Calgary Minute: Office Vacancies, Airline Launched, and Police Patch Debates
Calgary Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Calgary politics
This Week In Calgary:
On Tuesday at 9:30 am, there will be a Combined Meeting of Council. Council will recognize National Poetry Month and National Sikh Heritage Month before discussing several land use amendments. Some Administration Reports will also be received, including the 2023-2026 Service Plans and Budgets – Moving Forward Together report.
Included in the Consent Agenda at Tuesday’s meeting is a recommendation by the Intergovernmental Affairs Committee that Council spend the $4 million given to them by the Province on downtown revitalization. The money will be directed at “initiatives and partnerships which promote safety and enhance the activation of spaces in the Greater Downtown area.”
- A garbage collection pilot project, that will pit the private sector against the public sector, is beginning. The pilot project will run for seven years with a possible two-year extension. GFL Environmental won the contract and will collect black bins from 41 neighbourhoods in the northwest and southwest. Apparently, there will not be a noticeable change in service for Calgarians, but the City will monitor citizen satisfaction as well as price per household over the duration of the pilot. While the union representing the public sector workers is obviously unhappy, the City’s Waste and Recycling Services Project Manager says that most large municipalities have a mixed services delivery model that combines public and private sector.
Last Week In Calgary:
Data from the first quarter of 2022 showed a drop in the downtown office vacancy rate for the first time since before COVID. Before we get too excited, the reduction was very small - from 33.2% to 32.8%. Still, we’re hopeful that the energy continues and downtown Calgary regains its vibrant business sector.
A flight from Calgary to Vancouver marked the launch of low-cost carrier Lynx Air in YYC. By July, the Calgary-based airline wants to see 148 domestic flights in and out of Calgary each week on more than a dozen routes. There are other budget airlines entering the market and we’re hopeful some always-healthy competition will lower prices for flights within Canada and beyond.
- The debate over the “Thin Blue Line” patches continued, with the Calgary Police Association, the union representing police officers, encouraging defiance of the patch ban, arguing that the symbol signifies support for other officers - particularly those killed on duty. Councillor Gian-Carlo Carra, also a member of the Police Commission, believes the patches are a “known hate symbol whose origins are buried in hateful thoughts and hateful deeds” and said there will be a “reckoning” for officers who choose to continue wearing it. Police Chief Mark Neufeld has extended the deadline for removal of the patches, noting morale issues and an erosion of trust between officers and the Commission.
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