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.

Filtering by Tag: Great Neighbourhoods

Guest Blog - Why Forest Lawn matters to me

 
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Two years ago my wife and I decided on Forest Lawn as the place to build our family. We were pregnant and looking to buy our first home together. Initially, I was skeptical of the location based on the reputation the community had, but the reality of the neighbourhood was significantly different than what I had expected.

I love Forest Lawn

I have found Forest Lawn to be one of the best neighbourhoods I have lived in here in Calgary, for many reasons. There are many great shops, local businesses, amazing food, and a diverse blend of cultures all coming together to make Forest Lawn feel like a small town in a big city.

The proximity to downtown is great and with the construction work underway on 17 Avenue and the vision for the corridor from the BRZ/International Ave and the City of Calgary, I found that there are only a few things that needed to change to make Forest Lawn live up to its potential.

Before you complain, volunteer

One thing was that it needed to be physically cleaned up.

I had decided that I wanted to get involved in my community and I was able to get in touch with the Forest Lawn Community Association. I offered my services to help in anyway and I was informed about a community clean-up the FLCA was hosting.  I offered to design the flyers, print and distribute them.

One of the aspects of the clean-up was that not all residents were able to move their garbage or recyclables to the location. We would need to find some volunteers to pick up the materials from any residents that required it. This made me think, if we had to pick up the garbage, we should just be dropping it at the landfill. If we were able to get access to the landfill, I could use that access to clean up the rest of the neighbourhood.

I eventually elaborated on the idea until it developed into a project. I plan and implement projects every day in my line of work and it only seemed natural to apply the same formula to this project. I set up the goals for the project, expected outcomes, and a plan of action to have it accomplished.

Planning was essential

The first step was organizing a way to remove as much garbage as possible and where it would go. I contacted the City’s Waste and recycling division and sent the director my plan of action and asked for 3 days of access at no charge to remove the debris. I then tried to find a resource to fund the operation.

I received notification back from Waste and Recycling Services that they would be happy to be a part of the project. Although they weren’t sure about how they were going to go about structuring it as it was a new initiative.

Funding on the other hand was a much more difficult aspect as there wasn’t an operating body that would be able to fund the project, for one reason or another. (Starting in late 2018, anyone with an idea to help their community can apply for funding through the GFL Small Grants Committee).

Because we had the backing of Waste and Recycling Services, and the support of Councillor Gian-Carlo Carra and his team, I decided to fund the project.

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The next difficult step was to find volunteers. I made the rounds through my friends and family and had confirmation from many of them for at least a few hours over the weekend and that was a good enough start.

I then approached several businesses, not-for-profits and social program directors in the neighbourhood. Many said they were unable to help or didn’t have the resources and made recommendations to other places or people. When I approached Foothills Landscaping, a long-time member of the Forest Lawn community, they volunteered. They offered the project two vehicles, if they could find volunteers to run them from within the company. The President of Foothills landscaping, George, and another great volunteer, Roy, stepped up and drove the trucks and helped pick up the waste scattered through the alleys.  

I organized the teams so that we could have the maximum impact, giving each crew a set of laneways to clean-up. Because of our lack of resources, we really needed to be efficient in how we used them, so planning was a key element to achieving success.

The project was a huge success. By the end of the 3 days we had accomplished quite a lot and made a big impact on the aesthetics, safety and pride of the community.

The numbers

  • 21,840 Lbs of waste

  • 23 Trips to the landfill

  • 72.5 Hours of labour

  • $314.02 Operating expenses

  • $0.0144 – Cost per LBS

  • 301.24 LBS per hour worked


What we encountered

Some of the most common things we came across were couches and mattresses, we also often had to clean up ripped open garbage bags or overturned black bins.

We did have to call the Calgary Fire Department to come out to two scenes while we were on the clean up. We had come across several needles in various locations and one particular area with roughly 50 needles that needed to be cleaned up. While it wasn’t nice coming across those, we were very happy to be able to remove them from the neighbourhood and create a safer space for everyone.

The outcomes

One of the best outcomes of this project, outside of the intended goals, was the communication with the community. They were so happy to see that someone was helping the community and cleaning up what everyone had seen as a major problem.

We were thanked by many of the residents and many of them had questions as to why we were doing it, and who we were hired by. I think that many of them were shocked that someone could just take it upon themselves to fix a problem.

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If one lesson is learned from this, I hope it is that ever citizen, every individual has the power to make positive change. You don’t have to set up a whole program or clean up an entire community. You can volunteer a few hours at your local community association, pick up garbage as you walk down the street, cut your neighbours grass or shovel someone’s walkway. Everyone has the power to affect change in their community.

Thank yous

I would like to thank all of the 9 volunteers;

Perry, Chris, Dwayne, Pete, Allan, Steve, Roy, George and Bill.

I would also like to thank supporters of the project;

Mike Haines, Rick Valdarchi, and Je Fei Shi from Waste and Recycling Services. 12 Community Safety Initiative. BRZ / International Avenue. As well as Gian-Carlo Carra and his staff.

Final thoughts

If you or someone you know would like to become active in your community, a great way to start is by joining your local Community Association.

William Carnegie

 

Green Line Utility work near Pop Davies Park

 
There will be utility work being done near Pop Davies Park in Millican-Ogden in preparation for the Green Line LRT. Photo source: City of Calgary

There will be utility work being done near Pop Davies Park in Millican-Ogden in preparation for the Green Line LRT. Photo source: City of Calgary

Hello Millican-Ogden-Lynnwood,

I wanted to send you a note regarding some utilities work around Pop Davies Park in case you come across it and have questions or concerns.

With the Green Line coming to Millican-Ogden soon, Enmax will be doing some preparation work by conducting shallow utilities work along Ogden Road SE, in the area north of Pop Davies Park.

What’s being done?

Overhead wires will be lowered to underground ducts. The ducts will be directionally drilled. In order to do this, hydrovac work will occur with traffic accommodations with the road right-of-way to ensure that the drilling is successful. The work will also include removing abandoned poles along the west side of Ogden Road from the CN bridge south to just pas Millican Road.

How long will this take?

Work began on August 29, 2018 and will continue for approximately three weeks.

Will there be signage?

No signage will be posted for this work, though Enmax vehicles will be seen on-site. Please note that there are no direct impacts to private properties or private accesses during this construction.

What will the impacts be?

Traffic accommodations will be made from about September 5 to September 14 to ensure that traffic flows as smoothly as possible. There will also be two 15-30 minute windows of closure that will be coordinated with Roads to remove overhead wires will be necessary, though when they will happen hasn’t been decided and will be determined as the work progresses. One closing will be across Ogden Road south of the CN bridge, and the other will be across Millican Road along Ogden Road.

Also, I have been informed that no trees are being removed. There is an expectation that the smell of petrol from contaminated soil will be noticeable near the small excavations for drilling once the earth is opened up.

The Green Line team has indicated that the smell itself does not present a danger to humans and animals. The hydrovac truck will be operating in the area during the first 2-3 weeks and will be quite noisy but will only be operated during the work days, and not evenings and weekends and the excavations will be fenced off for general public safety according to best practices.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact 311. If you feel 311 isn’t appropriate, please contact my office and we will do the best to satisfy your concern.

Have a great weekend, and be sure to share this information with folks in the community who may have interest.

See you soon.

 

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. 

Secondary Suites Have Been Reformed. Here's What's Next.

 

I wanted to take this opportunity to speak about secondary suites in Calgary and the historic and forward change that took place on March 12, 2018.

People across the city living in R1 zones received a letter in the mail from the City of Calgary letting them know that City Council would be holding a public hearing on March 12, where the main topic of discussion would be regarding adding a discretionary use to the Land Use Bylaw in all R1 districts which would make basement suites and backyard suites a discretionary use.

What does this mean?

Before this proposal, if you wanted to build a secondary suite on your R1 designated property you would have to come to City Hall and appear before City Council and plead your case., a process that has been in place for a few years now.

Hundreds of individual ‘one off’ secondary suite applications have come through City Council and over 85% of them have been approved. With such an inefficient use of Council’s time, the questions became:

1) Are we using everyone's time appropriately?

2) Is this actually an ethical imperative? And

3) Can we shorten the timelines and make it more compact?

The growing consensus with this new Council was that we had to do the work of reforming the process of applying for, and the granting of, secondary suites. What we determined was that adding a discretionary use into the R1 district was the way to get it off of Council’s plate and in order to better focus our efforts onto the major issues facing Calgary.

On March 12, City Council heard well over 100 public submissions which were accompanied by over 900 letters from Calgarians. From my view, about 60% - 65% of the people who presented lived in R1 neighborhoods and were against the new proposal. Another 30% - 40% of the people who presented were also from R1 districts accompanied by advocates from across the city advocating for housing affordability and equity who were in favour of the creation of complete neighbourhoods for people of all ages, stages, and wages.  

In a 9-6 vote, City Council voted in support of the proposed bylaw change. That vote changed the world as we know it (at least in Calgary). What we now have is a city where discretionary use in all our R districts throughout the city, have secondary suites a use. With that said, we did agree to take backyard, above-garage, and cottage homes in backyards out of the bylaw and defer the bylaw from coming into effect until we bring forward the design guidelines and standards for backyard suites.

I was happy to support that as well. It's a big win.

We've taken Calgary forward with the rest of the nation. We've caught up with the rest of Canada, and now secondary suites are an allowed housing form in all single detached housing in the City of Calgary, which is a great news.

What’s next for unsafe suites and homes that flout their designated zoning?

Although we have accomplished this milestone, there is more work to do.

The vote on secondary suites also implemented to Secondary Suite Registry which allows folks who are looking to rent a secondary suite to confirm that these developments have obtained all necessary permits and have been inspected to meet Alberta’s Safety Code requirements. Being on the list is now mandatory, and going forward, every secondary suite that is completed and whose development has been inspected and approved, will be on the secondary suite registry list.

While a secondary suite doesn’t have to be listed on the Registered Suites Map, it will be listed on the city’s registry list which is maintained by Planning & Development.

Additionally, the City of Calgary will be giving currently illegal secondary suite owners two years to bring their suites up to code, after which, the city will be pursuing increased enforcement should they continue to attempt to flout the new bylaw and registry system.

Moving forward we need to address the issues of illegal and non-conforming suites and duplexes which have been turned into 4-packs. It is estimated that there are between 16,000 to 25,000 households in the City of Calgary that are illegal or non-conforming. A large number of those are sitting in 1970's-type low-slope roof buildings that take a semi-detached form. Those developments lend themselves very well from going from a duplex, a two-unit semi-detached home, to a four pack - two units on the top floor with two units on the ground floor - because the basements are raised.

We see these all over the city, and there are a number of them in Ward 9. One of the things that I heard from the public, loud and clear, was that people are concerned about safety.

I don’t take those comments lightly. Safety is a big issue for my colleagues on City Council and I. We will continue to work to make sure that every Calgarian can live in a safe and legal home, whether it's a secondary suite or not. The challenge with the semi-detached form I mentioned above is that it's not technically a secondary suite. It's technically a multi-family building.

Everything that we've done to date on secondary suites has not addressed the issue that we face with the illegal 4-packs. If we want to make those thousands of units safe, the first thing we have to do is make them legal. In the weeks ahead, I will be putting together a Notice of Motion directing City Administration to examine and bring back a report on paths to legality for that kind of building form. I expect to have a lot of support from my colleagues on City Council.

What is next for secondary suites?

In the next year or two, after we've seen how the discretionary use process works in the ‘R’ Districts and we realize that, like the rest of the country, it's not like an apocalyptic change, I will be working with my colleagues to pursue secondary suites as a permitted use. As you know, when I first started talking about this, I wanted to make in-house suites a permitted use, and I still believe that this is the gold standard that we should be pursuing and I will not be fully happy until we get to that point.

Those are the next two steps on the suite file, I'm very pleased that we made the massive step that we did on March 12, and I look forward to continuing to move the ball forward on this essential component of a completely community. Thank you so much. Gian-Carlo Carra signing off.

 

 

Bioengineering Demonstration and Education Project Update (Inglewood and Ramsay)

Hello, Neighbours.

The Bioengineering Demonstration and Education Project is nearing its construction phase scheduled for early March through to December of 2018. Though the project will have a large net benefit to the environment and every effort has been made to save as many trees as possible, 42 trees need to be removed for the project to be completed. The trees that require removal were flagged on February 5, 2018 and will remain flagged for at least two weeks prior to their removal. The removed trees will be compensated for with a 3 to 1 ratio and much of the removed tree material will be used in the design itself to create habitat for wildlife.

This project has been presented at several open houses in the Inglewood and Ramsay communities over the last year and was featured in the July/August Inglewood Community Newsletter. Community engagement on this project will continue up to and through construction and will include door knocking and mail drops to nearby homes prior to construction.

Background

The City of Calgary and Alberta Environment and Parks are working together to improve fish habitat and improve slope stability between Pearce Estate Park and the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary, two much loved amenities in Inglewood. When complete, the techniques used here to re-establish the area after the 2013 Flood, will be used across Calgary and the Province to create fish and wildlife habitat, stabilize steep slopes and improve area aesthetics.

What’s Next?

During this time work continues to bring this project to completion.

  • Steep areas will be graded into stable terraced riverbanks, which will include the removal of 42 trees, however, much of the plant material being removed will be re-used in the project creating habitat for fish and wildlife.
  • The trees and a number of shrubs will be removed in late February in order to prevent issues with nesting birds.
  • The majority of the trees that are being removed are ornamental and not native to southern Alberta.
  • Over 150 new native trees and thousands of native shrubs will be planted to restore a natural vegetated corridor and healthy riparian zone.
  • There will be a temporary closure of the current regional pathway during construction, to be replaced by a new and improved regional pathway and a new nature trail.
  • Temporary impacts during construction will be mitigated with erosion and sediment control plans, and Environmental Construction Operations plans.
  • After project completion, fish and wildlife habitat will be improved, and the naturalized corridor will provide enhanced opportunities to experience nature along the Bow River.

My office and I will continue to monitor the progress of this work and remain open to, and encourage, citizen and resident feedback during this construction phase. 

As always, my office is available to speak with you, and address your concerns regarding this, or any other matter.

Gian-Carlo Carra

P.S. If you have any questions or concerns, you can contact me at ward09@calgary.ca or via telephone at 403-268-5330. If you’re on social media, I would encourage you to follow my online pages to get updates about everything that impacts your community, Ward 9, and The City of Calgary.

P.P.S. Have you given any thought of joining and participating in the Inglewood Community Association and Ramsay Community Association? They are a solid group of neighbourhood volunteers who our office relies on to give us insight into the concerns and issues of the community. It’s been shown that there is a direct correlation between the number of residents who volunteer with their community association and the quality of life of the neighbourhood. Check them out and let’s continue to build our #GreatNeighbourhoods.

Applewood Park and CN Rail Whistle Cessation update

Hello, Neighbours. 

First off, I want to say 'hi' to the residents of Applewood Park who now are a part of Ward 9.  In October of 2017, the Ward Boundaries were updated, which has brought the great communities of East Calgary together under one ward.

I want to thank all of my friends and neighbours in Applewood Park who reached out to my office, rolled up their sleeves and got involved in improving their neighbourhood’s quality of life by letting me know the challenge they face with the train whistle and the disruption it can cause to their quality of life and enjoyment of their home.

I also want to update you on a local project.  We have heard from a number of residents regarding the CN Train Whistle at the new at-grade pedestrian crossing situated northeast of Applewood Park. 

The multi-use pathway is an ambitious $50M project by the Parks Foundation to provide a ‘pedestrian ring road’ around our City.  The City is very pleased to be gifted the Rotary/Mattamy Greenway.

As a city built up around the spine of rail lines, I appreciate and respect the immense role that trains had in building our city, province and country. As we’ve grown and evolved from a town sitting on bald prairie fields to a modern metropolis, conflicts between residents and trains have arisen, particularly around at-grade crossings – where trains cross at the same level as cars – and noise, typically represented by the historic train whistle.

While we all have stories of being “caught” at a railway stop while waiting for the train cars to go by (I always ensure that I’m never caught off guard by having a great podcast ready in the queue) and the frustration that can result of that, many Calgarians, including myself have come to almost regard it as a rite of passage to the great Calgary experience. However, what most residents find much more frustrating than being at a railway crossing for 10-30 minutes (throwing entire schedules to the wind) is the ear-piercing train whistle.

As irritating as it is, trains must whistle prior to travelling through at-grade crossings, unless an agreement has been reached between The City of Calgary and the railway company. In Applewood Park, residents have indicated to my office and I that they would like such an agreement put in place between The City of Calgary and CN Rail to stop train whistles at the at-grade crossings in Applewood Park.

I’m glad to inform you that this process is well underway.

There are four main steps required to cease the whistle blowing in Applewood Park.

  • Assessing the feasibility of whistle cessation;
  • Issuing a notice to the railway company outlining the intent to cease whistle blowing in Applewood Park;
  • Passing a resolution at Council; and
  • Notifying Transport Canada once the resolution is passed.

To date, The City of Calgary has hired engineers to do an assessment of the feasibility of whistle cessation in Applewood Park. A report was completed that whistle cessation was feasible and it was further identified with The City’s contractor that construction of required infrastructure elements (installing fencing, gates, signage, etc.) is on target and will be completed before the end of February. This construction will be inspected with a CN representative in early February.

Additionally, The City has been working with the Law Department to get the required notifications drafted and they are ready to be sent out to relevant community institutions and public stakeholders as soon as the inspection of the infrastructure is complete.

Once these public notices are out, the next step is to have a resolution passed by Council declaring that whistles will cease at the Applewood Park location. That resolution may either come before Council through a Notice of Motion from my office or through a report from Parks at the Standing Policy Committee on Community Services and Protective Services.

Lastly, once that resolution is passed by Council, a copy of the resolution and documentation will be sent to CN Rail and Transport Canada’s Rail Safety Directorate with the effective date of whistling cessation. At this point, CN Rail will no longer be required to sound the whistle at at-grade crossings and residents will be able to rest easy and be afforded the same expectations that their fellow Calgarians who live, work, and play close to railways and trains have.

Again, I want to thank the folks who reached out to me and my office and let me know about this. I understand that you have been living with this for a long time, and I am proud that I was able to move this issue forward as quickly as I have been able to with City Administration.

As always, my office is available to speak with you, and address your concerns regarding this, or any other matter.

Gian-Carlo Carra

P.S. If you have any questions or concerns, you can contact me at ward09@calgary.ca or via telephone at 403-268-5330. If you’re on social media, I would encourage you to follow my online pages to get updates about everything that impacts your community, Ward 9, and The City of Calgary.

P.P.S. Have you given any thought of joining and participating in the Applewood Park Community Association? They are a solid group of neighbourhood volunteers who our office relies on to give us insight into the concerns and issues of the community. It’s been shown that there is a direct correlation between the number of residents who volunteer with their community association and the quality of life of the neighbourhood. Check them out and let’s continue to build our #GreatNeighbourhoods.

Evraz-Navajo Metals and Lynnwood Ridge Update

There has been a lot of talk about Evraz-Navajo, Lynnwood Ridge and the issues of noise and explosions lately.

I want all residents of Lynnwood Ridge and Millican-Ogden to know that I have been working with The City, Lynnwood Ridge residents, the Millican-Ogden Community Association, and the leadership of Evraz-Navajo to find a solution to this issue since it was first brought to my attention when I was first elected to represent the amazing community of Ogden in 2010.

While things have gotten remarkably better since I’ve started working on this matter, there are still instances when the commercial practices of Evraz-Navajo conflict with the neighbourhood.

This tension between Evraz-Navajo and Lynnwood Ridge residents has been happening since 1992 and while I’m proud of the forward movement on this file and the improvements that have been made, things aren’t where they need to be and I will continue working to find a long-term solution for all parties.

Background and Timeline

For those who may not be familiar with this issue, Evraz-Navajo is a licensed scrap metal recycling salvage yard and auto wrecker that has been licensed since the 1960s.

Working with Calgary Business Licensing, further inquiries were made with the Calgary Fire Department and Calgary Police Service for calls for service histories.

From April of 2010 to June of 2014, Calgary Fire Department had responded to 22 calls for service to the Evraz-Navajo - 9 appear to be related to a call for a fire and 1 appears to be related to an explosion. Additionally, there were 7 calls for service noted as “No incident found on arrival at dispatch address” which may or may not be related to fire and/or explosions. The remaining 5 appear to be unrelated to The City’s investigation.

At the same time, from January 1, 2014, to July 2, 2014, Calgary Police Service responded to 15 calls for service to the property which included 7 noise complaints, 4 explosion complaints and 1 fire complaint, and 3 unrelated matters.

What’s been done

On January 20, 2015, your Team Ward 9, the Millican-Ogden Community Association President Rick Smith and I met with senior leadership at Evraz-Navajo to discuss the concerns of residents regarding the explosions they were experiencing.

At this meeting we learned that Evraz-Navajo was aware of the issues and were actively working to improve their operations. Some of those improvements included conducting a four-phase inspection procedure to minimize prohibited items from entering their systems (such as pressurized gas cylinders and fuel tanks).

During the meeting, Evraz-Navajo’s Manager of Technical and Environmental Services explained that the main reason for explosions were that pressurized gas cylinders were being hidden the items sold to them in order to increase the weight of the metal being sold for scrap. Evraz-Navajo’s records show that they are good, although not perfect, at removing all incendiary devices before the metal is entered into their feedstock. To be fair to Evraz-Navajo it is worth noting that 800 to 900 tonnes of scrap metal is being processed at this facility per day.

I am of the mind that they must continue and improve upon their efforts to increase quality control procedures.

After reviewing Evraz-Navajo’s records and procedures, the records of Bylaw, Licensing, Environmental & Safety Management (City of Calgary) and speaking with Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development, our office confirmed that Evraz-Navajo had reduced the number of noise-related incidents from 52 vehicle explosions in 2013 to a record low of 21 in 2014.   

Evraz-Navajo admitted that they would not be able to completely eliminate noise-related incidents as scrap yards are not quite commercial and industrial uses. In saying that, they were aware of, and sensitive to, the concerns of residents and agreed to work with residents and improve their internal quality control mechanisms.

Beginning December 17, 2014, Evraz-Navajo implemented new policies to seek to further reduce the occurrence of noise-related incidents. These new policies culminated in a revised and more stringent vehicle acceptance criteria which included:

  • The removal of the fuel tanks from the vehicle;
  • The removal of propane tanks from the vehicle; and
  • Removal of mercury switches and other potentially incendiary devices.

 While I was pleased with this meeting, I indicated to all parties that my role was to ensure that Evraz-Navajo got as close to 0 with their explosions as possible and commit to forming a much better relationship with the residents of Lynnwood Ridge and the community association.

While the trend line for the explosions have steadily been decreasing, they weren’t getting to where they needed to be, and apparently continued to interfere with the residents’ enjoyment of their homes.

On March 11, 2015, a ‘Notice of Hearing’ was served on the business. In May of 2015 after a pre-hearing meeting, Evraz-Navajo, through Counsel, committed to a number of items to improve safety for both the public and its employees. Additionally, the business committed to providing records and plans of equipment used, records of employee training, records of explosions, confirmation of fire suppression systems, a commitment to prevent smoke from leaving the site, and assessment of emissions from the site to evaluate odour and irritation concerns.

As a result of this meeting and commitment, the hearing was not convened.

Between June 2015 to March 2016, Compliance Services received allegations of 20 explosions from residents and adjacent businesses, with the business reporting 6 explosions during this time frame.

In 2016, an investigation was conducted following citizen complaints about excessive noise, explosions, fire hazards and contaminated air (pollution) originating from Evraz-Navajo Metals. The investigation involved Business Licensing, Bylaw Services, and the Calgary Fire Department.

As a result, The City issued mandatory conditions in a letter advising Evraz-Navajo Metals of conditions that had to be met in order to maintain their business license (The City is given this authority under the Business License Bylaw).

Next Steps

While complaints continue, to date Evraz-Navajo Metals has been found to be in compliance with municipal bylaws and provincial legislation.  All complaints are being diligently investigated by The City as they come in.

Bylaw has conducted an investigation into the noise violations and is currently reviewing the allegations with the Law Department. The City and the Ward 9 Office is committed to finding a win-win-win solution that respect and successfully balances the needs and operations of businesses with the right to residents to enjoy their homes.

The City and I take all citizen complaints seriously. While we continue to work with the residents and Evraz-Navajo towards a long-term solution, The City has imposed a number of conditions on the company in order to ensure that compliance continues from the business and they can continue their operations with clear and concise expectations from The City and to create a mechanism whereby residents can hold The City accountable on following up on their complaints. These conditions include:

  1. The Licensee, whether by principal or agent, shall comply with both the Alberta Fire Code and Safety Codes Act.
  2. The Licensee, whether by principal or agent, shall comply with the Community Standards Bylaw as it pertains to both noise and nuisance escaping the property.
  3. The Licensee shall ensure that no activity involving the crushing or shredding of material that is likely to, or has been demonstrated to cause an explosion and/or a noise that disturbs, occurs after 6 PM.
  4. The Licensee shall maintain a list of each and every explosion/fire incident that occurs and have that list available upon demand for inspection by a Police Officer, Safety Codes Officer or Licence Inspector.
  5. The Licensee shall immediately satisfy the direction of the Calgary Fire Department pertaining to the explosions occurring on site.
  6. The Licensee shall report any explosion/fire incident that occurs no later than 24 hours after such incident to the Calgary Fire Department and Calgary Compliance Service member(s) identified.
  7. The Licensee shall test, at its own expense, at point of origin including at the point where the private property borders adjacent properties, the smoke, dust or other airborne matter that has been shown to be escaping from the property and provide the results to the City of Calgary in order that this smoke, dust or other airborne matter may be shown to not have a deleterious effect on the Public at large.
  8. The Licensee shall provide confirmation of the installation of the fire suppression system for the motor room, being a record from a third party fire suppression system company.

The Licensee shall maintain annual maintenance records and provide the records to the Calgary Fire Department on demand.

I will continue to work with Evraz-Navajo, MOCA and the residents of Millican-Ogden-Lynnwood to encourage and help facilitate dialogue and create neighbourly relations.

As always, my office is available to speak with you, and address your concerns regarding this, or any other issue that you have.

If you have any questions or concerns, you can contact me at ward09@calgary.ca or via telephone at 403-268-5330. If you’re on social media, I would encourage you to follow my online pages to get updates.

 

Is the future of your neighbourhood important to you?

Hello Bridgleland-Riverside & Renfrew Neighbours,

In 2016, I ran a series of Community Objectives Workshops (lovingly known as COWs) in every one of our Ward 9 neighbourhoods. This was an opportunity for our Ward 9 neighbours - including residents, community associations, businesses, service providers and community institutions - to come out and tell me what they love about their community, how their quality of life can improve and how we all can help drive the change we want to see for the future of our great neighbourhoods. 

From this work, we were able to come together and develop a game plan on tackling important issues in each of our communities. Your Team Ward 9 and I recorded all the data collected (which can be found in our Bridgeland-Riverside & Renfrew Raw Data Report) and distilled this information into the Ward 9 Strategic Report 2013-2017.

I would like to invite you to a follow up session from our first COW. In this workshop we are looking to re-evaluate and review our priorities established in 2016 and identify new issues and concerns. The ideas, thoughts and knowledge gathered from this session will be used for our 2018-2021 Strategic Plan. 

You did not have to attend the 2016 COW to be able to participate in our 2018 series.

Join Your Team Ward 9!

Saturday, January 27, 2018

10:30am to 2:30pm

Renfrew Community Association – 811 Radford Road NE

*Light refreshments and lunch will be served*

 

Please RSVP at http://www.gccarra.ca/cow-bridgeland-riverside-renfrew/

 

As you know, I believe that great neighbourhoods make a great city. Come out and help drive the good work being by your Team Ward 9.

Yours,

Gian-Carlo

 

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Penny Pinching Or Unfettered Spending? Council's 2018 Budget Adjustments

At the end of November, City Council and I reviewed and adjusted the 2018 municipal budget.  2018 marks the final year of Action Plan 2015-2018, Calgary’s first ever four-year budget plan. Over four long (and sometimes grueling) days we examined the successes of previous budgets and set ambitious goals for our future. I am pleased with where we are and look forward to the coming year as we develop One Calgary, the City's next four-year budget plan.

This budget purposefully focused on investing in safety, social services and public transit and easing the tax burden on Calgarians. I am excited for the Great Neighbourhoods work we will be executing on throughout 2018.

Key Elements of the approved 2018 Municipal Budget Adjustments include:

  • Reduction to the previously approved 2018 municipal property tax rate increase from 4.7 per cent to 0.9 per cent for property owners.
  • $20.8 million for Calgary Police Service (CPS) for the addition of 55 new members to address growing demands, additional human resources, and to fund body-worn cameras.
  • $4 million from the Fiscal Stability Reserve to fund the low income transit pass for Calgarians.
  • $4 million to restore the recommended reductions to Calgary Transit service hours and to invest additional services to optimize the system.
  • $3 million approved from the Fiscal Stability Reserve to Community Services for safe communities, youth and low-income programs and crime prevention.
  • $23.7 million in 2017 tax room dedicated to fund Green Line financing costs for 27 years ending in 2044.
  • Reducing the 2018 basic sanitary tipping fees from $119 to $113 per tonne and Planning & Development fees, to reduce the burden on Calgary businesses.
  • Approving $1.7 billion for capital investment in Calgary infrastructure.

Council also directed Administration to determine the cost of extending the Municipal Non-residential Phased Tax Program (PTP) to help Calgary non-residential property owners, and report back to Council in the first quarter of 2018 with a recommendation on either extending the PTP or finding a more efficient way to provide tax relief to businesses.

This City Council continues to display sound fiscal management and a solid track record, evidenced in the latest credit ratings, which are among the best of Canadian municipalities.

I will continue to encourage balance and both social and fiscal responsibility for the City of Calgary and ensure that we maintain consistent fiscal performance, maintain a low tax burden and sizable financial reserves, as well as continue to be innovative and lead economic and population growth.

Gian-Carlo Carra


Want to know more? 

Read the full 2018 Adjustments to Action Plan report


Undertanding City Finances 

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I Can’t Believe This Garbage at the City

(1 minute read)

I’m happy to announce that the hours at the East Calgary Waste Facility will have new hours of operation!

Starting February 6, 2018, the East Calgary facility will switch to a 6-day-per-week (Monday to Saturday) operation, with seven-day operation taking place from April to October.

In late 2016 Waste & Recycling Services had a significant revenue shortfall due to a decline in waste being sent to their facilities. Facing this difficult situation, they made the decision to lay off landfill workers and reduce their hours of operation and switched to a staggered schedule where each of their sites would be open four days a week.

These changes helped reduce operating costs. However, through conversations with many customers, constituents and by observing what is working and what isn’t, it became clear that they needed to offer more predictable service to residents and convenience to the commercial customers who are responsible for most of their revenue.

With this change, they have increased the total number of weekdays they are open and increased the number of operating days to 13 per week in the summer instead of the current 12. This has all been accomplished without increasing our operating budget.

If you would like more information, please feel free to follow me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/gccarra, Facebook at www.facebook.com/gccarra, or contact me at 403-268-5330.

Thanks!

Zoo Road and 12 Street S.E. Bridge Opening

It is with genuine excitement and enthusiasm that I send out this invitation on behalf of the 12 Street S.E. Bridge Replacement and the Zoo Flood Mitigation project teams, as well as your Team Ward 9, to join us for the official opening of Zoo Road and the 12 Street S.E. (Zoo) Bridge. 

Please Join Us!

When: Saturday December 9, 2017

Time: 1pm to 3pm 

Where: 12th Street Bridge S.E. (south side)

There will be food and warm drinks along with games, caroling, horse and wagon rides and a visit from Santa. Don't miss out on this family-friendly celebration to thank our Ward 9 neighbours for their patience and understanding.

On that note, I would like to personally thank all of you who endured the many months of construction (and earsplitting noise from the pile driving!).  I know this was not always easy, and there were a lot of lessons-learned as we worked to coordinate the different projects happening throughout Inglewood and Ramsay.  

The 12 Street S.E. Bridge is just the beginning. Through the Main Streets program we will also address the entire length of 12 Street S.E. from the bridge deck to the Green Line LRT Station, four blocks south. With more major infrastructure work to come, I am confident that we will be able to mitigate the impacts on our communities while meeting the project timelines. And you can be sure that I will be fighting tooth-and-nail to ensure the needs and wants of our neighbours are heard by City Administration. 

This historic re-investment into the original neighbourhoods of Calgary is an incredible first step in building a better city for us all. I am proud to say that we are working towards a city that focuses on putting tax-dollars back into the inner-city rather than subsidizing unsustainable growth out on the edges. Over this term you can be sure that I will be holding the City's feet to the fire to make sure that we extend this re-investment to all our great neighbourhoods in Ward 9 (I'm looking at you, East Calgary). 


Want to know more? 

Have a look at all the Inglewood and Ramsay area projects.

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Building Local Communities - A National Housing Strategy That Lasts?

(1 minute read)

Providing affordable housing to Calgarians is a major point of my Great Neighbourhoods platform. I know a lot of you are interested in seeing this land well and have the best return on investment possible - financially, socially and environmentally - for our city and citizens.

On Wednesday, November 22, 2017, the federal government released a $40-billion national housing program. I welcome the federal government’s increased direct involvement in the delivery of affordable housing.

On my initial reading, it seems that the strategy does reflect a resident-centric approach. My desire is that a large part of this strategy has meaningful consultation with Calgarians and complements the work that The City of Calgary has been doing.

I’m optimistic that the federal government’s commitment on capital funding to deliver new affordable housing will positively impact thousands of families in Calgary, in general, and East Calgary, specifically.

While my colleagues on City Council and I look forward to working with all orders of government to ensure the most efficient and impactful use of these funds, I will remain laser-focused on ensuring the details on how this funding will flow to Calgary, what projects City Council sees as priorities, and how this funding can positively uplift and impact our friends and neighbours in our neighbourhoods.

I was also encouraged to read that the federal government will be creating a $2,500 per year housing benefit to support both tenants and non-profit housing providers alike, making many more units affordable.

As with all policies and programs that affect Calgarians, I support the direction or prioritizing research and evidence-based approaches to make sure we have the best possible policies for those who need them the most.

I will continue to keep focused on delivering the best outcomes for our citizens building Great Neighbourhoods.

3 Things We Can Do To Make Our Neighbourhoods Even Better

(2 minute read)

Building communities can seem like it’s a big job for one person. When I speak with residents they ask me how they can make a difference in their neighbourhood. After thinking about it, here are three things that aren’t hard, expensive, or time-consuming to do.

1.       If you see something, say something

The squeaky wheel always gets the grease.

Apathy kills neighbourhood pride. Too often, we let things slide and get out of hand. The best way to make sure your neighbourhood thrives is to use the resources that The City of Calgary has. For example, if you see a pothole, a neighbours yard or park space that isn’t kept up you can call Calgary 311 or use their website or mobile app and report it. If there’s been a crime, call the Calgary Police Services non-emergency line at 403-266-1234. If you see a crime in progress, call 911. Also, don’t forget to call me, your City Councillor, to talk about what we can do together to make things even better in your neighbourhood.  Remember, these services and people are here to help. You’re NEVER bothering us.

 

2.       Join your community association

Your time volunteering for your community association can be as much or as little as you can afford to give. The most important thing is getting involved!

Joining is the next best thing you can do to make a neighbourhood better. There is a link between activity in the community association and the level of service that those communities get from The City of Calgary. Community associations in Calgary have a lot of influence with the City of Calgary and with the City Councillor. You may know community associations put on events, rent hall space, and provide space for sports activities. What you may not know is that community associations have the support of a dedicated City of Calgary Neighbourhood Partnership Coordinator, has a Community Resource Officer from the Calgary Police Service who attends meetings, along with your City Councillor, and makes comments on land use, traffic, and parking changes.

Unsightly yards and park space? A Beautification Committee can be started to address them.

Traffic problems? A Traffic & Parking committee can look into how to fix those problems.

No community garden? A Community Garden committee can work towards starting one.

The strength of community associations and their activity in a neighbourhood depends on the ideas that residents have.

 

3.       Get to know your neighbours

The easiest thing that you can do to make your communities more vibrant, safer, and full of community pride is getting to know your neighbours.

It’s a simple thing, but something that has gotten lost in the hustle and bustle of our daily lives. Knowing your neighbours goes a long way in making sure that your community is safe. Being able to know when something or somebody is suspicious in your neighbourhood is directly linked to whether or not you know your neighbours and their friends.

By saying hello, going to community, Stampede and Neighbour Day events goes a long way in fostering that small-town and village feel that we love in our communities.

These are a few of my thoughts. If you have other ideas on how we can make neighbourhoods better, I encourage you to send me an email to ward09@calgary.ca or follow me on Twitter or Facebook (www.twitter.com/gccarra and www.facebook.com/gccarra) or call my office at 403-268-5330.

Let’s continue the tradition of making sure that the best neighbourhoods in Calgary are found in East Calgary.

Gian-Carlo Carra

Welcome to the New Ward 9

Dear Ward 9 Neighbours, 

This is the first opportunity I’ve had to write to you since Calgary’s municipal election on October 16th. Firstly, I am deeply honoured to be representing the amazing neighbourhoods of Ward 9 for a third term and am so grateful for the support and encouragement I received to continue our mission of building Great Neighbourhoods.

Though this election was, at times, divisive and discouraging, it is my belief that our Ward 9 neighbours were clear in their commitment to building a city that is affordable, vibrant, inclusive, economically diverse and pays for itself in the long-term.

Over the last few weeks, your Team Ward 9 has been busy getting the office ready for this exciting third term and (re)connecting with many of our neighbours. Together, there is a lot we want to accomplish over the next four years in our new Ward 9.

As many of you are aware, city-wide changes to each ward came into effect immediately after the election.  Ward 9 maintained 8 of our original communities and gained 8 new ones.

Together, we represent a strong, unified East Calgary. 

Your Ward 9 is made up of the following communities: 

  • Renfrew
  • Bridgeland-Riverside
  • Inglewood
  • Ramsay
  • Manchester
  • Millican-Ogden-Lynwood
  • Fairview 
  • Dover
  • Southview
  • Albert Park-Radisson Heights
  • Erin Woods
  • Forest Lawn
  • Forest Heights
  • Penbrooke Meadows
  • Applewood Park
  • Red Carpet 
Each icon represents all the unique neighbourhoods that make up Ward 9!

Each icon represents all the unique neighbourhoods that make up Ward 9!

Find more information about our Ward 9 neighbourhoods and some of the work I have done over the last seven years through our Community Objectives Workshops.  You can also check out the latest episode of Ward 9 TV Lite, my video-blog to stay up-to-date and informed about what is happening at City Hall and in our communities. 

Please know that I am here to serve you as your City Councillor. Do not hesitate to reach out to your Team Ward 9 if you have any neighbourhood issues, concerns, ideas or insights. 

Looking forward to working with all the Ward 9 great neighbourhoods this term!

Yours truly,

Gian-Carlo

Gian-Carlo