Calgary City News Blog
 

Calgary City News Blog
 

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  • 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


  • Human Rights Day 10 December 2014 The UN General Assembly proclaimed Dec. 10 as Human Rights Day in 1950, to bring to the attention ‘of the peoples of the world’ the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in 1948 as the common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations.

    Human rights are inherent to all human beings, whatever our nationality, place of residence, gender, national or ethnic origin, religion, language, or any other status. Nelson Mandela said "to deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity”.



    At the individual level, while we are entitled our human rights, we should also respect the human rights of others. How have Canadians’ ideas of human rights evolved over time? Change begins when someone believes that they are being treated unfairly, and then decides to take action.
  • Snow Angels program recognizes the angels among us 10 December 2014 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 nieghbours 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.
  • Accessibility annual awards presented this week 9 December 2014 Many Calgarians work in various ways help make life better for persons with disabilities. Every year around the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, City Council presents awards on behalf of the Advisory Committee on Accessibility. These awards recognize individuals or groups who have made an important contribution to improving the lives of Calgarians with disabilities.

    Recipients with Mayor Nenshi receive their ACA awards
    on behalf of their teams. L-R: Ken Uzeloc, Calgary Fire Dept;
    Norma Jean Hogg, Westside Rec Centre; Mayor Naheed
    Nenshi; Karim Rayani, Access Calgary; and Tom Sampson,
    Calgary Fire Dept.
    This year, that awards ceremony was held on Monday, Dec. 8 at Council. Three awards were presented: an Advocacy Award, an Access Recognition Award and the Ella Anderson Accessible Transportation Award.

    These three awards acknowledge only a small fraction of the total effort contributed by Calgarians to the well-being of Calgarians with disabilities.

    The Access Recognition Award
    This year the Calgary Emergency Management Agency (CEMA) took home the award for their work in quickly crafting an emergency plan, helping to evacuate and find affordable and accessible accommodation for individuals with disabilities during the October power outage.

    The Advocacy Award 
    Darrin Horsman was recognized for his work as a personal training coordinator for the fitness centre at Westside Recreation Centre. Darrin supports people with disabilities in their fitness programs to improve their physical health and well-being.

    The Ella Anderson Accessible Transportation Award 
    This award was created in memory of Ella Anderson who was a valued City employee with a deep commitment to persons with disabilities. She served on the Advisory Committee on Accessibility. Sadly Ella passed away in 2012.

    This year the award went to Calgary Transit’s Travel Training program, operated by Access Calgary. This program provides training for individuals with disabilities, seniors and citizens who require assistance to learn how to use Calgary Transit fixed route buses and CTrain services.

    More information about the Advisory Committee on Accessibility.

    Submitted by Peter Jacoby, Community and Neighbourhood Services
  • Watch opening ceremonies for new Windsor Park fire station 9 December 2014 Join Fire Chief Ken Uzeloc and Councillor Brian Pincott as they officially open the new Windsor Park Fire Station 11 (5506 4 Street S.W.) tomorrow, Dec. 10 at 10:30 a.m.

    See a Calgary Fire Department truck helping to cut the ribbon for the new station.

    Live streaming of the ceremony starts at 10:30 a.m.

    Family-friendly activities

    Chief Uzeloc and Councillor Pincott will celebrate with community members of all ages. Kids from the community can take part in craft activities, learn fire prevention and safety tips, and meet Sparky the dog. Everyone is welcome to check out the new station, meet the captain and crew, and see a display of firefighting history from the Calgary Fire Department Museum Society.

    Bigger and better-equipped station

    The new fire station was needed to replace the original building which had been in service for more than 50 years and was too small to accommodate modern firefighting vehicles and equipment. With three large bays and Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) gold level features, the new Windsor Park Fire Station is now operational and better equipped for emergency response.

    The old station next door is being demolished to make way for community green space in the spring.

    More information and a map showing the location of the Windsor Park Fire Station.

    Submitted by Bridget Cox, Calgary Fire Department
  • Understanding The City’s road maintenance snow and ice standards 8 December 2014 Today marks the final day of The City’s Seven Day Snow Event Plan. This means City Roads crews will consider their work in cleaning up after our most recent blast of winter finished by tomorrow (Saturday) morning.

    So, what does “finished” mean? Depending on who you ask, you are likely to get a different answer. But from a City standpoint, there are well-defined standards for snow control on our roads that keep our streets safe while staying on budget.

    The City sands, salts, and plows roads and sidewalks based on a Council-approved priority system, with the busiest roads deemed the top priority.

    What does a complete road look like?
    Under the Snow and Ice Control policy, the busiest roads (Priority 1s or P1s) are plowed first and snow is cleared down to the pavement. Roads with lesser volumes of traffic, for instance in our residential areas, are typically done last and are simply “bladed” in order to pack down the snow to a drivable or passable condition.

    Priority 1 and 2 routes - Bare Pavement Standard
    In 2011, The City implemented a Bare Pavement Policy as the standard for snow clearing on Priority 1 and 2 routes (P1 and P2).

    On P1 and P2 routes, crews will plow the snow so the pavement is showing on through-lanes. Crews clear these roads to bare pavement by first putting down material to prevent iciness and soften the snow on the road. Crews will then use a front plow, a plow on the front of a sander that pushes the snow to the side of the road, or a belly plow, a plow underneath the truck that moves snow to the side of the road.

    Residential roads – Packed snow standard
    In 2011, Council voted to include residential streets in The City’s snow control efforts. Under the policy, residential roads (P3 & P4 routes) are addressed but are not cleared to the pavement like Priority 1 and 2 routes.

    Crews typically “flat blade” the roads in residential areas which means a sander operator tilts the blade down and scrapes the snow, packing it down in attempt to minimize ruts and make the road passable. Crews will use their plows to knock down snow ruts to 12 cm on residential roads and will apply material like salt or pickle, a salt/gravel mixture, depending on road temperatures.

    Roads are flat-bladed in residential areas in an attempt to make roads passable so that all emergency vehicles are able to maintain access while also keeping windrows (the snow pushed to the sides of the road) as small as possible.

    For more information on The City’s Snow and Ice Control Policy visit calgary.ca/snow.
    Roads’ priority system
    Priority 1 (P1) routes include major commuter roads that carry 20,000 vehicles or more per day as well as roads downtown that carry 8,000 vehicles or more per day. Examples include Macleod Trail, Glenmore Trail and Crowchild Trail.

    Priority 2 (P2) routes are the feeder roads that run in and out of communities and typically carry 5,000 to 19,999 vehicles per day. Many of these are Transit bus routes.

    Residential roads with school and playground zones, hills and intersections with stop/yields are considered a Priority 3 (P3), while the remaining residential roads that have the lowest traffic volumes are considered to be a Priority 4 (P4).


    Does the City of Calgary do Snow Removal?

    Snow removal involves plowing snow to the side of a road, and then using a snow blower to collect the snow and load it into the back of a dump truck. The snow is then taken to one of The City’s snow storage sites.

    Snow removal is typically only done in the downtown core, and along major roadways where there is no extra space to pile snow.
  • Curious about the Cordon Count? 5 December 2014 For the first time, The City of Calgary is releasing the information collected in the Central Business District (CBD) cordon count. Every May, The City of Calgary conducts a cordon count which collects data on how people travel into and out of downtown Calgary. This helps us understand how people are travelling now and how they will likely travel in the future, so we can better plan Calgary’s transportation system.


    The 2014 data gives us a breakdown of how many people are driving, walking, biking or using transit.

    Over time, the data has shown that less people are travelling into and out of downtown by car, and more people are using transit, walking, or biking.

    Transportation Data counts all pedestrians, bicyclists, transit passengers, and vehicle drivers and passengers, entering and exiting the downtown area. Data from the downtown area is used to examine changes in the transportation mode split and to monitor the goals set out in the Calgary Transportation Plan.

    The cordon count:
    • Tells us how many people are walking, biking, using transit or driving vehicles
    • Helps us monitor how the existing road system and transit facilities are used, and the impact of growth on these facilities
    • Identifies emerging travel trends
    • Assesses the need for new infrastructure
    • Allows us to develop policies towards more sustainable transportation options
    How the Data is Collected
    The cordon count is performed at about 30 locations around the CBD over a three week time period. Data collectors are positioned at each cordon crossing location from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. and they count every single person entering or exiting the downtown and how they were travelling; whether on foot, by bicycle, on a C-Train or bus, as a passenger in a car or as the driver of car.

    Each location is counted on only one day per year and numbers can be impacted by weather or events happening in the area. However, because it takes three weeks to count the entire cordon, the weather and community activity averages out to provide a more accurate understanding of downtown travel activity.

    Check out numbers of the cordon count to see this year’s travel trends.
  • Snow Angels earn their wings 5 December 2014
    Chris Thomson-Hunter, Snow Angels program
    coordinator, and Tom Daumler, Snow Angel
    The City's Snow Angels program recognizes Calgarians that help neighbours shovel their walkways, allowing everyone to move safely around the community during the winter.

    “Snow Angels are just regular citizens who want to help out older adults and people with mobility or health issues by keeping their sidewalks clear,” says Chris Thomson-Hunter, program coordinator. “Helping out, and recognizing those who have helped, is what this campaign is all about.”

    The Streets Bylaw requires sidewalks adjacent to properties be cleared of snow and ice down to pavement within 24 hours after a snowfall stops. This work can be very challenging – even dangerous – for older adults and others with limited mobility.

    “Taking a few extra minutes after a snowfall to help a neighbour isn’t too taxing for many of us,” says Thomson-Hunter, “but it means so much to those with physical limitations and others who need to access those walks. Snow Angels directly contribute to the well-being and safety of others and to strong, caring communities – communities people want to live in and be proud of.”



    Last winter, Calgarians showed their caring spirit in record numbers in response to snow falls. Over the 2013/14 winter season, there was a 137 per cent increase in people calling The City to have their Snow Angel officially recognized (up 721 nominations from 526 nominations the previous year).

    If someone has cleared your sidewalk, you can contact The City to have them officially recognized as a Snow Angel. You can nominate your Snow Angel online, by calling 311, or mailing your nomination to: Snow Angels - #184, P.O. Box 2100, St M, Calgary, AB T2P 2M5. All nominated Snow Angels are officially recognized by Mayor Nenshi and entered into a prize draw.

    The Snow Angels campaign has recognized 7,650 Snow Angels since its inception in 2004.

    For more information visit Calgary.ca/snowangels
  • All three pedestrian bridges are now open 4 December 2014 All three pedestrian bridges along the Elbow River destroyed in the June 2013 flood are now open for use.

    Councillors Evan Woolley & Gian-Carlo Carra with Grade 4 students
    from Rideau Park School at Rideau Park Bridge re-opening
    Just 18 months after the flood, Mayor Naheed Nenshi was joined by hundreds of residents to cut the ribbon and officially open the Sandy Beach Bridge November 23. Councillors Evan Woolley and Gian-Carlo Carra cut the ribbon at the Rideau Park Bridge with a Grade 4 class from Rideau Park School on hand November 28 and the Riverdale Avenue Bridge opened at noon the same day.

    “When we met with the communities after the flood to talk about replacing these bridges, they told us that these bridges were a vital link in their communities and that they really missed them,” says Project Manager Charmaine Buhler. “We are very proud to have restored these vital community links and we hope everyone enjoys using them again.”

    Residents and commuters will be able to use the bridges for a very long time, adds Buhler.

    “In addition to being designed to withstand future flooding, they are also built to last for 100 years," she explains.
    Sandy Beach Bridge re-opening

    Landscaping will be completed in the spring at all three bridges. Permanent panels commemorating the old bridges will also be completed in the spring and will be installed where temporary panels are currently located at the bridge entrances.

    To view time lapse sequences of the major components of the re-building process, such as the installation of the towers, suspension cables, and bridge decks, and for other project information, please visit www.calgary.ca/elbowbridges.

    The completion of the bridges marks an important milestone in The City's ongoing flood recovery efforts. There are 223 projects on the Municipal Infrastructure Recovery Program list. Of those projects, 99 are reported to be either complete or substantially complete (44 per cent). Another 83 projects (37 per cent) have design work underway or are under construction. A total of 38 projects (17 per cent) are in early planning stages and only three projects (two per cent) have not yet started. These either require further investigation or are scheduled for a later start date.

    For a complete list of projects and an interactive map of project locations and status, please visit www.calgary.ca/floodrecovery.
  • International Day of Persons with Disabilities 3 December 2014 A compassionate and caring community values all backgrounds and abilities. In recognition and celebration of today’s 22nd annual International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD), special guest speaker Chris Koch shared with The City his inspiring story of how he has overcome his physical challenges with courage, grace, and acceptance for himself.

    Mayor Naheed Nenshi and Chris Koch
    Koch became an internet sensation after a short documentary film called ‘Steep Your Soul’ featured him on Oprah Winfrey. A rancher and farmer in the Nanton area, he was born without arms or legs. But that hasn’t stopped him from doing anything.

    From wakesurfing to downhill skiing to dune buggying and traveling, Koch’s If I can… approach to life is to be admired by all. After the Calgary flood of 2013, he raised funds for The Calgary Zoo by climbing the 802 steps of the Calgary Tower in less than half an hour.

    “Chris’ presentation affirms the importance of the work we do at The City to find solutions to issues people with disabilities face daily,” says Leanne Squair, Issue Strategist with Community & Neighbourhood Services. “An inclusive society for all means our buildings, programs and services can be accessed by everyone; and that is our goal.”

    Accessibility Highlights

    The City of Calgary’s Advisory Committee on Accessibility (ACA) and two sub-committees, Access Design and Accessible Transportation, provide advice on important issues that impact the needs of people with disabilities, including building design, transportation and services.

    A few of the programs and services offered by The City to help make services accessible to all include:
    • TTY – Text for 311 services
    • Text 911 services for deaf, deafened, hard of hearing or speech impaired persons
    • Accessible transit and curbs
    • Audible indications at traffic signals to help visually impaired pedestrians cross at signalized intersections
    • Waste and recycling braille carts
    • Home maintenance services
    • Snow Angels
    • Adaptive fitness and community recreation programs including adaptive equipment (wheelchair accessible pottery wheel, adapted golf cart, accessible weight room equipment, pool lifts, etc.)
  • Year-end surplus inventory sale 2 December 2014
    Every Tuesday, The City of Calgary hosts a sale and/or public auction for surplus equipment and materials. The shop shelves are currently stocked with perfumes, electronics, clothing and other items - just waiting to be made into holiday gifts.

    To help make room for next year's inventory, we're selling all stock at 10% to 50% off regular prices for the entire month of December.

    December Sale Details
    50% All footwear/coveralls, all makeup and perfumes, all toner cartridges
    25% All clothing except jackets and coveralls (includes shirts, ties, gloves)
    20% All computers – desktops and laptops, all cell phones, all headlight bulbs, miscellaneous jackets, all fire hydrants
    15% Bicycles
    10% Generators – these are new, unused in the box
    10% EVERYTHING ELSE IN THE STORE!!!!
    10 – 50% Jewellery

    Where: Manchester Surplus Store - 3063 Dartmouth Road S.E. - North entrance. The City yard in the 600 block of 25 Avenue S.E.
    When: Every Tuesday in December. 8am to 3pm. Cash or cheque only.
    Why: We must make room for new inventory coming in 2015.

    First come first serve. Cash and carry. Customers are responsible for loading their purchases –we do not provide a forklift. Also, please bring your own tools if items need to be dismantled. For pictures and additional details please visit, www.calgary.ca/surplus
  • Calgary Transit working towards solution with Calgary HandiBus 28 November 2014 For the past decade, Calgary Transit and Calgary HandiBus have worked closely together to provide accessible transportation to the Calgary community. Recently, Calgary HandiBus informed Calgary Transit that they will be ceasing bus operations sometime in 2015; however, work has already begun to ensure service for people with disabilities is not impacted.

    Calgary HandiBus has been providing transportation for Calgary’s disabled community through Access Calgary — a division of Calgary Transit that manages eligibility, booking, scheduling and dispatching of shared-ride accessible transportation. Calgary HandiBus is one of four service providers Access Calgary uses to provide trips for those with disabilities.


    Recently, an independent sustainability study commissioned by Calgary HandiBus found the accessible transportation market in Calgary has been evolving and more options for travel are available for the special needs community, including on Calgary Transit buses and CTrains, which are now more accessible.

    The study’s main finding was the HandiBus business model simply isn’t sustainable any longer as costs continue to climb rapidly. HandiBus hasn’t determined a specific date to stop operating its buses, but has committed to giving Access Calgary adequate time to make the changes necessary to accommodate customers.

    While many details have yet to be worked out, Calgary Transit and Calgary HandiBus are working together to ensure the transportation needs of the disabled community will be well served.

    Calgary HandiBus intends to continue as a not-for-profit organization which will advocate for the disabled community and continue to raise money to buy vehicles for organizations that provide special needs transportation, including Access Calgary.
  • A difference that can be felt: Braille plaques help residents with vision loss with their garbage and recycling 21 November 2014
    Kelly Nadeau is one of the first Calgarians to receive plaques on his carts
    Taking out the garbage and recycling every week is a routine task for most Calgarians. But for residents with vision loss, it’s not quite so straightforward. Telling the difference between a blue cart for recycling and a black cart for garbage can be difficult. That’s why The City of Calgary’s Waste & Recycling Services is now offering Braille plaques to help Calgarians differentiate between their carts.

    “We first learned about the issue from the citizens who were affected by this,” says Waste & Recycling Services program coordinator Philippa Wagner. “We worked in partnership with Community & Neighbourhood Services to figure out the best solution. A City accessibility committee was also involved in providing feedback for the design and placement and that’s how we came up with the idea for Braille plaques.”

    With many vision problems to accommodate for, the new plaques are designed to meet all those needs. They contain a large raised letter – a G for garbage and R for recycling – in high contrast to help those with limited vision. There are also raised dots included for those who read Braille. The plaques are installed on the lids of carts to help users know which cart is which.

    Kelly Nadeau is the chair of the accessibility committee and one of the first residents to receive the plaques. Nadeau has a medical condition known as cone rod dystrophy that causes separation in the cones, rods, and retinas of his eyes. He is legally blind and has been living with vision loss for most of his life.

    Using touch, citizens can use the lettering to tell their carts apart

    “People don’t think about the small details that affect their lives. For me and my vision loss, I have to adapt,” says Nadeau. He uses his sharp memory to his advantage – before receiving the plaques he relied on keeping his carts in the exact same order and remembering the shapes of the lids and carts. With the addition of the plaques it makes it that much easier for him to tell his carts apart.

    “It may seem like a small change, but it’s all about giving people options to maintain their independence. It’s great that The City of Calgary is working towards accessibility.”

    Resident Kelly Nadeau speaks with City employee Philippa Wagner
    Accommodation and accessibility play a big role in breaking down barriers to help people gain independence and lead the lives they want. Nadeau is a strong advocate for independent living and universal design. “We live in a society that is continually aging and will need to be accommodated for. It’s not about special needs, it’s about equal access. It’s about making it easier for everybody,” he says. Through his work on the accessibility committee, Nadeau is also helping on projects like the extension of four-car C-Train platforms and the planning for The City’s new recreation centres.

    “If we can offer another tool to help people do their tasks, then it’s important for us to do,” says Wagner. “The Braille plaques are just one way The City is working to provide equal access to our programs and services.”

    The plaques will be installed at no charge for anyone who needs them – contact 311 to make a request.
  • 2014 Citizen Satisfaction Survey Results 20 November 2014 The 2014 Citizen Satisfaction Survey results are in and perceptions about quality of life in Calgary remain strong.




    Ninety one per cent of citizens are proud to be Calgarian. Satisfaction with City services remains high, with six City services seeing increases in satisfaction: land use planning; city operated roads and infrastructure; pathway systems; bylaw services; animal control; and community services (including community associations and not for profit groups).

    “The data shows what most Calgarians already know: we live in a great city with a high quality of life. We are proud to live here and, for the most part, we get good value for our tax dollars. I’m proud that the Citizen Satisfaction survey has consistently shown this since I’ve had this role,” said Mayor Naheed Nenshi.

    Notable highlights include:

    • 87 per cent of Calgarians indicate their quality of life in Calgary is good;
    • 86 per cent of Calgarians rated The City’s quality of service as consistently high;
    • Close to two-thirds of citizens said The City provides good value for their property tax dollars; and
    • Infrastructure, traffic and roads remain at the top of the issue agenda, while Transit continues to hold second place.

    “Good data makes for good decisions,” said Mayor Nenshi. “The results we get from the Citizen Satisfaction Survey help City Council as we make decisions about the new four-year budget and business plan so that we can continue to serve Calgarians well.”

    The Citizen Satisfaction Survey is one way The City of Calgary can understand Calgarians’ needs and perceptions. The City is continually exploring new ways for citizens to engage with The City and provide feedback. Citizens’ View, The City’s new online panel, is another way for citizens to provide input into City programs and services on an ongoing basis. You have opinions. We want to hear them. Participate in online surveys and discussions by registering at citizensview.ca

    View the full Citizen Satisfaction Survey on calgary.ca.
  • Help us celebrate National Child Day 20 November 2014 Please join us in celebrating National Child Day and this year’s theme of: it’s our right to play. Every year Canada and nations around the world take time to acknowledge and support children and their right to be active participants in their own lives.

    On Nov. 20 we are hosting the following activities for children and families:
    • Free play areas at local leisure and recreation centres
    • An art’s exhibition at Wildflower Arts Centre
    • Fun and games at Devonian Gardens
    On Nov. 22  we are hosting Calgary Play Day with the following activities for children and families:
    • Free swimming and skating for children 12 and under during designated public hours at city-operated recreation facilities
    • More fun and games at Devonian Gardens
    • A carnival at Connaught School (1121 12th Ave. S.W.)
    Play is an important of a child’s day. It helps kids develop attributes such as creativity, imagination, self confidence, physical, social, cognitive and emotional skills.

    To learn more about National Child Day visit www.nationalchildday.ca And don't forget to share your activities with us on Twitter: @NatlChildDay and use the hashtag: #NCDAlberta.

    Submitted by Tracy Luther, Recreation
  • Video series continues: How to prepare your trees for winter 18 November 2014 In the first two videos of this series we discussed how to recognize tree health risks in light of the September snowstorm. Today’s video gives tips on how to prepare your trees for winter and give them some extra protection to ensure they fare well.

    Advice from Anita Schill, registered consulting arborist, includes:
    • Use mulch or leaf litter around the base of your trees. Both are great sources of mycorrhizal fungi that allow trees to draw more nutrients and water from the soil, making the root system stronger, healthier and more tolerant to adverse weather conditions.  
    • Know when to prune your particular tree species. Pruning at the wrong time can lead to fungi spores and damage your tree’s health. If you are unsure, consult a local arborist. 
    • Give your trees a deep watering in the fall to ensure they do not dry out. Doing so will also prevent root injury and disease, and will protect the tree from dehydration during chinooks.




    Watch the first two videos in this series:
    Video series helps homeowners recognize tree health risks
    Video series continues: Helping homeowners preserve and protect their trees

    Submitted by Kaila Cooper, Community Services and Protective Services
 


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