Calgary Minute: Tax Increases, Office Conversions, and Downtown West Revitalization
Calgary Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Calgary politics
This Week In Calgary:
There will be a Public Hearing Meeting of Council on Tuesday at 9:30 am. The meeting will deal with some proposed new street names as well as many land use amendments.
On Wednesday, at 9:30 am, there will be a meeting of the Intergovernmental Affairs Committee. No agenda is available for this meeting yet. The Calgary Planning Commission is scheduled to meet on Thursday at 1:00 pm. No agenda is available for this meeting yet either.
- Thirty new transit peace officers are set to get to work as part of the City’s plan to enhance safety at LRT stations. The Public Transit Safety Strategy, awaiting budget approval, allocates $15 million for structural changes, including a “district model” that would see teams based out of three hubs near high-risk platforms. The plan is for each of these hubs - in Westbrook, downtown, and Whitehorn - to have 61 officers and security guards, aiming for a seven- to ten-minute response time for transit-related calls. This recent graduating class is the third one this year.
Last Week In Calgary:
Council got a look at proposed budget changes that could result in residential property taxes increasing by up to 7.8%. Administration said it’s been a challenge to balance affordability with necessary investments as the city grows. Facing a fiscal gap of $311 million annually, primarily due to increased costs and funding shortfalls, the City is considering a one-time investment of $57.5 million for an updated housing strategy and an additional $15 million for a public transit safety strategy. The proposed plan also involves gradually shifting the tax rate ratio from non-residential to residential over the next three years. Watch your inbox - we’ll have more details for you soon, including how you can offer your feedback.
A 78-page report detailing a plan to revitalize Calgary's Downtown West was made public. Prepared by the Calgary Downtown Association, Stantec’s Urban Places, and the Kensington Business Improvement Association, the plan outlines a vision for the area west of the downtown core near Millennium Park. The report suggests several major projects, as well as “quick wins" like temporary dog parks or other public spaces. It also recommends expediting the approval process for developers to minimize delays and costs.
- The City revealed plans to convert three downtown towers into residential housing and hotel units. The Dominion Centre at 665 Eighth Street SW will be turned into 132 new homes, with at least 25% offered at affordable rates. The second phase of Palliser One at 125 Ninth Avenue SW will see 206,000 square feet of office space converted into 219 homes, making it the city's largest office conversion project to date. Additionally, the project at 833 Fourth Avenue SW will become the Element by Westin, a long-stay hotel with 226 suites. The City has invested approximately $50 million in these projects, alongside $194 million of private sector investment.
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