The Greater Downtown is the economic and cultural heart of Calgary
The Greater Downtown is Calgary’s business hub and gathering place for our arts and culture. It includes the Ward 8 neighbourhoods of Beltline and Downtown West in addition to Ward 7 neighbourhoods of the Downtown, China Town, Eau Claire and East Village. Despite making up only 0.7% of Calgary’s total land area, the Greater Downtown is home to 23% of the jobs and generates 14% of the city’s tax revenue.
For years, Downtown Calgary has generated a wealth of tax revenue that has funded city services and shouldered the taxes paid by homeowners and businesses across the city. (Source: City of Calgary)
Declining property values Downtown have shifted the tax burden onto the backs of small business and homeowners across Calgary
Today, our Downtown is in decline with ~30% office vacancy and a major shift underway in the way people live and work, accelerated by the pandemic. The loss of thousands of jobs in the oil and gas sector has exposed the vulnerabilities of a Downtown over reliant on office towers and a single industry.
The domino effect of these vacancies and the resulting decline in Downtown property values has shifted Calgary’s tax burden onto the backs of homeowners and businesses all across the city. A strong Downtown is needed to fund city services and lead the way for a prosperous future. Doing nothing is not an option. City Council can’t magically turn back the clock to better days. We must look to the future with bold new ideas.
Map of Greater Downtown transit network (Source: City of Calgary)
The Greater Downtown Plan is a first step towards reinventing Downtown and transforming Calgary into a magnet for the brightest minds and new investment
The City of Calgary’s Greater Downtown Plan will be coming to City Council for approval on April 26th. It introduces a number of important strategic moves that are vital to a Downtown that will thrive:
1) Create and support vibrant mixed-use neighbourhoods that make it easier for Calgarians to live closer to their work in communities that are walkable and safe, with amenities that support their everyday needs.
2) Connect and expand Downtown’s network of green spaces for a vibrant urban environment that attracts more residents and visitors, supports mental and physical wellness, and carbon reduction.
3) Invest in streets for people and transform them into lively, vibrant, and safe places that accommodate multiple transportation modes— be it walking, scooting, driving, biking, or ridesharing.
4) Build transit for all with expanded and enhanced transit service, welcoming stations and stops so we can reduce overall traffic congestion and make transit the preferred transportation choice for residents, employees and visitors to Greater Downtown.
5) Foster an environment of innovation and entrepreneurship with more pilot initiatives and streamlined processes for setting up new businesses. This includes making it easier to repurpose existing buildings and store fronts, and supporting more educational institutions downtown.
We can’t afford to let Downtown continue to languish in uncertainty. City Council must approve the Greater Downtown Plan on April 26th. The October municipal election will be one of the most important in decades. We need to ensure we have a City Council and a Ward 8 Councillor to see this plan through in the years ahead.
A vibrant Downtown and Ward 8 is at the heart of my vision to make Calgary a magnet for the brightest minds and new investment. I look forward to hearing your feedback and earning your vote in the months ahead.
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