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You have opinions--The City of Calgary wants to hear them


We're looking for Calgarians to join Citizens’ View – The City’s new online research panel.

Citizens’ View is a timely and cost-effective tool that will make it easier for citizens to share their views about life in Calgary. Calgarians who join the panel will have the opportunity to participate in surveys and discussions on topics that matter to them and understand how their input is used.

“The magic of public service lies in our ability to deliver what citizens require now as well as preparing for what they will need in the future,” said Jeff Fielding, City Manager. “Citizens’ View will help The City gauge opinions about our programs and services. It will also provide us with valuable information essential to meeting the community’s long-term aspirations.”

Citizens’ View is a Transforming Government initiative that will complement The City’s existing research and engagement tools, making information sharing more transparent, accessible and interactive for citizens.

“Creating an even better Calgary takes all of us—not just government,” said Mayor Nenshi. “Citizens are the key to improving our communities and creating the best programs and services for our city. Calgarians are the experts in their lives and I encourage them to share their thoughts about life in Calgary by registering at citizensview.ca.”

Members can expect to participate in surveys approximately once or twice per month; join interactive, online discussions; and receive information and updates on upcoming City events and service improvements.

Calgarians 18 years and older can register at www.citizensview.ca.

(Cross-posted from Calgary City News Blog)
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City employees taking Mayor Nenshi's Walk Challenge

Employee profile: Maria Lee and Erin Chrusch
(Cross-posted with permission from The City of Calgary's employee intranet: myCity)

It's been just over a month since our Mayor announced Mayor Nenshi's Walk Challenge. myCity decided to learn a little bit more about a couple of staff members who took the challenge on, Maria Lee and Erin Chrusch.

Positions at The City:

Maria: Communications Specialist, Fleet Services (left)
Erin: Citizen Liaison in the Office of the Mayor (right)

How long have you worked for The City?

Maria: 11 years … with a three year “break” in the middle. I've been with Fleet Services for 2 years.

Erin: Since January 2011, so three years and three quarters?

What has your career progression been like?

Maria: I started with the City of Calgary back when we launched the first iteration of Calgary.ca, and had a progression of roles with Corporate Web Services throughout that six year period, Web Editor, Content Managing Analyst, Portal Publisher. When I had my second child, I decided to quit so I could stay at home with my children. Then a few years ago, I came upon this part-time opportunity with Fleet Services, and could not pass it up. The balance between work and home life is just perfect right now.

Erin: I have been in this role my entire time at The City.

Can you tell us a bit about your current role? What are your typical daily tasks?

Maria: I am fortunate to be the communications resource at Fleet Services. My main focus is internal communications – our diverse and widespread group of Fleet employees challenges me to think outside the box when it comes to communication delivery. I also support Fleet’s communication with our internal customers. On any given day, I can be updating our website, writing newsletter articles, drafting safety messages for employees, or editing project updates for our customers. I really enjoy the variety of work, and being the sole resource enables me to really get to know all aspects of my business unit, the people in it, and all the different work that we do.

Erin: My main responsibility is overseeing and responding to all of the citizen correspondence that comes into the Mayor's office. Where appropriate I will liaise (hence the job title, lol) with the various business units to ensure that the citizen’s concerns are being addressed. I also help manage the Mayor’s Facebook page and assist with other communications duties as required.

What do you like best about working for The City?

Maria: The work life balance can’t be beat. With two young children, the flexibility in my job allows me to be with them the entire time they are not in school. The value in that arrangement is worth so much to me. Plus, it feels good to serve the community by being a civic employee. I feel lucky that I had the chance to make great connections across the organization when I worked corporately. Now, working for Fleet, I like that I can directly support the people I work with every day. These folks are some of the nicest, most sincere people I've worked with, and I still haven’t met them all yet!

Erin: I really enjoy working for an organization that has a tangible impact on people’s everyday lives. It gives what I do a sense of purpose that I don’t know you’d find anywhere else.

We hear you are taking part in Mayor Nenshi’s Walk Challenge, can you tell us what the challenge is, and why you were interested in trying it?

Maria: Calgarians are being encouraged to walk, bike or use other active forms of transportation to get to and from school. When I heard about it, I thought, that’s what we've been doing for years! I knew this would be a great way for the kids to celebrate what tthey'vealready been doing, and it allows us to talk to our children about some good reasons around why we choose to walk — namely protecting the environment and staying healthy.

Erin: If your kids take the bus, then they should walk to the bus stop. If you have to drive them to school, then maybe park a few blocks away from the school and walk from there (that also helps ease congestion and makes it safer for everyone around the schools). We are fortunate enough to have a school within our community that’s within walking distance and we walk to school as often as we can anyway. Taking part in the Challenge was a natural fit.

How has your progress been in keeping up with the challenge? Any tips for readers who might want to start with their kids?

Maria: On our block, we have a Walking School Bus (WSB) (pictured below), which has been active for four years now. Over the years, we've had nine families with 15 children involved, all under the age of 10. This year we have six families with 11 children on our Walking School Bus. We all live on the same street, if you can believe it! One parent makes up a rotation schedule of adult walkers, typically one or two adults, depending on the size of the school bus that year. We each take one day per week or two walking all the children to school.

We’re lucky that we live 6-7 blocks away from school, but with one busy street, wrangling 10+ kids can be a bit like herding cats!

The WSB has been great in so many ways. Our school has many students who are bussed in and don’t have the option to walk. So, when we walk, it alleviates the congestion of busses and cars stopped at drop off and pick up times. It is also creates a great sense of community – of neighbourhood community as well as school community. Our children range from in age from kindergarten to Grade 4. It thrills the younger ones to know some of the “older” kids at school, and gives them all an opportunity to catch up with each other, as often they are not in the same classroom. And any reason to have children outdoors is a bonus.

Walking with a group definitely makes the walking part easier, and more fun. The days us adults tend to dread - the snow, the rain – these are often the kids’ favourite walk days. It does talk longer to get to school though, with all the puddles and snow angels and whatnot. The day of Snowtember I remember the kids were so excited – there was so much fort building material out there!

We do cancel the walking school bus when it gets too cold, usually colder than -20 c. I think the most we've had to cancel was that one week stretch last winter, that was pretty cold.

Erin and her kids enjoying Calgary weather
Erin: Our progress has been good. Because of my work schedule I am only home with my kids one day/week so we don’t get to walk every day. Last week I drove to pick up my daughter from half-day kindergarten because I’d been out running errands and wouldn’t get there on time if I’d stopped at home first, but that’s been the only time I’ve driven to pick them up or drop them off. I personally find it stressful to be driving in an area where there are so many kids darting in and out that I will gladly park a few blocks away and it adds just a few minutes. If you’re worried that your kids are too young to walk very far, then start with one day/week. You could let them ride their bikes or take their scooters to make it more fun. I know that if you have a dawdler (like I do), then you have to budget for extra time and pack a lot of patience, but you will get there. Eventually. I should also add that it has been great for meeting other parents in our neighbourhood who are also out walking with their kids.

What are your other hobbies and interests outside of work?

Maria: Spending time with family, mostly. I also actively volunteer for my children’s school and our community helping with community cleanups, and in the past, our community farmer’s market. I love urban agriculture – growing veggies, harvesting fruit, canning, preserving, etc. and enjoy being in nature and going for walks in the woods.

Erin: I also like getting outdoors with my family.

It’s hockey/soccer/dance season now so that takes up most of our spare time. I also blog at http://www.workingmotherchronicles.com/ and am really excited about a new initiative I’m launching soon called MomsVote Canada that is designed to get Moms across Canada more involved in their community and in the political process.

Thanks so much to Maria and Erin for chatting with us! If you'd like to get more involved in the Mayor's Walk Challenge, you can find out more at calgary.ca/walkchallenge.
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Calgary Economic Development brings Be Part of the Energy campaign back to British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec


October 21, 2014

CALGARY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT BRINGS CALGARY. BE PART OF THE ENERGY™ CAMPAIGN BACK TO VANCOUVER, ONTARIO AND QUEBEC 
Mayor of Calgary will speak to business and students about opportunities in Calgary 

(CALGARY, AB) –Calgary Economic Development, in partnership with members of Calgary’s corporate sector, brings its award winning campaign, Calgary. Be Part of the Energy.™ back to Ontario and Quebec this week. The campaign is aimed at attracting qualified workers and business to the city and is part of a larger campaign to showcase the opportunities in Calgary to make a living and to make a life.

Mayor Naheed Nenshi leads a four-day visit to Eastern Canada as the campaign’s spokesperson to highlight the tremendous opportunities for all Canadians in Calgary. Mayor Nenshi will conduct media interviews and keynote several speaking engagements with the University of Toronto, George Brown College, the Empire Club of Canada and Ryerson University in Toronto; Mohawk College and the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce in Hamilton and McGill University, the University of Montreal and Ecole Polytechnic in Montreal.

With Calgary expected to continue to be a leader in Canada’s economy through 2017 and Calgary companies continuing to face a labour shortage, Calgary. Be Part of the Energy™ will raise national awareness about what Calgary has to offer to as a place to live, work or do business.

“If they haven’t already, all Canadians should be taking a look at Calgary,” said Mayor Naheed Nenshi. “More than an energy capital, Calgary is becoming a hub for finance, technology, logistics and the creative industries. Our unique energy makes Calgary a destination for people from across Canada as a place to build a life, business, and career.”

Building on Calgary. Be Part of the Energy.™ missions of 2011, 2012 and 2013, this eastern Canada mission targets people and industries critical to Calgary’s future economic growth.

In addition to addressing labour opportunities for Canadians, Mayor Nenshi will also speak about the importance of building strong cities in order to build a strong Canada. His address will broach the topic of how Canadian cities need to ensure they are vibrant and innovative in order to attract and retain the best and brightest talent in the world.

Media are invited to hear Mayor Nenshi speak at the following events:

Tuesday October 21 - Toronto 

Big cities, big ideas (#bcbi) - A conversation with Richard Florida 
University of Toronto – Shift Disturbers Speaker Series
Desautels Event Hall 2nd Floor, South Building
105 George Street Martin Prosperity Institute
7 p.m.

Wednesday October 22 – Toronto

The Calgary opportunity
George Brown College
Waterfront Campus 51 Dockside Drive
10 a.m.

Resilient Cities
Empire Club of Canada
Grand Ballroom
100 Front St W Royal York Hotel
11:30 a.m.

The role of cities and why they matter
Jack Layton Memorial Lecture Series
350 Victoria St Ryerson University
6 p.m.

Thursday October 23 - Hamilton 

The Calgary opportunity
TwelveEighty
McMaster University
2 p.m.

The role of cities and why they matter (#ambitioushamont)
Hamilton Chamber of Commerce ‘Ambitious Cities Series’
Scottish Rite Club
4 Queen Street South
7 p.m.

Friday, October 24 - Montreal 

The Calgary opportunity 
Concordia University
Engineering and Visual Arts Complex
1515 St. Catherine Street West Room EV- 1.615
2 p.m.

For more information on the Be Part of the Energy™ campaign and to learn about the opportunities in Calgary, please visit the revamped lifeincalgary.ca website and bepartofthenergy.ca landing page. 

About Calgary Economic Development 

Calgary Economic Development is an opportunity-maker, helping to spark and fuel Calgary’s growth. Our job is to connect people with resources that can help them grow their careers or businesses, thrive in new locations or markets, and feel at home in our community. We offer a wealth of information to help everyone succeed and we tirelessly promote Calgary, in Canada and around the world. We’re exhilarated about our role in shaping and sharing Calgary’s story and we’re proud to be part of the energy. For more information, please visit our website at calgaryeconomicdevelopment.com and follow us on Twitter @calgaryeconomic.

(Posted with permission from Calgary Economic Development)
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Let’s celebrate our Everyday Political Citizens!


Chances are you know an “Everyday Political Citizen”—an average person who takes simple actions to make our communities better. They’re the friend you go to for trusted opinions about what’s going on in our community or family member who encouraged you to vote for the first time. They’re that colleague that volunteers for political campaigns and asked you to get involved as well. They’re the student who sits next to you in class who inspires others to take up an important cause at school. 

These are Everyday Political Citizens, and now we have a chance to celebrate them and their dedication. Before, Friday, October 31 nominate them for an Everyday Political Citizen award

Politics is more than elections and politicians. I know that very well! Even in my journey, I know that there were many Everyday Political Citizens that helped me along—they inspired me, supported me, and helped me when I needed it the most. In every political campaign I've been a part of, I've been blessed to work with so many wonderfully engaged people—people who care so much about their community and their fellow citizens. And, even now, in my daily work as mayor, I’m so lucky to work with countless Everyday Political Citizens.

 So, please, think about the amazing Everyday Political Citizens in your life and give them the recognition they deserve by nominating them for this national award.

- Mayor Naheed Nenshi
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Premier, Edmonton Mayor, and Mayor Nenshi sign Framework Agreement for Charters

Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson, Premier Jim Prentice and Mayor Nenshi.
Photo by Lyle Aspinal, Calgary Sun (via Twitter)
This afternoon, I was pleased to join with Premier Jim Prentice and Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson to sign a "Framework Agreement For Charters" between our orders of government. City charters for Alberta's big cities is something we've been working on for some time, and this framework is an important step toward achieving this important legislative change. A charter makes it easier for our cities to serve our citizens with the services they need the most and it will definitely improve the lives of Calgarians and Edmontonians. I look forward to working with the Premier and Minister Diana McQueen to redefine the relationship between the province and our two biggest cities.

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Statement from Mayor Nenshi regarding flood recovery announcement from Premier Prentice

We are pleased that the Premier has made flood recovery and mitigation a major priority, but we are surprised at the scope of the announcement, as it represents a significant departure from previous policy, and it was announced without prior discussion with the City's flood experts or policy-makers. The Premier, just yesterday, announced he would be treating municipalities as true partners. We look forward to that.
We are pleased that the Premier announced that the government is tripling the number of appeal officers for the Disaster Recovery Program. This will make a real difference for the families affected by the flood. We hope that when processing these appeals, the Provincial government will address the legitimate concerns that have been raised by flood affected families and that their claims will be re-assessed properly, fairly and quickly.
With respect to the two flood mitigation measures for Calgary that were announced by Premier Prentice today - namely the dry reservoir in Springbank and the direction to negotiate a permanent water management agreement with TransAlta - it is difficult for us to comment in detail since The City of Calgary has not yet been consulted with respect to either proposal and our experts have not yet seen any engineering studies. 
However, we do have a few initial observations:
1.    The "room for the river" concept for the Springbank reservoir, while intriguing, has never been discussed with City officials. It represents a real departure from the previous plan, where the reservoir would have played a role in both flood and drought years. This dry dam would not be used except during a flood and would not allow for comprehensive water management, which the Province had previously stated was their goal for this project. 
2.    We are very interested to hear the Premier state that management of the existing TransAlta dams will offer 1:100 year flood protection and that the Springbank dry dam will offer 1:200 year flood protection. We will be asking Provincial officials to share their engineering studies that demonstrate that. Based on our research and analysis to date, we believe that at least two and maybe all three proposed large scale flood mitigation measures will be required (namely, Springbank, McLean Creek and the Glenmore Reservoir Tunnel).  It is surprising that the Province would announce one project without having completed the analysis on the impact of the other two projects, since they all must be analyzed together. For example, using hypothetical numbers, it may be that the tunnel could be double the cost of the other projects but it may mean that either or both other projects would no longer be needed. The cost-benefit analyses cannot stand alone. 
3.    The Government of Canada in a recent study indicated that 1:100 year standard is no longer appropriate. Calgary needs protection to a much higher level. Recent discussions with Provincial officials have been focused on mitigation at a significantly higher standard.
The floods had a devastating impact on our community and it is very important that we make the right decisions with respect to flood mitigation projects. Teams from the City and the Province have been working very collaboratively under the previous two Premiers and we hope that continues under the "new management". 

- Mayor Naheed Nenshi
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A huge honour to receive a Blackfoot name


On Sunday, September 14, I had one of the most meaningful and memorable experiences of my life. At Making Treaty 7, I was given a Blackfoot name by elder Pete Standing Alone. The name is A'-BPE'S-TO'-TSEE-PSS-TSS or Clan Leader. I am completely overwhelmed by this great honour and will cherish this name. Here is the text from Mr. Standing Alone explaining why he chose this name for me:
A’-BPE’S-TO’-TSEE-PSS-TSS, Clan Leader
Translation: the one that moves camp with followers behind him
The people of Calgary are the Clan followers, the city is the Clan. People are still coming to Calgary from all over the world, and the Mayor has far surpassed one million for clan followers. 
Clan Leaders are given the authority by their clan members to support and protect them. The Clan Leader represents the Clan when all the Clans gather. Gatherings include Aakokatssin—Circle Encampment now referred to as the Sundance.
The Clan system existence was sources by the members; like Calgary, Mayor Nenshi is selected by the clan because he is a good man, kind, wise generous and brave. As of today, the Clan system is no longer used among our people, but people continue to identify themselves with various clans, such as the Fish Eaters, Old agency (Belly Butts area), and Lone Fighters.
No one has given the name A’-BPE’S-TO’-TSEE-PSS-TSS to an individual. A group of men are called A’-BPE’S-TO’-TSEE-PSS-TSS. In 2006, over one million people had come to Calgary, and, as Mayor, he continues to be recognized for all the members who have come under his leadership seeking a better life. These are the reasons I give him the name A’-BPE’S-TO’-TSEE-PSS-TSS.
During the evening I also received a Chief Joseph Pendleton blanket (pictured here) from the Calgary Aboriginal Urban Affairs Committee. Both honours are deeply humbling.

Nitsiniiyi'taki

- Mayor Naheed Nenshi