Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Green Line LRT project considers alternate route in Victoria Park and Ramsay

The Green Line LRT team has been evaluating alignment options in the Beltline since early last year. We began with more than a dozen options and, through several phases of evaluation, narrowed those options down to two: 12 Avenue S Surface, and 12 Avenue S Tunnel + Surface, shown in the graphics below.

12 Avenue S Surface
12 Avenue Tunnel + Surface

Over the course of our detailed evaluation, we’ve discovered significant technical and operational considerations for the alignment east of 4 St S.E. (the East Victoria Park area). As a result, we have been considering alternative options to connect the Green Line from the Beltline to the Ramsay/Inglewood area.

Considerations include:
  • Victoria Park redevelopment -Canada Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) is currently developing its Rivers District Masterplan, which includes potential Calgary Next facilities and consideration of future Olympic infrastructure . The Green Line will be part of these discussions to ensure the LRT supports the future area transportation network to best serve Calgarians who travel by foot, bike, bus or car
  • Travel times - The alignment to the north of the Victoria Park Transit Centre would result in slower travel times for Calgarians, and costly wear and tear on LRT vehicles due to very tight turns
  • Existing transit operations - Operations of the Victoria Park Transit Centre would be significantly impeded by a Green Line alignment around the north side of the facility, impacting transit service reliability throughout the city
  • Budget - The Green Line does not have the budget to re-locate the Victoria Park Transit Centre, so the team is exploring alignment options that do not require the relocation. The team has also explored a tunnel option through Beltline and under MacDonald Avenue SE. This option, while technically feasible, has been removed from consideration due to cost.

The City of Calgary’s Green Line team is now exploring the option of a street-level LRT on MacDonald Avenue SE to address the challenges created by the original 12 Avenue options. The MacDonald Avenue SE options are:

12 Avenue S Surface – MacDonald Ave
12 Avenue Tunnel + Surface – MacDonald Ave

The City will present these four alignment options to City Council’s Transportation and Transit Committee on March 15, 2017. After further evaluation, we intend to take a single recommended alignment to City Committee and Council later this spring.

We are committed to working with the communities to determine how the Green Line on MacDonald Avenue SE could best be integrated into the neighbourhood to create connections and build community spaces, if this option moves forward.

There are a number of opportunities to get involved:

  • The City will continue to meet with the Ramsay community association and homeowners whose properties could be impacted
  • Join us at a public meeting on March 2, 2017, at 6 p.m. at The Hemmingway Room of The Commons, 1206 20 Ave SE. This presentation will be a preview of the update the Green Line team will provide to City Committee on March 15, which will include:
    • An overview of our evaluation and how we arrived at the MacDonald Avenue SE option
    • An overview of the trade-offs of each option
    • An outline of the next steps in the evaluation and decision process 

We will provide more opportunities for public and community involvement this spring. Watch for more information about other upcoming opportunities to get involved.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

What you should know before renovating your home

Home renovations can be a lot of fun – styling your home with your own look and personality. As you begin planning your next improvement project, here are three things you should consider:

1. Do your research

One of most important steps, but often overlooked, is planning. Do your research first, so that you are not overwhelmed by the time, cost and requirements later on. A good place to start is for information on your project and the permitting and inspection requirements to make sure your home is safe.

2. Hire the right professional

Do-it-yourself projects can end up costing more in the long run, if you make mistakes or aren’t sure of the safety requirements. Hire a professional if you aren’t skilled in certain areas. If you are going to hire a contractor, make sure you ask for references and a written contract. You should also ensure they are licensed; use The City’s search tool to verify a licensed trade contractor.

3. Get the right permits and inspections

Depending on the extent of your renovation, you may need a permit. This is to ensure your project meets Alberta’s safety codes and bylaws, so that your family, neighbours and tenants are safe. Your permit includes City of Calgary inspections – so you have a certified plumber, gas fitter or electrician familiar with Alberta’s safety codes looking at your work. Our safety codes officers can answer your questions before or during your home renovation. Contact our Technical Assistance Centre for code related questions.

To learn more about home improvements, inspections, hiring a contractor and more, visit

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Seeking input on the Southwest BRT Project

The City of Calgary is moving into the last phase of design for the Southwest BRT project, and we’re seeking stakeholder and public input. An online tool will collect input from Calgarians beginning February 22, and a facilitated session in March will gather feedback from representatives of area community associations, institutions and citizen groups.

The input collected online will be used at the March session to inform the workshop of the themes and comments provided by their fellow Calgarians. The in person sessions will have up to three representatives from stakeholder groups to ensure a balanced conversation about the topics The City is seeking input on. Calgarians and stakeholders will be asked to provide their input on:
  • Pedestrian overpass at 90 Avenue S.W. 
  • Construction staging and phasing 
  • Station connections (including pedestrian overpass at 75 Avenue S.W.) 
  • Parking 
  • Landscaping 
  • Noise attenuation 
Once we’ve heard from the Calgarians living and working near the future route, as well the Calgarians who may someday make use of the city’s BRT network, we will compile and analyze all feedback, which will help inform the final design for the Southwest BRT project. Calgarians input along with technical and engineering considerations will inform the final design for the SWBRT. The City will post a “What We Heard” report which will be made available online in April.

The City is committed to providing opportunities for Calgarians to provide input into the final design for the Southwest BRT, so sign up for the mailing list to get up to date information on the online engagement that begins on February 22.

The Southwest BRT is one of four BRT projects that fill important gaps in Calgary’s primary transit network and provide reliable, efficient transit to communities. Along with the Southwest BRT, The City is implementing the North and South Crosstown BRT and the 17 Avenue S.E. BRT to provide more transit options for Calgarians.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Newcomers and refugees continue building their lives in Calgary

Hundreds of newcomers and refugees met new faces at “Building a Life in Calgary”, an event designed to connect them to City and community resources, services and programs.

The event, which took place on Saturday, February 4 at the BMO Centre, was hosted by the Calgary Local Immigration Partnership (CLIP). “Building a Life in Calgary” is part of CLIP’s ongoing response for refugee resettlement in Calgary.

It was day of learning and family friendly activities for the attendees, most of whom arrived in Calgary in the past year or so. Attendees participated in many activities, including:
  • A cultural exchange with newcomers from Vietnam, South Sudan, and Colombia who shared their experiences settling in Calgary 
  • Educational workshops about volunteer opportunities, career development, English language supports, and financial literacy
  • A resource fair featuring City business units and community organizations, and  
  • Family-friendly activities, including cultural performances and wagon rides and crafts, courtesy of the Calgary Stampede. 

Honouring the victims of the Quebec City shooting

At  1 p.m., attendees gathered together to observe a moment of silence to honour those who were injured or killed during the Quebec City mosque attack on January 29.

“We send our deepest condolences to the families, friends, and communities of the victims,” said Jessica Pauletig, an issue strategist with Calgary Neighbourhoods who helps coordinate The City’s role in CLIP.

The moment of silence was followed by a performance by the Calgary Multicultural Orchestra (CMO), a youth program run by the International Avenue Arts & Culture Centre.

A smile means ‘welcome to Canada’

Afran Hajj Hammoud and Nour Yassin, two youths who arrived from Syria last February, helped to emcee the cultural performances. Nour, who didn’t speak English when she first arrived and is now attending high school, describes her first year as amazing.

“Our lives are getting better every day,” said Nour. “I don’t feel like I’m just a Syrian refugee – everyone has been so helpful.”

Afran, who arrived with her husband, brother-in-law and two young children, adds: “I love how everyone smiles here. That smile means ‘welcome to Canada’. It means everything to me.”

Approximately 1150 refugees arrive in Calgary each year. From November 2015 to March 2016, Calgary also received an additional 1400 Syrian refugees as part of the federal government's response to the global Syrian refugee crisis.

About the Calgary Local Immigration Partnership

The Calgary Local Immigration Partnership (CLIP) is a multi-sectoral partnership designed to help improve the integration of immigrants and strengthen the city’s ability to better integrate and address the needs of newcomers. The Government of Canada works with municipalities to establish local immigration partnerships across Canada. For more information about CLIP, visit

Monday, January 30, 2017

Working together to build a great city

The City is planning for the future of our youngest citizens today. We’re focused on balancing growth and development while maintaining liveable community design and planning for the future.

The total construction value for new building permits submitted to The City declined in 2016, but remained strong. In 2014 and 2015, Calgary experienced record highs for these types of applications (about $6 billion in each year), and in 2016 we saw numbers on par with 2011 and 2012. We issued over $4.7 billion in building permits, an indication that a good amount of construction was applied for in 2016. For those major projects applied for in 2016, construction is likely to have started or will start and continue over the 2017 and 2018 period.

Here are a few highlights of our work in planning and development in 2016.

Industry/City Work Plan

In 2016, we processed key application types faster than previous years as part of the Industry/City Work Plan. These application types are:

  • Infill development permits: A planning application that allows the city to review a new home in a developed area to ensure it meets the rules of the Land Use Bylaw.
  • Development permit and land use amendment initial team reviews: a review to make sure your application is complete. The decision is whether to accept the file for review or not.
  • Development permit detailed team reviews: A review of your plans, with comments, that inform what you need to get an approval.
  • Development permit decisions with applicants: A planning application that allows the city to review a development to ensure it meets the rules of the land use bylaw.

Inspections and permits

City representatives continue to provide technical expertise and consult on provincial and national building, technical and environmental code standards. Last year, we verified that all new buildings and renovation projects met quality and safety standards by conducting almost 200,000 building and development inspections.

In our Planning Services Centre, we connected with over 170,000 customers in person or over the phone last year, helping to answer questions about Alberta’s safety codes and The City’s Land Use Bylaw. We continued to put new permit types online, ending the year with all residential building permit types available on We took in 3,391 building and development permits through this system in 2016.