Calgary Minute: Waste, Travel, and Cycling

Calgary Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Calgary politics.

This Week In Calgary:

  • Today's council meeting will be debating the controversial Small Business Resiliency Grant Program that would require businesses to apply to council for a small tax rebate and was voted down in committee two weeks ago. Council should confirm the committee's decision and ditch this program. Taxes should be cut for everyone, not just for a special few businesses hand-picked by councillors.

  • Administration will also ask Council to give them approval to move to the next stage of two projects - reports on reducing single-use plastic waste, and a review of the city's ownership of golf courses.

  • The Federation of Canadian Municipalities Annual Conference starts on Thursday in Quebec. Calgary will be sending nine councillors to put on a workshop called: "Powering Canada through Energy Development." Unfortunately, the session was given the undesirable time slot of 7:00am on Sunday morning, the final day of the conference.

 

Last Week In Calgary:

  • There was an uproar after last Tuesdays Transportation and Transit Committee Meeting over the city hiring a $135,000/year "Cycling Coordinator." In fact, the position has existed since 2011 when council approved a "Cycling Strategy", and council has a $135,000/year "Walking Co-ordinator" too. This should serve as a reminder for councillors at budget time that once they vote to create a project, the city will keep spending money on it until they're forced to stop.

  • In yet another example of what we like to call "decision-based evidence-making", the city has created a "Travel Cost Calculator" designed to help Calgarians work out their "full" cost of Walking, Cycling, taking Transit, or Driving. The only problem with the calculator is that it seems to include all the costs and almost none of the benefits of driving, and all of the benefits and almost none of the costs of walking, cycling, and transit. Yes, seriously, they tried to make walking, cycling, and transit look good by ignoring time, comfort, convenience, and even the price of transit tickets!

  • The Peace Bridge has been damaged yet again, bringing the total cost for repairs to $300,000 since 2012. After questions about why the recently-installed security cameras didn't catch the damage taking place, city staff said they'd re-evaluate security camera placement. Surely the real question is, how on earth did the city manage to install security cameras so poorly that they didn't catch the offenders, and now the cameras will need to be moved?