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.

A Message from Binu Sebastian, Dover's Community Social Worker

 I'm looking forward to creating a platform for us to communicate with each other and to get your recommendations, suggestions and feedback to my work.

I'm looking forward to creating a platform for us to communicate with each other and to get your recommendations, suggestions and feedback to my work.

Written by Binu Sebastian, Dover Community Social Worker

Published on May 18, 2018

I have been your Community Social Worker for about three years now, and I thought it would be a good practice for me to reach out to you periodically with updates from my side in regards to my work in the community of Dover.

I am hoping that this will help in creating a platform for us to communicate each other and to get your recommendations, suggestions and feedback to my work. As you know, you can always reach me at 403-510-3045 and binu.sebastian@calgary.ca.

Neighbourhood Adventures: Neighbourhood Adventures is a summer camp for kids run by The City of Calgary in the month of August. Like last year, I have requested the support from schools to refer children to this camp - and there are still spaces available! Please get in touch with me if you would like to have more details about the camp to see if your child could get registered.

Meeting with School Principals in Dover: I have called for a meeting of a few principals from Dover. I am hoping that a meeting of this sort will help us explore the ways of supporting many families and children in our community. I will keep you posted with updates.

Positive Parenting Support Group: Last year, in our service providers meeting from the Greater Forest Lawn area, it was shared that we need to do more work more to support the parents in our communities at Greater Forest Lawn. We have taken that forward in partnership with Action Dignity ( formerly Ethno Cultural Council of Calgary), Sunrise Link Resource Centre and Boys and Girls Club. We have held many workshops and meetings with parents at Boys and Girls Club at Penbrooke Club - thanks to Action Dignity, Penbrooke Club and Sunrise Link for all the great work. We are currently planning as to how we can enhance the participation of more parents in this initiative. Please feel free to share any suggestions that you may have.

Neighbour Day is coming up!: June 16th we celebrate Neighbor Day in Calgary. If you have any idea to celebrate this day, please let me know. We could explore the ways to work together! It will be a great opportunity to celebrate the spirit of neighborhood in our communities.

Truth and Reconciliation: The City of Calgary is intentional in incorporating the elements of Truth and Reconciliation in our work in the communities. Therefore, I am always looking for the opportunity to connect any initiative, idea to take this forward. Please let me know if you think of any ways to augment our work in this area.

Planning for Summer: We are currently planning to have a summer engagement plan to connect with many residents in our community who are far away from resources and other community supports. I will keep you updated, meanwhile please share any ideas that you may have to engage with as many residents as possible.

Here is a hoping that you will have a great long weekend!

Warm regards,

Binu Sebastian
Community Social Worker
The City of Calgary
403-510-3045
binu.sebastian@calgary.ca

Glenmore Trail bridge removal (east of Blackfoot)

A bridge on Glenmore Trail between Blackfoot Trail and 11th Street S.E. is being replaced with a roadway. The bridge has reached the end of its lifespan and has become a maintenance liability. 

 Instead of replacing it, The City opted for a roadway. A road costs less to build and maintain than a bridge. (Photo source: CP Rail)

Instead of replacing it, The City opted for a roadway. A road costs less to build and maintain than a bridge. (Photo source: CP Rail)

Published: May 15, 2018

The CP spur line bridge will be removed May long weekend. This will have a large traffic impact. Confirmation on whether the work is going ahead or not will happen on May 17, as the work is very weather dependent and time sensitive. 

Please stay tuned to media on the morning of May 17 as Roads will make the final call on whether the work will go ahead as planned.

As you know, the speed limit in this area along Glenmore Trail has already been reduced, and this week the lanes will be narrowed in preparation for the work.  The Roads Department also set up Variable Message Boards this past weekend to let people know that they should expect delays on the upcoming May long weekend.

The City has reached out to the province to see that they get messaging out to residents using Deerfoot Trail about the closure of the ramp on May long weekend as well.

Want more information? Check out the City of Calgary's website on the Glenmore Trail bridge east of Blackfoot Trail website

2018 Community Summer Programs

Looking for some fun, FREE activities for children, youth and families this summer? These safe, supervised programs are great for making new friends and learning new activities.

 Fairview's Le Roi Daniels playground. Photo source: Calgary Playground Review)

Fairview's Le Roi Daniels playground. Photo source: Calgary Playground Review)

Need something to occupy the little ones during the summer months while getting to know your neighbours? 

Check out what programs are available in your neighbourhood  for children, youth and families, share, and enjoy! 

See you out there, Ward 9! 

Making the Case for a Skatepark in Millican-Ogden - A Guest Blog

Kids in our great neighbourhood who may not be able to afford to play organized sports like baseball or soccer might get into skateboarding because it’s so inexpensive.

 Ward 9 currently has no skateparks, nor are any planned. (Photo source: Jamil Rhajiak)

Ward 9 currently has no skateparks, nor are any planned. (Photo source: Jamil Rhajiak)

Written by: Zev Klymochko

Published: May 7, 2018

I’ve been heavily involved in skateboarding for most of my life. I started out skateboarding on the streets and sidewalks in my neighbourhood in Winnipeg. As I got a little older, I branched out to other neighbourhoods and even ended up skating downtown a lot. We had no dedicated skateparks in the city, except for a few months in the summer that would see a couple of arenas turned into skateparks with wooden ramps.

I always told myself I’d never start a sentence with, “In my day…” or “Kids these days…”

Well, in my day, we didn’t have skateparks. Kids these days have it easy—there are skateparks all over Calgary. There are seven outdoor concrete skateparks and several mobile skateparks that operate in different neighbourhoods throughout the summer—all are free to use.

I know a lot about this because I non-profit organization I helped start, the Calgary Association of Skateboarding Enthusiasts (CASE) has advocated for these skateparks. Personally, I’ve spoken to City Council, administration, and community associations, all in an effort to convince them that skateparks are a great idea.

The thing is, I’ve never considered my own neighbourhood of Millican-Ogden for a skatepark. Maybe I didn’t want to seem selfish in my advocacy. It would have been easy for someone to say, “You only want a skatepark by your house so you can use it.”

You know what? I do want a skatepark by my house now. Here’s why:

  • Millican-Ogden has the highest amount of green/park space of any neighbourhood in the city. This is one of the reasons why our neighbourhood is amazing. It also lends itself to suitable lands for a skatepark.
  • Ward 9 currently has no skateparks, nor are any planned.
  • The Green Line will come through our neighbourhood by 2026. I’m sure some of you have been to the open houses for the Green Line. With all this talk about ensuring the stations are “activated” and draw people in, wouldn’t it be great to have a skatepark near one of the stations?
  • My daughter will be two years old this June. I figure if I start my advocacy now, by the time she’s old enough to skate (or bike), we’ll have a skatepark in Millican-Ogden.
  • Skateparks have seen massive investment from the City of Calgary. The Skateboard Amenities Strategy recommends almost 270,000 square feet of skatepark terrain be developed in the next decade. With the six skateparks that have been built since 2015, we’ve barely scratched the surface.
  • The City has been studying skatepark use in recent years and they’re finding that skateparks are being used at a very high rate, especially for an amenity that is the fraction of the cost of something like an arena or swimming pool and requires very little maintenance.
  • Skateboarding will debut as an Olympic sport at the 2020 games in Tokyo. We could have the next Canadian Olympic athlete right here in our community—shouldn’t we nurture them and provide them with a place to hone their skills?

Keep in mind that, although the preferred nomenclature is “skatepark”, that doesn’t mean skateboarding is the only activity allowed. Bicycles, inline skates, and even scooters frequent these parks. And that’s a good thing.

It’s estimated that there are over 30,000 people who skate in Calgary. What would that number look like if you added the above user groups? I’m guessing we’d be well into six digits.

I want Millican-Ogden to prosper. I’ve lived in the community since 2005 and I don’t plan on moving anytime soon. I want my daughter and all the kids here to grow up with the ability to go have fun. A skatepark is one way to do that. Kids in our great neighbourhood who may not be able to afford to play organized sports like baseball or soccer might get into skateboarding because it’s so inexpensive.

If you want to help, please contact Councillor Carra and the Ward 9 office to let them know a skatepark would be a welcome addition to our neighbourhood.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Councillor Gian-Carlo Carra, the Ward 9 Office or The City of Calgary. 

Living Our Values Through Calgary's 2019-2022 Budget Priorities - A Letter to the Councillor

Critical programs that relieve poverty, such as Fair Entry, Family and Community Support Services, and affordable and social housing must be maintained and improved upon. It is also important that all budget decisions made strive to meet the social and economic needs of those Calgarians who are most marginalized.

Women's Centre Bridgeland-Riverside Councillor Gian-Carlo Carra.jpg

Dear Councillor Carra,

We write today in response to the City’s request for input into the Municipal Service Plans and Budget Priorities for 2019-2022.

We were very encouraged by the passing of the Notice of Motion on Gender Equity and Diversity in 2017, and are looking forward to seeing a set of strong recommendations to advance gender equality in Calgary as the next step.

The Women’s Centre of Calgary believes that a great way to demonstrate commitment to the goals outlined in the Notice of Motion would be to use the principles of the Fair Calgary Policy and GBA+ (Gender Based Analysis Plus) to guide budget deliberations. GBA+ is an analytical tool used to assess how diverse groups of women, men and gender-diverse people may experience policies, programs and initiatives differently.

The federal and provincial governments have adopted GBA+ in recognition that budget decisions are not gender neutral; women may be unfairly disadvantaged. We know that on average, women are more likely to depend on public services to meet the needs of their families. This reality must be considered when determining how best to fund and deliver services.

Funding decisions grounded in the principles of equity and fairness will ensure continued access for women to essential public services. Critical programs that relieve poverty, such as Fair Entry, Family and Community Support Services, and affordable and social housing must be maintained and improved upon. It is also important that all budget decisions made strive to meet the social and economic needs of those Calgarians who are most marginalized.

As you know, the Women’s Centre of Calgary is a community organization that provides a safe, supportive space for women where they can get assistance, connect with others, and work for change. We have been working to advocate for social and economic policies that are reflective of women’s realities and experiences. The Women’s Centre community includes women from diverse social and economic backgrounds; over a half of the women who come to the Women’s Centre identify as living in poverty.

We have considerable knowledge about the issues that women face and look forward to continuing to work with you to develop services in an equitable manner.

Sincerely,

Kerry Lynn Okita, Co-Chair of the Board of the Women's Centre

Susan Gillies, Executive Director of the Women's Centre

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Councillor Gian-Carlo Carra, the Ward 9 Office or The City of Calgary. 

The Expansion of Peigan Trail SE

The City of Calgary is in the preliminary planning stage of this project and they do not have detailed designs related to the expansion of Peigan Trail from Barlow Trial S.E. to 84 Street S.E.

 The Peigan Trail S.E. Expansion is listed as a high priority item in The City’s    
  
  
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
  
  
  
  
  
  2015-2024 Transportation Infrastructure Investment Plan (TIIP) .  (Photo source: Google Maps)

The Peigan Trail S.E. Expansion is listed as a high priority item in The City’s 2015-2024 Transportation Infrastructure Investment Plan (TIIP).  (Photo source: Google Maps)

Published May 4, 2018

Written by Eric Peters with files from Blair Hone, Adrian Tanase, and The City of Calgary

The City of Calgary is in the preliminary planning stage of this project and they do not have detailed designs related to the expansion of Peigan Trail from Barlow Trial S.E. to 84 Street S.E. (with the  railway crossing initially envisioned to remain as an at-grade crossing).

The Peigan Trail S.E. Expansion is listed as a high priority item in The City’s 2015-2024 Transportation Infrastructure Investment Plan (TIIP).

When funding is confirmed for the next budget cycle, the community will be able to have these concerns addressed in the detailed design. While the Peigan Trail twinning project is unfunded and included in the next 4-year capital projects plan, it will be discussed by the Council in November.

When funding is confirmed and the project will proceed with the detailed design, The City will be engaging affected community associations and business owners in the discussions.

In order to prepare for the future detail design and construction phase of this project, ISL Engineering has been retained by The City to complete this preliminary engineering report.

A few options have been looked at regarding the access to Forest Lawn Auto Parts, and there is a recommended option for the access. However, The City has only taken the design to preliminary engineering and more design work will still need to happen.

About the project

The preliminary engineering phase includes:

  • record existing roadway conditions
  • coordinate required utility work
  • complete preliminary stormwater design
  • complete preliminary roadway design, and
  • examine environmental impacts and mitigations.

The project scope includes approximately 6.5 kilometres of Peigan Trail from Barlow Trail in the west to 84 Street in the east. Much of Peigan Trail is a two-lane roadway; this project will investigate the expansion to four-lanes, as well as the ultimate six-lanes.

The preliminary engineering report will be completed in early 2018. Confirmation of the next project phases will be made by early 2019 when current and future projects are prioritized and confirmed for funding.

Project timeline

January 2017 – Preliminary engineering phase begins. 
Early 2018 – Completion of preliminary engineering design. 
June 2018 – Finalize preliminary engineering report.

Public engagement / communications

The City is committed to providing information to stakeholders along Peigan Trail, and motorists that use this roadway. This webpage is the primary source of information for this project.

If you have questions or require more information, please fill out the 311 online form.

Are Districts The Way Forward for Calgary's Community Organizations?

The Community Representation Framework Task Force has been investigating an approach of creating Council-authorized, City-supported groups of community stakeholders called ‘district forums’.

 Calgary City Council approved the formation of the Community Representation Framework Task Force who has been tasked to engage with community stakeholders to establish a new approach to community representation. (Photo Source: Colleen De Neve / Calgary Herald)

Calgary City Council approved the formation of the Community Representation Framework Task Force who has been tasked to engage with community stakeholders to establish a new approach to community representation. (Photo Source: Colleen De Neve / Calgary Herald)

Published on May 3

Written By David Couroux

Background

City Council formed a Community Representation Framework Task Force to review options and advise Council on how community organizations can more effectively represent the diverse interests and perspectives within their communities.

The Community Representation Framework Task Force is composed of a broad range of stakeholders representing Council, the development and building sector, community associations and resident’s associations, the University of Calgary and City Administration.

The goals of the Community Representation Framework are to:

  1. Enhance the effectiveness of community groups to contribute to the representation of the diverse interests and perspectives within their communities;
  2. Promote community representation best practices and help develop a more collaborative working relationship between community groups and The City;
  3. Revitalize City processes related to planning and development so they are more open, inclusive and welcoming to a broad range of community groups;
  4. Identify the necessary supports and resources required by community groups so they can be effective representatives of their communities in dialogue with The City.

Strengthening community governance is important for a healthy and thriving city. Here are my thoughts on the Community Representation Framework Taskforce.

The Process - Where We Are

The Community Representation Framework Task Force formed in December 2016 and has been investigating options to improve Calgary’s current approach to community representation. In February 2018, an update report was presented to City Council. The report included a new approach to community representation based on a process that focuses on collaborative dialogue between a broader base of community organizations and groups. Council approved recommendations to:

  1. Engage with community stakeholders to establish a new approach to community representation;
  2. Return to Council with a final report by the end of 2018.

Input will be gathered through a two-phase approach. Phase one is an online survey used to gain an understanding of the current state of community representation and gather input on a suggested new approach. Phase two will dig deeper into the responses gathered in the survey by using focus groups comprised of a cross-section of diverse community stakeholders.

Project Timeline

  • February 2018: Update report on community representation framework. Council approved recommendations to engage with community stakeholders and provide Council a final report by the end of 2018.
  • April 2018: Phase 1 – engagement with community associations and a cross-section of other community stakeholders through an online survey.
  • May 2018: Phase 1 - report back to participants.
  • May and June 2018: Phase 2 – engagement with small groups representing a cross-section of community stakeholders to dig deeper into the issues and potential future scenarios.
  • July 2018: report back to community stakeholders and the task force.
  • October / November 2018: report to Committee and Council.
  • January 2019: Pilot project phase and implementation of recommendations.

The pilot projects are intended to provide opportunity to test any new approach supported by Council, review lessons learned and consider further input from community stakeholders before any new approach is rolled out on a city-wide basis.

A suggested new approach to community representation

The Community Representation Framework Task Force has been investigating an approach of creating Council-authorized, City-supported groups of community stakeholders called ‘district forums’. At this stage in our process, the idea of district forums holds promise to achieve program goals, but we require community input to better understand the current state of community representation in Calgary and any opportunities or challenges this new approach may pose.

We are looking for specific input that will help us better define a community representation approach that we can propose to Council later in 2018 and test through pilot projects in 2019.

The feedback will also help us identify other aspects of the community representation framework with respect to supports and resources that are necessary to achieve the program goals and ways to improve community involvement in The City’s planning and development processes.

What Is A District?

A district is an area of the city composed of multiple communities based around significant features of the urban landscape that serve important functions for more than a single community such as main streets, transit station areas and other amenities like regional parks, schools and recreation centres.

What Is A District Forum?

Currently, a district forum is just an idea that the task force would like to receive feedback about. As suggested, it is:

  • an assembly of representatives of organizations and groups from communities within the district. These can include community associations, resident’s associations, business improvement area groups, cultural groups, faith-based organizations, youth and senior’s groups and service organizations, to name just a few of the possibilities.
  • intended to be Council authorized, through approved Terms of Reference that describe governance and operations of the forum, membership eligibility and roles and responsibilities of community organizations and of The City.
  • supported by The City to help achieve the program goals. Resources might include funding, staff support to help facilitate and organize meetings and training programs to help members effectively represent community interests and perspectives.

Why A District Forum?

Planning at a district scale allows communities to collaborate on local area plans that focus on common elements of interest, like main streets, transit station areas, regional parks, schools and recreation centres, while also providing the opportunity to contribute input on proposed development at the community scale.

District forums can provide opportunity to support inclusive, collaborative planning processes more effectively and efficiently. Currently, there are over 200 plans that provide guidance to local planning and more than 150 community areas. By shifting some of the planning processes to the district scale The City hopes to reduce the number of plans to about 50. This will simplify the review of land use and development applications and allow The City to provide appropriate resources to better support inclusive and collaborative planning processes. In recent discussions, the task force has considered the need to provide resources for a district forum such as:

  • A ‘convener’ to provide services like meeting facilitation and conflict resolution, ensure compliance with terms of reference and City standards related to reporting, etc.
  • Administrative support to prepare meeting agendas and minutes, manage records and oversee budget
  • Other professional supports to recruit member organizations, communicate with forum members, leadership and process training and education, subject matter expertise (planners, for example) and mediation services.

What Will the Role of Community Associations and Other Community Organizations Be In Relation to a District Forum?

Terms of reference for a district forum will outline the roles and responsibilities of member organizations and groups as participants in a district forum as well as The City as a supporter. Specific terms of reference will be developed as part of preparation for a pilot project.

Will A District Forum Decide the Outcomes of Community Engagement? Will the District Forum Write a Community's Recommendation on Planning Issues? 

The district forum is not intended to make decisions on behalf of community, but rather to support an open, inclusive process that welcomes interested organizations and facilitates opportunities for them to more effectively collaborate with one another and with The City.

Community organizations will remain independent of The City and will be able to either develop their own independent positions on planning and development matters or develop positions in partnership with other organizations and groups, as they choose.

How Will This Change The Way Land Use and Development Applications Are Reviewed?

Once a new local area plan is established, land use and development review processes will be conducted at either the district or community level according to the significance of the proposal and its location in the district. For example, a land use application along a main street would likely be reviewed by a district forum because it is in an area of interest to more than just one community. A small redevelopment proposal on a residential street that does not have broad impacts in the district will likely be reviewed by stakeholders of the community. In either case, communities will continue to be represented in land use and development application reviews.

It Sounds Like A District Forum Is Already Decided As The New Approach To Community Representation. Why Bother To Engage With The Community? 

A district forum is only an idea at this point. Input from community stakeholders will be used by the task force to continue their discussions about the future of community representation and whether a district forum is the best way to achieve the goals of the community representation framework, what opportunities and challenges it might pose for community organizations and how membership might be defined. In addition, whatever approach is eventually adopted by Council, it will be introduced through pilot projects, giving additional opportunity for community stakeholders to provide input on its suitability.

Update on the Re-Investment in East Calgary & International Ave

 
 Rendering of the BRT Stations. Source: City of Calgary

Rendering of the BRT Stations. Source: City of Calgary

Written by the BRT Project Team

Published on May 2, 2018

Work will start up on International Avenue this week, and there are some upcoming detours and closures we want to let you know about.

From May 4 to May 7, crews will be reconstructing the road at 33 Street and 17 Avenue S.E. No left turns will be permitted at the intersection while crews do this work.

 The girders have been installed and the new bridge spanning the Western Headworks Canal and Deerfoot Trail are taking shape! (Source: 17 Avenue SE BRT team)

The girders have been installed and the new bridge spanning the Western Headworks Canal and Deerfoot Trail are taking shape! (Source: 17 Avenue SE BRT team)

On May 5, traffic will shift to the south of 17 Avenue S.E. between 26 and 30 Street S.E. Access to Barlow Trail S.E. will be via 16 Avenue S.E. There will be no access from westbound 17 Avenue S.E. to Barlow Trail S.E.

Detour: There will be no access from westbound 17 Avenue S.E. to Barlow Trail S.E.. (Photo Source: City of Calgary)

Between May 11-14, The south east corner of 17 Avenue and 36 Street S.E. will be closed. Northbound traffic will be detoured to 33 Street S.E.

 Source: The City of Calgary

Source: The City of Calgary

This week crews will be reconstructing the road on the north side of the intersections between 47 and 51 Streets. Closures of up to five days will be required as crews move from intersection to intersection.

The crews will be removing the sidewalks on the north of 17 Avenue between 37 and 47 Street S.E. as well, and temporary walkways will be set up while crews are removing sidewalks. Between 52 to 60 Street S.E. crews will be working on underground utilities.

 The re-vamped International Ave will be here sooner than you think. (Photo source: International Avenue. 

The re-vamped International Ave will be here sooner than you think. (Photo source: International Avenue. 

Don’t forget your favourite businesses on International Avenue will be open during construction, so make sure to stop by. Thank you for your patience as we work to make 17 Avenue a great space for everyone. 

What’s Been Completed?

·         Traffic light bases are installed at 47 and 50 Street S.E.

·         Traffic signal bases have been installed at 33 and 42 Street S.E.

·         Roadway removal between 31 and 35 Streets S.E. are complete.

·         36 Street building demolition complete.

·         Deerfoot Bridge girders installed.

·         Western Headworks Canal bridge girders installed.

·         Bow River Bridge East span girders installed.

For more information visit calgary.ca/17avesebrt

 

7 Great Ways to Get Flood Information in Calgary

 
 River flooding impacts all Calgarians who live, work, commute or play in the city and along the Bow and Elbow Rivers. (Photo Source: City of Calgary) 

River flooding impacts all Calgarians who live, work, commute or play in the city and along the Bow and Elbow Rivers. (Photo Source: City of Calgary) 

As we approach flood season and the five-year anniversary of the 2013 Southern Alberta and Calgary flood, here are some plans for the City of Calgary’s 2018 flood readiness campaign to update you about the actions The City has taken to become a more flood resilient city.

With a higher-than-average snowpack, overland flooding affecting several Alberta communities and the five-year anniversary of the 2013 Southern Alberta and Calgary flood, The City knows that river flooding and the damage it has, and can cause, is top-of-mind for Calgarians. It is The City of Calgary’s priority to monitor, manage and reduce flood risk, and to ensure citizens understand their risk and have the resources available to prepare.

River flooding impacts all Calgarians who live, work, commute or play in the city and along the Bow and Elbow Rivers. River flooding is most likely to occur between May 15 and July 15. It is important to note that:

  • Heavy rainfall upstream of Calgary has the biggest influence on river flood risk. These events are challenging to forecast because Calgary is so close to the mountains. We can sometimes see potential rain events 5 to 7 days ahead, but by the time we know how high river flows may be, we may have less than 24 hours to respond.
  • A high snowpack alone can cause high flows, but does not cause our rivers to flood. The snowpack in the mountains has been higher than average this year, however, lower spring temperatures in the mountains means the snow is melting slower than on the prairies, where snowmelt is causing flooding in other municipalities.
  • The City and Province continuously monitor for conditions that can develop into flood events.

Since 2013, together with the Province, we have committed more than $150 million towards projects that will reduce the risk of river flood damage. We have also strengthened our understanding of the flow of the Bow and Elbow Rivers, how the rivers change and have changed, flood modelling, forecasting, preparedness and response. 

We all have a critical role to play in preparing for river flooding.

The City of Calgary’s 2018 Flood Readiness Campaign aims to provide up to date information to Calgarians about how to understand our flood risk, be prepared and stay informed.

Seven great ways to get flood information this year

  • Visiting Disaster Alley (May 5)
  • Attending the open house for Bow River communities at Foothills Academy, with presentations by Frank Frigo and Chief Sampson (see below)
  • Looking out for increased flood information in digital ads and on social media
  • Visiting the monthly City News blog posts, calgarycitynews.com that will have frequently-updated information on:
    • snowpack and flood risk
    • personal preparedness
    • mitigation projects
    • climate change and flood risk
  • Reading the bi-weekly Flood e-newsletter, and sign up at calgary.ca/floodinfo
  • Receiving regular and frequent updates on the City of Calgary flood website calgary.ca/floodinfo
  • Signing up to www.gccarra.ca for Ward 9-specific Flood information

We’ll continue to increase our communications to you during this time and continue to do the work to mitigate flood damage and protect Calgary against potential flood events.

In the meantime, we invite you to attend the Flood Preparedness Open House for Bow River Communities and to share this invitation with your friends and neighbours who are able to attend our first open house.

Flood Preparedness Open House for Bow River Communities

Please visit calgary.ca/floodinfo for more information, sign up for the City of Calgary e-newsletter and download the Flood Readiness Guide.

 

Moving Forward on the 17 Avenue SE Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Project

 
 Rendering of the BRT Stations. Source: City of Calgary

Rendering of the BRT Stations. Source: City of Calgary

Written by the BRT Project Team

Published on April 30, 2018

Crews are getting ready to start construction on International Avenue in mid-April.

They will be out working on traffic light bases at 42 and 33 Street, ENMAX will be doing utility work at 28 and 30 Street, and prepping the roadway and detoured sections to get ready for construction.

In May the project will be shifting westbound traffic between 26 and 30 Street S.E. to the south side of 17 Avenue S.E.

 The girders have been installed and the new bridge spanning the Western Headworks Canal and Deerfoot Trail are taking shape! (Source: 17 Avenue SE BRT team)

The girders have been installed and the new bridge spanning the Western Headworks Canal and Deerfoot Trail are taking shape! (Source: 17 Avenue SE BRT team)

The BRT bridges are taking shape and the girders have been installed on all three bridges. Over the next month crews will continue the work on the three bridges and the nearby retaining walls.

On April 14, the temporary traffic lights at 9 Avenue and 19 Street S.E. and at Blackfoot Trail and 19 Street S.E. will be activated. Later in April, a traffic detour will be set up for northbound traffic from 19 Street onto Blackfoot trail.

 Source: The City of Calgary

Source: The City of Calgary

Don’t forget your favourite businesses on International Avenue will be open during construction, so make sure to stop by. Thank you for your patience as we work to make 17 Avenue a great space for everyone. For more details on the work happening over the next few weeks please see the attached update.

What’s Been Completed?

·         Traffic light bases are installed at 47 and 50 Street S.E.

·         36 Street building demolition complete.

·         Deerfoot Bridge girders installed.

·         Western Headworks Canal bridge girders installed.

·         Bow River Bridge East span girders installed.

For more information visit calgary.ca/17avesebrt

 

From Inspiration to Implementation - Inglewood and the IDI

Inglewood is an inclusive urban village in the heart of Calgary, defined, connected and sustained by its history, culture, industry, commerce, nature and people. 

IDI photo.jpg

By: Gian-Carlo Carra

Published on April 19, 2018

The Inglewood Design Initiative was formed at the 2004 Inglewood Community Association AGM. The new committee was tasked with advocating for and deeply engaging the community surrounding the project of a new, forward-looking, and deeply integrative master plan to replace our aging ARP. The first engagement session in early 2005 was a World Cafe (a relatively new engagement technology at the time - thanks Bob Chartier!!!) where around 200 Inglewood residents, business owners, and institutional leaders shared their thoughts about our community’s best future.

The committee took that data and crafted a vision statement and five supporting mission statements pertaining to heritage, the environment, mobility, commerce, and culture which were subsequently ratified by the community and formed the basis of the IDI’s work - work that ultimately propelled me to City Hall to turn our aspirations into action. In honor of this month’s feature of local business leader and arts patron Jim Hill, I thought I’d reflect a moment on the intertwined role commerce and culture play in the living heritage of our beloved Inglewood.

Today Inglewood is a center of our City’s music scene through the many venues that form the Music Mile; the Esker Gallery anchors our visual arts street cred and is bolstered by the many commercial galleries along 9th Ave, as well as many crafting places such as Workshop Studios; our food and craft brewing culture reflect our historic agricultural connection to our landscape; our Treaty 7 roots span from Fort Calgary to the Piitoayis Program in the Colonel Walker School building and are inextricable from our bend in the Bow situation in the heart of Moh-Kins-Tsis; our faith communities are not only cultural anchors in their own rights, but, led by the Lantern, use their buildings to foster all manner of additional culture expression; and our institutional landscape from the Alexandra Centre to the new YW not only care for our most vulnerable, but are engines of culture as well. Amidst this rich cultural tapestry, creative class industries foment the emergence of Calgary’s next economy.

I had the opportunity to tour heritage professionals from across Canada through Inglewood in 2016 when the National Trust’s annual conference was held in Calgary. I was asked by these legitimately amazed professionals how one small neighbourhood could have so much going on. My answer is that Great Neighbourhoods, like Inglewood, are the best hardware humans have ever invented to run the interconnected software packages of a diversified economy and a vibrant culture.

 Official subdivision plan for Inglewood west of 11th Street SE and the north end of Ramsay c.1890. - Historic Image from the Glenbow Archives.

Official subdivision plan for Inglewood west of 11th Street SE and the north end of Ramsay c.1890. - Historic Image from the Glenbow Archives.

This was something that was inherently understood by our forbearers - that it takes an ecosystem level of complexity to unleash the interplay of commerce and culture to drive prosperity and (the now problematic but important project of) progress. A.E. Cross understood it when his Calgary Brewing and Malting Company put Calgary on the map and in the process delivered Calgary’s first park, our fish hatchery, our pool and lawn bowling pitch, the first echo of the Stampede in the Horseman’s Hall of Fame and ultimately the Stampede itself - our City’s most renown cultural institution. Burns and his colleagues understood it when they invested in real estate ventures along our Main Street and bequeathed to us not only the backbone of our heritage legacy, but the adaptive cradle of all the cultural activities that set Inglewood apart today.

And Jim Hill deeply understood that when, asking himself whether an architecturally significant stand-alone museum or gallery would best fulfill his dream for the Esker, he rejected that instead for a cultural institution embedded in the creative ecosystem of a creative industry-focused mixed use building, embedded in the complex ecosystem of a Great Neighbourhood. We are lucky beyond belief that successive generations of captains of industry and patrons have invested so heavily in our community and created the spaces that have employed and inspired thousands upon thousands of creative Inglewoodonians over the decades.

 Diagram by PlaceMakers Canada

Diagram by PlaceMakers Canada

I took the opportunity to read and reread Jane Jacobs’ works over the Christmas break, as well as her biography. The distilled essence of her message that I took from that deep dive is her assertion that there are no causes of poverty; there are only causes of prosperity. In Inglewood we are incredibly lucky to have inherited the living legacy of what happens when commerce and culture interplay together to form an engine of civilization. It is our solemn duty to care for and grow that engine for the benefit of our children and their children and so on.

 

Law Day at the Calgary Courts Centre - Guest Blog

Law Day is a free, all-ages event held across Canada every spring to commemorate the signing of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

 Law Day offers opportunities for everyone to be entertained and educated about Canada’s legal system and the legal profession. (Source: Canadian Bar Association)

Law Day offers opportunities for everyone to be entertained and educated about Canada’s legal system and the legal profession. (Source: Canadian Bar Association)

Published: April 17, 2018

Have you ever wondered what goes on inside the Calgary Courts Centre. Calgarians will have the chance to find out on Saturday, April 21 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Law Day!

Law Day is a free, all-ages event held across Canada every spring to commemorate the signing of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Law Day offers opportunities for everyone to be entertained and educated about Canada’s legal system and the legal profession.

This year’s activities include live mock trials featuring favourite storybook characters from Alice in Wonderland and “Herry Phother,” courthouse tours, 50+ booths and exhibitors, and more! Attendees can also receive free 20-minute legal consultations at Ask-a-Lawyer or check out one of the self-representation clinics on topical issues like surrogacy, divorce, and family law.

If you can’t make it to the event but would still like legal advice, Dial-a-Lawyer offers members of the public free 20-minute legal consultations over the phone! Call 1-888-644-8950 on April 21 from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

For more information and a full list of activities, please visit www.lawdayalberta.com.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Councillor Gian-Carlo Carra, the Ward 9 Office or The City of Calgary. 

Helping Heroes, Residents, and The City Find A Way Forward

East Riverside has the largest concentration of affordable housing in Calgary. After many years, we recognize that we want and need seniors to be integrated into their communities rather than in big facilities that fail to do this adequately.

Published on April 16, 2018

As you know, right now the community of Bridgeland-Riverside, The City of Calgary, and I are working on the new area redevelopment plan which is being driven primarily by the great work the community did on the East Riverside Master Plan. We’re also working on the MainStreets program whose goal it is to transform 1 Avenue NE into a more thriving and vibrant high street for the neighbourhood. While discussing those medium- and long-term projects, we remain focused on day-to-day items as well, such as parking, social disorder and crime, mobility freedom and the ongoing crush of redevelopment proposals – whether they are residential or non-residential (such as the Bridgeland Complex Care Centre – you can watch my video on that development here).

There’s a lot going on in Bridgeland-Riverside and I know that people who are dealing with these things on a day-to-day basis are feeling a little bit overwhelmed, but we'll get through all of this.

Homes for Heroes’ Development Proposal

During the election period, it came to my attention that City Administration was negotiating with a group called Homes for Heroes to place them, as a sub-lessee, on a City-owned piece of land in East Riverside down in the corner on the Canadian National Institute for the Blind's site.

 The Canadian National Institute for the Blind land is located in the eastern most portion of Bridgeland-Riverside in East Riverside. (Source: Google Maps)

The Canadian National Institute for the Blind land is located in the eastern most portion of Bridgeland-Riverside in East Riverside. (Source: Google Maps)

That was news to me and a lot of people in the community who had been working hard on the master planning and the local area plan process.

CNIB’s Advocacy in East Riverside

The historic Riverside area of Bridgeland-Riverside is divided into three sub-areas: The Bridges in the middle; Riverside proper to the west of the Bridges; and, the institutional landscape of East Riverside. There is general consensus that Riverside, with the exception of some potential heritage streetscapes, that Riverside is the part of the community where the densities associated with transit oriented development (TOD) is most appropriate and two years ago residents, businesses, and community institutions started having a series of conversations about the future of the community with that consensus as a starting point. One of the community institutions that initiated this conversation was the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (the “CNIB”), which sits on a piece of land in East Riverside in a long-term lease with the City of Calgary.

Several years ago, CNIB approached me and they indicated that as an institution that sits on a giant lot, next to an LRT station and beautiful park space, that they were in a building that did not adequately serve their purpose. They also indicated that as an institution that serves many Calgarians and Albertans, they wanted to put themselves on a stronger financial footing and to have a conversation with the City of Calgary about extending their lease and finding a private sector partner who would develop this land with them to provide them with a better space and the City with an actual tax base of TOD dwellers.

Silver for Seniors in East Riverside

At the same time, I was approached by Silvera for Seniors who identified the same opportunities as CNIB. Like CNIB, they indicated that their operation represents a previous era's best practice for working with vulnerable populations. Silvera for Seniors would would like to better care for the low-income seniors in their care by building a state-of-the-art facility with an economy of scale which stops the cycle writing a cheque annually from the government to keep the lights on and keep these citizens fed.

The Over-Representation of Low-Income Housing, Seniors Housing and Social Ills in East Riverside

Bridgeland-Riverside in general, and East Riverside specifically, has the largest concentration of affordable housing in the City of Calgary. The folks who live in East Riverside are disconnected from the life of the community. After many years, we as a society after recognize that we want and need seniors to be integrated with children, brought into their communities to join in celebrating and enjoying them rather than building big facilities that fail to do this adequately.

East Riverside’s Development Impact on Seniors and Social Disorder

During the East Riverside Master Plan development planning process, one of the things that was being talked about was better integrating seniors into their community and their main street on 1 Avenue NE. It was realized that a lot of these seniors’ mobility freedom was challenged and that for so many of them, the journey from East Riverside to 1 Avenue NE was simply too far.

Bringing the Community to a Prosperous East Riverside

An amazing idea emerged from this discussion - what if we brought the community to the seniors?

1 Avenue NE peters out as a commercial street at around 9A Street NE and becomes more residential. Instead of looking to change residential areas to commercial areas, there was massive support for continuing the main street by running it down 9 Street NE and then along McDougall Road NE, and supporting that main street by creating a pathway system that ran along Bow Valley Drive NE and connects to the LRT station.

With this idea, all of a sudden, East Riverside becomes a center of community where the largest concentration of affordable housing in the city of Calgary gets diluted and enhanced by young families and young people and adults achieved through density and working with the community institutions to better support their clients who too often were forgotten and too far away to participate in their communities and have their happiest and most prosperous life in a great community.

 Photo of the East Riverside Master Plan planning area (Source: East Riverside Master Plan document by B&A)

Photo of the East Riverside Master Plan planning area (Source: East Riverside Master Plan document by B&A)

This idea incorporated into the East Riverside Master Plan provided a lot of wins – wins for the institutions, wins for their clients, wins for the residents of Bridgeland-Riverside and wins for the City and Calgarians at large. The East Riverside Master Plan had strength behind it because Bishop O’Byrne, CNIB, and Silvera for Seniors were all at the table and invested in taking East Riverside from a “big box”, under-used, demographically-uniform (and sometimes social-disorder affected part of the) community to a mixed-use, mixed-income community for people of all ages, all wages, and all stages in life.

It's a win for the city and, with that thinking, the East Riverside Master Plan was born, and we had CNIB at the table. We had Bishop O'Byrne at the table. We had Silvera for Seniors. We had the City of Calgary and some of our lessees in this area, and early on we had Alberta Health Services, which is one of the reasons why we're pushing back on the BCC as being ... another institutional use is not a good idea.

The Left Hand v. The Right Hand

All of those ideas came together in the East Riverside Master Plan that was assisted, supported, and championed by The City of Calgary’s Planning and Development (P & D) which resulted in the next generation local area plan for Bridgeland-Riverside. That work towards a denser, more mixed use, more enriched, mixed-income future for East Riverside was finally being worked towards.

During this time, another branch of the City of Calgary, namely, the Real Estate & Development Services (REDS) department was negotiating with Homes for Heroes to find a place for a very special approach to working with veterans who have serious issues with post-traumatic stress disorder, addiction issues, and some who may have fallen into homelessness.

When Real Estate & Development Services was approached by Homes for Heroes, REDS, looking at City-owned land, realized that CNIB was sitting on a giant piece of land and they weren't using anywhere near all of it. From their point of view they believed that it was a good idea to place small clusters of tiny-houses on the land. What they failed to realize was their colleagues in P & D already had plans for the future of this land.

The Mission of Homes for Heroes

Homes for Heroes is an organization whose mission is to create small and beautiful cottage clusters that give people their own home but are connected to the life of a mini-village, in a caring environment. The organization aims to rescue heroes who have fallen into homelessness and addiction issues.

 Homes for Heroes has a proposed concept for how a parcel will be turned into a community to support veterans experiencing homelessness. (Source: Homes for Heroes)

Homes for Heroes has a proposed concept for how a parcel will be turned into a community to support veterans experiencing homelessness. (Source: Homes for Heroes)

Homes for Heroes originally reached out to the City of Calgary and was looking at a site close to the downtown, on the pathway system, in the Eau Claire area. It was recognized that that location was not an appropriate place. Homes for Heroes indicated that they needed a location that is close to everything, while isolated enough for their clients to undergo treatment and start on their path back into civilian life.  

The Inappropriateness of the CNIB Land for Homes for Heroes

While the planning and development concerns are very real for East Riverside, there is also a much more pressing issue with respect to the use of this land for Homes for Heroes whose intention would be to remain on the CNIB land for 15-20 years. What the Homes for Heroes in Bridgeland-Riverside proposal does not take into account is that there currently is a tremendous concentration of vulnerable people, affordable housing and considerable amounts of social disorder in this area. We know that it is not best practice to concentrate potential social issues into more and more density. What we now know is that it is a much better idea to dilute these social services and institutions into the general population, and actually create a much more robust and integrated community.

CNIB and Homes for Heroes’ Contrasting Visions for the East Riverside Lands

When I started to dig in and speak with the leadership of the CNIB, they indicated that they were in a tough spot and couldn’t readily and easily say no to their landlord – a landlord whom they would be asking for a lease extension. Additionally, they were sympathetic to the goals of Homes for Heroes. As you may know, CNIB was initially founded to help veterans who were coming back from the trenches of World War I who are suffering from blindness, and while this proposal would not be in their interest, they were relying on the process to work through these concerns.

A Proposed Solution to Creating the Best Possible Future for All

Quite frankly, the right hand of The City didn't know what the left hand of The City was doing and in so, got us to where we are now.

So I weighed in.

I love what Homes for Heroes is about and I understand how the location on the CNIB lands in East Riverside meets their locational criteria. Upon taking all the information we now have, we know that this location is not the best place for their work, and finding them a more appropriate site must be top of mind. In order to find a solution to this challenge, my office met and we had a thorough conversation about all the files within Ward 9 and we found what could be a brilliant idea.

Changing an Industrial Use to a Compassionate Use and Realizing a Long Desired Dream

This conversation is not about whether or not Homes for Heroes can do their great work in Ward 9. This is a conversation about the appropriateness of the location for them to do their work and having a thoughtful conversation about how we, working together, can effectively realize the goals, aims, and aspirations of as many stakeholders as possible and realizing multiple wins.

 Inglewood Bird Sanctuary, Inglewood Wildlands and Steele's Transfer and Canadian Polar Steam. (Source: Google Maps)

Inglewood Bird Sanctuary, Inglewood Wildlands and Steele's Transfer and Canadian Polar Steam. (Source: Google Maps)

The brilliant idea that I spoke of above is in Inglewood. The new site being proposed is next to amazing parkland which has recently been subject to a major regional planning process to create a grand new park for Calgarians and Albertans – the Bend in the Bow.

 Bend in the Bow project scope Phases 1 and 2 (Source: City of Calgary)

Bend in the Bow project scope Phases 1 and 2 (Source: City of Calgary)

The Inglewood Bird Sanctuary was set aside by the Federal Government in the 1920s when the country started to wake up to the importance of creating land where migratory birds could partake in their migratory lifestyles.

The Inglewood Wildlands is a former Gulf Oil refinery site, and its land that is being remediated from an industrial zone and converted into a conservation landscape.

From the photo of the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary you'll notice there's one last remnant piece of industrial land which is sitting there and they're not quite happy there, as obviously a park setting doesn't work well for industrial practices.

Parks’ Policy on the Vision for the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary

The City’s mission over time supported by City policy is to acquire this industrial land and turn it into parkland. It’s a difficult purchase because industrial land can be expensive. When looking at this entire matter from a birds’ eye view (no pun intended) we saw that as the ‘secret sauce’ in creating a multiple win situation for all parties.

  1. Instead of buying the industrial land, we could do a land swap (The City owns a lot of industrial land;
  2. Replacing the industrial use with a lower intensity use and footprint would be much better for the residents, and flora and fauna in the neighbourhood;
  3. The Homes for Heroes tiny-home clusters would be temporary (15-20 years) and would allow The City to begin converting the land to park space as identified in City policy; and
  4. It would meet all of Homes for Heroes’ criteria.

What’s Next and Where Do We Go from Here?

Right now we have some organizations that are on ‘path dependency’. What my job is going to be as the City Councilor for Ward 9 is to break out of that path dependency and pursue a better way.

I've had this very conversation with Homes for Heroes and they are not disinterested. Rather, they are two years and tens of thousands of dollars into looking for a site, doing their due diligence and trying to make it work.

With all of this, I am happy to say that Homes for Heroes participated in The City’s first tranche of a program where City land is given to not-for-profits that do social housing and they have secured a site on 36 Street SE in Forest Lawn that I think will be great.

However, Homes for Heroes wants to do another city and I believe that the best site for their second venture would be in Inglewood as opposed to East Riverside.

Starting the Conversation with Bridgeland-Riverside and Inglewood Residents, Steele’s Transfer, Canadian Polar Steam and Identifying All Stakeholders

This article is meant to begin a broad conversation about this issue. There are no hardened plans, only proposals. We still need to engage and discuss this with all potentially affected stakeholders and ensure that we come out on the other side of this stronger and with clear successes for all of our communities.

I’ll be updating Bridgeland-Riverside and Inglewood residents and stakeholders through my everybody on my email list, social media, Ward 9 Community Reports, and newsletters. If you aren’t on my email list, please sign up and click here.

Thank you so much for your interest. Don't hesitate to get in touch with the Ward 9 Office and I regarding this, or any other issue.

Improving Public Safety and Social Integration in Calgary

For close to 25 years, MCRC has proven to be instrumental to the success of refugee resettlement in our city and, in many cases, has helped to prevent homelessness for newly arrived individuals and families.

 The Calgary Catholic Immigration Society's (CCIS) Magaret Chisholm Resettlement Centre in Bridgeland-Riverside is one of the most important and impactful elements  of their Resettlement Assistance Program. PHOTO CREDIT:   Rajitha Sivakumaran

The Calgary Catholic Immigration Society's (CCIS) Magaret Chisholm Resettlement Centre in Bridgeland-Riverside is one of the most important and impactful elements  of their Resettlement Assistance Program. PHOTO CREDIT: Rajitha Sivakumaran

Published on April 11, 2018

By Fariborz Birjandian, CEO Calgary Catholic Immigration Society

Dear City Council Members,

My name is Fariborz Birjandian, and I am the CEO of the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society
(CCIS). It is my understanding that on April 23rd, 2018, the Calgary City Council will be tabling a resolution regarding the donation of 2 parcels of City Calgary Land to CCIS’ Margaret Chisholm Resettlement Centre (MCRC). In preparation for this meeting, I wish to share more information with you regarding the potential impact of this decision, and the role that MCRC plays in the Calgary community.

As you know, Calgary receives between 1,000 and 1,200 refugees and refugee claimants each
year and these numbers have been steadily increasing. In a 24-month period, the Calgary
community facilitated the resettlement of over 3,000 refugees from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan,
Sudan, the Condo, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and other countries. It is important that we, as a community, continue to explore ways in which we can enhance our support for these individuals and families, and provide services and resources that are timely, relevant, and impactful. This is why CCIS is seeking the support of City Council in an initiative that will help us build our capacity as the first point of contact for the refugees who will be calling Calgary their new home.

Since our inception, CCIS has been the primary agency in the Calgary area responsible for
delivering Resettlement Assistance Program (RAP) services to Government Assisted Refugees.
Through this work, we have assisted over 17,500 GARs. One of the most important and impactful elements of our RAP services is our Margaret Chisholm Resettlement Centre (MCRC). MCRC provides refugees with temporary accommodations during their first weeks after their arrival. 

Within MCRC, they not only receive necessities such as food, shelter, and winter clothing, but
also information, orientation, and support to ensure that they are prepared to launch their new
lives in Canada with a sense of belonging and a high degree of self-reliance. 

For close to 25 years, MCRC has proven to be instrumental to the success of refugee resettlement in our city and, in many cases, has helped to prevent homelessness for newly arrived individuals and families. Looking at recent trends and projections, however, we are confident that our facility will not be able to meet the logistical needs of the current and future refugees who will be resettling in Calgary. CCIS and our partners have therefore been exploring the possibility of expanding our resettlement facilities.

To do this, we will need to utilize the 2 small parcels of land that are adjacent to MCRC, and that are currently owned by the City of Calgary. City Assessors have appraised the land at $925,000. This amount would obviously be a significant and difficult amount for a non-profit organization to pay. CCIS, however, is committing to cover all costs of improvement and future development on this land, if the City of Calgary will follow donate these 2 parcels to CCIS to support refugee resettlement in our city.

Other Canadian agencies, that have faced similar struggles to accommodate and meet the needs of growing numbers of refugees, have received generous support from their local governments. The Immigrant Service Society of Vancouver, BC opened the doors to its welcome centre in 2016 with the support of the City of Vancouver, which provided $500,000 and donated the land. The total cost of the building was 20 million. The City of Winnipeg also donated a 35,000 s.f. building to a resettlement service provider to accommodate the growing numbers of refugees arriving in the city.

I firmly believe that this donation will greatly enhance our ability to accommodate and serve
newly-arrived refugees, and will bolster our city’s reputation as a welcoming and supportive community that strives to ensure that the resettlement and integration of refugees is a positive experience.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Councillor Gian-Carlo Carra, the Ward 9 Office or The City of Calgary. 

A Special Appeal to All Calgarians - A Guest Blog

Many women and their families depend on the Centres to secure their independence. WINS hopes to secure enough monies to keep the Resource Centres open and are asking all Calgarians to help. We need your help.

 PHOTO CREDIT: Women In Need Society (WINS) 

PHOTO CREDIT: Women In Need Society (WINS) 

Published April 11, 2018

Karen Ramchuk, CEO of the Women In Need Society of Calgary

Have you ever thought about what happens when you are in need, alone, and know no one who can help you? For thousands of Calgary women and their families, WINS is the answer every year.

However, at the end of April, the Women In Need Society (WINS) faces a very difficult decision that will impact thousands of Calgarian women living in need and in poverty (and their families). The decision will be to keep its four Resource Centres open - or not. Many women and their families depend on the Centres to secure their independence. WINS hopes to secure enough monies to keep the Resource Centres open and are asking all Calgarians to help. We need your help.

3.1-getinvolved-cashdonations-3.jpg

WINS has taken the drastic step of appealing to Calgary for the $500,000 needed to keep the Resource Centres intact and open. These funds will allow for the necessary time to rebuild our organization to self-sustainment. We are asking for a gift of $10,000 (or greater) to help with this appeal.

WINS is an award winning social enterprise model that is unique in the charity sector and has been a mainstay in Calgary for more than 25 years. WINS operates 5 Family Thrift stores and a donation centre which fund WINS 4 Family Resource Centres and our Free Goods program.

While our retail stores are covering their respective operating costs, a decrease in general retail spending and an increase in client service needs, utilities, leases and wages has out our organization in a deficit financial position. In 2017, WINS had to introduce strategies to reduce the draw on the programs in light of the unprecedented demand in 2016. Although these measures have helped to control expenses, more cuts need to happen. This also means that less women and their families are receiving the resources they need.

WINS is working hard to further develop its social enterprise to maximize returns to support our operational and community program needs. WINS is confident those changes will improve the retail net revenues later in 2018. However in contrast to our financial resources, the demand for WINS’ community programs continues to grow. With your help, WINS would like to ensure that no woman who has made the decision to make a better life for herself and her family has to choose between putting food on the table and having a bed for her children.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Councillor Gian-Carlo Carra, the Ward 9 Office or The City of Calgary. 

Panda-monium is coming to the Calgary Zoo!

On May 7, 2018, the Calgary Zoo will be opening the Panda Passage exhibit. The excitement for the zoo's newest visitors can't be felt by the child in us all. 

 Councillor Gian-Carlo Carra, Ward 9 Councillor, is joined by students from Prince of Wales School to celebrate the Calgary Zoo's announcement of the opening of the Panda Passage on May 7, 2018. April 9, 2018 (PHOTO CREDIT: Kerianne Sproule/PostMedia) 

Councillor Gian-Carlo Carra, Ward 9 Councillor, is joined by students from Prince of Wales School to celebrate the Calgary Zoo's announcement of the opening of the Panda Passage on May 7, 2018. April 9, 2018 (PHOTO CREDIT: Kerianne Sproule/PostMedia) 

Published on April 11, 2018

The countdown for the opening of the Panda Passage exhibit at the Calgary Zoo is on. On May 7, 2018, the Calgary Zoo will open its doors to an exhibit that is expected to attached 1.5 million visitors and contribute $18 million dollars to the local economy and create 200 construction jobs. 

As a gem of Ward 9, the reality is that the Calgary Zoo is a world class institution which has a tremendous impact on Calgary's economy. 

If you get a chance, be sure to head out for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. For more information on the Panda Passage exhibit visit the Calgary Zoo's website. 

P.S. The Calgary Zoo also offers fee assistance for Calgarians through their ZooShare program. The program provides access to the Calgary Zoo through a 75% discount off regular day admissions. You can access the program by calling 3-1-1 for more information. 

Improving the Worst Intersection in Calgary

Based on the evaluation of the concepts, it is recommended that only concepts A and B2 move forward for further consideration after more is known about future development within the study area and the floodway policies have been updated.

 Many Calgarians have told us that the intersection of Macleod Trail and 25 Avenue S is the worst in Calgary. (Image source: Google Maps)

Many Calgarians have told us that the intersection of Macleod Trail and 25 Avenue S is the worst in Calgary. (Image source: Google Maps)

By City of Calgary (Published April 4, 2018) 

The City of Calgary conducted a functional planning study to grade separate 25 Avenue S.E. and the Red Line LRT tracks. The Red Line LRT tracks cross over 25 Avenue S.E. at-grade (street level) east of Macleod Trail. As a result, the traffic signals at this intersection are often interrupted by trains travelling to and from the Erlton LRT station. Grade separation of the LRT tracks will eliminate delays to the traffic signals due to the LRT. It will also improve travel through this area for people walking, cycling, driving and taking transit.

The concepts presented in Phase Two: Option Evaluation were refined and evaluated over the past several months. This was done using stakeholder feedback and technical requirements. A summary of the evaluation and concept revisions can be found on Calgary.ca/25avestudy.

 Option A (Image source: City of Calgary)

Option A (Image source: City of Calgary)

Through the evaluation process, short-term improvements that can be implemented through existing City programs were also identified. The recommended short-term improvements include things like:

  • installing a traffic signal with newer technology at Macleod Trail and 25 Avenue S.E.,
  • improving eastbound traffic flow on 25 Avenue S. by re-assigning one traffic lane as a dedicated right-turn lane (eastbound to southbound),
  • building a pathway along the east side of Macleod Trail to connect Reader Rock Garden park with the Elbow River pathway, and
  • reducing the speed limit of Macleod Trail within the study area to 50 km/hr.

If approved, the short-term improvements would be implemented as funding comes available through existing City programs.  

 Option B (Image source: City of Calgary) 

Option B (Image source: City of Calgary) 

The long-term recommendation is to defer selecting a final concept until Provincial and City floodway policy updates have been completed, and more is known about future development within the study area. Currently, our Land Use Bylaw prohibits building development within the floodway, and a large portion of land within the study area that could be developed is currently within the floodway. The updated policies will help us determine the potential impact of future floods on future developments within the study area and the proposed grade separation concepts for 25 Avenue S.E. and LRT tracks.

For years, residents in Ramsay and Erlton, not to mention anybody who has been caught at McLeod Trail S and 25 Avenue S in Calgary during rush hour (especially) have vented their frustrations about this intersection. Well, we have some good news, and some even better news.

Based on the evaluation of the concepts, it is recommended that only concepts A and B2 move forward for further consideration after more is known about future development within the study area and the floodway policies have been updated.

To learn more about the project, or to view Concept A and Concept B2, please visit calgary.ca/25AveStudy.