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  • Writer's pictureWard 7

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.

Please follow the link to my website to see highlights of some of the things we accomplished in 2023.

Thank you, and hope you all have an excellent 2024 New Year.

- Ward 7 City Councillor Terry Wong

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