3 things to watch at city council on Monday

Here's what you need to know about Monday's city council meeting.

Cycle track decision, public engagement on budget, 2nd poet laureate

City council will meet Monday for a decision on the proposed downtown cycle track and will also name a new poet laureate and hear what Calgarians want in the four-year budget. (Scott Dippel/CBC)

I could write at length about Monday's city council meeting —​ for example, the bylaw to finance the expansion of the Bonnybrookwastewater treatment plant will be voted on. However, I'm keeping my second and third picks short because all anyone will be talking about out of this meeting is Item No. 1.

Cycle track D-Day

The passionate arguments for and against have been made — endlessly. Monday is decision time. What's before council is a plan for a pilot project for a downtown cycle track network costing $9.38 million. It would be put in place next year and after a year of service, would be evaluated. Then, council will be asked to vote on whether to keep it 'as is,' pay $2 million to remove it or potentially pay another $5 million and make the network permanent. Some members of council can be marked as supporters of the network while some councillors are against it. As well, some councillors want to improve cycle infrastructure but aren't sure whether some of the roads selected are the best choices. When the smoke clears after multiple votes, we'll know whether downtown Calgary is going to be a safer place to pedal — or not.

What Calgary wants in the budget

Council has already heard that a small number of Calgarians actually offered their thoughts about what they want in the upcoming four-year budget. On Monday, council will discuss what the public engagement turned up. For the 7,000 people who actually offered their thoughts during the March consultations (which operated online and in-person), it seems transit is on the priority list. It also seems HOW they get around the city is very much top of mind. As well, this consultation found that the Calgarians who spoke up want to maintain current city service levels, even if it means higher property taxes.

I hear a poem a'coming ...

The council meeting will start with the announcement of Calgary's second poet laureate. It's a two-year gig for the cultural ambassador, taking over from Kris Demeanor who has dazzled council on a couple of occasions with his talent for spoken word poetry. The job comes with a $10,000 honorarium, provided by private sector donations. The winner will start off with a bang. Besides delivering a poem in the council chamber, an example of their work will be projected onto the a new canvas — the Calgary Tower — on Monday and Tuesday nights. How's that for getting your name up in lights?


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