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.

City Finances- Tax Shift Update - June 12


Hello Neighbours,

Last week, tax assessment bills were mailed out. Many small businesses in Ward 9 were shocked at the results. The increase, in some cases, were 300-400%. On June 10, many small business owners banded together as one and held a rally outside city hall prior to the special meeting of council, which was tasked to address this issue.

The decrease in the market value of a small number of high valued downtown properties has resulted in the redistribution of property taxes to other non-residential properties. Today, Council approved the 2019 Municipal Non-Residential Phased Tax Program (PTP) to mitigate the increase in non-residential property taxes due to the redistributive effect of 2019 property assessments.

The 2019 PTP will result in a minimum 10 per cent reduction in the municipal portion of non-residential property taxes caused by this redistributive effect, (not including the effect of Business Tax Consolidation (BTC)). It is expected to benefit owners of approximately 11,900 non-residential properties. It is the responsibility of non- residential property owners to distribute the economic benefit to their tenants (businesses contained within the non-residential properties).

The 2019 PTP is a separate, one-time program and not an extension of the 2018 Municipal Non-Residential Phased Tax Program (2018 PTP). This means it uses the same eligibility parameters as the 2018 PTP and is calculated using the 2018 municipal non-residential property tax before the 2018 PTP credit was applied.

Find our comprehensive question and answer sheet here


Hello Neighbours,

On April 8, Council approved the 2019 Property Tax Rates.

For residential homeowners, Council approved a combined 2019 property tax rate increase of 3.45 per cent. For the median residential property owner with a home valued at $475,000 this will mean an annual increase of $105 on the total tax bill.

To help non-residential property owners, Council approved a combined decrease of 3.07% in the non-residential combined tax rate in 2019. Tax impacts on individual properties will vary depending on the specific assessment change from 2018 to 2019. This does not include the impacts of the Business Tax Consolidation (BTC). The BTC will increase non-residential property taxes, while decreasing business taxes by an equal amount.


Hello, citizens. I want to talk to you today about the first part of a two piece conversation about the challenges that your city council has been having with citizens over the last several months. The two big challenges are; 1. the tax shift challenge and 2. how do we build the things we need to build. We have a 300-million-dollar tax hole, and the city wants to hear from you how we should solve this problem. On March 18th, council will present all the options and we encourage all citizens to tune into that meeting via live video. After that, we call on you, be ready to add your voice March 18- April 1 through online engagement and email. Get the background information in this video, and additional info coming in part 2.

The capital side of the city's budget has tightened up over the years and is looking to continue increasing service levels while reducing the cost of government. Since 2014, we have put 5 Billion dollars back into the city, keeping Calgarians employed, while building the city of the future. We have four big projects on the table, listen to Gian-Carlo explain the what and how's of this.

I support a YES vote on the Olympics, here's why...

Hello, citizens. I want to talk to you today in depth about a very big question that's coming before all of us and it's of course the Olympic plebiscite, which is taking place on November 13. I've got a lot to say on this issue and I want to say it as succinctly as possibly because I know there's a lot of misinformation out there and I know a lot of you are concerned about how you're going to vote and I want to encourage everybody first and foremost to go out and vote. 

A lot of the misinformation that's out there is deliberately trying to create confusion so that normal thoughtful Calgarians feel so unsure about the situation that they don't go out and vote.

Misinformation is also designed to enrage a group of Calgarians who are prone to raging and will go out and vote angrily and not thoughtfully about a big decision about our city's future. That's sort of the state of the landscape, but let's talk about this. I'm honored to be in a position where usually I am one of 15 Calgarians who make big decisions about our city's future. On November 13, 700 plus thousand Calgarians will be asked to participate in that kind of decision making and it's really important to ask yourself what the role of the Olympics are for the city's future.

I was always of the opinion that this was a big question that we had to study, we had to do some serious work because we're talking about a lot of money and a lot of opportunity. It has taken quite frankly too long to get to a point where there's clarity. When I say clarity, I don't suggest for a moment that there aren't a lot of questions that need to be answered moving forward, but we've reached a point of clarity where we can make a thoughtful go, no-go decision as whether this is something we want to pursue. I have moved very recently as the deal has solidified from a qualified yes to an absolute yes on November 13 and I want to share with you my reasons why in the hopes that it clarifies your own thinking.

1. The first thing I want to talk about is the financial deal
The first question is an economic question and to be completely frank with you, the entire project of exploring the Olympics has about economic leveraging. What I mean by that is as a member of city council, I am laser focused on the fact that $0.08 of every tax dollar that's collected inside of the city of Calgary. Every time we pay taxes to the three orders of government as Calgarians, whether it's income tax, whether it's business taxes, whether it's paying at the pump, whether it's GST when we do a purchase at the store, the reality is that for every dollar of tax that's collected inside our city limits, the citizens of Calgary see $0.08 on a dollar back from the three orders of government.

Billions and billions of dollars of taxes that we pay go to Edmonton never to return and they go to Ottawa never to return and they are dispersed across Alberta and they're dispersed across Canada to maintain the high quality of life that we collectively enjoy of Albertans and as Canadians. I have no problem with that, but the argument I make to the other orders of government and that my colleagues make and that the mayor makes is that if you want to continue to have the goose that lays the golden eggs that is Calgary, you have to feed that goose and we are constantly working angles on a year-by-year basis to see what we can do to leverage more than the typical $0.08 on a dollar back to Calgarians so we can build a city that can continue to be that engine of prosperity that floats the boat of the rest of province and the rest of the nation.

The deal that has emerged for Calgarians is spectacularly good. The overall budget for this Olympics is $5.2 billion. The question is how much do Calgarians have to pay in order to get about $4.4 billion of money flowing through our economy that wouldn't otherwise come to our economy. Then of the amount of money that Calgarians would have to pay, and this is the really important question, how much of that money would be money that we would spend anyway over the next eight years on things that we know we need and that we'd prioritize and how much of that money would be stuff that we wouldn't otherwise prioritize or worse-case scenario would be more throwaway money? For me, that sort of nonessential spend, that stuff that we wouldn't spend if it wasn't for the Olympics, my number in my mind in order to get $4.4 billion was somewhere between $100 and $200 million. I am asking us to pursue a $5.2 billion Olympics because I think that that will be an opportunity to get more things that we need. A new arena, I think that that would be a much easy thing to achieve if the entire world was coming to Calgary, transit from downtown to the airport, mass transit.

One of my big, big dreams is that we're able to build a passenger rail that connects us to our hinterland in a much more sustainable, environmentally friendly and world class way. A passenger rail from here to Bev to Lake Louise. That would make this place amazing and I think that that's something that we will be able to achieve with something like the 2026 Olympic games coming to Calgary. An improved urban public rail throughout Calgary. These are things that we will be able to pursue, both with public and private dollars, if we have this. It's something we're going to pursue anyway, but the question is does the games curtail our ability to go after these things or does it enhance our ability?

I fundamentally believe it enhances our ability and it builds a whole ton of things that we need to refurbish and build new in the first place. You've heard the field house, the largest single investment in affordable housing in the city's history are both new things that we would get and the 11 venues that made Calgary the center for winter sports, the most successful Olympic legacy in the history of the games all integral to the bid right now and we have the ability to go after more. That is the city building capabilities of this is what really gets me enthusiastic given that we have such a good financial deal. Then, there's legacy side of things. Outside of sitting building, we are Calgary and we're not the same place that we were in '88.

2. The Legacy

We can really celebrate what we are today, a commitment to our amazing pluralism as Canadians, as Calgarians, a deep commitment to truth and reconciliation, to accessibility, to gender equity, all of the things that set us apart in the sweep in human history as an amazing place, time and people, to live and to work and to build community together. We can tell the world that story and we can enhance it together. The arts and cultural side of it. The Olympics are very much about creating an enhanced legacy of who and what we are moving forward into the future. Does it do that? No, it doesn't do that by itself, but it's a multiplier. It's a leverage machine that allows us to sort of focus and have those great conversations and it's very important for you to ask yourself what is the kind of place that we ideally want to be and become and can this investment and this focus help us get there?

3. The Spotlight

What I hear from all of these amazing business people, these entrepreneurs is that when they go out to the world to sell Calgary to potential workers, it's hard to sell Calgary. They're selling Canada. That's great, but we also want the world to be aware of us and putting a spotlight like the Olympics on us is a very, very helpful tool in getting there. Much more importantly than attracting talent is attracting capital. When they go out and talk to venture capitalists, a lot of them say "Why Calgary? Where is Calgary?" My mission is to get to a point where people aren't asking that question, where people are like "Of course Calgary." The question that you have to ask yourself is does the Olympics help us do that?

I believe it does. Every single one of these business people believes that it does. When you go to the polls, ask yourself about the economics. It's undeniably a good deal, whether it's a 10 to one, whether all of those, every one dollar we put in, whether we get to stick $10 here that wouldn't have come anyway. I'm not going to argue about that, but it is a tremendous opportunity and it's a great deal financially and we can build off of that and we know we will bring the capital projects in on time, on budget, and we'll leverage for more stuff. If you're cool with that vote, yes. If you think that we can leverage, vote yes. Think about the legacy and think about the role the Olympics can and should and ideally will play in shaping our legacy.

Use that to structure your vote. I'm voting yes for all of those reasons. Think about as we transition our economy historically, this is a big shift in time in our economy, will this international spotlight help or hurt us? It will definitely help us. Please vote yes for that reason as well.

Get to the polls. You can check out where your polling station is at vote2018.calgary.ca. The main vote is November 13. You will need proof of Canadian citizenship. You need to be 18-years-old. You have to have been in Calgary since May 13 and a resident of the city on voting day. You need to provide one piece of authorized ID.

If you're a yes vote, please talk to your friends, inform your relatives, your community. Get as many people to the polls as possible. This is a very important decision for our city's future and I encourage you to get very much involved in driving this forward for a yes, so we can ink this deal and we can put the world spotlight on us for the next eight years. Thank you. Gian-Carlo Carra signing out.

Supporting speed limit reductions in our Great Neighbourhoods

City Council has endorsed the idea of lowering speed limits. While I'm happy with this outcome, we've still got work to do to continue building vibrant, congenial, Great Neighbourhoods.

Here are some of my thoughts on where we are, how we got here and where we go from here.

The above items were voted on and approved on September 24, 2018 by Calgary City Council.

The above items were voted on and approved on September 24, 2018 by Calgary City Council.

Thank you all for your support and understanding of this issue. This is a large step in a generational transformation our city. These impacts won't be completed overnight, but we continue moving in the right direction, together.

Improving street safety in our neighbourhoods

Hello Ward 9! Happy fall. I am writing this article to tell you about a very exciting notice of motion that six of my colleagues and I on Calgary City Council are bringing forward to the September 24 Meeting of Council.

Here are some of my thoughts on the Street Safety and Neighbourhoods Speed Limits Notice of Motion coming to City Council on September 24. I'm looking forward to robust and thoughtful conversations with constituents and my Council colleagues. Community speeding has been something that constituents in Ward 9 and Calgary have been asking to be tackled with a practical and thoughtful solution.

Strengthening and transforming local governance in our neighbourhoods

With the birth of the Community Representation Framework Task Force, The City is working to strengthen local governance, improve community representation and provide community organizations with better supports. 

The Community Representation Framework Task Force was born to get people representing different interests in a room, hash things out, and then propose a better way forward.

Published on May 18, 2018

With files from David Coroux

In my Great Neighbourhoods platform, I suggest that neighbourhoods are not just places, but are people. When we talk about people, what we have traditionally thought about were the people who live there. In reality communities are much more complex than that; they are the people who live there, but they are also the businesses and institutions that share and shape that space. When I talk about community institutions, I mean everything from schools, churches, mosques and temples, to not-for-profits, and of course, community associations and other organized community groups.

Where we've been, where we are, and where we want to go

If you look at the history of our neighbourhoods they have changed; sometimes physically, sometimes demographically.  A great neighborhood is a place where everyone comes together, talks about where they have come from, talks about where they are, and then drives the change that makes the most sense for their community, rather than reacting to it.  

There has always been a general tension between community associations, residents associations, and some organized groups which operate outside of the two that has led to the recognition that we are not as collaborative as we can and should be.

With that, the Community Representation Framework Task Force was born to get people representing different interests in a room, hash things out, and then propose a better way forward.

While there has been quite a bit of mischaracterization of the process that has led to unwarranted fear being spread about the future of community associations, I want to assure folks that as a sitting member of the taskforce, I am excited about where we are, and also excited to engage all of our communities. I believe all of these groups need to be able to come together, be supported by The City, and given the capacity and appropriate level of decision making authority. We have a good process now, but it could be better, and that's what this work is about.

I'd like to take this opportunity to give you an update on where we are and what's next in this process. 

Where are we now and what are the next steps?

Phase 1 Engagement (completed) - summary

The first phase of engagement for the Community Representation Framework wrapped up at the end of April. The intent of the first phase of engagement with community members was to understand where community members and community associations currently are and to understand the current state of affairs o get an initial idea of the opportunities and challenges in including diverse perspectives in the review of planning applications.

More than 200 surveys were completed, with input from 97 community associations from all around Calgary, as well as several of business improvement area groups, resident’s associations and other community organizations. If you who took the time to participate and complete the survey, thank you very much. Two ‘What we Heard’ reports will be added to the Community Representation Framework webpage soon, under the ‘Links’ tab.

 Phase 2 Engagement - purpose and structure

The information gathered from the first round of engagement helps the Task Force better understand the current state of community representation in Calgary and your views about the feasibility of a district forum approach. This was an important step that will allow us to design the tables and questions you will be work on during the second phase workshops.

During those workshops, participants will have an opportunity to explore and work through different thoughts of what was gathered through the first phase of engagement. This is a complex topic and we need representatives from all organizations to come and work collectively with other members of community to generate ideas, discuss opportunities and problem solve in a collaborative environment with workshops running from June 5 to June 14. 

If you're organization has not yet received the invitation, please contact David Couroux at  dcouroux@calgary.ca for more information to get involved.

Next steps 

When all of the workshops are completed a final report will be created on everything we heard.

This will be available on the project website, and that information will be used by the Community Representation Framework Task Force as they prepare to make recommendations to City Council later this year in 2018.

If you're looking for more background, please read the Community Representation Framework Information Brief  and the two ‘What we Heard’ reports that will be coming soon, under the ‘Links’ tab on the Community Representation Framework webpage.


I am proud to be part of this work, unafraid of tackling our challenges in an uncertain future, and excited to direct that change to make our neighbourhoods the best they can be.

I look forward to working with people dedicated to the best possible future of Calgary and ensuring that we create neighbourhoods that thrive and are prosperous for a long time.

Calgary and the 2026 Olympic Bid Process


The Olympics need Calgary more than Calgary needs the Olympics. With that in mind, the playing field is tilted in our favour. The City’s favourable position does not mean a bid will happen. The major work being done now by The City of Calgary and City Council is gathering information to find out if pursuing a bid has value for Calgarians in the future.

Here are some of my thoughts on where the City of Calgary sits in the 2026 Olympic exploration process.

For me, a basic requirement of hosting the 2026 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games would be to turn a strong profit, and build the things we need that we couldn't otherwise get the opportunity to build on this timeline, and moving forward while doing our due diligence is prudent to making sure we get the answer to this question right. 


The Way Forward for the Bridgeland Complex Care Centre


Alberta Health Services is scheduled to spend $130 million dollars in Bridgeland-Riverside. So far, their proposal shows an old school way of thinking that isn't compatible to get the best outcome for Bridgeland-Riverside residents, Alberta tax payers, or the clients they are working to serve. By embracing innovation and the experiences and knowledge of the people who live, work, and play there, the Provincial government and Alberta Health Services can build a great facility, which serves their clients, saves Albertans hard earned tax dollars, and helps achieve the aspirations of Bridgeland-Riverside.


The Grid Proposed Development in Inglewood

Having a thoughtful conversation about development in our neighbourhood - watch Gian-Carlo's take on The Grid. 

I wanted to start a conversation with neighbours in Inglewood about the proposed 22-story “Grid” development. While this specific development impacts Inglewood primarily, the exercise and thought process surrounding planning and development is also a conversation every community and community association that is experiencing development pressure should have about how to approach these propositions.

Background and Context

When I was first approached by B & A Planning Group about their proposal to develop a 22-storey building in Inglewood, like many of my neighbours in the community, my initial impression was one of surprise (if you have not received their pamphlet, you can see it here). I decided to walk the proposed site at the corner of Blackfoot Trail SE and 19 Street SE, the former gas station (which has been remediated) to get a better sense of things in scale. The site is located at the eastern gateway to the community, across from the Blackfoot Truck Stop lands, south of the SoBo development and adjacent to the future Southeast 17 Avenue SE Bus Rapid Transit bridge.                

In conjunction with the amazing reinvestment we're about to make on Inglewood's main street through the delivery of the 9 Avenue SE Streetscape Master Plan, we are well into construction on an amazing piece of reinvestment in the amount of $80 million dollars on International Avenue - 17 Avenue South East – one of East Calgary’s amazing main streets. In July 2016, The City obtained another $80 million dollars from the federal government to connect the work being done on International Avenue to Inglewood through the incredible multi-use transit bridge.

The transit bridge will come down the escarpment and will span the entire irrigation canal, Deerfoot Trail and the Bow River. It will follow along the former baseball diamond and terminate at the Blackfoot Truck Stop.  Not only is that an amazing transit route that will remove Calgary Transit vehicles out of traffic (and eventually carry an LRT spur line off of the Green Line) but it's also going to include a high quality, amazing multi-use pathway and for the first time ever, cyclists and pedestrians are finally going to be safely, conveniently, and spectacularly connected from Inglewood up to the amazing communities of Greater Forest Lawn.

The ‘Donut Hole’ in Inglewood

The community of Inglewood began advocating for this reinvestment into the community back in 2003 and 2004. Additionally, we have been advocating for the redevelopment of the Blackfoot Truck Stop lands, since that time, arguing that what we as a community have is a whole in the middle of our community in need of urban development.

The donut hole - Inglewood.jpg

Many residents in the community of Inglewood don’t know that there is a deep history of these vacant lands at the eastern gateway to Calgary’s inner city. This part of the community is a former employment zone – the former employment zone for Inglewood. This area used to be where a massive number of Inglewood residents were employed in steel foundries, in warehouses, in lumber yards and in market gardens. Inglewood residents would walk to this central area for work. When the railroad no longer became the primary transportation mode of choice and the City of Calgary ran a freeway through the community, the classic 1960's “tail of a dragon” scenario ensued with the Blackfoot Trail sterilizing this part of the community for development, leaving this empty hole in Inglewood and showing the failings of poor urban planning.

Downtown Inglewood

Since 2003, the Inglewood Community Association - through my leadership - has been advocating that this central area should be a ‘mini-downtown’ for our community; it should fulfill its historic place in the story of Inglewood as an employment centre while encouraging the case, through increased use and density, of bringing the modern conveniences of amenities, like a grocery store to Inglewood, creating one of the major hearts of the urban village that is Inglewood.

We've been very successful in the last seven years. With the massive reinvestment in East Calgary, and funding for policy plans like the 9 Avenue Streetscape Master Plan and the new Inglewood Area Redevelopment Plan, among other things, we now have the market responding to the work converging on this area. 

This project is certainly more intense than anything that I would have anticipated.   

Mischaracterizing the Process

Unfortunately, some of my neighbours in Inglewood have been suggesting that I'm 100% for this project, and that the community is having conversations regarding gearing up to fight the project.

First off, let's not be hasty. Second, I am neither for or against this project and any characterization of my position that contradicts that is false. Recently, it came to my attention that members of the Inglewood Community Association indicated that they were informed by the developer that I had given them my full-throated support for this project. When I reached out to the developers, they denied ever having indicated that.

I am one fifteenth of the decision as to whether something like this takes place. What we need to do right now is that Inglewood residents need to have good thoughtful conversations about this development and its planning merits or lack thereof, refine the points for and/or against this project and be prepared to discuss those ideas with their neighbours, myself, and in front of City Council at the Public Hearing of Council. 

The process for this land use change, like any other land use change that has proceeded before it, has not changed.

  1. Consultation and engagement with the community by the developers and/or their agents;
  2. Consultation with City Administration with recommendation to approve or refuse the land use application;
  3. Hearing at Calgary Planning Commission and approval or refusal of City Administration recommendation; and
  4. Public Hearing  at City Council

City Council will be weighing in on this land use application at the Public Hearing stage. At this Public Hearing, City Council will get the opportunity to hear from everybody – proponents and opponents alike.  Until that time, I'm not legally able to make a decision until that point. Obviously, my advocacy for the area will help shape Council’s decision, and my advocacy will be based on the planning merits of this proposal and weighing its benefits and its challenges with respect to city policy, the developers position, and community desires and aspirations within the context of creating a win-win-win scenario if possible.

Planning Merit – What Does That Mean?

It’s really important that we realize that this is a proposition to put density in a transit oriented development area that the community of Inglewood has been advocating for, for a very long time, and it’s important to take the merit of the plan into account. Failing to do that and not asking the right questions can be a recipe for disaster. We need to ensure we follow the best principles of community planning possible.

Bend in the Bow.png

What are some of the questions that should be asked and answered within a community context? Here are some of the questions City Council will be asking presenters at the Public Hearing as an example:

  1. Is this the right amount of density for the area in question?
  2. What are some of the potential benefits? What are its challenges?
  3. Is it well deployed?
  4. Does this project adhere to the principles set out in the Municipal Development Plan and Calgary Transportation Plan? If yes, which sections? If not, where?
  5. Does this project adhere to the principles set out in the current Inglewood Area Redevelopment Plan and draft Inglewood Area Redevelopment Plan? Does it jive with the principles set out in the Inglewood Design Initiative?
  6. Which City policies take primacy over others in making this land use application decision?
  7. What does the community of Inglewood get in return for this project, if successful? What would any possible community benefits package be?

It is important to answer these and other appropriate and thoughtful questions prior to the Public Hearing of Council, and I am more than willing to meet with residents of Inglewood to have these conversations in a congenial way.


When I went to city hall seven years ago, it was to achieve everything we're in the process of achieving right now. It was always known that as a community association, we had very little power, but we had a lot of influence, but only if we came to the table with the developer and The City very thoughtfully.

What I've seen over the last few years is a real devolution from that thoughtfulness that we had developed 10 years prior. I really want to encourage everyone to sit down and think about the community’s best future; to think about everything that we've been working to achieve, where we're at in that process, and how to make sure that every process and every project that comes to the table contributes to that best future.

The community of Inglewood is in the middle of our local area planning process. These are exactly the kinds of conversations we should be having right now. What I want each and every Inglewood resident, institution and business to do is to challenge each other, to challenge me and to have thoughtful conversations.

As always, I encourage community members – residents, businesses and other Inglewood institutions – to reach out to me.

Gian-Carlo Carra

Information from B&A Planning Group for the community

B&A Planning Groups proposed time line

B and A Chart.png

B&A Planning Group contact

Tamille Beynon

Community Engagement Representative

Telephone: 403-692-5234

Email: tbeynon@bapg.ca

Suite, Suite Calgary


(5 minute read)

I would like to take this opportunity to talk to you about secondary suites.  On December 11th, at Calgary City Council, it was a pretty historic day for the City of Calgary and for my Great Neighborhoods mission at City Hall.

Why? Because we significantly moved the ball further down the field with respect to secondary suites.

What happened?

On December 11, City Council agreed in a 10-5 vote to direct City Administration to bring bylaw changes applying to the ENTIRE city around the issue of secondary suites. The objective of this move is to update and amend the Land Use Bylaw to make secondary suites a DISCRETIONARY USE everywhere secondary suites are currently not permitted as a discretionary use, rather than continuing to restrict R1-zoned districts.

The process today

Currently, when you bring forward a land use application to City Hall, you essentially say, "I'd like to convert my R1 property to R1s." Property owners present before Council asking for this change, often sharing personal details as to why they want to build a secondary suite. Neighbours can come out for or against this land use application, which is not only onerous and time-consuming for Council but pits neighbour-against-neighbour and can influence decisions on land use applications to be based on emotions rather than planning merit. 

If you emerge from the other side successfully, you get a permitted use for a secondary suite within the four walls of your existing home, or you get a discretionary use for a cottage in your backyard or a carriage house suite above your garage.

Discretionary Use vs. Permitted Use

The difference between a permitted use and a discretionary use is this: if everything was zoned "permitted use" you'd be allowed to build a secondary suite as long as you meet the building code requirements without going through the steps of re-designating your land (which is what we currently do). With discretionary use, you would have to apply for a development permit. That development permit gets scrutinized by City Administration and it also gets weighed in on by your neighbours.

Discretionary use is a compromise.

I was initially concerned that by making secondary suites a discretionary use it would translate into six hours of almost semi-formal court proceedings at the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board; and, if you had wealthy neighbours who wanted to lawyer up, you would also need to lawyer up when applying for a secondary suite. In my mind, this would be a nightmare.

I was backed off of the ledge of fighting against discretionary use. Secondary suites are legal throughout most of Canada and it has not resulted in an explosion of Subdivision and Development Appeal Board hearings. What happens at the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board is they look at the technical merits of the case and if you meet them, you're free to renovate your personal and private property.

This decision, when fully implemented, is going to take an entire step out of the process whereby you are no longer required to come to City Hall and air your most intimate and personal life details to obtain a secondary suite.

My stance on what happened

The Notice of Motion that triggered this discussion was brought forward by Councillor Shane Keating, and it had three clauses:

  1. That secondary suites be a discretionary use throughout the city (except where they are already permitted);
  2. That we establish a registry so that all legal secondary suites are part of a database that we can track; and,
  3. That we return to the era of charging application fees for secondary suites.

I have been asked that if I was so supportive, why did I not put my name on that Notice of Motion – the fact is, I did not sign on because I was not in support of the third clause.

I supported the discretionary use. I also support the registry because it makes sense since we want to be able to track data. As time goes on, and as the black market of secondary suites transitions into a white market, the registry will help in determining and tracking this changeover.

The final thing, though, are the fees. When you're bringing a land use application forward, it's a $6000 application fee. The City of Calgary was waiving that application fee as an incentive to build secondary suites and was also waiving the development permit application fee (which is $454)  for the same reason. Council (unfortunately) voted to reinstate these application fees. So while the age of coming in and getting a land use change is no longer necessary, you’re now going to be on the hook for a development permit application fee and a building permit application fee.

I am happy that Council supported secondary suites and its discretionary use through a 10-5 vote. On the whole, Council did a very good thing.

Were there other votes on secondary suites?

There were a number of other Motions Arising that were brought forward on this specific item before Council. I consistently voted against them. In the end, they were resolutions that told City Administration to think about other things while updating and amending the bylaw.

I was against them because:

  1. I want to keep the regulation on this simple; and,
  2. A lot of the concerns about secondary suites are not concerns about secondary suites. They're concerns about bad landlords and bad tenants and we have a Community Standards Bylaw that is meant to address these things. As a person who is against cumbersome regulation and red tape, this was contrary to my principles.

I'm hoping that this message gets across to my colleagues when this comes back in March for final approval, and that we move forward with the discretionary use with a licensing system and moderate application fees for secondary suites.

On the whole, December 11 was an historic day for the #YYCSuite movement, and I'm looking forward to March 2018 when we actually enact all of this into law.


What the 2018 Budget Means for Calgary

(2 minute read)

Today Calgary City Council is in the middle of our week-long budget deliberations. This budget is the last of the four-year budget, the 2015-2018 Action Plan, that we started one year into the last term and so it carried over into this one.

In January 2018, City Council and City Administration will begin the year-long process of establishing the next four-year business plan and budget cycle, that will be called One Calgary. I'm really looking forward to working with Calgarians in general, and Ward 9’s East Calgary communities specifically, on that. We're going to do very deep and meaningful engagement and we're setting ourselves up to be in a position to take the Great Neighborhood's transformation to the next level.

Getting back to the budget before us, this 2018 budget was a really difficult one. City Council gave City Administration some very tough marching orders. We directed them to reduce taxes and increase services (this is the kind of balancing act you can only perform when you're in the middle of transforming the organization).

I think we're striking that balance well. This year we're looking at putting almost $2 billion of capital work into the economy, building the city that we need and keeping Calgarians employed.

This budget balances that direction pretty well. One important feature of this 2018 budget is that the City of Calgary will be using $23 million of tax room to pay for the financing fees for the Green Line, making this historic project in connectivity and city building even more viable.

Another important aspect of the 2018 budget is something that City Council has heard prior to, and during the last election - safety, safety, safety. This year, the Calgary Police Service is asking for $20 million to increase their ability to serve us in this downturn in the economy, whose effects have been exacerbated by this fentanyl-driven crime wave. I'm very supportive of this ask from the Calgary Police Service and I expect Council will support that as well.

Lastly, another significant add-on in this 2018 budget is $4 million to maintain our soberingly and amazingly successful low-income bus fare project. What City Council learned is that there are many more citizens in Calgary who need the low-income bus fare program that we planned for. While this is a provincial responsibility, the City of Calgary cannot and should not deny mobility and access to the users of this program. We will be pursuing the province for them to pay their appropriate portion of this program in the very near term.  

The discussions from City Council that is emerging is very interesting and I look forward to hearing and participating in the debate that is soon to come.  We’ve had a lot of thoughtful insight, and a lot of that thoughtfulness is translating into what we're going to be doing over the next four years.

As the last budget in the 2015-2018 Action Plan, City Council is dealing with the downturn of the economy, and I will be looking towards ensuring a budget that puts the Calgarians, Calgary businesses, organizations, and institutions in a position where we are coiled and prepared to move forward into years of growth and prosperity over the next four years.

Gender Equity & Diversity at the City of Calgary

Our Council should reflect our city. 

On Monday, July 24, Gian-Carlo will be bringing forward an incredibly important Notice of Motion on Gender Equity and Diversity at the City of Calgary. 

This Notice of Motion is twofold.

First, it requests that the City of Calgary join the Diverse Voices for Change initiative facilitated by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, which works to increase the number of women from diverse backgrounds participating in local government, leadership roles and decision-making positions. 

Second, it directs Administration to work with Council to better understand how we can advance the profile and awareness of gender equity and diversity in our communities, on all City of Calgary Boards, Commissions, Committees and Council, and within The City's workforce. 

Come out and support this work!

Join us in Council Chambers on Monday, July 24 at 3:45pm to show your support for Gender Equity and Diversity!

The Jack Long Foundation's Elderhouse

On Friday, June 30, Gian-Carlo met with neighbours in Inglewood to discuss the Jack Long Foundation's plans to build Elderhouse. This pilot project is a new and innovative approach to address the need for affordable seniors housing, which allows older adults to age-in-place and works towards Jack Long's vision of Inglewood where people of all ages, wages and stages can live, work and play. 

Watch Gian-Carlo explain the history of the two sites that were being considered for this project. He also outlines the "Move Forward Plan" to ensure that the community is engaged in the planning process, can help decide what is "developable" land and what is not with the ultimate goal of creating high-quality park space for the community through the development of Elderhouse.


  • Council made a decision to allow the Jack Long Foundation to purchase 2244 15A Street SE
  • The Jack Long Foundation currently has a Development Permit in with the City of Calgary. The community and neighbours can comment on the development and provide feedback on how to achieve the best outcome for the site.  
  • The Inglewood Community Association's Redevelopment Committee will be reviewing this Development Permit on July 5th and will provide feedback on behalf of the ICA. 

Move Forward Plan

  • Over the next year and a bit, the Ward 9 Office along with our partners in the City of Calgary will engage, in a meaningful way, with the community on this project. 
  • Through this process we will explore where is appropriate to develop, where is not appropriate to develop, where is the best place to develop a park space and how we would like  the money from the land transfer and sales to be used to develop a high-quality park space for the community. 
  • This project and the park space will formally be included in the Inglewood Area Redevelopment Plan.
  • Calgary City Council as well as Urban Strategies and Real Estate and Development Services will all be working  with our office and the community to achieve the goals that the community outlines for a high-quality park space in conjunction with Jack Long Foundation's Elderhouse pilot project. 

Notice of Motions for the Jack Long Foundation


It's Finally Here! The Ward 9 Strategic Report is now available

Throughout 2016 and the start of 2017 your Team Ward 9 facilitated Community Objective Workshops - lovingly known as COWs - in all our Ward 9 neighbourhoods. 

At the end of each COW, Gian-Carlo promised two deliverables: 

1) The Raw Data Reports, which document all of the comments, questions, and concerns we collected through out COWs

2) The Ward 9 Strategic Report, which distills all the information collected through our workshops and outlines what we are doing over the short, medium, and long term to achieve these goals. 

Interested in obtaining a hard copy of the Ward 9 Strategic Report?

Simply call our office at 403-268-5330 or fill out the Ward 9 request form at the bottom of the page. 

The Future of Parking in Calgary

A lot of our Ward 9 neighbours have expressed concerns about the parking proposal with Park Plus, which went to the Standing Policy Committee on Transportation and Transit in May.

Watch Gian-Carlo's take on how this  can become an essential tool in managing parking that benefits our communities. 


March is Community Association Awareness Month!

'How Will YOU Be Part of It?"

Every year Mayor Nenshi proclaims the entire month of March as Community Association Awareness Month.

How Will YOU Be Part of It?” is a campaign started by the Federation of Calgary Communities to encourage people to get involved with their local community association or show their love for their community..

Post a video online talking about why you love you community or post a photo of Facebook or Twitter with the hashtag #howwilYOUbepartofit

Interested in learning more about this campaign? Check out the Federation of Calgary Communities’ website



Calgarians Love Their Rivers - Update on the River Access Strategy

Calgarians want a healthy, vibrant and sustainable river culture and many are concerned about how they can get in, and out, of our rivers safely.

Last year, Gian-Carlo and Councillor Shane Keating put forward a Notice of Motion requesting that a policy report and implementation plan to address river access be completed by the end of the first quarter in 2017. 

On February 1, 2017, Administration presented their report to the Standing Policy Committee on Community and Protective Services (CPS). The Calgary River Access Strategy recommends several significant short-term moves to access our rivers is a more meaningful way.

These recommendations include:

  • Create more drift boat access (these are essential for the fishing community)
  • Create more formalized access for people carrying their boats into the rivers (i.e. kayaks, rafts, etc.)
  • Look to improve economic opportunities and access along the rivers. 

Both the public and CPS demonstrated support for the River Access Strategy. Next it will go to Council for final approval.