Council Meetings - Question Period
Managing and Prioritizing the Clearing of Windrows in Priority One Areas
January 23, 2017
"Windrows that come from clearing the roads are creating a challenge for citizens with mobility issues, including strollers, scooters and wheelchairs, particularly at pedestrian crossings and transit stops. What is The City doing to ensure that our priority areas, transit stops and pedestrian crossings remain accessible through multiple clearing efforts and how are they prioritized across the city?"
Mac Logan, General Manager, Transportation responded that Council had approved additional budget over a year ago and The City has more than 300 locations that are Priority One locations, which are cleared within 24 hours. He further stated that for snow clearing efforts, with respect to windrows at Priority 3 level locations, have been moved up and The City has over 5,000 transit stops that crews go back and clear. GM Logan advised that for those locations that may be falling through the cracks, The City responds to 3-1-1 complaints. When a complaint is received, the site is reviewed, and if it is deemed to be The City’s responsibility, crews would be deployed as The City works through the seven day plan for clearing. The challenge is getting through the seven day plan without another snow event as experienced over the Christmas period this season.
Harvie Passage Infrastructure
September 26, 2016
"The Harvie Passage is a major piece of infrastructure that the Alberta Government is currently working on to fix the damage done during the 2013 flood. Concerns by the paddle community with respect to embedding anchors on the Harvie Passage facility were forwarded to the Province as advised by City Administration. However, the Province stated that it was up to the City of Calgary to approve the anchors. How can we sync up with the Province and perhaps bring questions through a Standing Policy Committee meeting and get some of these questions answered?"
City Manager Jeff Fielding answered that The City is currently in discussions with the Province and trying to coordinate the infrastructure and developments so that people of Calgary understand that we are working together. Administration will provide a framework on The City’s conversation with the Councillors’ colleagues at the provincial level.
General Manager Pritchard responded that the whole issue with the Harvie Passage is it is a provincial jurisdiction but it does touch a number of Business Units and Departments in the City. GM Pritchard advised Council that Administration had been keeping in touch with the Province to understand the design parameters of the passage and also recognize that Administration needed to stay connected to Community and Protective Services, Parks Department, the Fire Department as well as First Responders. He further advised that the information they have will be provided to Councillor Carra.
General Manager Hanson confirmed that there have been challenges for the paddle community. He advised that Recreation was assigned to take a more diligent review with the community group and see what the City can do in terms of influencing and providing feedback to the decision makers in the Province.
Towing Policy for The City of Calgary
April 25, 2016
Earlier this year Team Ward 9 heard from a concerned Ward 9 business owner about The City's policy on towing vehicles when first responders are called to the scene of an accident that is considered to have no safety risk and requires no police investigation. To help better understand the policies in place, Cllr. Carra brought this question forward to the General Manager of Community Services.
"Last month a constituent and local business owner in Ward 9 questioned The City’s policy on towing of motor vehicles in non-investigative incidences. This individual owns and operates a towing company with long term customers across The City. According to this constituent, there have been recent incidences in the City of Calgary where the owner of a vehicle which required towing, were not informed that, in cases where there is no safety risk andno police investigation required, they are permitted to call their preferred towing company. Instead, The City’s first responders on scene have been calling the City’s towing contractor, without consulting the vehicle driver for their preference. What are the procedures to contact towing services in non-investigative instances, and how can we rectify this issue in order to not negatively impact other towing companies?"
Kurt Hanson, the General Manager of Community Services, confirmed that vehicle owners/operators do have the right to select their preferred towing company, so long as it is a non-investigative incident, and no inspection or safety examination are required post-collision. General Manager Hanson explained that the Calgary Police Service is also aware of the current confusion on this issue, and have begun an educational program with their staff.
See the Council Minutes here.
Battery Recharging Stations for Scooters
January 11, 2016
Helping Seniors who use motorized scooters get around our city more easily and with less worry could significantly improve their quality of life. Many Seniors have reached out to Team Ward 9 with concerns that there are no places in the city for them to recharge their scooter battery if it died while they are out - potentially leaving them stranded.
In response to this legitimate fear, Councillor Carra asked:
"Over the last year I have had increasing feedback from the Seniors’ community regarding motorized scooters. Seniors who use motorized scooters to extend their mobility frequently experience limitations on how far they can travel, due to decreasing battery life of the scooters. To what extent has The City of Calgary considered providing places for people using motorized scooters to plug in and recharge their batteries, either through the Accessibility Policy or the Seniors’ Strategy? If we haven’t considered it yet, who would be responsible for such an endeavour?"
The Deputy City Manager, Brad Stevens, will bring this issue to Administration to determine where responsibility would best be assigned and then advise Council.
When your Team Ward 9 learns which City Department that will be taking up this concern, we will be reaching out to work with them. In the meantime, we will continue to advocate on behalf of our city's Seniors.
See Council Minutes here.
Encampments Along River Pathways
November 9, 2015
Many concerned Ward 9 neighbours have been contacting Team Ward 9 to express concerns about the increase in encampments along the river pathways, particularly during the spring & summer months of 2015, which has led to an increased rate of crime happening throughout many Ward 9 neighbourhoods.
To better understand how these complex issues are being dealt with by the City of Calgary, through the Partner Agency Liaison (PAL) Team and the funding needs are to ensure the PAL Team can do the tasks they have been assigned, Councillor Carra asked City Administration:
"What are the current funding challenges that the PAL Team has experienced and what would be needed to ensure this program can adequately address the encampment issue?"
Stuart Dagleish, the General Manager for Community Services and Protective Services, explained that the number of 311 requests related to encampments has increased from 500 in 2014 to 800 so far in 2015. In terms of funding, each clean up costs approximately $5000.
To address the increased needs in this area, Animal & Bylaw Services is currently working with its partners on a number of fronts which include:
- Expanding the existing partnership with the Calgary Police Service to leverage additional resources and coordinate response efforts by forming a dedicated city response team with a point person
- Working with existing partners to support ongoing activity and issue tracking within the community and to ensure that information is made available to the partner groups
- Consulting with the Law Department, as there have been legal decisions involving encampments within other jurisdictions
City Administration will continue to explore solutions and will contact the Councillors most affected by this issue in early 2016 to keep them updated on their plans.
For more information read the November 9th Combined Meeting of Council Minutes
* Team Ward 9 will continue to pursue this issue and update concerned neighbours as we move forward *
May 25, 2015
On May 25th, 2015 at the Regular Meeting of Council, Gian-Carlo asked the following question:
“My beekeeper, who I partner with in maintaining an apiary, advised me of a remarkable event that took place this weekend. Following the addition of a second queen bee to the hive, a large swarm of honeybees split off from the original hive, and travelled down 7 Avenue SE in search of a place to establish a new hive. Several citizens phoned in to 311 when this occurred, however 311 Representatives did not have a procedure for this type of event. Eventually, contact was made with the beekeeping community, and the situation was managed. I would like to know if The City will be developing some formal contacts with the beekeeping community, so that 311 operators will know how to direct future calls of this kind?”
See Council Minutes here.
This is the response that we have received from Animal & Bylaw Services:
From: Animal & Bylaw Services
Bee Swarm Response Enhanced Protocols
At the 2015 May 25 Council meeting, during question period, The City’s response process to address bee swarms was discussed following a bee swarm incident in the downtown core.
Provincially, The Bee Act provides guidelines regarding the collection, care and registration of bees. However, this legislation is focused primarily on public health and safety standards and the province does not assume responsibility for addressing bee swarm incidents within municipalities.
Discussions with the beekeeping community and 3-1-1 have demonstrated that there is currently an informal agreement in which 3-1-1 operators’ direct callers reporting bee swarms to contact the Calgary & District Beekeepers Association (CDBA) via email; at which time the CDBA responds and collects the bees. Upon review it is clear that this current process requires additional formalization in order to ensure public safety via a timely and coordinated response.
Animal & Bylaw Services has collaborated with Law, Parks, 3-1-1 and the CDBA on the formalization and development of enhanced bee swarm response protocols on both City Lands and Private Property. As a result of legal and jurisdictional considerations, the protocols for City Lands allow for more extensive City involvement, while the private property protocols focus on providing referral information to citizens so that they may contact the CDBA directly.
Administration reviewed a number of factors related to the formalization of the bee swarm response protocols, including: liability issues, provincial registration requirements and training. Through this review it has been determined that registering CDBA bee swarm collectors as City volunteers, through the current City volunteer registration process, will provide sufficient indemnification/insurance for bee swarm responses. Further, as part of the volunteer registration process each CDBA volunteer will be required to have registered with the province in accordance with the provincial Bee Act.
Formalized Response Protocols
City Lands Enhanced Process:
1 3-1-1 receives a service request regarding a bee swarm;
2 3-1-1 contacts the CDBA’s designated Swarm Coordinator by phone/email which is monitored 24/7;
3 The Swarm Coordinator dispatches one of the CDBA’s designated bee swarm collector;
4 The Bee Swarm Collector responds and collects the bees, following the provisions of the provincial Bee Act;
5 The swarm collector will contact 3-1-1 after collecting the swarm so the service request can be closed, the caller updated, and the response documented.
As an additional enhancement, the CDBA will contact 3-1-1 to create a 3-1-1 service request when initiating a proactive bee response (i.e. when the response is not initiated by 3-1-1). This will allow The City to monitor all bee swarm incidents on City lands.
Private Property Process:
1 3-1-1 receives a service request regarding a bee swarm;
2 3-1-1 callers will be advised that The City is not responsible for bee swarms on private property; however, the caller will be provided with the contact information for the CDBA, which has confirmed it will respond to address the swarm.
Administration is in the final stages of registering the CDBA swarm collectors as volunteers for responses on City lands. Administration is also reviewing and finalizing 3-1-1 response scripts to ensure a timely and coordinated response to future bee swarms, along with enhanced two-way communication between the CDBA and 3-1-1. The adoption of the formalized bee swarm response protocols will ensure public safety through a timely and coordinated response to future bee swarm incidents.