Calgary Minute: Tower Conversion, Station Closures, and Green Line Over Budget Again
Calgary Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Calgary politics
This Week In Calgary:
On Thursday, the Citizen-Led Selection Committee for the Integrity Commissioner will meet at 9:30 am. The Committee will recommend a replacement for former Integrity Commissioner Meryl Whittaker, who vacated her role in late October. In case you've forgotten, former Mayor Naheed Nenshi has found himself a seat on this committee and, while technically he is a citizen, it doesn’t sit quite right with us that Mayor Gondek’s immediate predecessor has been appointed to a "citizen-led" committee.
Starting Tuesday, 911 operators will begin an initiative to connect some callers to either 211 or the Distress Centre. The idea is that mental health and addiction calls which are not emergencies do not need to receive a police dispatch. The call diversion program aims to get people the type of help they need, when they need it.
The Calgary Real Estate Board expects home prices in the city to continue to rise, predicting a likely increase of over 4% in 2022. This would bump the average price for a detached home up to $549,662. Sales are expected to remain strong due to limited supply and people’s ability to save money during COVID-19. It’s almost like handing out cash had some unintended consequences. What should we actually do to make housing more affordable? We could start by removing restrictive zoning laws and building more homes.
Last Week In Calgary:
The Green Line project is at risk of going over budget. Again. In other news, water is wet. This is not the first time - nor is it likely to be the last - that we’ve discussed the continual ballooning of this project’s budget. The Board Chair says he has a “low level of confidence” in the City’s ability to keep Phase 1 within the available funding. Yep, us too! The Board still maintains that they are on track to release the main contract for the Green Line by the end of the quarter, and that it is too early to panic yet.
An office tower in downtown Calgary will be converted into 82 affordable housing units for families and seniors. What used to be the offices of Dome Petroleum will also contain 10 transitional housing units, family shelter space, and services like child care. The project is slated for completion in the fall and will cost $30 million, with the City contributing $5.5 million and the remainder coming from the provincial and federal governments. The per-unit price of the units will be $256,000.
- LRT station closures have been expanded over increased social disorder concerns. Initially, stations were closed overnight but property damage, physical altercations, and public health issues have prompted round-the-clock closures. Anderson, Southland, Heritage, and Erlton Stampede Park stations are all closed for indoor access.
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