Calgary Minute: Plastics Bylaw, Confederation Park, and a Downtown Vacancy Report
Calgary Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Calgary politics
This Week In Calgary:
On Tuesday, at 9:30 am, there will be a City Council meeting. There will be a discussion about adjusting ward boundaries due to recent annexations. These adjustments do not impact any residents or change any populations inside wards, and will not be part of the current Ward Boundary Commission’s mandate, “which is to review the effectiveness of the 14-ward system with no change to the number of Councillors”. Council will also discuss 2024 Board appointments and budgets for the City’s Business Improvement Areas.
There will be a meeting of the Green Line Board on Thursday at 12:00 pm. No agenda is available for this meeting yet.
- The annual YYC Hot Chocolate Fest, featuring over 100 specialty hot chocolates from various cafes and restaurants, begins on February 1st. The charitable competition involves the sale of innovative hot chocolates, including both non-alcoholic and boozy options, with a portion of the proceeds donated to Calgary Meals on Wheels. The 2023 edition was highly successful, selling over 70,000 hot chocolates and raising $100,000 for charity. Following the event, awards will be presented for the city's best hot chocolates.
Last Week In Calgary:
Calgary’s single-use items bylaw came into effect, and Councillors have been hearing frustration from their constituents. Councillor Jennifer Wyness said she will bring a Notice of Motion to scrap the bylaw to an upcoming Council meeting. Even Premier Danielle Smith noted that ideology is getting in the way of common sense, and we couldn’t agree more! Smith has asked Ric McIver, the Minister of Municipal Affairs, to look into these bylaws. We're running a petition calling on Council to scrap the ridiculous bylaw, so if you haven’t signed it yet, click here to make your voice heard.
The deadline has passed for submissions to develop the old seniors' home on Confederation Park, known as the Confederation Park Commons. The seniors’ lodge, which opened in 1976 and closed in April 2022, is set to be demolished. It is situated on land owned by the Province, and, in November 2023, the Province issued a request for expressions of interest from organizations interested in developing the property as part of efforts to expand access to affordable housing. Various proposals are anticipated, with organizations like Silvera for Seniors expressing interest in building on the prime real estate, potentially incorporating a mix of market and affordable housing.
- Calgary commercial real estate firm Barclay Street Real Estate has challenged prevailing analyses with a new report, suggesting a downtown office vacancy rate of 20.8%, in contrast to other reports like CBRE's, which estimates 30.2%. Barclay Street differentiates between vacant (no lease) and available (empty but with a lease in place) office space. The report attributes a decrease in available office space to the absorption of 395,000 square feet in Q4 2023, influenced by remote work. Despite a slow rebound, the report anticipates a positive trajectory for downtown office space in 2024.
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