I was deeply saddened to learn today that Calgary lost one of our greatest community builders, Martha Cohen.
Martha was a true community visionary and dedicated so much of her life to making Calgary an exceptional place for everyone. Her passion for the arts led to development of one of the most treasured spaces in the city: the Calgary Centre for the Performing Arts, now Arts Commons. It is only fitting that Martha Cohen Theatre is the very heart of this great community space.
I have a long history with the Arts Commons, having been the Chair of the Board. I know how important the organization is to our community and how it would not have existed without the vision and leadership of Martha Cohen.
She and her late husband, Harry Cohen, were among some of the most generous people who have helped to build our city. They donated so much of their time to great organizations in Calgary, which is one reason why they were the first couple to receive the Order of Canada. The Cohens made the well-being of others in their community a priority.
Martha was an extraordinary member of the Calgary community and she will be truly missed.
On Wednesday, February 25, 2015, Mayor Nenshi met with Radio-Canada's Celine Galipeau for a bilingual interview covering his approach to politics and public service. Here is the full interview as it appeared on television.
Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) Funding Recommendations (item 6.1)
Council approved the 2015-2017 Family & Community Support Services funding allocations of $18 million. FCSS is a joint municipal/provincial program, administered by Community & Neighbourhood Services, that provides funding to non-profit organizations for the delivery of preventative social services. Along with the funding approval Council agreed that Mayor Nenshi would correspond directly with the Minister of Human Services and the Premier to request continued support and to consider an increase in FCSS funding in view of current economic circumstances.
Environmental Open Space Policies Progress Report (item 6.2)
Council received the Environmental Open Spaces Policies progress report. One of the main purposes of the report is to ensure that there is a consistent ruling on all Environmental Open Space policies, including wetlands and stream courses. Administration is working with the Alberta government to develop consistent guidelines and will ensure that all stakeholders are brought to the table on the work program, including developers, the Urban Development Institute, the legal community and community groups. Council directed Administration to report back to Committee with a project status update in October 2015 and to report back to Council on the work program no later than March 2016.
St. Louis Hotel Property Bylaw (item 8.2.1)
Council approved bylaw updates in order to allow for the St. Louis Hotel property to remain a Municipal Historic Resource while releasing the adjacent vacant lands that were formerly part of the property.
Supplementary Property Assessment and Tax Bylaws (item 8.3.1)
The 2015 Supplementary Property Assessment and Supplementary Property Tax Bylaws provide The City with the authority to prepare supplementary assessments to record the increase in value for properties that became occupied or completed improvements in the current tax year. The 2015 Supplementary Property Assessment and Supplementary Property Tax Bylaws are very similar to the Bylaws presented to Council in 2014 with changes to reflect the 2015 dates. These minor wording amendments were approved by Council.
Acadia Tennis Centre (Notice of Motion - Verbal)
Council agreed to refer a Notice of Motion regarding the Acadia Tennis Centre to the Mayor’s Office in order to further explore options with the applicant. The Mayor’s Office will report back at Council’s next meeting.
The Committee agreed to recommend Council approve Administration’s request to defer the Macleod Trail Corridor Study Report to no later than the 2015 May 20 meeting of SPC on Transportation and Transit.
Calgary Transit presented four options that were investigated for connecting the North Central LRT and the Southeast LRT in the Centre City, from approximately 24 Avenue N to 10 Avenue S:
Option A- use the existing Centre Street bridge and build at-grade
Option B- build a new bridge west of Centre Street bridge and tunnel to 24 Avenue N
Option C- build a new bridge west of Centre Street bridge and remainelevated through the Centre City
Option D- tunnel from 24 Avenue N to 10 Street S
The Committee approved the recommendation that Council direct Administration to investigate each of the four options in further detail to refine our understanding of various factors including construction costs and quality of operations, and return to the SPC on Transportation and Transit in Q4 2015.
As part of that approval, Administration is committed to analyse Option A with a separate bridge, in addition to Option A using the existing Centre Street bridge.
Status of Outstanding Motions and Directions, (Item 3.1)
The Priorities and Finance Committee received the Status of Outstanding Motions and Directions report for information. This report tracks outstanding motions and directions from the Priorities and Finance Committee to Administration and assists the Committee in proactively tracking and managing its work.
In response to the report, one question was raised about the Eamon’s Building Utilization since the deadline has now passed and there has been no interest in the building. Previously, Committee/Council had directed Administration to develop a new strategy (potentially including sale or demolition) of the Eamon’s building, if there is no interest in leasing the building in accordance with the special terms and conditions of the lease, from parties after 2015 February 01. Administration will now report back to the Priorities and Finance Committee in March 2015 on options.
Unified List of Unfunded Capital Requirements (Item 3.2)
In response to Council’s request for a unified unfunded capital list based on Council’s strategic priorities in the 2015-2018 business plans, Administration presented a list of capital funding requirements focusing on the top five priorities for each Infrastructure Investment Plan (IIP) along with Police projects.
Currently, funded capital projects result first from allocation of available funding across departments. Funding is allocated across departments on the basis of grant restrictions, regulatory requirements and Council priorities. Each department then allocates their funding to projects through their Council approved Infrastructure Investment Plans, which are prioritized by the individual departments. IIP lists have been presented to Council for:
Corporate Level (CLIIP);
Culture, Parks and Recreation (CPRIIP);
Emergency Response (ERIIP);
Water (WIIP); and
Waste & Recycling (WRIIP).
The total value of unfunded capital projects identified in Action Plan 2015-2018 is $414 million in 2015, $474 million in 2016, $453 million in 2017, and $441 million in 2018. Note: the list is based on data prepared for Action Plan, so it may not fully represent the most current information available.
The purpose of having a unified unfunded capital list is to give Council a view of the top priority projects in the event that new money becomes available. However, if and when new funding comes available, consideration would first need to be given to any restrictions on funding before priorities could be determined. Other factors, such as the timing and readiness of projects, operating impacts of capital, and benefits to the economy in terms of the number of short term and long term jobs created, would also need to be taken into consideration in determining the overall priorities. The bottom line is that, if new money does come available, further work would be required in order to prioritize the list.
A number of questions were asked about the list and various projects. Committee members indicated that they were pleased to have received such a list for further discussion and debate.