|Centre city plan aims to enliven downtown
The City of Calgary has released its new draft plan for the centre city, which aims to "remake the centre city as a great urban place." The centre city is defined as the downtown, East Village and the Beltline.
The plan advocates the creation of specially branded entertainment districts, a new urban village in the northeastern edge of Victoria Park, a subway line on 8th Avenue and an improvement in public space along the CPR tracks. The plan proposes the creation of public park space above the CPR tracks and an improvement in the design of train track underpasses. City planners also want to make the centre city a "pedestrian oriented public realm" and "the most lively area of the city" through public activities and events, public art, new signage, lighting, landscaping and architecture with a focus on strong urban design.
Thom Mahler, coordinator of centre city planning and design policy, says part of what the centre city plan aims to do is to enliven downtown.
"What we heard from stakeholders is that, particularly in the downtown, things quiet down after people leave the office. How do we get things happening in the evening?"
He says the plan emphasizes creativity, risk taking and excellence in urban design and the hope is that it will inspire private developers, non-profit groups and businesses to use their own initiative to improve the centre city.
The city will be conducting public consultations on the plan until February and a final plan will be presented to city council in May 2007.
Parkland says Alberta exporting refining jobs to States
The Parkland Institute, a left wing lobby group, is trying to raise public concern about the proposed Keystone Oil Pipeline that would be capable of exporting 435,000 barrels per day of crude oil from the oilsands to the U.S.
The institute says exporting unrefined crude oil to the States will mean that well-paid, value-added jobs will also be exported to the States instead of staying in Alberta.
The proposal from TransCanada Pipelines Limited still has to receive approval from the National Energy Board.
"It just does not make sense to send our raw resources to the States," says Diana Gibson, research director at the Parkland Institute. "Weve consistently seen ourselves as resource hinterland and a colony where we provide resources for an industrial complex thats elsewhere."
The issue will become increasingly important because the Keystone pipeline is only one of many being planned, she says.
Gibson says Albertans have to keep in mind that the current boom is largely related to construction projects in the oilsands but she says after the construction phase is done the province still has to ensure that it has jobs.
"We need to think about the long-term. When we finish this construction phase what do we have?" she asks. "We need to think about quality jobs in the long term."
The Parkland Institute is hosting a panel discussion on the topic on November 2 at 7 p.m. at the Hotel Arts. For more information visit www.ualberta.ca/parkland.