Read the Civic Lottery letter below or download the PDF.
July 8, 2015
Dear fellow Calgarian,
This letter is a special invitation to serve as a member of the Citizens Commission on Municipal Infrastructure. Membership on the Commission is open to all Calgary residents over the age of 18. This is an important opportunity to serve your community and propose recommendations that will shape this city.
Calgary is among the fastest-growing cities in North America, and leads Canada in population growth. Every year, more than 20,000 new residents move to our city. In the past year alone, almost 10,000 new houses were constructed, and 35,000 new cars were added to our roads. Just twenty years ago, Calgary’s population stood at approximately 750,000. Today, nearly 1.2 million residents call Calgary their home.
Dealing with the pressure created by growth is one of the challenges faced by all successful cities. Managing this growth by maintaining and providing adequate municipal infrastructure is essential.
Much of this infrastructure is buried beneath our streets, or located out of sight like the city’s water treatment system. But it also includes Calgary’s busses and trains, libraries, fire stations, recreation centres, and parks.
As Calgary grows, the cost of building and maintaining municipal infrastructure is growing too. But we are falling behind. We can’t pay for what we need. We need new ways of paying for city infrastructure.
Most Canadian cities rely on property taxes, development levies, and provincial and federal transfers to fund their operations. Unlike American and European cities, Calgary lacks the power to raise funds from other sources, such as local taxes, tolls, or different forms of debt financing. These limitations have resulted in a $7 billion infrastructure wait-list for the things we need as a city, but can’t afford because of our limited funding sources.
At the Calgary Chamber of Commerce, we believe these limitations are holding Calgary back. While we are committed to Calgary remaining of one North America’s most tax-competitive jurisdictions, we also believe that Calgary needs to examine its revenue sources, and fund our growth in a more sustainable way.
This is why the Chamber, with the support of the City of Calgary, Brookfield Residential, the Alberta Real Estate Foundation, and other corporate partners, is launching the Citizens Commission on Municipal Infrastructure. This is an innovative citizen-led process that will empower 36 randomly-selected residents to examine new revenue models and tools, and make recommendations to the Chamber and the City. We hope you will volunteer to be one of them.
As a member of the Commission you will work with other Calgary residents to learn first-hand from experts in municipal financing and infrastructure. You will also hear the perspectives of other Calgary residents and stakeholders.
The Citizens Commission will meet on six Saturdays between September and November 2015. We recognize this requires a serious commitment. Nevertheless, we believe this is a very valuable and rare opportunity to serve your city, influence policy and help us plan for the future.
We need your help to make the Citizens Commission on Municipal Infrastructure a success.
You don’t need to be an expert to participate. As one of 36 members of the Citizens Commission, you will learn about municipal financing and infrastructure from a range of experts and be supported in your work by a dedicated team. You’ll also hear from local residents during a public roundtable meeting and work with your colleagues to reach agreement on the best ways to help finance the City’s future.
Members of the Citizens Commission will meet from 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. on the following Saturdays.
You must be able to attend no fewer than five of the sessions listed below:
- Saturday, September 12, 2015
- Saturday, September 26, 2015
- Saturday, October 10, 2015
- Saturday, October 24, 2015
- Saturday, November 7, 2015
- Saturday, November 21, 2015
To volunteer for the Citizens Commission please phone 1-855-987-6402, mail in the enclosed form, or register online at calgary-commission.ca by Friday, August 21, 2015.
The 36 members of the Commission will be selected through a blind draw from the pool of volunteers. Every Calgary resident and business owner who is 18 years or older is eligible to volunteer to serve on the Commission. Please encourage family members, friends and neighbours to volunteer. You do not need to be a Canadian citizen, and there is no cost to participate.
This is an important opportunity to serve your community and shape the future of Calgary. We sincerely hope you will join us and become a part of this exciting initiative that will put residents like you at the centre of an important discussion.
Adam Legge CEO, Calgary Chamber of Commerce