Posted on Apr 23, 2021
UCP MUST INVEST IN CITY OF CALGARY’S PLAN TO REVITALIZE DOWNTOWN CORE
CALGARY – Alberta’s NDP is calling on Jason Kenney and the UCP to make an investment in a downtown revitalization plan going before Calgary city council next week.
City of Calgary officials will propose a $200-million investment on Monday to go towards conversion and retrofits to vacant offices — some for housing and some to attract new business ventures — as well as other initiatives to attract people to the downtown core.
Should the plan go ahead, the city will be asking for funding from the provincial government as well, although that amount has not been determined yet.
“The province has an opportunity to finally provide real support for Calgary’s downtown,” said NDP Leader Rachel Notley. “In the last election, Jason Kenney promised to fill the office towers and create 55,000 jobs with his $4.7-billion dollar corporate handout. Instead, we saw the opposite. Investment fell, our economy stalled, and 50,000 jobs were lost — this was all before the pandemic hit our province.”
Notley also called for the immediate rescindment of Bill 56, the Local Measures Statutes Amendment Act, which is currently before the Alberta Legislature. If passed, the bill would remove the legislative requirement for Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI) funding and Calgary would see a $159-million cut over the next two years.
The UCP has already cut funding for the pivotal Green Line, which would connect the downtown core with the rest of the city by $480 million and they have stalled the entire project and the 20,000 jobs it creates.
“At a time, when we need to be investing in Calgary to grow our economy and create jobs, the UCP are making massive cuts,” Notley said. “They need the province to step up.”
Municipal Affairs Critics Joe Ceci has already begun consultations on a new plan for downtown Calgary through the NDP’s Alberta’s Future initiative. He said some of the vital opportunities for growth in the core stem from the potential to expand available programs available through post-secondary.
Ceci said that rather than build up post-secondary as an economic engine, the UCP has cut $100 million from Calgary’s schools alone.
“The UCP Minister of Finance promised a new plan for downtown Calgary when he spoke to the Chamber of Commerce after releasing the 2021 budget but we’ve heard nothing,” Ceci said. “This is a government that talks a lot about creating jobs and growing Calgary’s economy but they have done nothing but chase jobs away and stall our economic potential with their failed policies. Calgarians need certainty in order to leverage new investment downtown.”
Ceci invited all Calgarians to head to www.AlbertasFuture.ca and register for a consultation on the downtown plan that is scheduled for May 6.