Dear Haysboro ,
As we enter into discussions for the 2017 budget, we are faced with some important and difficult decisions both as City Council and as a community. I attempted to explain that last week through a number of media interviews and as often can happen, particularly in print media where space often overrides context, some meaning got lost.
So, I would like to give you an understanding of where I am coming from as we have this conversation. And indeed, it must be a conversation between you, me, and the rest of the City. These types of decisions require us to consider the desires and needs not just for ourselves but also for our fellow Calgarians.
Developing a budget is always a balancing act. Essentially, with our taxes and fees we are buying services. Garbage collection, clean water, emergency response, parks and recreation, and libraries, to name just a few, are all services we receive as a result of taxes. Delivering those services is balanced by what we can afford and our revenues.
The original tax rate for 2017 set out in our 4 year plan two years ago was for a tax increase of 4.7%. Since then, with ongoing work by city administration, we have identified that we can maintain service levels as they exist today with a 3.2% tax increase for 2017. Over the past two years, city administration has found $86 million per year in efficiencies. That was a $50 million reduction in 2015, a further $36 million in 2016, and now they have committed to finding another $15 million in 2017. That is $100 million per year of efficiencies without impacting service.
Council received that information earlier in June and subsequently asked Administration to bring us back scenarios for tax increases ranging between 3.2% down to a 0% tax for 2017. To achieve a 0% tax increase we would need to identify about $66 million in cuts from our budget. With the already achieved $100 million in efficiencies, there are limited options left.
$66 million is not a small amount. To put that number into context, the funding for the Public Library is $40 million per year. Our snow clearing budget is $35 million per year. From a property tax perspective, the impact of every 1% increase results in an $18 dollar per year increase on the average home (today that is a home assessed at $480,000).
As well, property taxes go towards the operating budget and not the capital budget. So our construction projects around the City, from roads & bridges, to bikeways and BRTs do not affect the property tax. An example would be that the construction of a fire hall is not paid for through property taxes, but the firefighters in that hall are.
A second piece to consider as we look at our overall operating budget, primarily funded through property taxes, is that the majority of the City of Calgary’s labour force is unionized. As such, wages and salaries are determined by collective agreements across several bargaining units. These are contracts that were negotiated in good faith by all parties. 2017 marks the final year of many of the collective agreements across the City, so we can definitely anticipate a different negotiating environment leading to the next agreements.
As well, City Council wages have been determined by policy to be adjusted by the average change in weekly salaries of Alberta workers. If the average wage across the province goes up by 1%, Council salaries are adjusted accordingly. If the average wage goes down, which is where we are right now, then Council salaries will go down the same amount. I am a firm believer that City Council should not be adjusting or setting their wages themselves. That is why I support the formula established by a committee of citizens who examined Council compensation and determined the manner in which compensation is adjusted.
I very much would like to get the tax increase as low as possible. I want to have the discussion of which services we could see less of. I am certainly not advocating that we close our libraries or eliminate our snow clearing program. We will need to look across all departments & services to consider where we find the cuts. It has been typical of Council to exclude police and fire from budget cuts. With those two areas being among our largest budget spends, that increases the impact on other departments such as transit, parks, community and neighbourhood services, and recreation.
I would like to hear from you. Which areas would you be willing to reduce service in? Which are the most important to you to maintain service? How do you feel about exempting Fire and Police from budget cuts? What level of tax increase would you be willing to accept? (Understanding that we would all prefer a 0% increase!) As part of this conversation around the Council table, I need to hear your voice and be able to share your concerns and desires.
Please let me know your thoughts on this.
Thanks for reading and I hope to hear from you soon.
Councillor, Ward 11
The City of Calgary
Address: PO Box 2100, Stn M. #8001A, Calgary, AB T2P 3M5
On April 20th, next Wednesday, a report is coming to the Transit and Transportation committee with an update on the BRT Program across the city. You can find the full report by clicking on this link.
The alternative of either doing nothing or to expand our existing roadways is neither acceptable nor sustainable. In some cases, roadway expansion demands the expropriation of homes. In order to attract better services and jobs to our communities, we need to invest in infrastructure that is more inclusive and the best possible allocation of taxpayers’ dollars. Investment in public transit provides a service to those who use it, in the form of transportation options, and those who don’t, in the form of less traffic. Everyone benefits from improved transit, which is why cities invest in it.
The BRT Program
The BRT Program, technically referred to as “Program 566”, includes the SW BRT, and is one of four BRT projects that the city is working on. Together, these routes connect the four corners of our city to our LRT lines, to our educational institutions, to our downtown core, and to important services and cultural attractions. The BRT Program offers a fast and reliable service between communities and activity centres. Think about an LRT level of service that can be accomplished with a bus. Please see the attached Primary Transit Network map.
The SW Transitway BRTThe SW BRT will bring an increased level of transit to residents along the SW corridor, who currently don’t have access to a baseline level of service. Please see the attached Transit Service Coverage map. We must support young families moving back to our inner communities, and assist seniors who choose to retire in them. Currie Barracks will attract an additional 14,000 people to live and work along the SW Corridor in the very near future. New communities south of Fish Creek Park will add more vehicle traffic to 14thStreet, even with the addition of the South West Ring Road. For both new and existing residents in Ward 11, the provision of multi-modal, multi-rider transportation networks is paramount. The SW BRT is very important for the future quality of life in Ward 11, and I fully support it.
While I fully support this project, it does not mean I believe it shouldn’t be conducted prudently. In learning through the report that the updated cost estimate for the SW Transitway BRT is higher than the original estimate set out in the 2010 functional study, we need to understand how a significant change could occur, even though the cost escalation can be accommodated in the overall budget for the BRT Program. We require an explanation for the cost escalation and how it may impact the other routes; we need a detailed understanding of the phasing and timing for this project; we need to understand how work on this project is being coordinated with ATCO; and, we need to understand the interaction of this project with commercial and residential developments that are coming forward in the SW Corridor. We will work with administration to ensure that these questions are answered at the Transit and Transportation Committee meeting on April 20th.
Councillor, Ward 11
The City of Calgary403-268-5056 (Office)403-268-8091 (Fax)
Mail Code: 8001A
March 15th meeting at Carriage House is Cancelled
Online forum will be online at City of Calgary website soon.
The Importance of Reporting Crime
Did you know that a substantial amount of crime isn’t reported to police?
There are many reasons that people choose not to report a criminal offence. They may feel that it is too minor in nature or that nothing can or will be done. They may feel that it’s not worth the time or effort or that police have more important things to do.
The Calgary Police Service pays close attention to reported crime statistics within communities and across areas of the city. In fact, statistical analysis can be a driving force behind how our Service chooses where and how to deploy resources.
Analysis of reported crime allows police to identify ‘hot spots’ of activity and also helps to measure and pinpoint emerging crime trends. A lack of accurate data makes identification of these locations difficult and unreliable.
So-called ‘minor’ crimes such as car-prowling (theft from vehicles), vandalism and other property related crime can be an indicator of a larger problem in a community. An increase in these types of crimes can indicate that an offender has moved into an area, that additional police resources are needed, or that something else has changed within the community. Becoming aware of each of these factors is important for police to move forward in addressing community concerns.
How to report a non-emergency crime
The emergence of technology has made crime reporting much easier and faster, and allows police to obtain an up-to-date glimpse of what is going on in the community.
- Online – www.calgarypolice.ca
- By phone – 403-266-1234 (police non-emergency line)
- Walk-in to your local District office
If there is an ongoing situation within your community, you also have the option of contacting your area Community Resource Officer (CRO) through your local District office to make them aware.
How else can you help?
- Encourage your family, friends and neighbours to report crime or suspicious activity within your community.
- Be aware of your surroundings. If something or someone seems out of place, there is likely a good reason for this. Report any suspicious behaviour to the police.
- Lock it up! Don’t provide offenders with any opportunity – secure your vehicle, garage and home (including closing windows when you are away and at night).
Cold-Weather Vehicle Theft
Vehicle theft is an ongoing concern within the city of Calgary. Each year, as the weather cools, the Calgary Police Service receives an increase in stolen vehicle thefts, targeting unlocked vehicles left running (warming up). With this in mind, please consider:
What can you do to prevent vehicle theft?
Remember, a few minutes braving the cold with your vehicle can save you from a headache down the line.
Dear Haysboro Community Association:
We are writing to share information about a City project your members may be interested in knowing more about and participating in. The Flood Mitigation Measures Assessment project fulfills one of the 27 recommendations of the Expert Management Panel on River Flood Mitigation. The focus of the project is to develop a comprehensive list of flood mitigation measures for the city of Calgary. As part of the project, we are gathering community input which will help inform recommendations to Council.
We are creating a Community Advisory Group for this project. The aim of the Community Advisory Group will be to work collaboratively with The City’s team to evaluate and analyse flood mitigation measures in Calgary communities. Applications from are welcome until closing on Feb 24, 2016.
There are many opportunities to get involved and to share input in addition to the Community Advisory Group. For more information on the project, the Community Advisory Group and engagement opportunities, please click here.
In closing, we ask for your help sharing this opportunity. If possible, could you please put the following information on your community website or newsletter.
Carolyn Bowen M.Sc.
Program Manager, Flood Resiliency and Mitigation
Water Resources | The City of Calgary
Mail code #438 | PO Box 2100, Stn. M, Calgary AB, T2P 2M5
T 403.268.2509 | C 403.801.2074
Community Advisory Group - Get Involved
Building resiliency to flooding is a top priority for The City. Since the 2013 flood, we have repaired, restored and recovered from devastating and costly flood damage. With much of the recovery well on its way, our focus is to ensure we build flood resilience by implementing the 27 recommendations of the Expert Management Panel on River Flood Mitigation.
Now, we are advancing further by developing a comprehensive suite of mitigation measures for Calgary through a consultative, citizen-focused approach.
The best decisions involve community input
In the upcoming months, The City will be meeting with citizens, stakeholder groups, community organizations and orders of government. The input gathered will be used to develop The City’s comprehensive suite of flood mitigation measures for the Bow and Elbow rivers.
Join the Community Advisory Group (CAG)
The City of Calgary is looking for community members from 2013 flood-affected and non-flood affected communities, business and interested representatives to participate in the Flood Mitigation Measures Community Advisory Group.
The Community Advisory Group will provide input concerning flood mitigation measures to The City, who will then make recommendations for decisions by Council.
Join us in developing the comprehensive suite of flood mitigation measures which will protect citizens, properties, critical infrastructure, vital services, communities and downtown from future river flood events.
To learn more about the selection process and to participate in the Community Advisory Group, please click here.
There are many opportunities to get involved and to share input in addition to the Community Advisory Group. For more information on the project, the Community Advisory Group and engagement opportunities, please visit calgary.ca/floodinfo.
Welcome to the third iteration of your Ward 11 newsletter. We hope you find this information helpful to inform and update you on key issues and happenings in Ward 11.
SW Transitway BRT Public Information Session Dates
The Project Team is confirming a couple additional information sessions. My team and I will be attending the City-held sessions.
Action Plan Check-In: Pop Up Engagement
Crowchild Trail Study Drop-In Open House Dates
37th Street Stormtrunk Relocation Project
In preparation of Phase II of the 37th Street Stormtrunk Relocation Project, geotechnical work is needed to identify the underground conditions required for the detailed design of the storm trunk and outfall. You will notice periodic pathway closures in North Glenmore Park and some equipment noise can be expected.
50th Avenue Corridor Study
The City of Calgary is beginning a Transportation Corridor Study of 50th Avenue SW between Crowchild Trail and 14A Street SW. This corridor study will identify current issues and concerns with 50th Avenue SW and will provide recommendations for future improvements.
Calgary South West Ring Road
Through 2016, The City will coordinate the projects, which will be designed and constructed over the next five years, before the SWCRR opens in 2021. More information on the designs and schedule for each project will become available as the design work progresses through 2016.
Crowchild Trail/Flanders Avenue Interchange
Construction of the Crowchild Trail/Flanders Avenue Interchange is underway. The Flanders Avenue Bridge has been demolished, and Flanders Avenue is closed from Richard Road S.W. east to Amiens Road S.W. Both the bridge and the new roundabouts will be open to traffic in fall 2016.
Construction is well underway, and the skatepark should be ready for early Spring 2016! Here's an Engagement Timeline Summary of the Southwood Skatepark.
Please feel free to share this newsletter with your network, and encourage your neighbours to subscribe to these updates.
Brian & the Ward 11 Team
Many people have brought to my attention that a lobby group is hosting a “Community Information Forum” on the SW Transitway BRT project this week.
I want to clarify that this is not a City of Calgary sanctioned event and is not representative of the work the SW Transitway team is doing.
The project team has and will continue to be engaged with all stakeholders along the transitway route. The project is now in the detailed design phase. In this phase, the project team is working with stakeholders to get their feedback and input into the design. This then informs the design work which will be presented back to the community.
Background, facts and other project details can be found on the City’s SW Transitway BRT Project website.
It is anticipated that the SW Transitway project team will be hosting information sessions in the coming months. Please stay tuned, as my office will be letting you know about the information session dates.
Please don't hesitate to get in touch with my office about this, or any other issue.
Councillor, Ward 11
The City of Calgary403-268-5056 (Office)403-268-8091 (Fax)
Mail Code: 8001A
I’ve heard a lot of questions and concerns on the Southwest (SW) Transitway Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)project. My office is in close contact with the Transit Team as well as Community Associations as this project progresses. I want to take the opportunity to address some of the misinformation currently in circulation. Please read below, and my FAQ Sheet on the SW Transitway BRT.
The SW Transitway is about improving transit for SW Calgary communities. I put forward the Notice of Motion to address the communities south of the Glenmore Reservoir that are significantly underserved by transit. I have been talking about this project throughout the communities for the past five years, as this is a solution towards getting people out of SW Calgary in a more effective and efficient way, whether you take transit or not.
The project is not widening or expanding 14thStreet. It will remain a six lane arterial roadway, with the same speed limits. The SW BRT project is about reconfiguring 14th Street so that busses will be out of traffic. The project is within the existing road right of way. No parks will be impacted; however, some grass boulevards will be impacted, as they are in the road right of way.
The project is scheduled to begin construction in 2016 and is expected to take two years to build, connecting Woodbine to the Downtown. There are no parking lots, park n’ rides, or bus depots planned along the route.
The transitway anticipates removing up to 10,000 vehicles from the 14th Street corridor leading to a decrease in noise and air pollution. As well, the City is purchasing natural gas buses which will further reduce air pollution not just on the 14th street corridor, but across the city.
The Ring Road is designed as a car and truck route to bypass southwest Calgary, and as such will not have transit on it. It won’t do anything towards improving transit for SW Calgary. So, the SW Transitway and the SW Ring Road are serving different people and meeting completely different needs and demands. They are complementary to each other.
When funding was secured in September, the Transit Team was able to move forward with more engagement and the detailed project design. In this phase of work, the Transit Team is and will continue to engage with stakeholders. They are taking away this information and working to incorporate it into the detailed designs plans.
The Transit Team will hold more information sessions in Q1 of the New Year. As we receive further information and updates, we will be sure to share it with you. Subscribe to Ward 11 updates to stay connected.
Sign up for our newsletter at
I wanted to update everyone on the Southwest Transitway Bus-Rapid-Transit (BRT) project, which looks like it is finally moving forward.
In 2010, the City held a series of public engagement sessions to gather citizen input on this proposed southwest BRT system. The transition from regular bus service to BRT service takes place when a number of conditions exist including: high ridership; supportive travel patterns (common origins/destinations on major travel corridors); supportive land use; and the need to move citizens quickly and more reliably than regular bus service can accommodate. A functional planning study was commissioned, and approved by Council in 2011.
Council directed administration to apply for dedicated funding for this project under the Government of Alberta’s GreenTRIP program. This September 2015, funds were granted by the provincial government for this important traffic-reducing BRT line. The City held two information sessions on the SW Transitway (called a Transitway to distinguish it from existing BRT’s) and the SW Ring Road on October 27th and October 29th. Unfortunately, the announcement of receiving this GreenTRIP funding arrived after the deadline for community newsletter submissions, but the Transportation Department did communicate the information sessions to the Community Associations and by placing neon bold signs in the affected communities.
The bus stops largely overlap with pre-existing transit stops, especially from downtown to 14th Street SW and 75th Avenue SW. New stops will be introduced on 14th Street, which will align with major activity centres of Heritage Park, the Rockyview Hospital, and Glenmore Landing.
Transitway lanes will be either added or dedicated to bus use only, as the goal of the project is to ensure a reliable travel time for communities south of the Glenmore Reservoir similar to what would be experienced on an LRT. In conjunction with the construction of the bus lanes on the west side of 14th Street, the Transportation Department is crafting options to streamline the flow of traffic along this corridor.
I recognize that traffic volumes have been a serious issue in this corridor for years. Implementing a transitway allows the City of Calgary to effectively provide citizens with more options for getting around the city and getting cars off the road. This new transitway will help to relieve congestion, and connect all of you to major destinations in southwest Calgary and downtown.
Construction is expected to begin in 2016, and completion is currently targeted for the end of 2018. As with all major projects, short-term inconveniences due to construction will occur. Transportation will be working on construction staging and traffic management plans to minimize impacts as much as possible.
For maps and other detailed information, please visit www.calgary.ca/swtransitway.
Please contact me with any questions or concerns. Please sign up to receive communications regarding this and other ward updates at www.ward11calgary.ca, or by emailing my office at email@example.com. Feel free to connect with me on Twitter @bpincott, or on Facebook at Brian Pincott, Councillor Ward 11.
Councillor, Ward 11
The City of Calgary403-268-5056 (Office)403-268-8091 (Fax)
Mail Code: 8001A
To sign up for regular updates from the Ward 11 office regarding city related issues and community events, please visit the Ward 11 website.
Haysboro Community Association
1204 89th Avenue SW. Calgary, AB. T2V 0W4.