A pool, rinks, four-car trains and more HIGHLIGHTS OF CITY INITIATIVES FROM 2016

Part Two: July to December

JULY

The second half of 2016 got of to its usual stunning start, with the festivities and fireworks of Canada Day, which quickly segued to the "Yahoos" of Stampede.

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Mayor Naheed Nenshi, MP Calgary Skyview Darshan Singh Kang, MLA Calgary-Hawkwood, Michael Connelly , MLA Calgary-Northern Hills, Jamie Kleinsteuber

The City launched its first four-car “Mask” CTrain. The four-car S200 CTrain carries up to 800 passengers per trip. These were among the first of 63 new CTrain cars which are arriving on a regular basis that will continue in 2017. The new cars cost approximately $3.2 million each.

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premier Rachel Notley, announced funding to construct the southwest portion of the Calgary Ring Road. The Southwest Calgary Ring Road project is a large and complex project with 49 bridges which includes three river crossings and one roadway flyover, 31 km of six- and eight-lane divided roadway, 14 interchanges, one railway overpass, and the reconstruction of the western portion of Glenmore Tr. Construction is expected to be completed by 2021.

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The latest civic census data released showed Calgary’s population at 1,235,171, up 4,256 from the previous year. This is an increase of 0.36%. The census covers the period from April 2015 to April 2016. Although Calgary experienced negative net migration, the natural increase of 10,783 (the result of births over deaths) meant the city was still growing.

The miniature train so fondly remembered by generations of Calgarians returned to Bowness Park thanks to a group of restoration experts determined to see the legacy live on. The 1950s-era train was well used for almost 60 years before being put in storage, and then badly damaged in the 2013 flood. Hundreds of parts had to be made as they simply aren’t manufactured any more. The group installed a new diesel engine, and sandblasted and re-painted the body modelled after CP Rail’s luxury transcontinental passenger train, The Canadian.

SEPTEMBER

The City handed over the keys of the Great Plains Recreation Facility to its newest operating partner, Canlan Ice Sports. Following a competitive procurement process, Canlan was announced as the successful candidate to operate the City-owned facility, located in the southeast. Great Plains contains two multi-purpose ice rinks, spectator seating for approximately 600, dryland training space, multi-purpose rooms and change rooms, food and beverage services and a pro shop. The 80,000 square foot facility represents a total investment of $33 million.

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Remington YMCA in Quarry Park.

The City of Calgary, YMCA Calgary and the Calgary Public Library celebrated the grand opening of Remington YMCA in Quarry Park. The facility is the first of four new recreation facilities to open to the public as part of The City of Calgary’s $480 million investment to improve the availability of recreation opportunities in under-served areas of the city. The completed facility features a 25 metre, six-lane pool, small leisure pool, hot tubs, steam room, gymnasium, fitness centre, a running/walking track, fitness studios and multi-purpose rooms, childcare and child-minding, food services and a public library.

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During some recent work being conducted in the northeast section of the Municipal Building a structural element, which appears not to meet building safety codes, was identified. The City does not believe that there is an immediate risk to the structural integrity of the section. However, out of an abundance of caution, and as part of The City’s commitment to employee safety, a temporary closure is in effect for the identified area. Construction of the building was completed in 1985.

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Car 2001, on the right, sits next to the newest "Mask" train cars.

Calgary Transit began the decommissioning process on Car 2001 – the very first Light Rail Vehicle to arrive in Calgary. It was made by German manufacturer DUWAG and was delivered to Calgary Transit on April 18, 1980. The grand opening of the CTrain was on May 25, 1981 with then-Mayor Ralph Klein at the helm of the first train. Car 2001 was in service for 35 years and has travelled more than 2.5 million km during that time. It’s had 44 new tires, 514 routine maintenance and service inspections, the bogies (the framework carrying the wheels and axels) were rebuilt four times and the body was refurbished once, in 1998.

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The City celebrated the official opening of the Royal Vista Multi-Service Facility and Fire Station 34, located at 16 Royal Vista Way N.W. The new facility provides fire and rescue services to the communities of Rocky Ridge and Royal Oak. The facility also includes space for the Calgary Police Service, Calgary Community Standards staff, EMS and a community room that can be reserved for meetings and events.

Royal Vista Multi-Service Facility and Fire Station 34

OCTOBER

The City of Calgary today broke ground for the Stoney Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Bus Storage and Transit Facility. The 44,300 square metre facility will provide storage and maintenance space for Calgary Transit’s new fleet of CNG buses as well as diesel buses that are currently stored outside the City’s other bus garages. The complex will be capable of housing a minimum of 424 buses and has 36 maintenance bays, two steam cleaning bays and on-site compressed natural gas fuelling infrastructure. Located in the Stoney industrial area in north-central Calgary, the project is a $174 million infrastructure investment

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City Council approved a fully tunneled LRT route in Calgary’s downtown core. The approval was made “in principle,” contingent on the overall funding for the Green Line program. The fully tunneled route would see the Green Line LRT run underground from the CP tracks in the Beltline, under 2 St. S.W., and under the Bow River. The line would resurface north of 16 Ave. N., along Centre Street N.

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The City opened Thomson Family Park, a community park located in the Beltline. The new inner-city green space, located along 16 Ave. between 11 and 12 St. S.W., offers Beltline residents another outdoor community recreation venue, with a playground, picnic tables, winter skating opportunities and a lookout viewpoint. The redevelopment and new vision for the park were made possible in part thanks to a donation by the Thomson family.

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Resident of southwest communities Woodbine, Cedarbrae and area welcomed the opening of a new pedestrian bridge that crosses busy Anderson Rd. With its completion, there is now a continuous pathway between South Glenmore Park and Fish Creek Park that can be accessed safely, easily and quickly. The project was funded by the Province of Alberta and designed and constructed by The City.

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A major piece of road infrastructure in Calgary’s southwest the Flanders Ave. Interchange was completed on time and on budget. The new interchange was made possible by an innovative partnership between Canada Lands Company, a federal Crown corporation, and The City. Funding became available in 2013 when The City entered a borrowing partnership with CLC, which invested $35 million. The City will repay $20 million in the future.

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Graphic represents 2016 in review -- October was a record month for building permits.

October was a record month for building permit applications in Calgary, an indication developers remain confident in the Calgary economy in the longer term. Total construction value for building permits in the month was more than $1.5 billion, the highest value in a single month on record in Calgary. There was a 36% increase in single family homes and a 47% increase in new commercial buildings compared to the previous month. The spike can also be attributed to new energy efficiency requirements in the National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings and Alberta Building Code.

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In today’s world, data is power. In the case of the new Solar Potential Map released on The City’s Map Gallery, solar data can help Calgarians make powerful decisions about powering their homes. The new solar potential map is intended to be a starting point for Calgarians who are curious about the viability of solar as an energy source for their particular home or building. Using data collected in 2012 and 2013, the map shows all buildings within Calgary’s city limits and their varying degrees of solar exposure, on an annual basis, in generalized optimal conditions.

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In response to the June 2013 flooding in southern Alberta and to reduce the risk of flooding in the future, the governments of Canada and Alberta contributed investment towards a City flood mitigation project. The project includes the construction of a pump station in Sunnyside – a low-lying area prone to flooding – that will direct excess surface water safely into the Bow River. It also includes the construction of a flood protection berm east of the Bonnybrook wastewater treatment plant. Total estimated investment by all three levels of government are estimated at $32,856,876.

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The City released the results of the 2016 Citizen Satisfaction Survey. Citizens’ perceptions about quality of life remain strong and satisfaction with the level and quality of City programs and services remains high. However, there are some shifts in public opinion such as tolerance for tax increases and several quality of life metrics have declined. These shifts were not unexpected given the 2016 economic climate.

Citizen Satisfaction Survey highlights:
  • 83% of Calgarians say their quality of life is good, but 37% think the quality of life has ‘worsened’ in the past three years – a significant 12% increase from 2015
  • 79% of Calgarians are satisfied with the level and quality of City programs and services
  • Infrastructure, traffic and roads remain at the top of the issue agenda, transit continues to hold second place and crime, safety and policing is a solid third
  • More than six in ten Calgarians say The City provides good value for their property tax dollars.

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On the heels of being named one of the top “Open Cities” in Canada by the Public Sector Digest in their annual Open Cities Index report, The City of Calgary launched an upgraded Open Data Portal. The portal offers enhanced data analysis features, new data visualization tools, and API capabilities for easier app development for developers. Twenty-two mobile apps have been created and brought to market using The City’s open data and, combined, have over 750,000 downloads.

The City agreed to lift its injunction on Uber drivers, meaning the transportation network company was able to operate in Calgary as of early December. The City reviewed and confirmed that Uber has met its licensing requirements, and Uber drivers have fulfilled the safety and administration requirements of the Livery Transport Bylaw.

DECEMBER

The 8 St. S.W. underpass opened fully to the public. Along with new security cameras, call boxes, sidewalks, guardrails, stairs and improved lighting there's also a unique public art installation. The panels along the sides of the s-curve installation scroll across the snippets and fragments of Calgary's past; bits of old advertising, classified ads from 100 years ago and personal reminiscences on details of daily life.

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City Council voted today to make the cycle tracks in the Centre City permanent. An amendment was made for administration to report back on how the 12 Ave. route will operate along with the Green Line project. Council also approved administration to use the $1.65M savings from the pilot to make improvements to the network. Some of the work that needs to take place on the cycle track network over the next couple of years includes making temporary traffic signals permanent and continuing to improve traffic operations and parking/loading access.

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Alberta Health Services (AHS) and The City of Calgary reached an agreement-in-principle for the provision of patient-centred EMS dispatch services, designed to improve patient outcomes. The City will maintain dispatch services for EMS calls made inside Calgary city limits starting April 1, 2017. EMS calls from other areas currently served by The City will be dispatched by AHS, including all inter-facility transfers.

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And as the 2016 began, so it ended … with the traditional celebration of the New Year on Olympic Plaza. But it was a party with a difference, because it was also the official launch of celebrations of Canada’s 150th birthday.

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