Calgary Minute: Transit Strategy, Bureaucracy Restructuring, and Accelerator Fund Approval
Calgary Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Calgary politics
This Week In Calgary:
On Tuesday, at 9:30 am, there will be a Strategic Meeting of Council. The bulk of the meeting will be held in-camera (in secret) discussing two confidential agenda items - one entitled “Municipal Fiscal Gap” and the other entitled “Strategic Discussion on Building and Delivering on Plans and Budgets”.
Council is on holiday for the rest of the week, while the Alberta Municipalities Convention and Trade Show takes place in Edmonton. Elected officials from most of Alberta’s municipalities attend the event, and this year’s schedule features educational sessions on bus fleet electrification, attracting film productions to municipalities, Council codes of conduct, and more.
- A new app is aiming to help pedestrians, particularly those with mobility challenges, find the most accessible and barrier-free routes in the city. The app, called Pedesting, combines building blueprints with crowd-sourced information to assist users in planning routes, identifying barriers like stairs, and locating accessibility features such as ramps, elevators, and accessible restrooms. The goal is to expand the app's coverage to more areas in the downtown core and beyond, including office towers, the Plus 15 network, and educational institutions.
Last Week In Calgary:
The Infrastructure and Planning Committee heard that Calgary's RouteAhead strategy, aimed at enhancing transit service and frequency, is expected to incur significant costs over the next decade. The plan seeks to provide more frequent service along the Primary Transit Network, with a target of service every 10 minutes for at least 15 hours a day, seven days a week. To achieve these goals, $755 million in capital costs will be needed, including $405 million for procuring 540 new buses and $350 million for a new storage and maintenance facility. Additionally, Calgary Transit's operating budget would need an increase of $127.4 million by 2034 to cover the cost of increased service hours, fuel, maintenance, and other operational expenses. The funding will require multiple requests to Council over the next decade, with the first expected during budget deliberations in November.
Calgary has received approval for federal funding from Ottawa's Housing Accelerator Fund after Council’s adoption of a new seven-year housing strategy, aimed at increasing market and non-market housing supply by easing residential zoning restrictions and expediting affordable housing projects. The Housing Accelerator Fund is a federal program with a $4 billion budget, designed to encourage Canadian cities to build more high-density housing. The specific funding amount for Calgary remains confidential until a more formal announcement is made.
- David Duckworth, Calgary’s City Manager, is creating a new Chief Operating Officer (COO) position. Stuart Dalgleish, currently the General Manager of Planning and Development Services, will assume the COO role and oversee public-facing City departments including planning, infrastructure, operational services, and community services. Debra Hamilton, the head of the Calgary Planning Commission, will fill the General Manager position until a permanent replacement is hired, and Duckworth will change his title to Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) to align with industry standards. Mayor Jyoti Gondek said Council doesn't weigh in on operating decisions as Duckworth is the one in charge of the bureaucracy.
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