top of page
  • Instagram
  • background remove
  • Facebook
  • X
  • email
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn
  • invert
  • Writer's pictureWard 7

A Review of 2023



Happy Holidays and Hoping You All Have A Great 2024 New Year!


Good Health, Prosperity, and Happiness!


Welcome to my year-end 2023 highlights and message to Constituents


It has been two years since I was elected to City Council to represent  the interests, issues, initiatives, and priorities of Ward 7’s residents, businesses, and taxpayers. The Ward 7 staff and I appreciate the support and recognition we receive following our engagements with you, with community neighbours, the 21 community associations, and the 5 business improvement areas during face-to-face meetings, at your festivals and events, and at ward/community association townhalls.


Doing the Right Things


I remain truly humble and honoured to serve the Ward 7 constituents and I am committed to fulfilling my promise of ‘Doing the Right Things’ by Listening, Learning, then Leading. Your comments and tensions guide my Council questions and debates. This feedback along with government statutes, legislation, bylaws, policies, etc., are the basis of my votes in City Council. To a lessor extent, I am guided by my own beliefs, values, and experience.

I work with City Council to ensure that Administration is ‘Doing Things the Right Way’ through Council committees and my role with the Calgary Planning Commission (2022), the Audit Committee (2022 and 2023), Telus Convention Centre Board (2022 and 2023), Pension Governance Committee (2022 and 2023), Downtown Revitalization (2022-2023), Event Centre Committee (2022 and 2023), and the Multi-Sport Field House Committee (2023). As we move into 2024, I have been appointed to the Calgary Police Commission which allows me to govern and provide oversight to policing as it addresses crime, safety, and public disorder and to the Silvera for Seniors Board which provides housing for our elders.


We could do better. I regret that we don’t always get back to everyone but the new staff is helping us get more regular and prompt in responding to inquiries directed to me or the office. Personally, I try to respond to most inquiries within 48 hours but these can be delayed (or regrettably overlooked) when my schedule becomes overwhelming.


7th Most Livable City in the World and City Growth


In 2023 Calgary was ranked as the 7th most liveable city in the World (Economist Intelligence Unit), and our city’s population increased unprecedently by 3% (or 41,000+ people) with both newcomers and migration from other parts of Canada. Calgary’s strong job market, increasingly diverse economy, beautiful natural landscapes, growing restaurant scene, family-oriented nature, high quality of life, proximity to the mountains, recognition of our indigenous Treaty 7 nation and its people, cultural diversity and inclusiveness, and more are reasons why so many people choose to move here. I remain committed to helping Calgary and our communities become increasingly great places to live, work, learn, play, invest, and to be secure, healthy, and happy.


Lack of Affordability


I will not hide the fact that many Calgarians and the Ward 7 constituents have expressed great concerns about the increased lack of affordability that is affecting their everyday life and our business economy; this concerns me also. This guided me to seek amendments to the proposed 2024 budget and tax rate increases and to significantly reduce the Residential Parking Permit fee and bring equality to the system. Unfortunately, Council voted against my amendments. I strongly believe we could and should’ve brought in a budget that limited the 2024 tax rate increase to under 5% by putting back the onus of housing, mental health, and drug addiction issues on the Government of Alberta rather than adding to the property tax base. The same is also said for transferring 1% of the non-residential (i.e. business) tax base to residential taxpayers which amounted to a 2% increase; this should have been handled differently.


Other Concerns


I am acutely aware that Calgarians are also concerned about a number of issues, particularly:

  • lack of affordable housing, rising housing costs

  •  Rising social disorder due to mental health challenges, drug addiction, job loss, global/national conflicts and thus public protests

  •  Less than effective, efficient transit services

  • Safety for pedestrians, cyclists, and children around schools and playgrounds

I continue to fight for more resources and greater attention to effective solutions. These issues are not The City’s problem to tackle alone. I will work towards greater support from the federal and provincial governments to fulfil their responsibilities in addressing social programs/services growth and enhancement, funding for public infrastructure especially LRT and more.


Highlights of 2023 Accomplishments


Public Transit Safety Strategy


In 2023 City Council approved the Public Transit Safety Strategy, an evolution of service delivery and greater collaboration between transit peace officers, security guards, community outreach teams and Calgary Police Service. 


Prior to the approval of this strategy I listened to several members of the community that advocated for a transit system that was more frequent and predictable, and that people wanted increased safety and security in-and around transit stations as they did not feel safe. I consulted other jurisdictions, local social support agencies, and members of law enforcement in Calgary about how they were addressing transit safety and the notable challenges that they were facing in their duties. Many of methods within Calgary's Public Transit Safety Strategy address what community members and people working within the system have advocated for.


Everything that I heard from the community lead me to support this strategy, as I believe feeling safe in your community is key to a successful city. I believe that this is a big step forward in the City working to ensure Calgary has a safe, reliable, and welcoming transit system that people want to use. 


Housing Strategy


In response to the housing crisis, Council approved Home is Here - The City of Calgary's Housing Strategy 2024-2030. This marked a considerable investment in affordable housing and addressing the most critical housing needs in Calgary.

I agree that Calgary is in a housing crisis, I believe that we in the City should focus our efforts on leveraging City-owned lands for affordable housing, and supporting partner agencies that provide emergency shelters, transition housing, supportive housing, and focusing on developments by TOD sites (My full statement on the Housing Strategy can be found here). Within the Housing strategy I was happy to support the leveraging of two City-owned sites to rapidly develop housing to support families with children who are at risk of or experiencing homelessness (link to that full story here).

Council's approval of the Housing Strategy also helped the City qualify for the federal governments Housing Accelerator Fund (HAF). This fund will provide $228.5million over the next four years to aide in the creation of more housing. Details on the RAF fund can be found here.


Calgary's Event Centre and Culture + Entertainment District Improvements


In 2023 The City of Calgary reached an agreement with our partners to revitalize downtown Calgary by developing the Rivers District, anchored by a new Event Centre. This milestone was the culmination of more than 15 months of collaboration and hard work that will result in a place where visitors and a new generations of Calgarians will make lifelong memories, and many new economic opportunities in the Rivers District.

The Event Centre & Culture + Entertainment District is much more than just an arena. Through collaboraton with the Province, CMLC, and CSEC, the City was able to secure funding supports to be able to create downtown’s only community rink, the 6 Street S.E. underpass, transit station improvements, street improvements and new public gathering places; on top of a modern event centre that positions Calgary to be a host city that attracts new concerts, performances, festivals and events that all Calgarians can enjoy. With everything that is included in this deal, I believe this will provide a vibrant downtown and economic opportunities that all Calgarians can enjoy. 

These investments, along with ongoing development, will directly contribute to the quality of life of the 8,000 Calgarians, who will call this developing community home, and people visiting from all corners of the city. Adding to a more vibrant place for Calgarians to live, work, learn, and play.


Downtown Revitalization


In 2023 we continued to make considerable strides in the revitalization of our downtown with several projects such as the expansion of the Downtown Office Conversions program, Tomorrow's Chinatown and the annoucement of future projects such as the Olympic Plaza Transformation

I believe that Investing in Calgary's downtown is a key step towards making Calgary an even better place for people to live, work, learn, and play -  not only tomorrow, but for generations to come. All of the changes that are coming to downtown will lead to a stronger, vibrant, and more economically resiliant Calgary that is prepared for the future.


Community


2023 was a busy year with many community events. From the opening of Balmoral Circus Park, endless pancakes during stampede, Local Area Plan meetings, The Ward 7 Council of Communities - and many more amazing activities and events  throughout our 21 communities.

Ward 7, and Calgary as a whole would not be as great as they are today without the communities that make them up. In 2023 we continued to listen and learn from our Community Associations, BIA's, local advocacy groups, and every individual who took time out of their busy lives to share their thoughts with our office at events or online.

As we go forward to 2024, my staff and I will be working even closer with our Ward 7 communities and constituents so we can better listen, learn, and lead on your behalf.

 

In Council Chambers with Members of the National AccessArts Centre

Thank you all,


Ward 7 Councillor, Terry Wong


1 view0 comments

Comments


bottom of page