Story: , ,

Take Mayor Nenshi's Walk Challenge


Today, Mayor Naheed Nenshi joined with parents and a teacher to launch Mayor Nenshi’s Walk Challenge—a campaign to encourage Calgary kids to walk (or bike or rollerblade or any form of active transportation) to school this year. By walking to school, Calgary kids can help reduce the emission of greenhouse gasses in our environment, get additional exercise to stay fit and healthy, and do better in school. With more kids walking to school, we can also reduce the traffic congestion on streets around our schools.

Media and the public can learn more about Mayor Nenshi’s Walk Challenge at Calgary.ca/WalkChallenge. Anyone taking up the challenge is encouraged to share their experience on Facebook (at Facebook.com/WalkChallenge) or Twitter (using #yycwalk).

“I know that a lot of families are very busy getting prepared for school and work every day,” said Mayor Nenshi. “But incorporating an additional 15 or 20 minutes into your routine can yield big benefits.”

Mayor Nenshi was joined today by:

  • Tiffany Stones – A parent in Altadore who, with the help of other parents in the area, organized a Walking School Bus.
  • Lori Beattie - A parent in Elboya who helped her child and his friends set up a “bike gang” that bikes to school year-round.
  • Debbie Rheinstein – A teacher at Captain Nichola Goddard School who supported her students as they created the Green Commuting Hubs program as part of their 2014 Mayor’s Environment Expo project.
Story: ,

Column: Cities matter, but does the next Premier know?

Like many Albertans, I was excited about the Progressive Conservative leadership race. The battle to be our next premier had attracted three good candidates with very different philosophies. And it would unfold over many months, giving Albertans plenty of time to see the candidates interact, and for the candidates to share their visions for the province and the policies to make those visions real.

As we know, the experience has been quite different. There have been few debates, and the policy announcements have ranged from the irrelevant to the bizarre. I’ve heard few specifics about the issues that Albertans consistently rank as most important to them whether it be education funding, significant improvement to the health care system, or (of course) Alberta’s big cities.

Nonetheless, I have a lot of respect for all three candidates. I had the chance to sit down with all three earlier this summer and had great meetings with each. They listened and engaged intently as I highlighted the issues of concern to The City of Calgary.

All do agree that the relationship between The City and The Province was broken, and that the funding model—under which Calgary taxpayers send $4 billion more to The Province than we receive in all provincial services every year—needed to be addressed.

We have to have these conversations because they matter so much to the lives of Calgarians. For example, the creation of the Green Line (the north-central and south-east LRT) is a priority for our citizens, but if we can’t figure out how to cover the $5 billion price tag together, it will not get built. We need that and so much other infrastructure because the growth of our cities—and the needs associated with that growth—is very real. In the last three years, Calgary gained more people than the entire population of Red Deer. We need to act now to find solutions to that and other topics ranging from providing front-line services to eliminating homelessness and poverty in our cities.

With this in mind, I asked the candidates to respond to a survey called Cities Matter. We’ve done this before. In the last PC leadership race and in the last provincial election, we asked each candidate or party specific questions on how they would address city issues, and they all did so. We published their results verbatim to help voters make up their minds.

This time around, all the campaigns responded to the survey without any prodding, and we’ve once again posted the results at CitiesMatter.ca.

I will admit that I am a bit disappointed. No candidate staked out any bold positions. The answers ranged from vague (at best) to taking us backward (at worst).

We’ve been working diligently on a city charter, for example, through three premiers and four municipal affairs ministers. The PC Party in the last election highlighted the need for these charters. However, all three candidates would take us a step backward on this, something that Calgarians and Edmontonians can ill afford.

None of the candidates offered a clear way forward on the stalled Calgary Metropolitan Plan, and none talked in any detail about how they would assist cities with the cost of growth, infrastructure, downloaded social servicing or policing. None could even muster up the ability to say that abruptly cutting all funding to Calgary’s Performing Arts Centre (a tiny amount for this government but huge for the arts community) was a mistake.

What I am looking for is specific policy ideas that we could debate and discuss with citizens. Even if the policy positions were “the Mayor is wrong and here’s why”, we’d have a place to begin.

There was some good news: all three candidates will review (and hopefully reverse) Alberta Health Services’ decision to make unnecessary, costly changes to a 911 system that is working very well as it is. All of them were willing to work with the cities as partners, not as enemies. If we’re going to ensure the prosperity of this province and its citizens, we must work together to build the cities we need—cities that move, that are affordable, and where people want to live and thrive.

All five parties in the last election agreed that the current system doesn’t work and that change is needed. The Opposition parties have, in varying degrees, developed plans, policies, and commitments to fix the problems. Some are good, some are bad, but they exist.

Our new Premier will have a short period of time to catch up and prove to all Albertans that cities matter. And I sincerely look forward to working with him to help make that happen.

- Mayor Naheed Nenshi
Story: ,

Cities Matter: The 2014 PC Leadership edition



Fellow Calgarians and Albertans,

Today, we are relaunching CitiesMatter.ca--the home for responses from Alberta's Progressive Conservative (PC) Leadership Candidates about the issues facing our cities today. Please visit it and share it with your colleagues, friends, and family.

Strong, healthy cities require thoughtful vision and action from all orders of government. But if we don’t ask our politicians for that, we may never get it. There is often a sad lack of discussion (from the provincial and federal governments) about the issues that affect us every day. Supporting front-line services, eliminating homelessness and poverty, fixing the fiscal imbalance, and creating a sustainable transportation strategy with cities (just to name a few topics) all too often fall off the political radar.

CitiesMatter.ca is one way we--the citizens of cities--can raise our voices to ensure better discussions with our politicians about how we can make our cities better. During the last provincial election (April 2012) and the last PC leadership race (October 2011) The City of Calgary surveyed provincial political parties and leadership candidates about the issues that matter most to cities.

Thank you to all the candidates for responding to the survey, and congratulations to all the candidates and volunteers who participated in this race. It takes a lot to put yourself out there and represent your fellow citizens.

And thank you all for visiting and exploring CitiesMatter.ca. Your participation in these issues makes a difference, and it shows that cities do (truly) matter.

[UPDATE: I've now posted my analysis of the responses from the three candidates.]

Sincerely,

Mayor Naheed Nenshi
Story:

Looking for volunteers!

Fellow Calgarians, we need your help.

When my colleagues on City Council and I make decisions, we look for guidance from our Boards, Commission and Committees (BCCs). And we now have some openings that need volunteers.

The citizens who volunteer on these BCCs bring important expertise and perspective that we is invaluable for us here at City Hall.

We are currently recruiting volunteers to serve on the various BCCs. Here are just a few that need filling:
  • Audit Committee - Contribute to overseeing financial matters at The City and provide input into the decision making process at City Council.
  • eGovernment Strategy Advisory Committee - Monitor and guide the overall vision, strategy, and program plan for eGovernment at the City of Calgary.
  • Heritage Authority - Provide advice to City Council on all matters related to historic resources in the City, including the restoration, alteration, and demolition of sites in The City’s heritage inventory.
  • Saddledome Foundation - Contribute to the operation of the Scotiabank Saddledome for the benefit of amateur athletics, hockey development, and research.
  • Public Art Board - Promote awareness of art in The City and act as a resource to City Council on all public art matters.
  • Aboriginal Urban Affairs Committee - Represent the concerns of Aboriginal Calgarians to City Council. Investigate areas of concern to people of Aboriginal ancestry and make recommendations on policies and resolutions that would give urban Aboriginal people a more meaningful role within the Calgary community.
Please visit calgary.ca/cityclerks to view the full listing of BCCs with current vacancies and find information on how to apply. Although some positions have specific eligibility requirements, most member positions require only your enthusiasm, interest, and commitment.

The deadline for applications is 4:30 p.m., Friday, September 19, 2014. I look forward to having you help us make important decisions that affect all our fellow citizens.

- Mayor Naheed Nenshi
Story: ,

Mayor Nenshi's office budget and expenses: January 1 - May 31, 2014

Below are the Mayor’s Office budget and expenses for January 1, 2014 to May 31, 2014. This is part of City Council's disclosure policy and our ongoing commitment to transparency and openness.

The information includes:
  • a budget summary
  • details of the expenses in areas like travel, hosting, and communication
Download and view the operating budget for the Office of the Mayor.

Download and view the expenses for the Office of the Mayor.

During this period, Mayor Nenshi did some travel. Those travel expenses are included in the above documents. However, some travel was paid for by third parties (e.g.: conference organizers). Those include:

  • International Leaders Program (London, UK), Feb. 1-8 - UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office
  • LondonX Conference (London, ON), Mar. 1 - LondonX
  • BC Southern Interior Local Government Association (Penticton, BC), May 1-3 - SILGA
  • Annual Meeting of Northwest Territories Communities, (Inuvik, NT), May 8-9 - NWT Association of Communities


Story: ,

Real-time bus info coming to Calgary Transit

This news is a game-changer for Calgary Transit and Calgarians. With real-time information on all our buses, transit users can get audio and visual updates about their location while on the bus. More important: citizens will eventually be able to find out exactly when their next bus will arrive to pick them up at their stop. This will revolutionize the way we all use Calgary Transit--especially in the winter!

Real-time info is an important part of the RouteAhead customer service improvement plan, and I'm very excited to see it become a reality.

- Mayor Naheed Nenshi

--
Calgary Transit Operator, Richard Gallant,
checks out new onboard real-time display
Calgary Transit begins testing real-time system

Calgary Transit is excited about its upcoming real-time bus information system. Starting Monday, Aug. 4, Calgary Transit will begin testing the first part of the system. Buses will be equipped to make onboard audio/visual announcements advising customers of upcoming stops along their bus route.

Earlier this summer, Calgary Transit successfully tested this component with out-of-service buses. Now they are ready to see how the system performs on their entire fleet while in service.

Minor tweaks to the system may be needed as the system is tested but Calgary Transit does not anticipate major issues. Customers are encouraged to provide feedback about the system by tweeting @calgarytransit, calling 403-262-1000, or speaking with their bus driver.

What will the real-time bus information system do?

When fully implemented, the real-time bus information system will not only provide stop announcements on buses but also real-time bus arrival times. Currently, only scheduled bus times are available to customers. The real-time bus arrival information will eventually be available through a new responsive website, teletext, and teleride.

The real-time arrival information component of the system will be tested this fall and the full system is expected to launch later this year.

- Cross-posted from Calgary City News Blog
Story:

Mayor Nenshi on protests outside City Hall

What makes this country work is the fact we can live together and disagree on things respectfully. People must be allowed the freedom of expression, but there is no place in our community for violence as we exercise our freedoms.

We all must condemn violence.

The Calgary Police Service will investigate every allegation of physical violence and appropriate charges will be laid should the evidence support it. They ask that those who believe they were assaulted at this event, contact them by calling 403-266-1234.

- Mayor Naheed Nenshi