Calgary Minute: Fining Protestors, Land Annexation, and New Bike Lanes
Calgary Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Calgary politics
This Week In Calgary:
There will be a Regular Meeting of Council on Tuesday at 9:30 am. Council will establish a Multisport Fieldhouse Committee and appoint Councillors and a Chair to that Committee. Also on the agenda are potential changes to the distribution of tax share between residential and non-residential properties. Council is considering a few options, including maintaining the status quo tax share of 52% residential and 48% non-residential, or increasing the residential tax burden to lower the non-residential rates.
On Wednesday, at 9:30 am, there will be a meeting of the Audit Committee. On the agenda are two annual reports - the City Auditor's Office 2022 Annual Report and the Audit Committee 2022 Year-End Report - as well as several confidential items. The Intergovernmental Affairs Committee will meet on Thursday at 9:30 am. No agenda is available for this meeting yet.
- The City is asking Calgarians for feedback on the proposed plans for a reimagined Stephen Avenue. Some sketches have been released, and an online engagement portal is open for comments until February 28th. There will be a virtual open house on Wednesday at 5:30 pm for Calgarians to learn more about the plans. Online registration is required for the open house.
Last Week In Calgary:
After two drag show performances scheduled to take place during the Chinook Blast festival were cancelled due to planned protests, Mayor Jyoti Gondek threatened to use the City’s street harassment bylaw to fine those who “openly communicate hateful messaging”. While we would always want all protests, no matter the issue, to be respectful and dignified, arbitrarily declaring some protests as "hateful" seems very problematic. Do we really want to implement a system where the Mayor gets to decide which protests are allowed and which aren't, based on whether she likes their cause or not?
Calgary Skyview MP George Chahal and federal Minister of Tourism Randy Boissonnault announced joint federal and City funding for two kilometres of new protected bike lanes in the Beltline. The federal government is contributing $2.94 million, and the City is putting $1.96 million toward the design and construction of the lanes as well as various pedestrian upgrades. The protected track will allow for two-way traffic on the north side of 15th Avenue for cyclists, scooters, and skateboarders. A time frame for construction has yet to be announced.
- The City of Calgary and Foothills County announced a joint public engagement on a proposed annexation by Calgary of a block of about 415 acres of land. The annexation was put forward in 2018 and approved by Council in 2021. The two municipalities are hiring an independent third party to conduct the engagement, but anticipate this being a relatively simple process, especially when compared to Calgary’s other proposed annexation of land in Rocky View County.
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