Over the next six years a community investment fund, approved by city council, will invest $252 million into community improvement projects throughout the city of Calgary.
The money will go towards a new central library, new recreation centres and upgrades to community arenas, pools, parks and community associations and recreation groups. “These are core components to what makes a great community,” says Mayor Naheed Nenshi. “Council’s decision yesterday demonstrates The City’s commitment to safe, sustainable and vibrant neighbourhoods for all Calgarians. This is a significant investment in the creation and preservation of some of the most important community facilities across the city.”
The council approved process identified the projects that will be funded over the next six years. “The need for funding community projects has continued to grow over the years,” says Alderman John Mar, who made the initial motion to invest in community infrastructure. “Over half of our City’s community facilities are 40 to 50 years old and long-term, sustainable funding is key to addressing the growing backlog and need for upgrades to better serve the community. In all my years as Alderman, I have never been more excited or proud. This is city building at its finest – giving back to Calgarians through their communities.”Public consultation played a role in the decision making process and council anticipates further public input into the projects as they move forward.
In recent years funding for building and improving public facilities has fallen behind the need. Since 2006, the unfunded community capital deficit has grown from $718 million to $2.3 billion in 2010. The money to make up the shortfall will come from a fund created by council which was created after the Province decided earlier this year to ease the provincial property tax. This move resulted in a projected cash flow of approximately $42 million annually.
The process results in prioritized lists that identify unfunded community needs. As Calgary neighbourhoods evolve and change, so do their needs. Accordingly, priority lists are reassessed annually to ensure they reflect current realities. Some of the criteria used to determine a project’s ranking on the priority list include safety impact, Council Priorities, impact on operating budgets, classification of project (maintenance, upgrade, growth, service, critical) and readiness.
Each of the four quadrants of the city will see some funding aimed at community projects. In some cases,it includes important partnerships with community and social recreation associations and Civic Partners. New facilities such as the central library and recreation centres address city growth needs. Lifecycle funding addresses ongoing maintenance needs and upgrades to existing facilities. Funding over the next six years will be allocated as follows:
- New Central Library $135 million
- Four New Recreation Centres (three in SE and one in NW) $25 million
- Capital Civic Partners Grant Project* $17.1 million
- Aquatic Facilities $12.45 million (upgrades to Shouldice, Glenmore and Acadia Pools- redesign consultation for Beltline and Inglewood Pools)
- Community Associations and Recreation Groups (lifecycle) $12 million
- Upgrades to Ernie Starr, Henry Viney and Frank McCool $9.9 million
- Bowness Park (restoration and redevelopment) $9.45 million
- Laycock Park (restoration of natural wetlands) $6.95 million
- Playground Lifecycle and Wading Pool Retrofits (city-wide) $5.45 million
- Parks Lifecycle (city-wide) $4.7 million
- Athletic Fields Irrigation (city-wide) $3.8 million
- Sport Fields Lifecycle and Renovations (city-wide) $3.6 million
- Lifecycle Personal Protective Equipment for Firefighters (city-wide) $3.6 million
- Fire Station #1 Rehabilitation $3 million
TOTAL $252 Million* This is a new grant project that will be available to City of Calgary Civic Partners to assist with ongoing lifecycle maintenance needs to their existing facility.