It’s not a busy agenda but there are some big things to talk about when council meets Monday, including an update on a potential Olympic bid and a report on the Downtown Economic Summit.
When it comes to the later, councillors will discuss the strategies that came out of the March summit with the aim of kick-starting the struggling downtown core.
One of the common themes, according to Ward 7 councillor Druh Farrell, was the idea the city needs people living downtown.
“When you’ve got this healthy mix of people living and working in the downtown core it’s more resilient and we’ve got a downtown that’s heavily focused on office but not as much residential, so how do we encourage people to live downtown?” she said.
Another question council hopes to answer is how does the city fill all the vacant office space?
Farrell would like to see more post-secondary development downtown, arguing urban campuses are vital to cities, especially if they can help turn office space into residential space.
“One of the solutions that’s come out of this summit is to come up with a fund, sort of an emergency fund for innovative ideas that can help test and bring people into the downtown core,” said Farrell.
That will likely come in the form of a $10-million economic development fund pilot, which by all accounts is still less than other cities in similar positions have spent.
Farrell said the city can’t wait, it needs to be nimble and respond quickly.
“Calgary’s downtown has been dominated by one industry and we see now what happens when that one industry isn’t doing well, so a diversity of jobs and talent is exceptionally important for a resilient economy,” she said.