Calgarians want a vision for the future. This week, it became clear that this vision doesn’t include a 2026 Olympic Bid. While I believed that the proposed deal was a good deal, I also believe the right decision was to let Calgarians decide what was best. Ultimately, Calgarians voted no – and that’s okay.
Now, we need to move forward. There are big challenges facing our City: we have a downtown office tax problem – a hole that has grown to $89 Million. Inflation and growth continue to affect the City’s bottom line. A large portion of our property tax goes to the Province – dollars which don’t come back to our communities in an equitable way. The situation is far from ideal, and there is no overnight fix – these problems have been building for years.
We need long-term solutions.
Today, I am proposing one potential solution to these issues. We need to grow our revenues in a sustainable way, while growing our City. I believe that investing in a new Culture and Entertainment District, anchored by a multi-use Event Centre, is one way to do it. I propose a District that will provide benefit to all Calgarians.
The Event Centre is more than a hockey deal, it is a deal that would see the development of the new Culture and Entertainment District for Calgary. Primed with approximately $3B worth of private investment, the District, upon build-out could generate over $100 million in tax revenue each year.
A new District would attract desperately needed business investment back into our downtown. This new investment would then generate significant revenues for the City – enough to offset our downtown tax problem. In addition, this new district could become a new gathering place in our community – one that celebrates music, entertainment, sport and more.
When you consider our downtown tax problem is at now $89 million - it is vital we stop kicking the can down the road and start to look at strategic ways of creating lasting value and legacy. Our economy won't shift anytime soon. We need, as a city, to start thinking about key investments that yields solid returns.
Significant work is being done on this file. Last month, we presented Calgarians concept images of what we envisioned. Engagement is taking place – over 6,000 Calgarians have already had their say on our vision, and over 120,000 pieces of information have been collected. We are committed to working with the Calgary Community on realizing this vision, and are actively working to engage key partners.
I’m moving forward on my vision for a new Event Centre and Culture and Entertainment District – and I ask you to join me. Contact my Office today, and let me know what you think.
Our public presentation on our vision can be found here:
I look forward to your thoughts,
Councillor - Ward 6