Calgary Minute: Tree Disposal, Liveability Index, and a Happy New Year
Calgary Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Calgary politics
This Week In Calgary:
Happy New Year! This year, our resolution is to fight for a City government that champions common sense solutions and fiscal responsibility. Thank you for all the support you showed us in 2023. If you’d like to make a contribution to our continued production of these newsletters, please click here to make a donation. May the year ahead be marked by thoughtful spending, transparent governance, and a commitment to making Calgary the best city to live, work, play, raise a family, and retire!
There are no Council or Committee meetings this week. Official business resumes on January 10th, with a meeting of the Infrastructure and Planning Committee.
- If you need to dispose of your Christmas tree, the City is offering options. To prepare your real tree for collection, remove all decorations and cut it into small pieces, before placing it in your green cart, ensuring the lid can close. If the cart is full, you can put it in paper waste bags placed two feet from the cart. Non-compliant trees won't be collected, and it's advised not to wrap, tie, or bag the tree, even if the bag is labeled as compostable or biodegradable. Drop-off locations across the city are also available until January 31st for additional disposal options.
Last Week In Calgary:
Mayor Jyoti Gondek gave a year-end interview, and said that the 7.8% property tax increase for homeowners in 2024 should be considered an anomaly and not the norm in the coming years. She said that, in 2023, housing, safety, and public transit were Council’s three priorities. Gondek claimed that public feedback from community surveys and hearings emphasized the need to adequately fund programs related to these priorities, leading to their permanent integration into the City's budget - and the massive tax hike. Unfortunately, we haven’t seen much improvement in any of those areas - certainly not enough to justify a tax increase.
The Fire Chief also gave a year-end interview. He said that the Calgary Fire Department has experienced an "explosive" growth in call volume, responding to approximately 94,000 calls by the end of the year, marking a significant increase from the previous years. The surge was attributed to a 9% rise in fire calls and a 22% increase in medical calls, with over half of the medical calls related to overdoses. The opioid crisis and the growing city population were cited as contributing factors. The medical response unit, expected to handle nearly 7,000 calls, has become the busiest in the department. Funding increases are anticipated to improve response times and add resources to the department, including recruiting and training 132 new firefighters in 2024.
- Calgary ranked seventh globally on the latest liveability index by the Economic Intelligence Unit. Vancouver claimed the top spot in Canada, securing the fifth position globally. Calgary’s perfect scores in stability, healthcare, education, and infrastructure were countered by a lower score in culture and environment, ranking ninth in that category.
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