Calgary Minute: Closed Transit, Townhouse Expropriation, and a Police Commission Spat
Calgary Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Calgary politics
This Week In Calgary:
There will be a Public Hearing Meeting of Council on Tuesday at 9:30 am. Several land use amendments are on the agenda. The Calgary Planning Commission will meet on Thursday at 1:00 pm. Several land use amendments also make up this meeting’s agenda.
Mark Neufeld will remain the Calgary Police Service Chief until 2027, after his contract was extended for another four years. Neufeld says that social disorder will continue to be a priority.
- Calgary remains one of the few regions in the province not under a fire ban. With a serious wildfire situation in Alberta and hot, dry conditions headed our way, keep an eye on the Province’s Fire Ban website to see if anything changes!
Last Week In Calgary:
The morning after yet another stabbing at a CTrain platform, Council’s Infrastructure and Planning Committee received a report from Administration dismissing the feasibility of a closed transit system (one with turnstiles that you can only access with a ticket). The cost and the integration with the 7th Avenue free fare zone were cited as the biggest reasons why a closed system wouldn’t work. The report also noted that a partially closed system wouldn’t work either and, instead, the recommendation was for $3.4 million in one-time funding for more staff and $5.3 million in one-time funding for safety and infrastructure improvements. Some Councillors balked at the idea of more money for staff and argued in favour of the closed system. Councillor Courtney Walcott said it’s not up to Councillors to disagree with the findings of reports they had requested. Actually, that’s exactly their job - unless we’re being governed by the unelected Administration? Council will debate the issue again at a later date.
Despite the provincial government making changes to the Police Amendment Act allowing the province to appoint three of the 12 commissioners on the Calgary Police Commission, Mayor Jyoti Gondek and Calgary City Council have decided they do not wish to comply. The City was supposed to change its Police Commission bylaw to bring it in line with the new provincial Act, but Gondek declared it not to be in the interest of citizens. Council voted against changing the bylaws, and Gondek admitted that the Council had created an “untenable situation” that the Province will have to step in and deal with.
- The City filed its intention to expropriate the River Run townhouse complex in Eau Claire to make room for the Green Line. The complex is not even 30 years old, but the City "needs" the land by mid-2024 in order to proceed with construction. The City said they have been saying since 2020 that they needed this land and that negotiations are still active with some of the owners - expropriation is simply a last resort. Should the City really be allowed to confiscate private property just because they think they have a better use for it than the legitimate owners?
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