Calgary City News Blog
 

Calgary City News Blog
 

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  • Couple’s family grows after Calgary Transit love story 29 July 2014 Less than a year-and-a-half ago, Irina and Jason Duncan came face to face on a crowded CTrain leaving Sunnyside Station. Now, the couple is married and recently welcomed their first child Michael into the world.

    “I never thought I’d meet my husband on the train!” said Irina.

    Because Calgary Transit was such a big part of their family’s story, the couple asked to take maternity photos on the CTrain, which they plan to make into a book for Michael to show the “history of how he happened,” explained Jason.



    On July 29, the Duncans boarded a train at City Hall Station and brought Baby Michael onboard to share their story.

    “I think love happens when you least expect it,” said Jason. “It’s not the right time or the right place, it catches you by surprise.”
  • Is your business prepared? 28 July 2014 The 2013 flood was a call to action for both the business sector and The City of Calgary. Although insurance and provincial recovery funds provided some relief to business owners as they recovered, the flood highlighted the need and value of disaster preparedness planning for Calgary businesses.

    Last week, The City of Calgary’s Calgary Emergency Management Agency (CEMA), in partnership with the Calgary Chamber of Commerce and Calgary Economic Development, released a Business Continuity Handbook to explain the importance of emergency preparedness for the business community.

    “The business sector is an important member of the Calgary community,” said Deputy Chief Tom Sampson. “Empowering them with the tools and knowledge they need to prepare, respond, and recover will positively contribute to the overall resiliency of our community.”

    Along with the handbook, a template and Business Continuity Reference Guide will provide business owners with tools to develop business continuity strategies and plans. These materials can be customized by the business to meet their specific needs.

    While the 2013 flood had a significant economic, physical, and social impact on Calgary, CEMA believes that this exciting new partnership with the business community is a significant step-forward in strengthening the resiliency of our community to future events.

    For more information on being prepared and what you can do visit calgary.ca/CEMA.
  • Stanley Park Outdoor Swimming Pool welcomes Calgarians back 25 July 2014 Working together with The City of Calgary, The Calgary Outdoor Swimming Pool Association (COSPA) reopened Stanley Park Outdoor Swimming Pool on Tuesday, July 15. The pool was closed following the June 2013 flood, four days before a grand reopening to debut renovations, including a new wading pool.


    “We were really looking forward to getting the crowds back [after the renovations],” says Mike Gavan, Executive Director of COSPA. “It was supposed to be a new beginning, but the flood washed it all away.”

    Gavan recounts the shocking impact of the flood and the community’s reaction. “The area was so hard hit – there were bigger priorities than getting the pool going, of course – but people were showing up wanting to help. One day we had 50 people!”

    After deciding the damage was too severe to reopen the pool for the 2013 season, COSPA and The City of Calgary set to work on restoring this important community hub.

    The scope of work included extensive demolition and rebuilding. All fixtures, lockers, flooring and doors were gutted and replaced. The concession area was torn down and rebuilt with flood resilient materials and mechanical equipment was also replaced.

    Contractors worked seven days a week for two and a half months and, while some work is still needed to get the pool to pre-flood conditions, COSPA is pleased to announce the main pool and building are open for the 2014 season.

    “The building looks great! We still have a few minor bugs we’re working out. We’re getting the word out and the crowds are starting to come back.”

    The wading pool is temporarily out of service due to problems with underground water supply pipes. An inspection scheduled next week will reveal the extent of the damage and the cause.

    “We’re trying to get it open this season,” says Gavan, who is hopeful the July 2014 reopening is the beginning of a new era for the flagship pool. “There’s light at the end of this tunnel.”

    COSPA and The City of Calgary Recreation continue work to erase the damage caused by the flood.

    “We’re very appreciative of the work The City did. It was a big task.”

    On Wednesday, Gavan spoke with CTV Calgary about the reopening and Calgary’s network of outdoor pools. Watch the video here.

    For up-to-date information about progress at Stanley Park Pool, or for swim schedules, visit calgaryoutdoorpools.ca.
  • LEDs light up Calgary communities this summer 24 July 2014 The City is illuminating five communities in Calgary with 2,500 new energy-efficient LED streetlights this summer.

    GE Evolve ERS1 LED fixtures
    Altadore, Douglasdale, Marlborough, Tuxedo Park, and Brentwood are part of the first phase of an initiative focused on changing the existing High Pressure Sodium (HPS) street lights to energy efficient fixtures. LED light installations started in the community of Altadore, and will be ongoing throughout the summer and early fall. In a two-phased project, The City plans to eventually undertake a city-wide retrofit of approximately 80,000 fixtures.

    “This is the first step in The City’s larger vision of providing Calgarians with smart, sustainable, and cost-effective infrastructure,” said Barry Poon, Acting Director of Roads. “The LED technology will not only reduce electricity use and lower maintenance costs, but will also provide better quality lighting for our communities and roadways.”

    Benefits of LED street lighting
    • Reduces electricity consumption
    • Makes objects appear clearer and more defined
    • Reduces the amount of “spilled” or wasted light, ensuring light is focused on roads and sidewalks, where it is most useful to drivers and pedestrians
    Find more information about energy efficient LED lighting and frequently asked questions online.
    • Public Safety Communications members shave their lids for kids’ cancer 23 July 2014
      Helping others is not just a job for The City of Calgary’s emergency communications officers (ECO) -- it's part of who they are. On Friday, July 18, several ECOs with Public Safety Communications shaved their heads for a Kids Cancer Care Foundation fundraiser.


      ECO Jacqui Skelton's head shaved by Commander Richard Hinse,
      “I am so proud of the efforts of our 9-1-1 call takers and dispatchers,” said Commander Richard Hinse, who had the honour of shaving the first head. “What I’ve seen here today is a group of caring and committed individuals who believe in rallying support for causes that mean something to them.”


      Dubbed 9-1-1 Life Shavers, this employee-driven event was successful in raising more than $7,000 to support kids’ cancers.


      Earlier this year, one of PSC’s ECOs passed away from cancer. A few members took it upon themselves to put this fundraiser together to raise awareness and funds for cancer. Nine people took part in the head shave to show moral support for the kids who lose their hair during cancer treatments, while raising money for camp, research, hospital and scholarship programs for young people affected by cancer.



      For more information on Public Safety Communications and the work this group does for Calgarians visit calgary.ca/911.


      Submitted by Tanja McMorris, Public Safety Communications
    • Census shows record growth for Calgary 22 July 2014 Calgary’s population has reached 1,195,194; an increase of 3.33% or 38,508 residents from last year, resulting in record growth for the city.

      "Accurate census information is essential in decision making and planning for The City’s future needs," said Mayor Naheed Nenshi.



      2014 by the numbers:

      Community Growth

      Saddleridge leads the way in community growth, with a population increase of 2,373.  Seven other Calgary neighbourhoods saw notable migration increases including: Auburn Bay (2,242), Cranston (1,858), Skyview Ranch (1,759), Evanston (1,704), Panorama Hills (1,384), Aspen Woods (1,095) and Beltline (1,091).

      Housing 

      While housing starts are up, Calgary's vacancy rate continues to decline. Overall vacancy rate in the city is 2.01%, down from 2.59% in 2013.

      For the second year in a row census takers used tablets to collect census information, saving nearly 50,000 sheets of paper.

      For complete 2014 Civic Census results, please visit calgary.ca/census.
    • Taxi survey results encouraging but improvements still needed 17 July 2014
      While The City looks to make taxi service improvements for peak times like Stampede, recent survey results show citizens are satisfied with how the industry is running.


      The survey, conducted between April 24 and May 11 by Leger, found 86 per cent of Calgarians are satisfied with taxi service in the city.


      “We know some people — especially those who waited for hours during Stampede and still could not get a taxi —are going to question the results,” says Marc Halat, manager of Compliance Services with Animal & Bylaw Services.


      “But what we are seeing is that, most of the time, it is actually very easy to get a taxi in Calgary and it is an enjoyable experience.” 


      Based on the survey, only about 60 per cent of citizens took a taxi in the past year, while 13 per cent used a luxury sedan or limo. Of those who did jump in a cab, 93 per cent say they were satisfied with the driver.


      Learning from Stampede

      The Leger survey results are being presented to the Taxi Limousine Advisory Committee (TLAC) on Friday, July 18 along with a summary of lessons learned from this year’s Stampede.


      Halat says The City is already looking at ways to improve taxi service during next year’s Stampede, such as adding more taxi stands in better locations near the grounds and Fort Calgary.

      Most complaints go direct to taxi companies

      Another finding is the majority of taxi and limousine complaints were registered directly with the company. Only eight per cent of complaints were filed through 311 and The City.


      “We want to encourage people to let The City know when they have issues,” says Halat. “By letting The City know, you will be providing us with the information we need to improve the service.”  


      Calgarians can pass along all compliments and complaints to 311, either by calling, going onlineor using the app, in addition to letting the taxi company know directly.


      For more information, go to Calgary.ca/taxi

      Submitted by Tara Norton-Merrin, Animal & Bylaw Services
    • Confederation Park: The "kids own it" says one of the park's founders 16 July 2014
      Fifty years ago, Amelia (Millie) Smith, was recruited by close friend, and future Alderman, Eric Musgreave to join the Centennial Ravine Parks Society and help convince The City of Calgary of the benefits of turning a local coulee into a park. This area is now Calgary’s beautiful, beloved Confederation Park and helps honour Canada’s Confederation in 1867.


      Millie Smith: The trees were just eensy teensy.
      Now 90 years-old, Smith moved to Calgary with her husband in 1954 and volunteered for a number of worthy causes including the Centennial Ravine Parks Society, Meals on Wheels, an anti-Vietnam war women’s group called Voice of Women, and teaching English to new Canadians.


      She recently toured Confederation Park with The City to share stories about the society and the history of the park.


      Why did you join the committee to form Confederation Park? Was there a specific task to achieve?


      They were going to make this area into a nuisance ground, like a garbage collection place and Eric said, ‘no way, we need a park on the north hill. 1967 is coming pretty soon.’


      Eric decided he’d get together several acquaintances and friends that he knew would be interested [in the Centennial Ravine Park society]. He wanted me to be on the committee.


      What was your role in the society?


      I had to see about getting speakers to go and speak at schools and community organizations to get the community and the people of the city interested. When City departments saw how interested people were in our park -- the idea of it -- The City was behind us 100 per cent.


      What did the park look like when it first opened?


      These trees were just eensy teensy. August 7, 1967, is the day we opened the park and my husband was running around putting signs on the trees saying ‘donated by...’ until the last minute. The trees were just little. Kids could buy them for $5 a piece and then they would come and plant them and that would be their tree. If a school had a day they would come and plant a whole bunch of trees together.


      Would you encourage young people to volunteer their time on something like this?


      Yes, you bet. I don’t think there’s ever been much mischief in this park because the kids own it. At least that’s how it started out. All the kids felt that this was their park because they had planted a tree.


      Visiting the park now do you feel a sense of legacy?


      Oh I do, I really do. I think, my gosh, I never even pictured it would look this beautiful. Just couldn’t picture it. I don’t remember so much green space, it looks so beautiful. It really is lovely the way they’ve done this.



      As part of the opening ceremony on August 7, 1967, three time capsules were buried at various locations throughout the park. The capsules are set to be opened on August 7, 2017 and Smith plans to be in attendance.


      To learn more about Confederation Park or other parks in the city visit calgary.ca/parks.


      Submitted by: Lauren Greschner, Parks
    • Prairie Winds Park Redevelopment: Your park, your say 15 July 2014 Prairie Winds Park, one of Calgary’s most well-used and well-loved regional parks, is being redeveloped, and we want your input and ideas.

      From July 14 to August 2, you can share your thoughts on the new park design. Public input will help inform and shape how the park looks and what elements and features should be included.

      Ways to engage

      To kick off engagement, The City is asking citizens to provide their feedback on the following two questions:
      1. What do you like most about Prairie Winds Park?
      2. What changes would improve Prairie Winds Park?
      The different ways to share input and answer the questions are:

      In-person
      • Provide comments on the sounding board located at Prairie Winds Park. Input and ideas are welcome in English, Punjabi, Urdu, Tagalog, Arabic and Gujarati.
      • Participate in Flag Day at Prairie Winds Park on July 26 from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Use flags to vote on areas of the park you like, and areas where you’d like to see change.
      Online
      Text/SMS Messaging
      • Text your feedback to 331-431-5333 (Normal messaging rates apply. Check with your cell phone provider for details).
      Prairie Winds Park opened nearly 25 years ago to serve the growing communities east of the airport. The redevelopment will revitalize the park and provide much-needed upgrades and improvements so it can continue to serve the communities around it. The newly renovated spray park, scheduled to reopen early August, will also be included in the new park design.

      More information on how to get involved is also available at calgary.ca/prairiewindspark. Questions or comments can be emailed to parks@calgary.ca, or contact 311.

      Submitted by Erin Martinez, City of Calgary Parks


    • Mayor Nenshi: Moving forward following the one year anniversary of the 2013 flood 14 July 2014 High water season in Calgary ends tomorrow. As Mayor Nenshi explains, throughout the past several months The City worked diligently to manage and prepare for short-term risk while simultaneously managing long-term risk.



      We had a chance to reflect on the tough times and also celebrate how the community came together during the 2013 flood; however, our work is not done.

      Individual preparedness and staying informed are important ways to stay safe. Stay connected with us via our social media channels, apps and website - make sure you know what's happening, so you know what to do.

      Find more information at calgary.ca/floodinfo.
    • First city-wide bicycle count results released 14 July 2014 The City released its first Bicycle Count Report today, which presents bicycle data collected in the summer of 2013 to help guage trends on the number of bicycle riders, gender, age and helmet use over time across Calgary.

      The data was collected at over 50 locations throughout Calgary during the morning and evening commute hours. “The data which has been collected is similar to that of the City of Calgary Bicycle Program Yearbook released earlier this year, but provides more comprehensive detail and analysis,” says Ekke Kok, Manager of Transportation Data.

      Some of the findings in the report include:

      • Over 19,000 cyclists were counted at 51 locations
      • The busiest count location was where the Bow River Pathway meets Crowchild Trail S.W., with 2,787 cyclists during a six hour time frame
      • 86% of cyclists were wearing helmets
      • 79% of cyclists were men, while 21% were women

      This report is one of the ways The City’s Bicycle Program is monitoring and evaluating cycling data, as part of our Cycling Strategy and Calgary Transportation Plan. The data in this report acts as a baseline for The City to monitor changes in the future.

      Bicycle Coordinator, Thomas Thivener says, “The Bicycle Count report is a best practice of bike-friendly cities in North America. By conducting a trend analysis of the number of cyclists in Calgary, broken down by gender, age and helmet use, we can monitor the demographic trends of bicycle riders across the city.”

      The City counts bicyclists a number of different ways and uses several different technologies to do so, including manual counts by data technicans, video camera counts, tube counts, and automated counters. The City also has a Centre City Bicycle Volume Flow Map which shows the corridors most used by bicyclists in the centre city.

      For more information visit www.calgary.ca/bikedata.
    • CTrain named in 10 Triumphs of Canadian Transportation 14 July 2014
      Calgary Transit is pleased to have been recognized by the Transportation Association of Canada (TAC) as one of their 10 Triumphs of Canadian Transportation.

      In honour of their 100th Anniversary, TAC has created the Transportation 2014 campaign to remind Canadians of the importance of transportation to our nation.

      Calgary’s CTrain was listed as one of 10 Triumphs of Canadian Transportation along with the Transcontinental Railway Creation, the Trans-Canada Highway, Canadian Pacific Railway and the Vancouver SkyTrain, among others.



      Calgary’s LRT system was first introduced in 1981 and today, the CTrain now carries over 300,000 passengers every weekday – more than any other light rail system in North America.
    • Tribute to Chief Burrell 11 July 2014 After almost 10 years of leading the Calgary Fire Department and Calgary Emergency Management Agency (CEMA), Chief Bruce Burrell retired from The City of Calgary on July 11, 2014.

      Chief Burrell came to The City of Calgary from Halifax and took over as Chief of the Calgary Fire Department in 2005. Since joining The City, he has remained committed to the department's vision of being "the international fire service leader."  He led the department with passion and determination, always with citizens in mind. He has established and tirelessly worked toward achieving improved standards for performance, service delivery and safety.

      Chief Burrell reached a pinnacle in his career with the world-class response to Calgary’s June 2013 flood. Under the Chief’s leadership, The City of Calgary has been held up as a shining example of municipal emergency best practices as reported by the Conference Board of Canada.

      The City of Calgary wishes Chief Burrell all the best in his future plans, which include returning to his home province of Nova Scotia. We will always be grateful for his contributions to a safer Calgary.

       
    • Calgary’s Fire Chief to retire, praises his colleagues in the department 8 July 2014


      Fire Chief Bruce Burrell talked to media earlier today about his decision to retire from the Calgary Fire Department (CFD) and the Calgary Emergency Management Agency (CEMA). Chief Burrell has served nine years with The City of Calgary.




      Chief Burrell moved to Calgary in August 2005 to lead CFD and CEMA. The City of Calgary has been recognized for leadership in municipal emergency best practices as demonstrated during the response to the 2013 flood.


      A recruitment process is underway to appoint a new Calgary Fire Chief. To ensure business continuity, an interim fire chief will be named in coming days until the recruitment process is completed.

      Chief Burrell’s last day is Friday, July 11, 2014.



      Submitted by: Bridget Cox, Calgary Fire Department
    • Staying safe - preparations matter 7 July 2014 River flooding isn't the only type of flooding that can occur, and flooding isn't the only type of emergency to plan for. Deputy Chief Tom Sampson explains what other risks to be prepared for.



      Visit calgary.ca/floodprep or calgary.ca/CEMA for more information.
    • Partners in River Safety say ‘stay safe and stay off rivers’ 4 July 2014
      To ensure everyone is safe while enjoying our parks, rivers and waterways, there are still river advisories in effect for both the Bow and Elbow Rivers

      “We advise that people continue to stay off of the rivers, as the water is still has poor visibility, making it dangerous for even experienced paddlers, kayakers and rafters,” said Deputy Chief Ken Uzeloc of the Calgary Fire Department (CFD).

      “We do not want anyone to be harmed or to take unnecessary risks.”

      Fast river flow and poor visibility

      The advisories are in effect because of the many new and unknown hazards in and around the rivers which are a result of the 2013 flood. A second advisory was added by CFD a few weeks ago due to rainfall and melting snow pack which resulted in faster river flow and poor visibility. 

      CFD Aquatic Rescue team members were on the river to show how difficult it is navigate the Bow with changes to the river flow caused by last year’s flood. The changed river flow now pushes boaters into the Louise Bridge pillar. 

      More safety info on calgary.ca

      For more information on river safety the Calgary Fire Department has information on safety in around our rivers and Animal & Bylaw Services has important tips for safe rafting.

      CFD, Calgary Police Service (CPS) and Animal & Bylaw Services (ABS), make up Calgary’s Partners in River Safety. 

      Submitted by: Bridget Cox, Calgary Fire Department
    • Calgary Transit celebrates 105th birthday with 105-year-old customer 4 July 2014
      Bennie Panaro holds up her annual Senior's Pass, gifted by Calgary Transit for her 105th birthday

      As Calgary Transit prepares to celebrate 105 years, staff delivered a gift to one Calgarian with the same birthday.

      On July 5, both Calgary Transit and Bennie Panaro will turn 105 and in honour of that birthday, Calgary Transit delivered an annual Senior Citizen Pass to Panaro on a charter bus she’s frequented over the years.

      “She still takes Calgary Transit,” said Garry Boucher, Panaro’s friend and caregiver, adding they’ll likely be taking Transit to the Calgary Stampede for Western Heritage Day.

      Panaro’s daughter Leslie McInally said her mom began using Calgary Transit as her primary mode of transportation at the age of 88 after her car died.

      “She would travel all over Calgary,” said McInally, adding her mom knew all the bus schedules and got to know the city well by taking Transit. “Still to this day when I’m driving ... she directs me everywhere.”

      Sharon Bruder and her husband Chris Bruder, both Calgary Transit operators, have known Panaro for years and describe her was one of their most memorable customers.

      “I used to drive the 414 up and down 14th Street. I used to take Bennie to church,” said Sharon. “I would drop her off at the corner so she would have a shorter walk.”

      In addition to playing bridge competitively, Panaro volunteers once a week and goes out for a walk at least once a day.

    • Report to Calgarians: Taxi and Limousine service safety tips 4 July 2014 Taxis and limousines are an important part of our transportation network, and The City of Calgary wants to help you have a safe and enjoyable trip. Taxis and limousines are regulated by The City of Calgary, which ensures passenger and driver safety as well as the quality of the service.



      To make your next taxi or limousine trip enjoyable try these tips;
      • Plan ahead - being prepared for peak periods will help make your next trip more enjoyable
      • Check the Stampede 2014 taxi map for taxi stop locations near the grounds.
      • Check that your taxi or limousine is licensed:
        • look for a numbered plate on the taxi’s rear bumper or look for a numbered decal on the rear window of a limo
        • look for a valid taxi or limousine licence displayed inside the vehicle with the driver’s photograph
      If you have any concerns or compliments about your taxi or limousine service, report the issue by:
      1. taking note of your driver or vehicle’s licence number
      2. report it by contacting 3-1-1 by phone, online or by the App
      3. contacting the taxi or limousine service provider
      For more information: http://calgary.ca/taxi




    • Forewarned & Forearmed: A report on the Calgary Emergency Management Agency & the 2013 June flood 3 July 2014 After the June 2013 floods, a number of independent reports were commissioned for various aspects of the City’s response, which are now being called Canada’s costliest natural disaster.

      The Conference Board of Canada was commissioned to review the response during the flood of June 2013.

      Over 40 representatives from the public and private sectors were interviewed, many of whom worked in the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) during the flood or had critical roles in the response to the flood.

      On Wednesday, July 2, 2014 The Conference Board, along with the Calgary Emergency Management Agency, presented the report to the Emergency Management Committee of Council, followed by an update to local media.

      For more information on CEMA’s involvement in the 2013 Calgary flood, download the Conference Board of Canada’s third party report here.

    • Farewell Critters! Calgary Stampede Parade street sweepers prepare for retirement 2 July 2014 Since 2001 the Roads Maintenance Critters have been cleaning up along the Calgary Stampede Parade route. Now, after 13 years of service, Dixie, Samson, Rocky and Alfalfa are hanging up their cowboy hats and heading for greener pastures.

      The Critters were created by a local puppeteer back in 2001 and have been placed on a street sweeper every year during the Calgary Stampede Parade to clean up after horses and humans along the parade route.

      The 2014 Calgary Stampede Parade on Friday, July 4 will be the Critters’ last. Next year you’ll see four new faces in the Stampede Parade but before we send off Dixon, Samson, Rocky and Alfalfa you’ll be able to see them and say good bye at a variety of City of Calgary Parks over the next couple of weeks.

      Park

      Date

      Time

      Location

      Ralph Klein Park

      12350 84 Street S.E.

      Wednesday, July 9

      1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

      Critters will be located in the Parking lot

      Prairie Winds Park

      223 Castleridge Boulevard N.E.

      Friday, July 11

      1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

      Critters will be located in the parking lot

      Inglewood Bird Sanctuary

      2425 9 Avenue S.E.

      Monday, July 14

      9 a.m. to noon

      Critters will be located in the parking lot.

      Sue Higgins Park

      Southland Drive and Deerfoot Trail S.E.

      Friday, July 18

      9 a.m. to noon

      Critter will be located in the parking lot.


      The Critters will be available for children of all ages to meet and take pictures with. Post your photo on Twitter using the hashtag #farewellcritters and you’ll be entered into a draw for fun City of Calgary Roads swag. We’ll also be hosting other Twitter contests throughout the Stampede to say good bye to our Critters, follow @yyctransport for more details.

      Visit the following links for more information on Calgary Stampede Parade day road closures and accessible viewing information.
     


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