Johnson: In the short term, I would ensure that the existing procedures be as streamlined as possible for applicants. Let us apply common sense to requests and make sure that citizen-initiated projects are not overcomplicated by planning regulations. In Ward 11, a new development is causing increased parking pressures. A local building owner is willing to build a parking lot at their own cost to address the situation. Yet, the City is asking for a superior structure plan. If there is a short-term solution on the table that works for all involved, let’s take it quickly. In the long-term, I would ensure that the goals for residential and commercial developments of all sizes are respectful of the marketplace and the market demand.
CREB®Now: What is your opinion on a potential land transfer tax for Calgary and/or all of Alberta?
Johnson: My first reaction is to say no to any additional taxes that increase the cost of owning a home and doing business in Calgary. If an argument can be presented with sufficient detail and facts to replace the existing land transfer fees, I would have to analyze the evidence and act accordingly.
CREB®Now: What are your thoughts on the future of energy-efficient homes and how they could potentially be classified?
Johnson: This is a topic that I currently do not have sufficient in-depth knowledge about to provide a thoughtful reply. I look forward to learning more about this topic as the campaign progresses.
CREB®Now: How would you approach the issue of affordable housing in Calgary?
Johnson: In my opinion, there are two aspects to this topic. First there is the common interpretation of affordable housing. Calgary is currently a leader in the country with its 10-year Plan to End Homelessness and the very unique funding model presented by RESOLVE and its partner agencies. These types of initiatives are ideas that I will support and encourage. Another aspect is housing choice. For Ward 11 to continue to be a thriving and vibrant area of the city, there must be choice in housing to attract residents to this part of Calgary.
CREB®Now: What are some infrastructure projects/improvements you would like to see in the next 25 years?
Johnson: Flood mitigation initiatives and improvements need to be in place as quickly as possible – this is a matter that has an impact on the entire economic viability of our city. We as a City cannot have a situation where the functionality of our downtown core is threatened by every large snowpack and spring rain season. Homeowners and residents need to have the confidence that their home won’t be devastated again by a large runoff like there was in 2013.
CREB®Now: What is your position on the current secondary suite approval process?
Johnson: I believe that the current process for handling secondary suite applications in Calgary is fundamentally broken. Calgary is the only major Canadian city where the city council votes case-by-case on each secondary suite application, and this process is incredibly inefficient, resulting in inconvenience for property owners, and taking up far too much of council’s time.
CREB®Now: What is your preferred location for a new Calgary Flames arena and how would you propose the City develop the surrounding area to best meet the needs of Calgarians?
Johnson: I would be partial to a project that would help further enhance the liveability and cultural economy of Victoria Park. Yet, the biggest factor in a project, in my mind, is that it makes economic sense for both the City and Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation. If that means the project is better suited in the west end of downtown or Victoria Park, I would support it. To me it’s about getting the best business deal for all parties involved.