Small businesses: The backbone of Ward 9

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I am humbled and honoured to be the endorsed Ward 9 candidate of both the Inglewood and International Avenue Business Revitalization Zones (BRZs). (See letters of endorsement below.)

I am proud of the work I’ve done over the last 17 years supporting businesses in our Great Neighbourhoods. I continue to be focused on ensuring their success as the business landscape in Calgary shifts as a result of our current economic downturn. Our small businesses and the main streets upon which they cluster are the backbones of Great Neighbourhoods, and over the next four years, we need to charter a new deal for all businesses in Calgary.

I believe that a Great Neighbourhood is a mixed-use, mixed-income place where business owners, their employees and their customers all live, work and shop together. All of this is integrated with other essential services (schools, places of worship, parks, recreation facilities, libraries and social support agencies) in a public space that supports walking, cycling and transit use, and connects neighbours to a robust social, cultural and economic web.

On the whole, I’m thrilled with where we’re taking things in Calgary and in Ward 9 with regard to our business community. But we still have lots of work to do before we get to where we need to be. My decision to seek a third term has a lot to do with making sure we get there and that our plans land, and land successfully. What follows is a list of the Great Neighbourhoods initiatives from the past seven years that are all underway and focused on business success. I believe that taken together, they form a new deal for businesses in Calgary:

  1. Every Great Neighbourhood must be supported by a Main Street and other working landscapes that have an up-to-date policy, are zoned for mixed-use business success, have funding commitments for streetscape master planning and infrastructure upgrading, and are thoughtfully integrated into the surrounding community. I’m proud that this work is funded and underway along International Avenue and in Inglewood and Bridgeland, is on-deck in Renfrew, Ramsay, Manchester and Ogden, and is in the early stages of conceptualization in Fairview.

  2. Businesses need the ability to move goods and be accessible to their customers and employees and to have sufficient nearby parking for their customers and employees. I’m extremely proud of the enhancements we’ve made and are making to mobility in Ward 9’s vast industrial landscapes in terms of road infrastructure, transit and cycling connectivity, and also with the district-wide approach, we’re developing when it comes to managing parking in our Great Neighbourhoods.

  3. Businesses are the engine of our Great Neighbourhoods and of our City. Full stop. The fact that voter/resident issues enjoy clear representation from our municipal government but business interests do not is a structural failure that must be redressed. The work of the Community Representation Framework Taskforce (on which I sit) is mandated to develop a new framework for Community-City relationships. I believe giving businesses an integrated seat at the table is essential to both their ongoing success as well as the success of Great Neighbourhoods.

  4. Like our provincial government, our municipality’s revenue framework has been based on $100/barrel oil. For the past seven years, I have been an advocate–well in advance of the economic downturn–for the establishment of a municipal tax system that moves from a property-value assessment (which relies too much on businesses and creates perverse incentives) to a balanced approach between ability-to-pay plus the cost of servicing. With a new City Charter, we will have a framework for having this conversation and the next four years will be a crucial period for transforming not only the physical environments of our Great Neighbourhoods but the financial frameworks on which we build them to survive and thrive long into our shared future.

If you have any questions or ideas about how I can support our Ward 9 businesses further, please drop me an email at info@carra4ward9.ca or give me a call at 403-512-6043.

If you like the work my team and I have been doing in Ward 9, please be sure to vote for me on October 16!

Thank you for your support,

Gian-Carlo

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