Calgary Minute: Deep Freeze, Safety Recommendations, and Pedestrian Bridge Art
Calgary Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Calgary politics
This Week In Calgary:
Council will hold a Public Hearing on Tuesday at 9:30 am. On the agenda are several land use amendments.
The Nominations Committee will meet on Wednesday at 10:30 am to discuss Public Member Appointments to the Council Compensation Review Committee. The Audit Committee will meet on Thursday at 9:30 am. No agenda is available for this meeting yet. The Ward Boundary Commission will meet on Friday at 1:00 pm. No agenda is available for this meeting yet either.
- Calgarians should see some reprieve from the extreme cold this week! An extended deep freeze saw daytime highs not witnessed in two decades, which caused flight cancellations, LRT breakdowns, school closures, the shutdown of ski hills, and days-long waits for tow trucks. Wind chill values reached between -40°C and -55°C.
Last Week In Calgary:
Calgarians wanting to cross the pedestrian bridge across 16 Avenue NE at 19 Street were met with barriers after a City inspection deemed it no longer safe. Just last year, $23,000 of taxpayer money was spent adding to the bridge, which is now facing potential demolition due to safety concerns. Despite the art project being community-driven and not part of the “official” public art program, the project still received City funding. The City is now trying to figure out a plan for the preservation or relocation of the public art, at who knows what additional cost. Crossroads residents (yes, that really is the name of the community) are understandably frustrated about the loss of the bridge, but all Calgarians should be frustrated at the complete disregard for taxpayers money shown by the City.
The Downtown Safety Leadership Panel in Calgary unveiled its initial recommendations, including reinstating a police station in the core and establishing specialized outreach services for the homeless. The Panel also proposed increased funding for housing and specialized facilities to aid those facing mental health and addiction challenges. Mayor Jyoti Gondek applauded these first steps, while the Calgary Police Service expressed support, aiming to enhance the downtown safety hub. The Panel, having consulted with over 40 stakeholder groups since its launch in July 2023, plans to present a comprehensive report with detailed recommendations to Council in March 2024.
- Calgary's Infrastructure and Planning Committee heard residents’ concerns about nature impact and traffic congestion during a hearing regarding the sale of five acres of City-owned land for the Glenmore Landing redevelopment. Developer Rio-Can aims to construct nine high-rises accommodating over 2,500 residents. Despite over 2,600 public responses, with many opposing the sale, the Committee voted 8-3 in favour of selling the land. Councillors Andre Chabot, Sean Chu, and Dan McLean were opposed. The issue will come before Council as a whole before it is ultimately approved or denied, and Rio-Can would still need to apply for development permits.
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