Ward 9 Great Neighbourhoods Calgary – Gian-Carlo Carra

This is the official website for Gian-Carlo Carra, City Councillor for Ward 9 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Building Great Neighbourhoods in 5 Transformative Steps

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A Note from Gian-Carlo 

I was first elected in 2010 with the mission of relentlessly pursuing Great Neighbourhoods. Over the last six and a half years I have worked to nurture, strengthen, and grow the communities of Ward 9. I want to set our city on a better trajectory. A trajectory that fortifies our resilience to economic swings, creates walkable, bikeable, mixed-use communities that are networked along transit lines, protects and mitigates against future flooding and natural disasters, builds on our amazing spirit of volunteerism, and empowers local governance structures by supporting our community associations. The incredible honour of being your Ward 9 City Councillor has deepened my commitment to Great Neighbourhoods and serving the amazing residents of Ward 9.

The Five Strategic Goals of Great Neighbourhoods are: 

  1. Transforming how we plan & develop our city

  2. Transforming local governance

  3. Transforming City Hall

  4. Transforming how we fund & finance our city - Building a city that pays for itself

  5. Charting a new path for Calgary - Taking control of our future


Transforming How We Plan and Develop Our City

Our Ward 9 neighbourhoods are in transition. Transforming how we plan and develop our city focuses on a city that vibrantly grows up and shifts away from sprawling unsustainably outwards.  It emphasizes the need to create complete communities, which foster diversity and ensures people of all ages, wages, and stages of life can thrive and contribute to their neighbourhood.

We are achieving this goal by:

Protecting Calgary through flood and drought resilience:

  • Protecting the Elbow River Park Valley & watershed - A comprehensive program for protecting the Elbow River Park Valley & watershed has been developed, funded, and work is underway with some pieces already complete. This work includes the Springbank Dry Dam, improvements to the Glenmore reservoir gates and extensive reinforcement, and the introduction of neighbourhood specific measures. It is critical that we have leadership that ensures the on-time and on-budget delivery of these projects.
  • Protecting the Bow River Valley & watershed - A cost-benefit analyses has recommended the creation of a comprehensive plan to mitigate both drought and flood along the Bow River Valley and watershed. Currently, projects are being developed and awaiting funding commitments. It is critical that we have leadership to ensure these well-planned projects get funded and built.
  • Appointing a Chief Resilience Officer to help better respond to natural disasters at the municipal level.

Transforming Transportation - The Route Ahead, Calgary’s strategic plan for transit, is shaping the future of our city, today.  

  • The Green Line light rail transit (LRT) infrastructure project is the biggest in Calgary’s history. The 46 kilometres of track, in addition to Calgary’s existing 59 kilometres, will connect many of our Ward 9 neighbourhoods. It will help foster complete communities around each station through a sophisticated, community-based planning and design process. Initial construction of the Green Line LRT is expected to start this year.
  • Development of the 17 Avenue SE bus rapid transit (BRT) & dedicated transit bridge that will connect East Calgary to the downtown, and more importantly, the downtown to East Calgary. This project is currently underway and will be complete in 2018.
  • Establishing the North and South Crosstown BRTs and the 52 Street E BRT, fundamentally changing the nature of Calgary’s transit network. This transformation is from one where you have to go downtown to get anywhere in the city, to one where you can rapidly move around the city. Ward 9 neighbourhoods will greatly benefit from this significant change as improved network connectivity means a quicker, more direct, and more reliable service overall.

Reorganizing how we plan and develop our city through forward-looking community master plans that build on our neighbourhooods’ future aspirations. This includes policies and programs such as nextCITY, Main Streets, the Urban Design Review Framework, and the New Communities, Centre City and Developed Areas Guidebooks, which will enable next-generation local area planning.

Supporting our seniors by creating a city that is prepared for our aging population and has strategies and policies so people can age-in-place. This includes  Age-Friendly Calgary, the Aging-in-Place Laneway Housing Pilot Project, the George Moss Park Seniors Affordable Housing Scoping project, the Jack Long Foundation Municipal Land Acquisition for affordable seniors housing, and the development of the East Riverside Master Plan.


Transforming Local Governance

Neighbourhoods are more than the people who live there. They are also the businesses that offer the services we want and the rich web of institutions that offer the services we need. Great Neighbourhoods seek to bring together the incredible talents and skills from each of these areas to transform our local governance – our community associations – into next-generation organizations where these groups can come together and work to make our neighbourhoods what we want them to be.

We are achieving this goal by:

  • Your Team Ward 9’s deep commitment to working with and supporting our community associations, Business Improvement Areas (formerly Business Revitalization Zones), industrial areas, and social institutions like our faith communities, schools, and service providers.  
  • Establishing and participating in the Community Representation Framework Task Force to create a new model for stronger local participation in civic life through our community organizations. It is critical that we have leadership that ensures the work of this task force sets the stage for next-generation community associations.
  • Advancing the Enough for All Strategy that understands community hubs are the centre of vibrant social networks, which are critical to ending poverty and increasing social inclusion in our city.  
  • Supporting and celebrating our diversity and shared history as fundamental ingredients of building our great neighbourhoods. Central to our work on diversity is our nation-leading response to the recommendations of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission.  This includes the incredible work we have produced through the White Goose Flying report and the Indigenous Policy Framework, as well as the powerful symbolic gesture of renaming of the Langevin Bridge to Reconciliation Bridge, and the raising of the Treaty 7 flag at City Hall.

Transforming City Hall

Transforming City Hall is working towards reorganizing our 15,000 municipal bureaucrats away from siloed departments into interdisciplinary teams of front-line civil servants.  The goal is thatCity staff would be embedded at the neighbourhood-level, working closely with the citizens they serve, and tasked with establishing and achieving community-enhancing objectives and master plans.

We are achieving this goal by:

  • The City of Calgary’s Community Services department is leading this transformation by integrating civil servants into our communities and working closely with our Ward 9 neighbours through Cllr. Carra’s chairmanship of the Standing Policy Committee on Community and Protective Services.
  • Piloting the This is My Neighbourhood program in our communities of Dover and Millican-Ogden-Lynnwood. This is where deeply embedded teams of civil servants are learning to work collaboratively with neighbours to make their community an even better place to live.  
  • Tomorrow’s Workplace is transforming municipal jobs into mobile, decentralized, and adaptive positions located everywhere there are citizens to serve.
  • Introducing an innovative approach to how The City will build new, and revitalize existing, civic facilities through the Integrated Civic Facility Planning Program. This will allow city buildings to become mixed-use, community hubs that generate enough income for maintenance and provide an expanded suite of services. More importantly, this will relieve our community volunteers from being saddled with the responsibility of maintaining community buildings and halls.
  • Launching the Fair Entry initiative, which allows for low income Calgarians to apply for multiple programs and services offered by the City of Calgary through one application. In addition to this, we have introduced the sliding scale fare structure for low income monthly transit passes, which makes Calgary Transit more accessible.
  • Increasing neighbourhood safety through the Coordinated Safety Response Team, which conducts comprehensive joint reviews and inspections of unsafe or ‘problem’ properties.
  • Working closely with the Community Resource Officers (CRO) from Calgary Police Service to strengthen relationships with our Ward 9 neighbourhooods.

Transforming How we Fund & Finance our City - Building a City that Pays for Itself

This City Council continues to challenge business-as-usual practices and has established a healthy culture of fiscal prudence in the context of Triple-Bottom-Line decision-making. We now recognize that our expenses are linked to the type of growth that City Council encourages – either sustainable or unsustainable. Addressing years of unsustainable growth, we are now ensuring that our revenue and expenses are thoughtfully balanced.

We are achieving this goal by:

  • Ending the “sprawl subsidy” through the historic 2015 Offsite Levy Agreement with our development industry partners. This City Council not only recognized, but acted to end, the damaging practice of Calgary taxpayers deeply subsidizing new growth on the edge of the city for the last several decades. Our North America-leading agreement ensures that new growth will pay for all of its capital costs.
  • Significant reinvestment into our Ward 9 neighbourhoods, which for generation have been subsidizing growth at the edge of the city, through our tremendous advocacy work around local area planning.  This includes the Centre City and Developed Areas Guidebooks, Main Streets program, the Route Ahead, and Green Line LRT planning processes, which will further ensure we build a city that can live within its means.
  • Supporting economic diversification and recognizing its critical role in building strong, resilient neighbourhoods.

“A Great Neighbourhood is the best hardware ever invented for running the software of a vibrant culture and a diversified economy”  - Gian-Carlo Carra

  • Creating a much more fiscally disciplined organization with the right leadership, has transformed our budgeting systems and audit functions saving Calgarians tens of millions of dollars.
  • Supporting local businesses during the economic downturn through the Municipal Non-Residential Phased Tax Program, which will limit the increase to municipal non-residential property taxes to 5% in 2017.

Charting a New Path for Calgary - Taking Control of Our Future

For the City of Calgary to be able to fulfill its responsibilities to our citizens we must ensure predictable and sustainable revenue streams and a rebalanced set of roles and responsibilities with our partners at the provincial government.

We are achieving this goal by:

  • Continuing to work with the Government of Alberta to secure a City Charter for Calgary. This City Council has signed a Memorandum of Understanding and is in the process of crafting Charter legislation with the government, which is due September 2017.
  • Regional planning is essential for ensuring the best future of our neighbourhoods, our city, and our region.  Since 2013, Councillor Carra has been one of two Councillors representing the City of Calgary on the Calgary Regional Partnership (CRP). He is currently overseeing the transition of this body into a legislated Municipal Growth Board.
  • There has been a growing consensus around the need for Municipal Property Tax Reform since the downturn in the economy. Councillor Carra has been a staunch advocate of this since he was first elected in 2010. It is critical that we have the right leadership in place to achieve this needed reform.