It’s no secret that Calgary’s downtown is struggling.
Last quarter, the downtown office vacancy rate in Calgary climbed to 28.7 per cent. With so many energy companies reducing operations, demand just isn’t there.
As Calgary Herald columnist Chris rightly points out, empty offices create a ripple effect. As rents and property values plummeted, about $250 million of municipal taxes had to be shunted outside the core.
Commercial property owners got hit with tax increases. Then business owners. Then residents.
It’s so, so frustrating. Because Calgary deserves better.
Calgary deserves better than boom-and-bust cycles. We deserve a stable economy, and that means we have to change and adapt.
We may not even have to stray too far from the energy industry to do it.
I’m eager to see diverse industries in Calgary. I think we could be a tech giant. We can also steal some of Vancouver’s movie industry thunder.
But I’m also excited to see news that Alberta can still be a leader in energy. According to Clean Energy Canada, Western Canada could become a leader in sustainability by adapting our resources to a hydrogen energy economy.
But we’ll have to move fast if we want to compete. Calgary needs leaders that will seize the opportunity to diversify our economy, attract investment to our city, and get Calgarians back to work.
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