From March 3 to 21, The City of Calgary asked Calgarians to help find the right balance between investing in quality public service and keeping tax rates affordable.
The responses we received provided rich and robust feedback to consider. The information gathered covered a wide-array of opinions and ideas and, when the engagement streams were consolidated together, several key themes and some consistent priorities emerged.
Transit: An efficient and reliable public transit network was identified as a top priority consistently across engagement input streams.
Affordable Housing: This emerged as a priority across input streams, expressed as impacting everything from cost of living, to social isolation, to job talent attraction.
Other Transportation: While public transit emerged as a priority on its own, it is clear that how Calgarians get around is a top-of-mind priority, specifically in regard to vehicles, pedestrians and bikeways with noticeably different responses based on geographic location gathered through postal codes.
Other Community/ Urban Planning: Community safety, local parks and amenities, and urban sprawl were commonly recurring priority choices.
Efficiency/ Effectiveness: There was an expressed desire for improved demonstration of spending efficiencies in municipal service delivery, particularly regarding the desire to see better communication about efficiency and effectiveness.
Taxes/ Tax Rates: There was an expressed preference to maintain service levels, even if accompanied by tax rate increases. The
Judy Tran--a 17-year-old grade 12 student at John Diefenbaker High School--is this year's winner of Youth Central's Mayor for a Day contest. Thanks to her winning essay about the three things she'd like to improve at The City of Calgary, she spent the day with Mayor Nenshi and City staff to share her ideas and learn more about the business of government.
In her essay, Mayor (for a day) Tran said that she'd want to improve customer service at Calgary Transit (her idea: more heated bus shelters!), improve and beautify pedestrian and cycling infrastructure, and invest in more cultural spaces for artists.
Over the course of day, Judy met with representatives from the various City departments that would be responsible for implementing her ideas. In these meetings, she learned about what's happening at The City and City representatives learned more about her ideas and perspective--especially as a pedestrian and cyclist who uses Calgary Transit regularly and is passionate about culture in Calgary.