Calgary Minute: Insulation Retrofits, Graphic Images, and Food Bank Demand
Calgary Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Calgary politics
This Week In Calgary:
On Tuesday, at 9:30 am, there will be a regular meeting of City Council. On the agenda is a plan to roll out “Dismantling Systemic Racism, Transforming Lives: The City of Calgary Anti-Racism Strategic Plan (2023-2027)”. Council will receive a report on changes to the provincial Police Act that may impact the City’s Police Commission Bylaw. Council will discuss an amendment to the Community Standards Bylaw to regulate unsolicited distribution of items containing “graphic images” - which will be newly defined in the bylaw as visual depictions of a fetus (but apparently nothing else). Mayor Jyoti Gondek, along with Councillors Penner and Dhaliwal, will introduce a Notice of Motion to direct Administration to recommend updates to the compassionate property tax penalty relief program.
The Infrastructure and Planning Committee will meet on Wednesday at 9:30 am. The Committee will discuss ending the Calgary Transit Airport Boarding Pass fare (a ticket to the airport will now cost the same as any other ticket) and approving a guiding principles framework for reviewing, designing, and implementing new transit fare products. The Committee also plans to review a report highlighting that a closed transit system is not feasible and instead proceed with exploring “an enhanced staff model and associated infrastructure” to deal with ongoing issues of transit safety. Amendments to the Land Use Bylaw for the purposes of climate action will also be discussed. These amendments intend to make it easier for Calgarians to retrofit insulation by removing the requirement to obtain a development permit.
- The Intergovernmental Affairs Committee meeting originally scheduled for May 17th has been moved forward. It will now take place on Thursday at 9:30 am. No agenda is available yet.
Last Week In Calgary:
The City’s Housing and Affordability Task Force released its report. The Task Force detailed six recommendations for dealing with a lack of affordable housing in Calgary. These included speeding up divestment of unused City land, allocating $100 million each year to the housing land fund, and removing the policy that allows certain areas to preserve single-family homes. One of the recommendations is a pretty common sense idea - make it easier for people to build homes. Council will consider the recommendations at its June 6th meeting.
Council’s Emergency Management Committee heard a presentation about climate change and heat risk. Long-term projects for heat mitigation, like expanding the tree canopy and planning for water restrictions, were discussed. The City’s Climate Environment team created a Climate Risk Index to show how vulnerable each community is to climate change, as well as a Climate Home Ready program to advise residents on how to prepare their homes for extreme weather events. Councillor Courtney Walcott expressed concern about how to continue keeping City trees healthy while balancing the water supply.
- Increased demand at the Calgary Food Bank has resulted in Calgarians now having to wait more than two weeks for a hamper. Between January and March this year, around 92,000 individuals relied on the food bank, compared to 60,000 between January and March 2020. The organization said it is trying to increase distribution by more than 50% over the next few months, adding 100 hampers to daily distribution every few weeks. To do that, they are asking for donations of non-perishable food items and cash. For those looking to donate, food can be dropped off at the Calgary Food Bank or at local grocery store bins.
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