Thursday, July 26, 2012

Transparency! Enagagement! Inclusiveness! Accountability! Responsiveness! & ...Irony?


Situations, as described below, baffle citizens and Star Fleet Commanders.

The City of Calgary Council has an engage! Policy in their voluminous policy library, otherwise known as "Things we tell Calgarians we're going to do, but most often ignore, forget we said that or actually voted on that issue at all".

An alderman, Druh Farrell, known in YYCCC circles as Queen of the North Shore, and possibly one of our least transparent/inclusive council members, is sponsoring a review of the citizen engagement document: Engage! Policy. The irony runs deep, as we will soon find out.

1. Any policy created by a municipality must be followed (see MGA 5 (b)) by that municipality. It is legislated, yet YYCCC repeatedly and with ostensibly zero remorse, breaks this law. Municipal Affairs cites only the consequence of court/judicial action in response to nonconformity of a legislated, stated, voted on policy.

2. Alderman Farrell is known to sidestep public engagement and implement her own strategies based on her fickle/capricious personality, circle of associates, outrageous pricetags and proximity to her residence. The Paris Hilton of Calgary politics, Farrell knows what's best for the unwashed masses and eating cake is on the menu. Community associations are intimidated, to the point where community members and board members state, "We don't want to piss off Druh" & "If Druh doesn't like it, it won't get approved". Since when did we live in a Stalinist state? Further irony comes in the form of testimonials about the good 'ol Druh, who apparently was at one time responsive to constituents, but now in her 4th term, has caught the politically terminal disease of Disconnected Apathy Syndrome.

3. My suggestion for YYCCC?

Implement and follow your policies. Pursue targets agreed on by massive public engagement... hint: imagineCalgary. Respect citizens by providing citizens with an option when they disagree with politicians, administration and the bureaucracy in the form of a City Ombudsman (like big pant cities, Montreal & Toronto).

And? Engage citizens. Your policy clearly states this must be done.

BTW, engage! was passed unanimously by council in 2003.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Future use of Sunnyside Triangle Site

The Future of the Sunnyside Triangle Site has been discussed by area residents and citizens for many years.

Here are some suggestions for the future of the Sunnyside Triangle (with links):

1. Policy:

The City of Calgary must follow its engage! Policy. Citizens and residents are to be consulted on the future use of this area. Citizens and residents are organizing to reclaim this public space and to ensure that their ideas are heard and implemented. There is still a bad taste left with many residents from the Anthill Building fiasco.

2. Interim Adaptive Temporary Use: 
The concept of AREA should be applied to this area.
AREA= Art+Rec+Education+Environment+Entertainment+Ag
Groups representing these genres would work together to share the "AREA", making it a robust, vibrant, inclusive, community centric space.
Interim use should include a Community Garden with veggies, herbs & flowers, busking space, benches and common area, public art & production, outdoor theatre space, small festival space (music & performance), playground, pathway, space for yoga, badminton, volleyball, putting; rain water collection, solar panels for lamps, area for food kiosks & artisans, bike parking, mini amphitheatre, et al.

3. Long Term Use: 
A mixed use Community Centre on the first 3 floors & truly affordable housing on the remaining 4-6 floors.
The mixed use 1st floor should include a Daycare with Indoor Park for winter use, Farmer's Market, Art Space (Market Collective, exhibitions, theatre, studios, artisans, et al), Human Powered Traffic Space (Good Life Bikes), open meeting space and event area, indoor garden, et al.
2nd & 3rd floors should include meeting space, not for profit & social enterprise office space, unique retail, computer access, community services, government services (health centre, family supports), community library and viewing/relaxation area.

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