|New Beltline plan caps number of bars
City council has decided to cap the number of bars on a block to 50 per cent as part of the new Beltline Area Redevelopment Plan (ARP).
Ald. Madeleine King says the goal of the new policy will be to prevent "clustering" of bars in one small area. She adds that 17th Avenue S.W. doesnt have any blocks that are more than 50 per cent bars, but First Street S.W. is well over that limit.
"Theres quite a lot of evidence to show that when you get clustering, youre more likely to have violence and other crime, particularly if they all close at the same time," King says. "For nearby residences theres a cumulative impact of noise and rowdy behaviour."
She adds that if an area becomes known as "the bar strip," its hard for other businesses to thrive.
The new bylaw wont result in existing bars being shut down, but any new application to open a bar in the Beltline will be affected. King says the Beltline will be a pilot project and the policy could be extended into other neighbourhoods.
The new Beltline ARP emphasizes increased density and mixed-use development, including residential, commercial and industrial. The Beltline, which includes Connaught and Victoria Park and is bordered by the train tracks, the Elbow River, 17th Avenue S.W. and 14th Street S.W., currently has a population of 17,230, but the ARP aims to triple that to 55,000. The ARP also includes plans to create more parks and to improve existing parks, and to increase the number of amenities and services in the neighbourhood to make it more attractive for new residents. The new ARP also aims to promote walking and cycling rather than driving.
The ARP includes density bonuses for developers they will be allowed to build higher density if they donate land for public space, donate space in a building for not-for-profit groups, create affordable housing units, preserve heritage buildings or incorporate environmentally friendly features into their building.
"Its actually really exciting because its a true blueprint for an urban neighbourhood and weve been talking about building a great place to live, work and play and this is really the blueprint for that," says King.
Student unions wary of Tory tuition bill
The Klein government is in the process of creating a tuition policy express lane, drawing criticism from post-secondary students.
Members of Albertas student unions met with Advanced Education Minister Denis Herard on May 16 to voice concerns over Bill 40. The bill proposes to remove all caps on tuition hikes and allow tuition policy to be determined by cabinet instead of in the legislature, which critics say opens the door to a wide range of abuses.
"They are basically taking it out of legislation, which doesnt give members of the opposition the ability to publicly dispute tuition policy," says Emily Wyatt, president of the University of Calgary Students Union. "It makes it easier for them to back out on their commitment to post-secondary in the future."
Herard defends the bill, pointing out it will give the government increased flexibility to adjust tuition policy, and that student unions are to be consulted before any changes are made.
Dave Taylor, the Alberta Liberal advanced education critic, says the change is not about enabling tuition policy, but about enabling further deregulation.
"Clearly, this government is not accountable enough to Albertans to allow elected MLAs to openly debate tuition policy changes," he says.
The bill is expected to pass in the legislature this week.
Daily Dose gets doused
Its "hip," its "edgy" and its finished. CanWest announced Wednesday that Dose its daily commuter newspaper aimed at the 18- to 35-year-old demographic will be shutting down its publication arm after being in circulation for little over a year.
In an internal memo to CanWest staff, which was posted on Canada.com, Peter Viner, president and CEO of CanWest MediaWorks Canadian operations, said, "In this very competitive newspaper market, we feel the printed publication will not produce the financial results we expect over the long term, however, we see a growing product in the Dose online and mobile offering, which we will continue to develop."
The closure will affect about 50 people in its publishing unit across Canada.
Health care forum and debate at University
A new group called the Citizens for Quality Health Society is hosting a conference on health care at the University of Calgary on May 27, featuring a range of ideologies and perspectives.
Speakers include Calgary Liberal MLA Dr. David Swann; Heather Smith, President of the United Nurses of Alberta; Nadeem Esmail of the Fraser Institute; and possibly Health Minister Iris Evans.
Dan Levson, power industry consultant and co-founder of the CQHS, says the organization is non-partisan, and its mandate is to engage citizens in the health debate and provide a forum for the various opinions surrounding health care, whatever they may be.
"The goal is to involve people from all walks of life," Levson says. "I havent seen the average person having any input or dialogue."
Ideas from outside the boundaries of mainstream medicine will be represented as well, with participation from holistic experts, active release therapists and advocates of integrative medicine.