Friday, October 21, 2016

Calgary Fire celebrates everyday heroes for going ‘Beyond the Call’

The Calgary Fire Department recognized local heroes for their contributions to the community with an annual awards luncheon on October 20. The Officer’s Mess Hall at Fort Calgary made a striking backdrop for presenting medals and certificates to emergency personnel and ordinary citizens whose extraordinary actions saved lives and properties.

Twenty-seven Calgarians from all walks of life were honoured for their quick thinking and decisive actions in medical emergencies, fires, avalanches and other hazardous incidents.

Fire Chief Steve Dongworth was joined on stage by Deputy Mayor Jim Stevenson and City Manager Jeff Fielding, to hand out awards for three levels of recognition:

  • Appreciation: recognizing individuals for providing basic first aid or an act of kindness to a victim at a CFD-attended emergency scene.
  • Recognition: acknowledging individuals for their significant effort to aid in a CFD-attended situation where citizens or property are in danger. Their actions often result in injuries being avoided or property being saved.
  • Commendation: recognizing individuals for proactive actions that save lives, even if it means risking personal injury, to ensure the safety of others. The recipient’s actions go well above and beyond expectations.

Calgary Fire Department Public Information Officer Carol Henke, who acted as the event’s Master of Ceremonies, noted that recipients represented a diverse cross-section of Calgary’s communities, which included young children, new Canadians and an off-duty firefighter. “Despite being so different, these recipients have one thing in common,” Henke said. “They all rose to the occasion and put the needs of others ahead of their own - something we can all be proud of.”

Dallas Kaquitts performing the Honour song
To close out the luncheon, Stoney Nakoda drummer Dallas Kaquitts performed the Honour song in a heartfelt display of appreciation.

Firefighter and Medal of Bravery recipient Benoit St. Pierre was also featured on the CBC’s morning show The Eyeopener to recount his experience saving a group of back country skiers from an avalanche.

Members of the public can nominate citizens, firefighters or other emergency responders for recognition by contacting 311. For more information on the Calgary Fire Department, please visit

Submitted by Irina Mazursky, Calgary Fire

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Alberta ushers in new era of energy efficiency

By Justin Pockar, Energy and Environment Coordinator

As the Energy and Environment Coordinator for Building Regulations at The City, it’s an exciting time for me – and for our province. For the first time in Alberta’s history, we have adopted energy efficiency requirements in our building codes.

The National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings (NECB) and Section 9.36 of the Alberta Building Code, which will come into force on Nov. 1, 2016, were adopted as part of a commitment to improve energy efficiencies in buildings and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

I think the most important part of having energy efficiency standards is that they become universal. In the future, regardless of where you live, you are assured some level of energy efficiency. It won’t be a huge change, but it will be a change for the better. Buildings will have improved usability, energy performance and quality of construction.

Codes set minimum standards, so they have a much more severe effect on lower-quality buildings than they do on the higher-quality ones. For those already constructing energy-efficient buildings, you might see some of your competitor buildings increase in cost. This makes the better, more energy efficient buildings more cost-competitive and therefore makes energy efficiency a much more sellable asset.

What will the energy requirements affect?

Both codes cover a wide range of building components and systems and can include building envelope, electrical and mechanical systems. Generally, the NECB applies to large commercial and residential buildings that are over 600 m2 in building area or three storeys in height, and Section 9.36 of the Alberta Building Code covers houses and small buildings.

For single family homes, the code talks about minimum efficiency on your furnace, hot water heater, minimum standards on thermal performance for windows, walls, roofs and more. It’s basically a way to save energy on the day-to-day running of your home.

The NECB covers all the above as well as interior and exterior lighting, more complex heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, combined hot water systems, and power distribution components and motors.

Compliance paths

One of the most important aspects of the new requirements is the flexibility with compliance they provide engineers, architects and designers. The new requirements give guidance while still allowing design teams to explore multiple options.

Both the NECB and ABC 9.36 offer a design team a choice of three compliance paths; prescriptive, trade-off, and performance modeling.

The prescriptive path requires meeting all requirements outlined in the code. It is typically the simplest compliance path to follow, but may not be appropriate for all buildings.

The trade-off path allows for more flexibility in your design, allowing you to trade elements within a portion of the design, like the building envelope, so the overall performance is equal or better to the prescriptive path without meeting every prescriptive element found in the code.

The performance compliance path provides the most design flexibility. You must demonstrate that your proposed design will not consume more energy than an equivalent building built to prescriptive requirements. This path is the most complex, and requires the use of a computer simulation, but offers significantly more design freedom

Following these requirements will incur a small cost to builders. At The City, we are not naive to the difficulty that changes like this present. We’ve really tried to go out of our way to help builders adopt these new standards. We’ve put together web information for both commercial and residential buildings on what the standards are and how to comply. We’ve tried to instill a sense of flexibility and a provide paths to painless compliance.

To learn more and to download compliance documents from The City of Calgary, visit and

Justin Pockar is the Energy and Environment Coordinator with The City of Calgary’s Calgary Building Services Business Unit. For the past nine years in this position, he has worked to advise the construction industry on sustainable building practices.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

4 things you need to know this Halloween

The spookiest time of the year is coming up soon—Halloween! Calgary is coming alive with ghouls and goblins of all ages roaming around the city. Some will be in search of treats, others tricks, but everyone can find a fun way to celebrate the season!

Calgary has no shortage of parties, activities, and deals to explore. Here are four you don’t want to miss out on.

  • Halloween Swim Coupons

    Let’s face it: the kids are going to get a lot of candy. But you can give the kids a healthy alternative that will keep them – and their parents – happy. Instead of traditional sugar-filled Halloween sweets, treat your trick or treaters with a coupon for a free swim at a Calgary facility! With one coupon, preschoolers, children and youth ages 2-17 can enjoy a free swim. For just $5, you can buy a booklet of 10 coupons. Halloween swim coupons are available to purchase online, at Calgary aquatic & fitness centres, leisure centres and at the recreation Business Services centre. More information here.
  • Halloween Boo Bags at North Mount Pleasant Arts Centre, Oct 28

    Decorate a frightening loot bag with your kids this Halloween! We’ll supply a fabulous instructor and all art supplies you need. Bags are $10 each. Kids must be accompanied by a parent or caregiver. Space is limited. To register, call 403-221-3682. This activity takes place on Friday, October 28, 4:30-6:00pm.
  • Monster Mash Halloween Bash at Village Square, Oct 28

    Come dressed in your favourite costume and join us for free creepy crafts, ghostly games, and ghouly activities. We are proud to partner with Aspen Hand in Hand Parent Link Centre and Village Square Library to provide recreational child and family-friendly events. This is a free family friendly event that takes place from 4:30-6:30pm on Friday, October 28.
  • Cemetery Tour, Oct 29

    Spend an afternoon in the cemetery before Halloween! Join knowledgeable tour guides on a walk through time to learn about the people, personalities and events that shaped the vibrant city Calgary is today. This is a free tour that takes place on Saturday, October 29, at 2pm. Meet at the Galloway House, the building near the Union Cemetery main gate. Vehicle entrance is off Spiller Rd. opposite Cemetery Rd. S.E.
Enjoy your Halloween! Be sure to stay safe - here are some tips to make sure the holiday is a happy one for everyone in your family.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Main Streets: More than just streets

Main streets are important to the long-term growth of our city because they are vibrant areas for people to live, work and visit. Not only do they offer a variety of diverse lifestyle choices for housing and transportation, they form part of the fabric of daily life. Main streets are more than just streets, these are the places where you grab coffee, run errands, meet friends and are unique and vital destinations.

The Main Streets initiative aligns to the long term growth goals of the Municipal Development plan by directing growth to existing main street areas. These areas have the capacity to support future population increases and commercial opportunities, and are located along a Primary Transit Network for easy accessibility.

To understand the unique requirements of growth in these areas, The Main Streets initiative considered:
  • Calgarian’s desires for their main street areas
  • Market demand for the location and timing of new development
  • Local planning and policy goals
Throughout an extensive public engagement process, in which Calgarians thoughtfully provided their input, some of the most important outcomes expressed by main street users included:
  • A vibrant public realm
  • A variety of retail and small businesses
  • A unique character
These desired outcomes were considered along with market demand (i.e. development and investment interest) and local planning (i.e. current zoning and policy goals). Based on this approach, seven main streets were identified as ready for change and redevelopment in the short-term. City planners then looked at the solutions that would work in these areas to enable desired growth and change.

1 Avenue NE: supporting a growing population

Community desires
Market outlook
Local planning/policy
Want more community gathering spaces and a high quality street while maintaining a small town feel
·         868 residential units are expected to be built over the next 25 years driving commercial and retail opportunities

·         The Bridgeland/Riverside Area Redevelopment Plan (ARP) provides policy that promotes and encourages growth along 1 Avenue NE
·         Current zoning does not allow population and employment levels to fully meet MDP growth targets

36 Street NE: enabling a more creative use of existing space

Community desires
Market outlook
Local planning/policy
Want a safe and comfortable multi-modal main street with high quality public transit facilities and more landscaping
·         214 residential units are expected to be built over the next 25 years, starting gradually between 2016 and 2020
·         Many sites have potential for larger scale projects including medium-term opportunity for residential, office and retail development

·         Local planning does not provide the proper framework for main street development as envisioned by the MDP
·         Current zoning does not facilitate mixed used development and makes more creative use of large commercial sites a challenge

16 Avenue NW (Mongtomery) and Bowness Road NW (Montgomery): encouraging population growth

Community desires
Market outlook
Local planning/policy
Want safe and vibrant main street sidewalks, a variety of businesses and effective reuse and renewal of older retail
·         Both main streets have not been overly active locations for new development
·         Commercial and retail opportunities will be driven by population growth in the immediate area
·         The Montgomery Area Redevelopment Plan (ARP) provides policy that encourages pedestrian focused commercial and mixed use buildings along the main streets
·         Current zoning does not allow population and employment to reach MDP growth targets

17 Avenue SE: better aligning to MDP growth targets

Community desires
Market outlook
Local planning/policy
Want more amenities, gathering spaces that showcase cultural diversity, employment opportunities, safe and vibrant main street sidewalks and improved connectivity to the city
·         1,794 residential units are expected to be built over the next 25 years, starting between 2016 and 2020 and gradually increasing.
·         Many sites along 17 Avenue SE have potential for larger scale projects including short to medium-term opportunity for residential, office and retail development

·         Current zoning does not match up with the City Council approved Southeast 17 Corridor: and does not allow for development to reach the growth targets outlined in the Municipal Development Plan

17 Avenue SW (from Crowchild Trail to 37 Street SW): encouraging more commercial and retail development

Community desires
Market outlook
Local planning/policy
Want development of vacant sites and Tecumseh site, and to retain character
·         Approximately 3,340 homes are expected to be built over the next 25 years, starting gradually between 2016 and 2020
·         Potential for further retail and commercial development opportunities
·         Killarney/Glengarry ARP provides land use policy that support MDP goals
·         Westbrook Village Station Area Plan is directed by the goals of the MDP
·         Current zoning allows for a range of mixed use and apartment development but restricts commercial uses and there is limited opportunity for street-level access forms of multi-residential development

37 Street SW: encouraging more commercial and retail development

Community desires
Market outlook
Local planning/policy
Want more of a destination, more vitality and better managed parking
·         Approximately 3,208 homes are expected to be built over the next 25 years, starting gradually between 2016 and 2020.
·         The Westbrook Mall site has potential for office and general commercial retail development at a larger scale than most main street sites.

·         The current zoning does not allow the street to grow over time to meet MDP growth targets

Drop by an upcoming information session in October to review the proposed solutions and the specific tools and techniques that will be used to enable growth and change in these main street areas. Visit for event details.

Friday, October 7, 2016

16 deserving Calgarians receive recognition at the 2015 The Calgary Awards

On September 28, The City of Calgary presented 16 awards to recipients at the 2015 Calgary Awards. Mayor Nenshi and members of City Council were in attendance to recognized the many deserving recipients at the ceremony.

The Calgary Awards showcase The City’s priorities of community, the environment, accessibility, and arts and culture. “Achievements and contributions by citizens in these areas should be acknowledged and celebrated,” said Catherine Humeny, coordinator of citizen recognitions & protocol.

This year, highlights from the awards presentation include the Community Advocate Award presented to Patricia McLeod, the Signature Award, recognizing an individual who has brought significant recognition to the city, to Richard F. Haskayne and The Citizen of Year award to David Pickersgill for his outstanding contributions to his community.

The Calgary Awards is The City’s official citizen recognition program established in 1994, celebrating Calgarians and local organizations for their outstanding achievements and significant contributions for improving the quality of life in Calgary. Each year, individuals, corporations, community groups, schools and organizations are nominated in five major award categories. It is one of the largest citizen recognition programs in the city.

“We celebrated the best of who we are as Calgarians. The work our recipients do to make Calgary a better place makes us proud to live and work in this great city,” said Mayor Nenshi following the ceremony.

The City of Calgary encourages all Calgarians to look to their neighbours, colleagues, community leaders and local organizations and businesses for those who could qualify as recipients of the Calgary Awards. Nomination applications open in the fall. For more information please visit