New Neighbourhood Development in Excess of What We Need Voted Down
The Alliance tweeted, spoke and messaged City Council and they listened. On October 19th, 2020 Calgary City Council voted down the development of an additional 11 neighbourhood developments at the city’s edge.
As an Alliance, we are concerned about this because it would have impacted the city budget and because it will take money away from services for existing communities. Each new community requires considerable expenses upfront that are not recuperated until these communities are filled. For example, 14 new communities approved in 2018 will cost $330 million spanning from 2019 to 2022, 55 million of this will come from our property taxes – that is money that could be spent on affordable housing, improving transit etc.
Quite simply, City Council should not cut services that Calgarians depend upon while citing financial challenges, particularly when, a few weeks prior, they also approved spending money on developing neighbourhoods that are in excess of what the city needs.
As an alliance, we do not have a position on development. However, what our leaders were concerned about, is how these communities would result in further urban sprawl, which makes our city less energy efficient, less financially efficient and our transportation system less effective.
Supports for Seniors – To Stay in Their Homes and Communities
We celebrated a win for our seniors campaign when the City agreed to move forward with a plan to support seniors to stay in their homes and communities. This plan will address 8.5 of the 9 points for which our seniors team was advocating, and it will have an impact on thousands of seniors in the years to come.
Relationships formed through the Calgary Alliance for the Common Good resulted in the creation of an Elder-led reconciliation process. In this process, 17 Christian leaders are meeting monthly with elders, following a process of trust and relationship-building designed by the Elders. At one of the first meetings, an Elder stated that as far as he knew this was “historic”, and was “the first time anything like this has happened”.
Increasing Income Supports
Our leaders asked the provincial government to increase social supports for low-income Albertans. Then in November 2018, we heard the good news that these supports will be raised and indexed to inflation.
The Calgary Alliance for the Common Good has trained more than 250 people in community organizing skills. The Calgary Alliance has worked with institutions and their leaders to apply these skills in their institutional context. For example, Knox United Church has made these practices central to its process of renewal. Lutheran Church of Our Saviour used these practices to revitalize a youth program. St. David's United Church has used these skills to build relationships and identify needs of seniors and is now focusing on how seniors can live on fixed incomes. Lutheran Church of the Cross is using these skills to understand the needs in their community in order to partner with the community in responding to these needs. ATU 583 and General Teamsters 362 have used these skills to understand the needs of, and build stronger relationships with, their members.
Creation of Calgary’s Interfaith Council
Leaders from our Alliance recognized that there was a need for faith communities to come together to address poverty in our city, engage in dialogue and overcome our divisions. In response, they created Calgary's Interfaith Council which went on to win the King Abdullah II UN World Interfaith Harmony Week prize. The Calgary Interfaith Council is now an independent organization that works in partnership with the Calgary Alliance for the Common Good. - Learn more about the interfaith council at their website: https://www.calgaryinterfaithcouncil.org
Creation of Enough for All - Calgary’s Poverty Reduction Initiative
The Calgary Alliance for the Common Good worked with the City of Calgary, the United Way, and other community organizations to create Calgary's Poverty Reduction Initiative. The Calgary Alliance for the Common Good continues to be a partner in the implementation of this strategy.
Mental Health Training After Calgary’s 2013 Flood
After Calgary’s 2013 flood. The Calgary Alliance for the Common Good partnered with Alberta Health Services to provide mental health first aid training for community leaders so that they could be better equipped to support people dealing with the long-term mental health challenges that the flood created. This training was then offered in other communities in Alberta.