3 things to watch at city council today

Monday's combined meeting of city council includes land use items but, unlike many recent meetings, there are only three of them on the agenda and plenty of other items to keep councillors busy.

Cycle track, bar hours extension and more council spots to be discussed


Monday's combined meeting of city council includes land use items but, unlike many recent meetings, there are only three of them on the agenda. 

However, there are enough other items on the list that council will still have a busy day.

1st Street cycle track

There has been quite a debate at committee on whether the next cycle track (a bike lane physically separated from other traffic) should be built along First Street S.E. from the Bow River south to the Elbow River.  

Strong opinions have been expressed from both sides of the divide and that ultimately led to the idea being stalled (but certainly NOT killed). 

It will be worth watching to see what will happen with the controversial proposal once every council member is asked for their opinion.

It's worth noting that this isn't just a pro/anti-bicycle debate. There's more of a divide over whether or not this is the best road for a cycle track.

Past votes have shown that this council is on board with the development of a downtown cycle track network.

A bonus cycle agenda item planned later in the meeting will have council discussing Coun. Ward Sutherland's idea to start looking at cycling citywide, not just in the core area. His motion calls on the bureaucrats to start working on principles for a larger bike network including design and route selection.

Bar hours extension

The provincial government was musing about looking at Alberta's liquor rules after a special 5 a.m. MT bar opening for a certain gold medal hockey game.

Some government ministers are interested but others are less so.

Couns. Ward Sutherland and Shane Keating will ask council to pass a motion, calling on the mayor to write a letter to the province. The pair of councillors want that letter to request that bar closing hours be extended to 3 a.m. for service and doors can stay open until 4 a.m.

The goal is to draw out the closing so mobs of people aren't spilling out onto the streets at the same time. There's also supposed to be a benefit in that it could be easier to catch a cab if fewer people are out looking for a safe way to get home after a few libations.

Does Calgary need a bigger city council?

Calgary has had several different systems for representation on city council over the years but the current system of 14 wards has been in place since 1976.

Ah, 1976 ... when a young whippersnapper named Joe Clark won the federal PC Party leadership.

Calgary was a city of just 470,000 souls and had just celebrated its centennial birthday. Fast forward to 2014 and Calgary  with nearly 1.2 million people  still has 14 elected officials sitting around the council table. 

The boundaries are going to be reviewed before the next election in 2017 anyway but the current council wants to add the issue of the number of wards on the agenda for the independent commission that will set the boundaries.

Given that every councillor except Brian Pincott has signed this motion, it will pass. However, there's no indication how many wards they think there should be on the next city council.


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