Briefing- City Council Approves 2022 Budget

Last week, Calgary City Council adjusted the 2022 One Calgary Service Plans and Budget. The following is a summary of the potential impacts on Calgary’s local construction industry:

Downtown Revitalization: City Council approved $55M further downtown revitalization programs, as outlined in the Greater Downtown Plan. This is on top of the $45M already committed to redevelopment grants and will be distributed as rebates to approved programs.

To date, five projects have been granted the “go-head” for office conversion and redevelopment. According to reports, this new funding will help six projects take up 790,000 square feet of vacant office space, bringing the total to 1.3 million square feet or almost 10 percent of downtown vacancies.

The estimated construction of the 11 projects is $325M.

The success of Calgary’s downtown is imperative to the success of our whole City. City documents show 28 potential empty office buildings have been identified that can be converted to residential space, students or seniors housing, or other uses. We support Calgary’s Greater Downtown Plan to attract vibrancy and investment in our downtown core and offer our voice to provide expertise and leadership in the retrofitting of old space, building and material standards, and more.

Climate Strategy – Following this month’s declaration of a climate emergency, City Council approved spending $3M to hire 18 new staff members to implement the city’s mitigation and adaptation plans. As stated in our briefing note, environmental retrofitting of older buildings could create new jobs and opportunities for the local construction industry. The creation of new, sustainable City-owned buildings could trickle down to the private sector and result in new best practices, codes, and standards.

The existing Climate Resiliency Strategy calls to action include collaborating with external partners to develop regionally appropriate climate data to inform new design standards for City Infrastructure; improved energy code for buildings, and updated design guidelines and standards for City infrastructure to ensure resilience to extreme weather events and chronic climate change.

Extension of the hail-proof rebate program: Following the June 2020 Hailstorm, City Council approved the Resilient Roofing Rebate program as a tool for homeowners impacted by hail. The program offers a $3,000 debate for homeowners who experienced hail damage and have replaced or plan to replace their roof with a certified Class 4 impact-resistant product. $3.25M has been allocated to the program.

To date, the program was available only to homeowners who experienced hail damage in 2020. Beginning on January 1, 2022, the rebate program will be open to all eligible homeowners in Calgary who meet the eligibility criteria and have replaced or plant o replace their roof with Class 4 impact-resistant products after June 1, 2021. More information is available here.

New Affordable Housing Commitments: City Council committed a further $10M to affordable housing, matching federal housing dollars for construction on an expected 125 new homes. This is on top of 174 units stemming from the federal government’s Rapid Housing Initiative.

Article by Lena Hogarth
November 29, 2021

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