3 things to watch at city council on Monday
'Snowtember' cost, secondary suites, liquor store locations all up for discussion
Monday's city council meeting will be the last before The Great Budget Debate, which starts Nov. 24 and could last for as long as two weeks.
Mercifully, the agenda gods have come up with a menu that should make for a short meeting. Still, one never really knows with city council ...
'Snowtember' costs climb
Given the snow on the ground today, it seems even more bizarre that there was snow on the ground two months ago. But Calgary's "Snowtember" storm killed trees and snapped branches across the city and council is being asked to approve taking $35 million out of the piggy bank — a.k.a. the Fiscal Stabilization Reserve — to help pay for the long-term recovery. Yes, there will be lots of pruning and replanting but this money will also help pay for new aerial trucks and other machinery as well as a multi-year public education program to help save/restore Calgary's tree canopy. The City is hoping it will get millions back from the province's Disaster Recovery Program ... but they might want to touch base with people who suffered damage in last year's flood to see how easy that process will be to negotiate.
If there's one thing this council (like the last one) loves discussing, it's secondary suites. Coun. Andre Chabot wants to help bring the tens of thousands of illegal secondary suites in Calgary into compliance. He wants council to approve an 18-month amnesty to allow owners of the not-so-safe illegal, non-conforming suites to meet with City officials to see what it will take to meet code. He also wants to create an interactive map of approved suites on the City's website so renters will know where to find the legal ones.
Hic! Rules? What rules?
Speaking of Coun. Chabot, he has another motion for his colleagues to consider. While Calgary has rules about separation distances between liquor stores (300 metres) and liquor stores and schools (150 metres), Chabot says too often those rules are being relaxed for applicants. He wants council to change the land use bylaw to ensure the relaxations can be no more than 10 per cent of the minimum distances. He says clusters of booze outlets don't look good, affect community health and cause other problems.