I've said this on a couple of occasions; there is no quick fix for the woes of downtown Calgary. It is going to take hard work to improve the situation going forward. During an election, many are looking for the quick sound bite, the one witty idea that is going to turn it all around. They feel that that surely there must be an idea, incentive, or program that will make people and businesses flock to our city. Unfortunately, if it were that easy, every municipality would be using that one same idea we'd be right back to square one.
What it's going to take is strong management of the resources we have. We need to build on our strengths and address our weaknesses to attract the next generation of investment and make our downtown as desirable as possible. The ideas currently being discussed in the Greater Downtown Plan are a good start (click on the graphic below for the Sun article to read more). To be successful we need to ensure this plan focusses on items that will have the most impact and doesn't get sidetracked on expensive "nice to haves" that may not make any meaningful impact. It is important during this rebuilding phase to remember that we must spend responsibly to keep taxes under control. Sound fiscal management allowing for control over tax increases can go a long way to providing the stable environment so crucial to the assistance of investment and business planning. Capping non-residential tax increases at 10% is not going to attract new business investment. Would you move your business to a city if you knew your taxes were going to increase 10% every year?
Let's make sure the Greater Downtown Plan stays focused and on-track to provide benefit and not become a financial miss-step because magic beans that can be planted to correct the situation are non-existent.
Click on the photo above to see the article in the Calgary Sun ...