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Thursday, July 24, 2014

LEDs light up Calgary communities this summer

The City is illuminating five communities in Calgary with 2,500 new energy-efficient LED streetlights this summer.

GE Evolve ERS1 LED fixtures
Altadore, Douglasdale, Marlborough, Tuxedo Park, and Brentwood are part of the first phase of an initiative focused on changing the existing High Pressure Sodium (HPS) street lights to energy efficient fixtures. LED light installations started in the community of Altadore, and will be ongoing throughout the summer and early fall. In a two-phased project, The City plans to eventually undertake a city-wide retrofit of approximately 80,000 fixtures.

“This is the first step in The City’s larger vision of providing Calgarians with smart, sustainable, and cost-effective infrastructure,” said Barry Poon, Acting Director of Roads. “The LED technology will not only reduce electricity use and lower maintenance costs, but will also provide better quality lighting for our communities and roadways.”

Benefits of LED street lighting
  • Reduces electricity consumption
  • Makes objects appear clearer and more defined
  • Reduces the amount of “spilled” or wasted light, ensuring light is focused on roads and sidewalks, where it is most useful to drivers and pedestrians
Find more information about energy efficient LED lighting and frequently asked questions online.

    Wednesday, July 23, 2014

    Public Safety Communications members shave their lids for kids’ cancer

    Helping others is not just a job for The City of Calgary’s emergency communications officers (ECO) -- it's part of who they are. On Friday, July 18, several ECOs with Public Safety Communications shaved their heads for a Kids Cancer Care Foundation fundraiser.

    ECO Jacqui Skelton's head shaved by Commander Richard Hinse,
    “I am so proud of the efforts of our 9-1-1 call takers and dispatchers,” said Commander Richard Hinse, who had the honour of shaving the first head. “What I’ve seen here today is a group of caring and committed individuals who believe in rallying support for causes that mean something to them.”

    Dubbed 9-1-1 Life Shavers, this employee-driven event was successful in raising more than $7,000 to support kids’ cancers.

    Earlier this year, one of PSC’s ECOs passed away from cancer. A few members took it upon themselves to put this fundraiser together to raise awareness and funds for cancer. Nine people took part in the head shave to show moral support for the kids who lose their hair during cancer treatments, while raising money for camp, research, hospital and scholarship programs for young people affected by cancer.

    For more information on Public Safety Communications and the work this group does for Calgarians visit

    Submitted by Tanja McMorris, Public Safety Communications

    Monday, July 21, 2014

    Census shows record growth for Calgary

    Calgary’s population has reached 1,195,194; an increase of 3.33% or 38,508 residents from last year, resulting in record growth for the city.

    "Accurate census information is essential in decision making and planning for The City’s future needs," said Mayor Naheed Nenshi.

    2014 by the numbers:

    Community Growth

    Saddleridge leads the way in community growth, with a population increase of 2,373.  Seven other Calgary neighbourhoods saw notable migration increases including: Auburn Bay (2,242), Cranston (1,858), Skyview Ranch (1,759), Evanston (1,704), Panorama Hills (1,384), Aspen Woods (1,095) and Beltline (1,091).


    While housing starts are up, Calgary's vacancy rate continues to decline. Overall vacancy rate in the city is 2.01%, down from 2.59% in 2013.

    For the second year in a row census takers used tablets to collect census information, saving nearly 50,000 sheets of paper.

    For complete 2014 Civic Census results, please visit

    Thursday, July 17, 2014

    Taxi survey results encouraging but improvements still needed

    While The City looks to make taxi service improvements for peak times like Stampede, recent survey results show citizens are satisfied with how the industry is running.

    The survey, conducted between April 24 and May 11 by Leger, found 86 per cent of Calgarians are satisfied with taxi service in the city.

    “We know some people — especially those who waited for hours during Stampede and still could not get a taxi —are going to question the results,” says Marc Halat, manager of Compliance Services with Animal & Bylaw Services.

    “But what we are seeing is that, most of the time, it is actually very easy to get a taxi in Calgary and it is an enjoyable experience.” 

    Based on the survey, only about 60 per cent of citizens took a taxi in the past year, while 13 per cent used a luxury sedan or limo. Of those who did jump in a cab, 93 per cent say they were satisfied with the driver.

    Learning from Stampede

    The Leger survey results are being presented to the Taxi Limousine Advisory Committee (TLAC) on Friday, July 18 along with a summary of lessons learned from this year’s Stampede.

    Halat says The City is already looking at ways to improve taxi service during next year’s Stampede, such as adding more taxi stands in better locations near the grounds and Fort Calgary.

    Most complaints go direct to taxi companies

    Another finding is the majority of taxi and limousine complaints were registered directly with the company. Only eight per cent of complaints were filed through 311 and The City.

    “We want to encourage people to let The City know when they have issues,” says Halat. “By letting The City know, you will be providing us with the information we need to improve the service.”  

    Calgarians can pass along all compliments and complaints to 311, either by calling, going online or using the app, in addition to letting the taxi company know directly.

    For more information, go to

    Submitted by Tara Norton-Merrin, Animal & Bylaw Services

    Wednesday, July 16, 2014

    Confederation Park: The "kids own it" says one of the park's founders

    Fifty years ago, Amelia (Millie) Smith, was recruited by close friend, and future Alderman, Eric Musgreave to join the Centennial Ravine Parks Society and help convince The City of Calgary of the benefits of turning a local coulee into a park. This area is now Calgary’s beautiful, beloved Confederation Park and helps honour Canada’s Confederation in 1867.

    Millie Smith: The trees were just eensy teensy.
    Now 90 years-old, Smith moved to Calgary with her husband in 1954 and volunteered for a number of worthy causes including the Centennial Ravine Parks Society, Meals on Wheels, an anti-Vietnam war women’s group called Voice of Women, and teaching English to new Canadians.

    She recently toured Confederation Park with The City to share stories about the society and the history of the park.

    Why did you join the committee to form Confederation Park? Was there a specific task to achieve?

    They were going to make this area into a nuisance ground, like a garbage collection place and Eric said, ‘no way, we need a park on the north hill. 1967 is coming pretty soon.’

    Eric decided he’d get together several acquaintances and friends that he knew would be interested [in the Centennial Ravine Park society]. He wanted me to be on the committee.

    What was your role in the society?

    I had to see about getting speakers to go and speak at schools and community organizations to get the community and the people of the city interested. When City departments saw how interested people were in our park -- the idea of it -- The City was behind us 100 per cent.

    What did the park look like when it first opened?

    These trees were just eensy teensy. August 7, 1967, is the day we opened the park and my husband was running around putting signs on the trees saying ‘donated by...’ until the last minute. The trees were just little. Kids could buy them for $5 a piece and then they would come and plant them and that would be their tree. If a school had a day they would come and plant a whole bunch of trees together.

    Would you encourage young people to volunteer their time on something like this?

    Yes, you bet. I don’t think there’s ever been much mischief in this park because the kids own it. At least that’s how it started out. All the kids felt that this was their park because they had planted a tree.

    Visiting the park now do you feel a sense of legacy?

    Oh I do, I really do. I think, my gosh, I never even pictured it would look this beautiful. Just couldn’t picture it. I don’t remember so much green space, it looks so beautiful. It really is lovely the way they’ve done this.

    As part of the opening ceremony on August 7, 1967, three time capsules were buried at various locations throughout the park. The capsules are set to be opened on August 7, 2017 and Smith plans to be in attendance.

    To learn more about Confederation Park or other parks in the city visit

    Submitted by: Lauren Greschner, Parks