Soaring inflation is making it harder for Calgarians to live well and participate meaningfully in our communities. The costs of transportation, shelter, food, and recreation are rising the fastest.
To make Calgary more affordable, reduce the cost of living, and support Calgarians amidst soaring inflation, a Better Budget includes the following policy asks:
- Eliminate user fees for recreation services. For example, eliminate recreation passes and summer camp fees.
- Update land use bylaw to enable more housing types and build complete communities, prioritize permit approval for affordable housing projects, and increase the transfer of municipal land to affordable housing projects.
- Develop a retrofit incentive program to encourage the adaptive reuse of buildings.
- Support densification in urban planning by converting offices into non-market housing and supportive programming, including programs for vulnerable residents (i.e., harm reduction in palliative care or distinct health needs for Indigenous peoples).
- Double the Family & Community Support Services funding to ensure fair, equitable, and timely access to services.
- Create accessible city-run childcare spaces with flexible hours for every quadrant and the inner-city.
To reduce the cost of living, The City can eliminate user fees that download the cost of paying for public services to the individual. As of July 1, 2020, the Calgary Public Library moved to a permanent Fine Free model. Recreation services, such as public pools and tennis courts can easily adopt a similar fee-free model.
Increasing the available supply of affordable housing is critical to making Calgary accessible for everyone who lives here. In addition to increasing the supply of affordable housing, including housing options that include services and programs to support the various needs of Calgarians, the housing made available must be well located to ensure the highest impact. By updating land use by-laws to allow for greater housing density, The City can simultaneously take steps to house a greater number of Calgarians and reduce urban sprawl.
Efforts to increase urban density have already begun, and converting office space into housing is just one example of adaptive reuse of existing buildings. Density, as opposed to sprawl, facilitates the delivery of services to a greater number of residents and reduces concerns over the costly infrastructure expansions that are needed to connect new communities.
Family and Community Support
The Family and Community Support Service Fund covers initiatives that provide information and access to social support, volunteer work, mentoring programs, programs for children, families, seniors, and much more. Doubling the fund would allow for the introduction of new initiatives to bridge gaps and ensure financial stability for existing programs.
While many social and community services are funded through the Family and Community Support Service Fund, the City of Calgary does not run any public childcare spaces.
Ensuring that every child has access to safe early learning spaces regardless of household income requires The City to invest in opening and funding childcare spaces that can accommodate parents and caregivers who work nights and weekends, as well as children with disabilities.
These policy asks are based on input that came directly from over 5,000 Calgarians from every corner of the city through our Better Budget Survey and Community Consultations last spring. Vivic Research and Nick Falvo Consulting helped us compile your responses into a report that includes these and other recommendations.