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Committee News in Brief - January 28, 2015

Council News in Brief - Pilot
SPC on Utilities and Corporate Services
January 28, 2015

Agenda Item 3.1
DRAINAGE, WASTEWATER, AND WATER UTILITY BYLAW AMENDMENTS, UCS2015-0078

The SPC on Utilities and Corporate Services received a report outlining proposed changes to the Drainage, Wastewater, and Water Utility bylaws following consultation with citizens, frontline staff, Animal & Bylaw Services, and Law. The amendments support operational efficiencies for a new compliance model, include required references for a reclaimed water agreement, and move the drainage service charge from the Wastewater to the Drainage bylaw. At an administrative level, the changes also simplify existing citizen expectations, clarify language related to billing, and provide improved response mechanisms for infractions that threaten the environment, infrastructure, and public safety.

In terms of efficiency, Water Resources and Water Services’ transition to a new compliance model results in enhanced authorities for frontline technical staff and reduces the need for follow-up site visits from an enforcement officer. At the administrative level, several of the proposed amendments incorporate recent plain language drafting and clarity improvements from the Wastewater Bylaw (2012) into the Drainage (2005) and Water Utility (2006) bylaws.

The Committee will recommend that Council approve the proposed Water, Wastewater and Drainage Bylaw Amendments.

Agenda Item 3.2
STATUS OF OUTSTANDING MOTIONS AND DIRECTIONS , UCS2015-0115

The SPC on Utilities and Corporate Services received a report outlining the outstanding motions and directions for the SPC on Utilities and Corporate Services as of 2014 September 30.

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Council News in Brief is an informal summary of highlights from Calgary City Council’s meetings. The City Clerk provides the complete and formal documentation of Council’s meetings.
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Council News in Brief - January 26, 2015

Council News in Brief - Pilot
Regular Council Meeting
January 26, 2015

East Silverado Land Use Application – Resolution of Growth Management Issues (Item 7.1.1)

Council approved a follow-up report from administration that addresses previous issues identified with East Silverado’s Land Use application. The Growth Management Framework issues have now been resolved between the applicant, landowners and Administration. The necessary funds have been approved in the 2015-2018 Capital Budget.

Stephen Avenue Mall and Barclay Mall Maintenance (Item 7.1.2)

Council approved the annual Local Improvement Bylaws associated with enhanced maintenance for Stephen Avenue Mall and Barclay Mall. As important pedestrian corridors in Calgary’s city centre, improvements attract business, residents and tourism to the downtown and contribute to the Calgary economy overall. This program enables The City to improve the condition of street furniture and waste receptacles, and to provide a higher than normal level of maintenance including surface repairs, snow and ice control, street cleaning and street lighting.

Talisman Centre Flood Recovery Budget Increase (Item 7.1.3)

Council approved a $5 million increase to the 2013 Talisman Centre Flood Project due to higher than anticipated costs to repair the flood damage incurred at the Talisman Centre. All costs will be reimbursed through insurance coverage or the Disaster Recovery Program (DRP).

Action Plan Financing Bylaws (Item 8)

Council approved Capital Borrowing and Loan Bylaws associated with financing the City’s approved 2015-2018 Action Plan.

Transit Shelter Vandalism Report (Item 9.1)

Council received a report outlining actions being taken to reduce transit shelter vandalism. The current strategy consists of five key areas: prompt vandalism reporting and repair, public education, prevention, identification of and response to vandals and a focus on “high risk” locations. Council discussed additional options that could be further explored.

Clarification Requested Regarding Use of Alcohol During Work Hours and Expensing of Alcohol (Verbal)

Council received a verbal report regarding various Council perspectives on the debate at last week’s Priorities and Finance Committee (PFC) meeting. Per direction at last week’s meeting Administration will be returning to Council with policy amendments relating to alcohol expensing and substance use along with changes to the whistle-blower process.

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Council News in Brief is an informal summary of highlights from Calgary City Council’s meetings. The City Clerk provides the complete and formal documentation of Council’s meetings.
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Media scrum: January 26, 2015



We're now sharing our "behind-the-scenes" look at Mayor Nenshi's regular scrums (informal news conferences where the politician walks into a group of news media). Above is the scrum that happened at noon today following a regular meeting of City Council. The topics included the issue of a Council alcohol policy and management salaries.
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City of Calgary wins award for cutting red tape

Monique Nesset (left), Mayor Nenshi, and Guido Rodriguez receive the Golden Scissors honourable mention from Amber Ruddy of the CFIB
Today, Mayor Nenshi and The City of Calgary received a national honourable mention by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business for cutting red tape. The Golden Scissors Award goes to a political figure in Canada who has done much to fight red tape over the past year.

The award was for the ongoing success of the Cut Red Tape project.

To learn more about the award and this year's winners, visit the CFIB.
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Committee News in Brief - January 21

Council News in Brief - Pilot
SPC on Transit and Transportation
January 21, 2015

Transit Shelter Vandalism Report (Item 3.1)

Calgary Transit provided a report outlining actions being taken to reduce transit shelter vandalism, as requested by Council. The current strategy consists of five key areas: prompt vandalism reporting and repair, public education, prevention, identification of and response to vandals and a focus on “high risk” locations.

The Committee recieved the report for information and recommended that this be discussed as Urgent Business at the next Council meeting on January 26.

Shaganappi Trail Corridor Study (Item 3.2)

Transportation Planning presented findings of a study of the Shaganappi Trail corridor between north of 16 Avenue and Stoney Trail. The study looked at how best to accommodate all modes of transportation (walking, cycling, transit and driving), including High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes, in a long-term vision for Shaganappi Trail.

The Committee approved the Shaganappi Trail Corridor Study with clerical amendments and directed Administration to investigate interim intersection improvements at Shaganappi Trail and Varsity Drive North and Shaganappi Trail and Valiant Drive North. As part of this, they also directed Administration to work with residents of the various Voyageur Drive segments and the Varsity Community Association on the renaming of Voyageur Drive.

Transportation Funding Mechanism Study – Deferral (Item 3.3)

The committee agreed to recommend that Council approve Administration’s request to defer the Transportation Funding Mechanisms Study Report to no later than the 2015 May 20 meeting of the SPC on Transportation and Transit.

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Council News in Brief is an informal summary of highlights from Calgary City Council’s meetings. The City Clerk provides the complete and formal documentation of Council’s meetings.
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Column: City serious about cutting red tape

In my latest column for the Calgary Herald, I wrote about the success of our Cut Red Tape program. Here's what I had to say:

Back in 2010, when I was first running for mayor, I kept hearing stories of how The City was not as customer-friendly as it should be. From the restaurant who finally received their permit to operate a patio just in time for winter to the single mum operating a home-based massage therapy business finding herself subject to humiliating inspections and onerous annual fees, many felt the city was inhibiting rather than facilitating their success.

Since that time, we have been engaged in a massive program called Transforming Government to make the City administration more transparent and more accountable, and above all, to put the citizen at the centre of everything we do. Indeed, I often remind my City colleagues that we should be asking ourselves, multiple times a day, “how is what I am doing right now making it better for someone to live in Calgary?”

An important part of Transforming Government has been the Cut Red Tape program, which has been operating out of my office. It’s Red Tape Awareness Week in Canada, sponsored by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, and as the program transitions out of my office to become a permanent part of City management, I thought it would be a good time to share some successes.

Since launching in 2011, and with a modest investment (not quite two staff members), we’ve launched over 40 formal and countless informal Cut Red Tape programs, and saved Calgarians at least $12.7 million dollars (including time and money).

Interestingly, many of these ideas came directly from my City colleagues. Phase one of the program consisted simply of asking City staff what ideas they had to cut red tape and improve customer service. They had nearly 300 ideas, from every department, and these ideas still form the core of the program.

Future phases included ideas from the business community, with the assistance of a Business Advisory Group, and from the general public. Some ideas were very easy to implement, while some took some work or a little bit of money to get them in place. Some examples include:

  1. Making it easier for citizens to use the Animal Licensing website by removing redundant, inaccurate, and confusing information. Citizens save time and effort by having a more streamlined process for licensing their pet.
  2. Making it easier for citizens to report graffiti on City of Calgary public spaces by streamlining the 311 reporting process and adding the service request to online forms and the 311 mobile app.
  3. Making it easier for Calgary Housing clients to make the transition to their subsidized housing unit with no unexpected costs.
  4. Making it more efficient for home designers and builders to submit plans for single houses and duplexes homes by creating easy-to-understand guidelines.
  5. Making submitting and reviewing construction drawings faster and more efficient by allowing online submission of plans – saving time and money for the applicant but also allowing for many areas to review the submissions simultaneously.

There are many other examples – parents will appreciate a better system for signing up for recreation programs, allowing you to register your child for the next swimming level while you’re at the pool.

And yes, it’s much easier for a restaurant to open a patio now, and new rules make it simpler for legitimate massage therapists to conduct their business.

So, as we celebrate Red Tape Awareness Week, I want to thank all those who have made this program work: the small but mighty secretariat, the volunteers from the business community who helped on the advisory group, my Council colleagues, particularly Peter Demong, for their unwavering support, and particularly the thousands of my City colleagues for their innovation and their hard work.

Mayor Naheed Nenshi is a national finalist for the CFIB’s Golden Scissors Award for the Cut Red Tape program.
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Committee News in Brief - January 20

Council News in Brief - Pilot
Priorities & Finance Committee Meeting
January 20, 2015

Policy Review and Best Practice - Use of Alcohol During Work Hours and Expensing of Alcohol (Item 3.1)
The City Auditor presented recommendations from her office on work undertken to address Notice of
Motion 2014-037 on alcohol policies related to members of Council. The report was focused on review and analysis specific to the Notice of Motion, in particular on the use of alcohol during work hours and expensing of alcohol.

The proposed recommendations include best practises based on a sample of public sector agencies and private sector companies. The intent of the recommendations is to strengthen The City’s policies related to alcohol use and expenses to further mitigate associated safety, financial, and reputational risks.

After extensive debate the Committee recommended that Council request Administration to amend policies to provide guidance on alcohol use as follows:

  1. To not allow the expensing of alcohol for meals, incorporating the direction from NM2014-37, including travel meals, returning to Council as soon as possible.
  2. Refine the policy for substance use for Members of Council to be similar to that for employees, with clarification as needed.
  3. For recommendation #2 above, return to Council in conjunction with changes to the whistleblower process.

Status of Outstanding Motions and Directions, PFC2015-0124 (Item 3.2)
The Outstanding Motions and Directions report assists the Priorities and Finance Committee to proactively track and manage its work.

Today, the Committee approved the Outstanding Motions and Directions report and timelines identified in PFC2015-0124 with one change. The “Crosswalk in Roadway Lighting” was lost in Council 2015 January 13 and will be dropped from the next iteration of this report.

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Council News in Brief is an informal summary of highlights from Calgary City Council’s meetings. The City Clerk provides the complete and formal documentation of Council’s meetings.