Calgary Minute: Fun Tax, Olympic Plaza, and Covert Campaign Tactics

Calgary Minute: Fun Tax, Olympic Plaza, and Covert Campaign Tactics

Calgary City Hall


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


This Week In Calgary:

  • There is just one meeting at City Hall this week, on account of the Easter holiday. The Council Compensation Committee will meet on Wednesday at 2:30 pm. No agenda is available for this meeting yet.

  • The City will explore measures to protect trees on private property. Council approved a motion from Councillor Terry Wong, instructing Administration to explore private tree conservation strategies for Calgary. Wong mentioned that many other Canadian cities have implemented similar policies, suggesting options like a tree protection bylaw, a permitting system, or incentives to motivate residents to conserve their trees. Administration is expected to present a report with budgetary estimates and public engagement requirements by the first quarter of next year.

  • Calgary's new downtown event centre will necessitate the removal of two pieces of the city's history: the century-old Stephenson and Co. Grocers building and an iconic 125-year-old American elm tree. The City plans to dismantle and relocate the historic grocers building while exploring options to integrate it back into the urban landscape, possibly repurposing it for community use. The American elm tree, rooted near the Saddledome, will be removed, but efforts to preserve its legacy include digital scanning, collecting seeds for replanting, and cultivating branches into genetically identical trees for Calgary's urban forest.


Last Week In Calgary:

  • Council finalized the property tax increase - and it’s even higher than expected. The total increase amounts to 8.6% for residential properties. Of course, Council blames the Province. At the same meeting where the increase was finalized, Council discussed their perceived funding gap and the need to raise more revenue in the absence of additional provincial money. Some recommendations from the Financial Task Force were examined - these include more taxes and fees. The list includes (but is definitely not limited to) sliding scale fines based on income, a surtax on high-value residential properties, an advertising tax, a municipal sales tax, a fuel tax (because we really need another one of those…), an amusement tax (yes, a literal tax on fun), a carbon tax (seriously?), and a digital amusement tax (yes, a second tax on fun). Clearly, we have our work cut out for us over the next several years!

  • By a vote of 7-6, Council approved a bylaw amendment preventing Councillors from using taxpayer-funded greetings on public signage. Councillor Jasmine Mian proposed the amendment, arguing that such greetings serve as covert campaigning tactics rather than benefiting the community. While some Councillors opposed the amendment, citing the importance of recognizing religious holidays publicly, Mian called it a positive step toward responsible use of public funds.

  • The Alberta government has pledged $103 million over seven years to rejuvenate Arts Commons and Olympic Plaza, aiming to invigorate downtown Calgary and bolster the arts scene in Alberta. Premier Danielle Smith highlighted the broader benefits beyond physical upgrades, anticipating a more vibrant downtown. While the 2024 budget allocates $7.8 million, future budgets will cover the remaining $95 million. The total cost of both projects is estimated at $660 million, with substantial funds already raised from government and private sources. Construction priorities include fully financing the expansion phase of Arts Commons before renovating Olympic Plaza, with designs yet to be revealed for the Plaza's overhaul.




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  • Janice Kaikkonen
    followed this page 2024-04-01 06:41:07 -0600
  • Common Sense Calgary
    published this page in News 2024-03-24 19:45:58 -0600