground utilities,” Churchill said.

    So, Tony decided to come up with a solution. He looked at the geometry of many common traffic calming measures and developed an oval shaped, low profile concrete unit that could be placed in a variety of ways to create the same results of other, more expensive, traffic calming measures.

    These new traffic calming curbs are a cost-effective method that can be used to quickly address traffic calming issues.

    “The goal of the traffic calming curbs is to change the geometry of the road in a way that feels safer and also results in fewer collisions resulting in injury or fatality for all of Calgary’s road users,” Churchill said.

    Traffic Calming Curbs being installed on
    Child Avenue N.E. in Bridgeland.
    The curbs will be used to provide temporary traffic calming measures in communities where permanent solutions have not been budgeted for. They have been designed to withstand exposure to the elements and snow and ice control materials like salt and gravel and weigh over 1,700 pounds to prevent them from moving. They are also made out of yellow cement to make them easier to see and more visually appealing.

    The traffic calming curbs are currently being piloted for effectiveness. For now, The City will begin using them on roads with a 50 km/h speed limit where issues have already been identified and traffic calming is required but cannot be immediately installed due to budget or other construction constraints. Once the pilot for the curbs has been completed and standards for their use have been determined there may be more opportunity for citizens to request them in their communities.

    For more information on The City’s traffic calming program visit

  • First P.U.P.P.Y event of the summer to be held this weekend at Auburn Bay off-leash area 29 April 2016 We are hosting P.U.P.P.Y. (Pick Up Pooch's Poo Yourself) events throughout the spring and summer, beginning this Saturday, April 30 at 11 a.m. in Auburn Bay’s off-leash area.

    P.U.P.P.Y. experts will share information about dog waste, proper disposal methods and The City’s Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaw. Supplies will also be available for anyone wanting to pitch in and pick up.

    With over 120,000 dogs in the city, the amount of pet waste in our parks and off-leash areascan quickly add up if owners aren’t picking up after their pets. Help keep our city pet-waste free. Always carry pet waste bags with you when walking your dog (or someone else’s) and pick up and properly dispose of your dog’s waste as soon as possible.

    Events run from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Join us at a P.U.P.P.Y. event near you:

    April 30 - Auburn Bay off-leash Area, 55 Auburn Bay Dr. S.E.
    May 14 - Taradale off-leash area, 64 Ave. & Tarington Rd. N.E.
    June 4 - River Park
    June 11 - Bowmont Park off-leash area, 5550 85 St. N.W.
    June 18 - Nose Hill (Edgemont parking lot), Edgemont Blvd. and Shaganappi Tr. N.W.
    July 23 - Edworthy Park off-leash area, 5539 Edworthy St. S.W.
    July 30 - Nose Hill (Egdemont parking lot), Edgemont Blvd. and Shaganappi Tr. N.W.
    August 6 - Sue Higgins Park
    August 13 - Connaught Park off-leash area, 11 St. and 14 Ave. S.W.
    August 20 - Braeside off-leash area, 14 St. & 110 Ave. S.W.
    September 10 - Sandy Beach
    September 17 - Bowmont Park off-leash area, 5550 85 St. N.W.
    September 24 - Sue Higgins Park
    October 15 - Dover off-leash area, 150 Gosling Way S.E.
    October 22 - Auburn Bay off-leash area, 55 Auburn Bay Dr. S.E.

    Just the facts - 5 things you should know

    Pet waste left in our outdoor spaces isn’t just awful to look at, it’s dangerous. Here are five facts you may not know about doggy doo-doo:

    1. It’s crawling with E. coli and other harmful bacteria, like salmonella, that can cause serious illness in humans.
    2.  It often contains roundworm larvae which, if ingested by humans or pets, can lead to brain, eye and other organ damage.
    3. It’s never a good fertilizer. Its high-nutrient content is toxic to lawns and will create “hot spots” causing the grass to burn and discolour.
    4.  It attracts mice, coyotes and other wildlife into our parks and off-leash areas (they consider it a delicious snack).
    5. It doesn’t absorb into the soil, so the risk of spreading its harmful effects can linger for years.

    The dangers aren’t just outdoors. When you consider all the ways dog waste can be transmitted into your home – shoes, pets, strollers, etc. – you realize how easily you and your loved ones could be affected.

    Visit for more information.

    Submitted by Regan Wetsch, Parks
  • City Construction Crews Celebrate Earth Day 28 April 2016 City staff participated in Earth Day activities last week, organized by the general contractor at two major transportation infrastructure projects, Graham Infrastructure.

    Cleaning up at the Glenmore Trail / Ogden Road project site
    The collective green team spirit was shared across staff that participated from Graham, The City, major subcontractors (Wilco, Standard General, KLS, Lafarge, Harris Steel), project suppliers (Davidson Enman, United Rentals), and consultants (ISL, Stantec, CH2M).

    Together, the team scoured both construction areas during the morning, picking up garbage and debris while learning about environmental safety and protection.

    Clean-up at the Macleod Trail / 162 Avenue construction location
    “This was a great opportunity for The City and Graham Infrastructure to partner in an environmental emphasis and help clean up the construction sites”, said Sig Undheim, Project Manager for The City at the Glenmore Trail / Ogden Road interchange project. “Construction crews manage garbage and debris on a regular basis, but the Earth Day clean-up was a specific dedicated team focus on the project sites and surrounding area.”

    “We were very excited about being asked by Graham to take part in this Earth Day initiative,” added Kara Wolfe, City Project Manager for the Macleod Trail / 162 Avenue Interchange. “The environmental walk-about also gave us a chance to ensure that the construction sites and surrounding areas are as clean and safe as possible.”

    “This is an initiative that Graham Infrastructure has taken to reflect the company’s focus on environmental protection,” said Bryce McKay of Graham Infrastructure. “We’re glad we had the chance to partner with City of Calgary staff to help clean up these active construction sites.”

    Almost 100 employees from Graham, The City, project subcontractors and consultant groups participated in this special Earth Day focus.
  • A record 116 Community Cleanups begin this weekend, run throughout summer 22 April 2016 Each year, from April to September, we team up with local community association volunteers to help you dispose of unwanted household items and property waste that may not fit in your black, green or blue carts -- FREE of charge.

    A record 116 Community Cleanups are scheduled this year, so grab some gloves and elbow grease and get ready to help beautify your home, yard, and neighbourhood.

    One million kg of waste collected 

    Last year, 112 Community Cleanups were held across the city.  You cleaned up 1.3 million kilograms (101 million kg in garbage and 222,000 kg in organics) of waste, saving many trips to the landfill.

    Each community association books and manages additional disposal and recycling services for electronics, metals, bicycles, car seats, tires, and paint. Check with your community association for details.

    Take part in your Community Cleanup

    This weekend, there will be events in Palliser, Edgemont, Forest Lawn and Millrise on Saturday, April 23, and in Abbeydale, Auburn Bay, Glendale and Triwood on Sunday, April 24.

    If you’re able to help out with a cleanup or if you would like to find out more details about your local event, please contact your community association.

    For more information on Community Cleanups, please visit

  • Lighter, brighter downtown underpass takes shape 21 April 2016 Walking through the 8 Street SW underpass is going to be cleaner, safer and more visually stimulating starting this May.

    Crews installing paving stones on east side walkway
    Pedestrian traffic is currently being directed to the west side of the 8 Street SW underpass while improvements to the east side walkway take place. But in a few short weeks, Calgarians will be treated to a whole new underpass experience as the east side opens up.

    The east side underpass enhancements include construction of new sidewalks, concrete surface repairs, LED lighting, public art, and repairs and maintenance of upper and lower retaining walls.

    “Safety and cleanliness are the most important elements in the use of places that people use, including downtown underpasses”, said Ben Barrington, Program Manager, Implementation Urban Strategy. “What’s happening on the 8 Street underpass addresses these concerns by not only doing necessary maintenance but adding an exciting visual experience from the new design and upcoming public art. It’s all about connecting people and places.”

    Construction on east side walkway nears completion
    Crews will repaint the bridges to make the area brighter, and will construct a public art installation between the two bridges. The bridges themselves will be cleaned, repainted and lit with new LED lighting.

    When the enhancements on the east side are completed in May and it is opened to the public, the pedestrian walkway on the west side will be closed until the improvements are finished. As well, one lane of southbound vehicle traffic will be closed for the work to proceed.

    All underpass improvements in this area are anticipated to be completed by early this fall.

    The 8 Street SW Underpass Enhancement project is part of a broader corridor improvement program being undertaken by The City, to improve the pedestrian environment and connections between the Beltline and downtown communities.
  • Green Line's South Hill station explained by Lead Planner, Breanne Harder 13 April 2016 I’ve worked for The City for just under four years, primarily within Planning & Development and Transportation Planning. Working on the South Hill Station Area Plan has allowed me to bring together my interests and education in transportation and the built environment, while providing a great opportunity to redevelop a large area within established Calgary; normally, this scale of redevelopment is reserved for suburban areas.

    About South Hill
    South Hill is located south of Glenmore Trail at Shepard Road SE. Today, the area is predominately undeveloped with two mobile home parks and some industrial buildings, however, a Green Line LRT station and a major transit hub are planned for the area. These significant changes have led to the development of the South Hill Station Area Plan, which will guide development in South Hill.

    The policy plan will put the tools in place to transform South Hill to an urban village with opportunities to live, work, and play in the area. Services and amenities will be located along a pedestrian-oriented high street that will include an urban plaza and park space.
    The urban plaza and park space will be flexible throughout the seasons.

    As part of the development of this policy, I recently invited stakeholders and landowners to a drawing and dialogue workshop where we discussed ideas for South Hill while illustrators developed images and diagrams based on conversations surrounding typologies in South Hill. The illustrations that resulted from our discussions are now being used to inform the land use and vision for the area.

    Larger retail stores can be located on the second level,
    allowing for smaller units that provide more interest at street level.
    What are typologies? Typologies are commonly found forms in cities. Examples of typologies include residential, commercial, industrial and office. While cities throughout the world have these typologies, the specific elements of each typology vary widely based on context.

    Including a session focused on typologies during the policy development process allowed us to work with the public and focus on the best possible outcomes for South Hill, given its context.

     Lead Planner of the
    South Hill Area Station Plan,
    Breanne Harder
    As a planner, it provides me with an added link between the vision and developing policies that will help achieve that vision. Stakeholders invited to the session bring their expertise and landowners in the area provide additional community knowledge. Together, the concepts developed will be used to produce a relevant policy plan that provides support for decision-making throughout the planning and development process.

    What am I most excited to see once this project is complete? One day, taking the CTrain to South Hill station and spending time on the high street, seeing how the policies I developed shaped the area into an urban village in south Calgary.
  • Help make Spring Clean-Up a sweeping success 12 April 2016 The City’s annual Spring Clean-up program kicked off on April 3, with some big changes to the program this year.

    Until June 1, crews will be out sweeping up dirt and debris leftover from winter on over 15,000 lane kilometres of road across Calgary. When crews sweep up gravel and debris, it keeps it out of the air and our storm drain systems. Clean streets are also safer for motorists, pedestrians and cyclists.

    During pre-sweeping in March, crews were able to complete a significant amount of sweeping due to warm and dry weather conditions. Sweeping has continued successfully throughout April as well.

    Residents looking for more information about the program can visit to read the answers to some frequently asked questions. Here are a few we’ve heard so far:

    How can I find out when crews will be sweeping my street?

    This year, crews are sweeping 7 days/week, an increase from the previous schedule of 4 days/week. To find out when sweepers will be on your street, watch for the large green community sweeping signs posted in your area and look up your address at

    What are the new parking restrictions in place this year?

    All communities are now under parking restrictions when streets are being swept. When the large green community signs (pictured) are placed around your community, a parking ban is in effect for the entire community. Any vehicles left on the road at this time are at risk of receiving a ticket, but will not be towed. For this reason, crews will have to sweep around these vehicles, reducing the effectiveness of the sweeping program.

    Why didn’t the vehicles left on my street receive a ticket or tow?

    If the small “No Parking” signs are placed every few metres along your street, vehicles will be ticketed and towed. In areas where the green community signs are placed, but the small “No Parking’ signs are not, towing will not occur.

    Although the Calgary Parking Authority is enforcing tickets when community signs are out, not every neighbourhood can be attended to. Crews typically sweep in five different areas of Calgary every day for two months, so not every vehicle can be ticketed and/or towed over this period of time.

    What do I do if street cleaning falls on garbage collection day?

    If you have front street collection, place your blue and black carts on the sidewalk or grass boulevard next to the curb. Once street cleaning is complete, you can put your carts out as normal on collection day.

    For more Spring Clean-up news and updates, follow @yyctransport on Twitter.
  • City launches new way to license your pet 11 April 2016 Working together with pet owners we are making licensing your pet easier. This new, user-friendly, online Animal Services site has features such as the ability to sign-up for automatic renewal payments, which you told us you wanted.

    Go paperless

    Our new animal licensing site also allows you to:
    purchase or renew your pet license online;
    pay using Interac and credit card;
    order replacement pet tags online; and
    sign-up to go paperless.

    With our new email notifications, never miss a pet licence renewal again. Just log onto the Animal Services site and then select the “Go paperless” button in your contact profile to turn on or off paper renewals and receive email reminders.

    Licensing your pet

    It’s important to remember that your pet’s license is their ticket home. Licensing your pet also supports our mission to create safe and healthy neighbourhoods. Our licensing fees are used to provide many services to Calgarians, including reuniting lost cats and dogs with owners, educating the public about responsible pet ownership, managing our cat and dog adoption programs and running our volunteer animal socialization programs.

    Visit to see the new site.

    Submitted by Dustin Rogers, Calgary Community Standards
  • National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week recognizes 9-1-1 responders 11 April 2016 National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week is the week set aside each year to recognize the extraordinary work and efforts of our emergency communications officers, the true first responders and unsung heroes of 9-1-1.

    Every day people depend on the skill, expertise and commitment of the men and women who work in public safety telecommunications. These individuals help save countless lives by responding to emergency calls, dispatching emergency responders and equipment, and providing moral support to citizens in distress.

    Take some time this week to say thank you to the first of the first responders, always there for you!

    Mayor's proclamation

    Mayor Naheed Nenshi has proclaimed April 10-16 as Public Safety Telecommunicators Week in the city of Calgary. This proclamation recognizes the work done every day by the more than 300 emergency communications officers to ensure that they are meeting service standard and offering
    their best to the citizens of Calgary.

    Calgary 9-1-1 celebrates 10th anniversary

    In 2006, the call centres for Calgary Police Service, Calgary Fire Department and Calgary Emergency Medical Services were combined to create Calgary 9-1-1. Over the past 10 years, Calgary 9-1-1 has evolved and grown. From the launch of Text to 9-1-1 capabilities for Deaf, hard of hearing and speech impaired communities, to becoming an Accredited Centre of Excellence in the field of medical call evaluation by the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch (IAED).

    Calgary 9-1-1 strives to be the model of excellence in public safety in Canada. As one of the only tri-services 9-1-1 centre in Alberta, Calgary 9-1-1 is committed and dedicated to making the city and surrounding areas safe for all citizens.

    Submitted by Erin Madden and Kaila Lagran, Community Services

  • Help re-imagine your Olympic Plaza Cultural District 8 April 2016 The City of Calgary, in partnership with Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) and Intelligent Futures, wants to know what Calgarians envision for the future of the Olympic Plaza Cultural District (OPCD).

    The request for input stems from the Civic District Public Realm Strategy, approved by Council in early 2016, which aims to improve the public spaces around City Hall, Olympic Plaza, and the new Central Library.

    This round of public engagement will focus on Olympic Plaza and its adjacent areas: Municipal Plaza, the surrounding public realm and connections through City Hall onto Third Street S.E. These areas have been identified as priority spaces in need of repair and enhancement.

    “Earlier feedback told us that Calgarians want to see an Olympic Plaza Cultural District that is clean, safe, and vibrant and provides a range of programming, events and amenities,” says Carlie Ferguson, Urban Strategy Lead at The City of Calgary. “Now, we’re zeroing in on what Calgarians already like about the space, what they would like to change and other ways we can make this great space even better.”

    The project kicks off with a week-long public awareness campaign that will get Calgarians thinking about the Olympic Plaza Cultural District. Fun facts about the district will be featured in Olympic Plaza and through social media. A week later, public engagement officially launches on April 18.

    The initial result of this public input will be a programming guide that feeds into future phases of the project, potential design requirements and the site amenities most valued by Calgarians.

    “Calgarians see this area as their outdoor living room,” Ferguson says. “Their input is essential to help inspire a world-class space that draws tourists and citizens alike.”

    Starting April 18, Calgarians are invited to provide their feedback on site at Olympic Plaza and various downtown locations, at special events across the city, through social media using the hashtag #myOPCD and online by visiting Stay tuned to the website for more details.
  • To water or not to water? Tips to care for your tree this spring 7 April 2016 A combination of above-average seasonal temperatures and a dry winter might have you wondering: How do I care for my trees in the spring?

    In dry spring-like weather conditions you can help Calgary trees in two ways:


    With trees beginning to leaf-out, they could all benefit from an extra drink of water now – it’s hard work budding all those leaves.
    Generally, newly planted and/or young trees, under two years old, require more frequent watering. During extended periods of dry conditions all trees benefit from some extra watering.

    Watering tips:

    • Before watering, check your soil moisture. Using your hands, loosen the soil around the trunk to get an idea of how dry the soil is.
    • Ensure the flow coming from your garden hose is a slow trickle to allow the soil enough time to absorb water. 
    • Always water your tree at the root. Tree roots can be found away from the trunk under the drip line, which is the spot where rain falls down from the branch to the ground.
    • Only apply enough water to moisten the soil to a depth of 10 inches or more for mature trees, approximately 30 minutes at a slow trickle. 
    • Avoid over-watering. A good indication of over-watering is if you see water begin to run-off the surface. 


    Try adding some mulch around your tree.  Mulching helps trees retain water, moderates soil temperature and reduces grass and weeds from growing around tree trunks. Here’s more info on how to mulch.

    Looking for mulch materials? Head to any City landfill between now and May 29th for free mulch – just bring a shovel and your own containers or bags!    

    For tips and information swing by our ReTree YYC booth this weekend at the Calgary Horticultural Garden Show April 9 and 10 or you can visit

    If you have questions or concerns about a City-owned tree please contact 311 via mobile app or by phone.

    Submitted by Arthur McComish, Parks
  • Calgarians increasingly connected to the Centre City 6 April 2016 Calgarians continue to express positive views about Centre City amenities, cleanliness, infrastructure and sense of community, according to The City of Calgary’s 2015 Centre City Citizen Perception Survey.

    “We are particularly pleased to see the increase in people visiting the Centre City for non-work activities, a total of 62 per cent in 2015 compared to 51 per cent when we polled in 2013,” says Cathy Taylor, Project Manager with The City’s Urban Strategy unit. “With the decline in the economy in 2015, we expected different results. This confirms that all Calgarians, even those who neither work nor live in the Centre City, are excited by what the core has to offer.”

    Taylor was also pleased with the high levels of use of Centre City parks and pathways.

    “At The City we take great pride in making our Centre City parks and pathways clean, accessible and enjoyable for everyone,” she says. “This survey confirms that Calgarians value them as well.”

    Not only do people report being satisfied with levels of cleanliness in the Centre City, 15 per cent of Calgarians reported that cleanliness has improved over the past three years resulting in an even better experience when visiting the area.

    There was a small overall decline in Calgarians’ perceptions of safety in the Centre City.

    “The Calgary Police Service employs a number of additional resources, including plainclothes officers and our Beat and Bike Teams, throughout the downtown area,” says District 1 Inspector Cliff O’Brien. “We encourage anyone who believes they’ve been a victim of a crime, or who witnesses a crime, to contact us. The more we know, the better we are able to deploy resources.”

    This is the first year Calgarians were asked about parking. 68 per cent of Calgarians find parking in the Centre City difficult or somewhat difficult. Almost seven in ten report insufficient short term parking spots during business hours.

    “The City of Calgary continues to explore ways to improve parking accessibility to the Centre City while managing congestion,” says Eric MacNaughton, parking strategist with The City. “As part of the new Downtown Parking Strategy, we’ll be reviewing our current rules for private parking to allow underused parking spaces to be more easily rented out to people driving downtown. The goal would be to free up short term parking spaces during business hours.”

    The telephone survey was conducted by research firm Harris/Decima in November and December of 2015. The survey polled 981 Calgarians, aged 18 years and above.

    The City of Calgary has been investing in the Centre City since 2007, which has created a more attractive core that has a greater capacity to support and encourage future investment and growth.

    “55 per cent of respondents indicated that the Centre City is a desirable place to live, up from 49 per cent in 2013 and 39 per cent in 2011,” Taylor says. “Our survey results continue to demonstrate that great strides are being made in building a vibrant Centre City.”

    The survey was initiated by The City’s Urban Strategy team; key findings are available at

    About Calgary’s Centre City
    Calgary’s Centre City includes the Beltline, Chinatown, Downtown, East Village, Eau Claire, Stampede Park and Downtown West. City Council approved the Centre City Plan in 2007. It establishes the vision for making Calgary’s Centre City a liveable, caring and thriving place. Over 37,000 people live and 161,000 work in Centre City, while millions visit the downtown areas many restaurants, shops, public art, culture destinations, attractions, festivals and more than 25 public parks and spaces.
  • You bought a new home. What now? 6 April 2016 Spring is in the air! It’s the time of year when we often begin spring cleaning, organizing and home maintenance projects. The City of Calgary website is a great place to find a wealth of helpful information. For homeowner information and resources, check out our new web hub,

    My Home brings together many planning and development aspects that homeowners often have questions about. The resources available can help guide homeowners through maintenance, home renovations, inspections, landscaping, hiring a contractor, electrical work, plumbing and more. This new comprehensive tool is user-friendly and informative. It allows you to easily research project planning information, print permit requirement lists and even book permit application appointments online. If after reviewing the information online you still have questions, contact our staff at the Planning Services Centre at 403-268-5311, Monday to Friday from 8:15 a.m. to 4 p.m.

    Home maintenance
    Home maintenance is essential to keeping your home safe, healthy and functioning properly. The Inspection and Maintenance tab on My Home allows you to filter the key elements of home maintenance projects by the frequency they are recommended. For example, smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors and dryer vents are items that should be checked frequently. Information on how to check these things is included in each section. Water heaters and backwater valves fall under the “once a year” category, while duct cleaning is less often at every two years. Replacement of carbon monoxide alarms and smoke alarms fall into the five to 10 year categories. Having a maintenance schedule can help alleviate expensive surprises and allow you to anticipate future maintenance projects before they become an emergency.

    Home renovations
    The home improvement hub on My Home, which can be visited directly at, lists common renovation type projects, from decks and fences to secondary suites and additions. Selecting a project type from the list provides detailed information about which permits are required and why, as well as associated bylaw and building code considerations. Although descriptions simplified for the average homeowner where possible, a glossary of building and development terms is also included. This is helpful in providing clarity on construction and development terms, with which you may not be familiar. A property information search tool also allows you to check the land use district for your address. This can save you time that you may have previously spent on hold to talk with a planning services representative over the phone.

    Web information
    We are constantly expanding our website and improving our services to help citizens have simple and accurate access to the information you need to make informed decisions. As a plans examiner, it has been exciting to see how many added services have been developed over the last few years. To date this year, more than 85 per cent of all new single family home applications from home builders have been processed online. Over the next several years, more online services will be made available in permitting, licensing and approval services for homeowners as well. We encourage you to go online today and see how The City is working to serve you better.

    About the author
    Vanessa Gash has been a plans examiner with Calgary Building Services at The City of Calgary for five years, and is a graduate in Architectural Engineering Technology from College of the North Atlantic. Prior to working at The City, she spent many years in the commercial and residential construction industry in Calgary.
  • Annual Youth Hiring Fair a hit with jobseekers 5 April 2016 An estimated line-up of more than 1,000 youth were eager to put their best foot forward with employers this afternoon for the 18th Annual Youth Hiring Fair.

    Located at the Big Four Building on Stampede Park, the annual fair was organized by The City of Calgary’s Youth Employment Centre (YEC). The event was free and open to all youth aged 15-24.

    Large turnout not a surprise

    In talking with City officials, they weren’t surprised by this year’s large turnout given the current economic downturn in Alberta.

    While at the fair, I spoke with Jennifer Gee, a community relations liaison with YEC. Jennifer mentioned that there were some early indicators this year’s event might have a higher number of attendees. For her, one of the biggest signs was the steady stream of job seekers stopping by the YEC office for tips on how to make a positive first impression with employers.

    Landing a job

    Many youth who came prepared saw their efforts pay off.

    Brianna Martell
    One of the first individuals I met who made some initial job connections at the event was 21-year-old Brianna Martell from Windsor Park.

    Brianna’s job searching strategy was to cast a wide net. She made the rounds visiting with Casino Calgary, Century Downs Racetrack and Casino, 7-11, McDonald’s, Hi-Flyer Food and Denny’s. She introduced herself to the recruiters, filled out a few applications and is hoping to hear back from some of the employers in the coming weeks.

    Employers impressed with quality of applicants

    Despite the economic downturn it’s clear that companies are still looking to hire qualified candidates. This year’s event had more than 80 employers offering a variety of full-time, part-time and seasonal openings.

    As I walked through the Big Four Building, I had an opportunity to visit with Talia Benson a numbers and culture coordinator with Fiasco Gelato.

    Talia Benson
    Talia was quite impressed with the experience and enthusiasm of the candidates she spoke to. She said for companies like Fiasco Gelato, it’s not every day they get to fill a large portion of their hiring needs in one afternoon.

    She views it as a win-win situation for everyone involved.

    Missed out on this year’s fair?

    If you weren’t able to make it to this year’s fair, be sure to visit the YEC office located on the second floor of the Alberta Trade Centre building (315 - 10th Avenue S.E.).

    They have a variety of employment counseling and training programs to help put you on the path towards starting your career.

    Submitted by Eric Michalko, Calgary Neighbourhoods
  • Big changes coming to Kensington 4 April 2016 With the weather getting nicer every day we’re looking forward to the spring and summer seasons. And this year, we’re into Kensington!

    This year we're into Kensington! Sidewalk construction starts April 4.
    The City of Calgary, in partnership with the Kensington Business Revitalization Zone (BRZ), will be completing work on improvements to Kensington’s public realm this year. The project will replace ageing infrastructure on 10 Street N.W. between Memorial Drive and 5 Avenue N.W. and Kensington Road between 10 Street N.W. and 14 Street N.W. Last year work started on the east side of 10 Street N.W. between 2 Avenue N.W. and 4 Avenue N.W. when new sidewalks were constructed.

    Improvements in Kensington will include new sidewalks, trees, streetlights and street furniture for safer mobility for all users of Kensington’s public realm.

    “We all know Kensington as a great community and at The City we’re committed to keeping it that way by improving safety and mobility and creating more livable streets,” said City of Calgary project manager Erin Ward.

    The City will be installing new energy efficient streetlights and pedestrian lights to the area so Calgarians can safely enjoy Kensington after the sun goes down.

    Additionally, broken interlocking paving stones on 10 Street N.W. and Kensington Road will be replaced with new concrete sidewalks to eliminate trip hazards and brand new trees will replace old or dying ones. New litter receptacles, bike racks and benches will also be added to the neighbourhood.

    “With over 270 shops and services in Kensington, pedestrian traffic is important for a thriving business community. The work being done during this project will improve the experience of visitors to Kensington,”said Annie McInnis, executive director of the Kensington BRZ. “This project will allow a century old community to maintain its vibrancy for years to come.”

    Temporary sidewalk and business access during
    construction on 10 St N.W. in 2015
    The City will be making every effort to ensure access to businesses will be maintained throughout
    construction by building wooden boardwalks through construction areas shoppers can use to enter businesses.

    A detailed construction schedule will be available online at Construction will begin this week and is expected to be ongoing through October, but as with all construction projects the timeline for completion is weather dependent.

    For more information on this project visit or contact 311.
  • MyProperty map re-launches today 4 April 2016 We’ve improved, a one-stop shop for Calgary property details, including ward, community, development and building permit information. It’s now mobile-friendly, easy to use and accessible.

    What else is new?
    • Land use re-designations link directly to status information
    • Land use designation information
    • Links to City planning policies
    In the next few months, we’ll be adding property assessment values.

    Visit to find out more.

  • Calgary musicians turn it up on the CTrain during JUNO Week 28 March 2016
    Mayor Naheed Nenshi with Calgary's own Steel & Timber left to right(Nathan H-Thompson, Phil Brayton & Ben Rogalsky)

    During JUNO Week, Calgarians and out-of-town visitors will have the pleasure of taking in some of our City’s local musical talent on the CTrain. Musicians will play for Calgary Transit passengers and provide a sampling of the vibrant music scene we have right here in our city.

    “On behalf of the citizens of Calgary and the JUNO Awards host committee, OutLoudYYC, I am pleased to welcome the JUNO Awards to our great city,” says Marco De Iaco, Chair OutLoudYYC. “There are so many wonderful Canadian musical acts playing, and I encourage Calgarians to take part in the numerous events that are taking place at both large and small venues during JUNO Week and leading up to the JUNO Awards.

    JUNO volunteers will accompany the musicians to tell passengers about all the multitude of events taking place in Calgary leading up to the JUNO Awards. So if you happen to get on a train car with a little more rhythm than your regular commute, take a moment to tap your feet to the beat and say hello.

    Musical acts will be playing on both CTrain lines (red and blue) between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. from Monday March 28 through Friday April 1 and include Steel & Timber, Jan Rachel and Jiggity James and the Canadian Tuxedos just to name a few.

    “Calgary is a music city. We have an immense amount of talent here, and we’re so excited to showcase our performers to the world, especially leading up the JUNO Awards when so many music professionals will be visiting,” says Mayor Naheed Nenshi. “We have a great busking scene, and there isn’t a night when you can’t go out in Calgary and see some wonderful live music at one of our many local venues.”

    Calgary’s musical talent is evidenced not only by the entertainers that make it big and go on to win JUNOs and other awards, but also by the acts that remain local and help to animate our city for all Calgarians to enjoy. When we launched the busking pilot program in January, we made a commitment to help promote and showcase local up-and-coming talent. The JUNOS on the CTrain program is one of the ways we’re supporting, celebrating and elevating the profile of street performing as a cherished art form.

    Find out more about what’s going on in Calgary for the 2016 JUNO Awards and JUNO Week.

    Find out more about becoming a busker in Calgary at

    With so much happening in Calgary’s music scene, it’s easy to see why 2016 has been dubbed the Year of Music!
  • Construction begins at Prairie Winds Park 17 March 2016
    Construction is now starting at Prairie Winds Park to get that much needed facelift that you helped shape by sharing what you wanted to see in your park.

    Click on the image to enlarge and view.
    The upgraded park will have new features like a lookout at the top of the toboggan hill and better access into the park. We are also relocating the tennis courts to the southeast corner of the park, which people told us is an underused area. We’re adding lighting there too to extend the hours people can play.

    Revitalizing a well-loved park

    Other new elements of the park include an exciting new playscape, new wading pool with a lazy river, and a junior-sized cricket pitch that will replace the existing baseball diamond – just to name a few.

    Prairie Winds Park has been a well-loved and well-used park in Calgary’s northeast for the past 25 years. The redevelopment of the park will revitalize and provide it with much-needed upgrades and improvements so it can continue serving the growing communities around it.

    Being active and healthy are important to your quality of life. Having an upgraded space at Prairie Winds Park gives Calgarians another space to get out, be active and adopt a healthy lifestyle.

    Construction closures

    While construction is happening, certain areas of the park will be closed to the public. Closures and construction updates will be provided at on Twitter using #prairiewindspark.

    Construction is expected to be completed by the summer of 2017.

    Submitted by Erin Martinez, Parks
  • The importance of keeping storm drains draining 17 March 2016 In 2015, there were more than 1600 service requests related to catch basins and drainage concerns, while in 2014 there were a whopping 5036! The City historically receives the majority of its storm drain –or ‘catch basin’- calls in March.

    A blocked catch basin
    Rainwater and melting snow from sidewalks, streets and roads are drawn into the catch basin or storm drain, located at the edge of the sidewalk and flow into our storm system, eventually into our rivers. One way to help keep your sidewalks and roads safe is to create a pathway for the melting snow to drain to the storm drain.

    “Citizens can help prevent street pooling by clearing ice and compacted snow away from storm drain when the weather turns warmer,” says John Headley, leader Asset Assessment with Water Services. “Citizens can, if safe to do so, clear the channel along the gutter so that the snowmelt can drain into the catch basin.” At times, street debris or debris from wind, rain or hail storms (branches, leaves etc.) may block storm drains, as well. If this debris is sitting on the surface of the drain, and it is safe to do so, it can be removed to allow for water to drain more easily.

    Storm drains are the main way water gets into the underground pipe system. The metal grates that can be seen at the edge of the road are only a portion of the structure which is primarily under ground. Under the grates is a barrel that collects the water. The barrel is attached to a pipe that allows the water to be whisked away and eventually deposited in the river.

    If a storm drain is encased in ice, and cannot be easily removed please contact 311 so it can be thawed with specialized equipment. Also, do not attempt to clean a catch basin if it's submerged in water. You cannot be sure if the grate is intact, presenting a safety risk. If the drain is covered in water, please contact 311.

    In many newer communities, The City has installed inlet control devices in the storm drain to control water drainage. Known as ICD’s , they are designed to keep water on the road for at least two hours, or until the system can accept the extra water. While this prevents the storm system from being overwhelmed, it may result in some water pooling on a street. This water will eventually drain once water volumes lower.

    For more information on The City’s storm drain system, visit