3 things to watch at city council today

Monday's City Hall agenda looks mercifully short but there are still a few things to keep an eye on.

Bottle depot bylaw changes, more ring road debate and pet limit proposals coming up

City Hall reporters could get used to this — Monday's city council agenda looks mercifully short.

The optimists would say there's no reason this meeting should last any longer than noon.

But if you've been watching city council, you know how these things can run on to fill much more time than anyone can predict.

A nickle here, a dime there

Council will be asked to approve changes to the land use bylaw regarding bottle depots.

Calgarians apparently lag behind provincial rates for returning their recyclable cans, bottles and milk jugs. The provincial rate of return is 83 per cent while in Calgary that rate is 69.6 per cent.

Part of the reason might be the inconvenience factor. The report indicates Calgary's population could sustain 29 depots but there are only 23 within city boundaries.

Roughly 100,000 Calgary households are located more than three kilometres away from a bottle depot and so changing the current bylaw is expected to make it easier for new depots to be set up as a permitted use rather than a discretionary one.

Freedom to move

At committee, councillors spent a tremendous amount of time discussing the Investing in Mobility 2015-2024 report.

While some pet projects were debated, much of the meeting saw four councillors questioning the need for completing the ring road. They wonder why there's been so little debate about the province's decision to spend $5 billion on the southwest ring road, as with that money Calgary could build an LRT line that would cross the city north to south.

While the ring road mega-project is the province's baby, the councillors' point seemed to be: why do we spend weeks debating $9 million cycle tracks but much less time on $5 billion ring roads?

That point was lost on other councillors who agree with the province, that the decision to complete Stoney Trail was made long ago. The time for debate has passed. As Mayor Naheed Nenshi said of the ring road: we need it.

In the doghouse?

Following the recent seizure of dozens of dogs from a house in southeast Calgary, Coun. Diane Colley-Urquhart says it's time to put some teeth into the city's Responsible Pet Ownership bylaw.

She wants to limit the number of dogs and cats that can be kept in a single residence. Naturally, there will be exemptions, such as residences with the appropriate business license to keep more than the allotted number of pets.

With council's approval, a report on this proposal would come back to the community and protective services committee by December.


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