Ganti: My vision in the short term is supporting greater levels of urbanization, and in the long term, attracting lightweight, green, digitally focused businesses whose work and products will/can scale. Promoting an atmosphere that is conducive to startups and innovation. Downtown revitalization (during weekends), additional recreation facilities and efficient transit are other short-term vision items.
CREB®Now: What is your opinion on a potential land transfer tax for Calgary and/or all of Alberta?
Ganti: While there is technically speaking no land transfer tax in Alberta, there are title and mortgage registration fees, which have increased by more than 100 per cent in recent times. It has been a few years since we Albertans received our “prosperity bonus” cheques and we are unlikely to receive one in the near future. Despite the increase, Alberta has the lowest title and mortgage registration fees. It is a much-needed step in the right direction.
CREB®Now: What are your thoughts on the future of energy-efficient homes and how they could potentially be classified?
Ganti: It should be classified as a capital expense, and there are currently many rebates and grant programs available for homeowners that they should take advantage of.
CREB®Now: How would you approach the issue of affordable housing in Calgary?
Ganti: Affordable housing stock needs both renewal and replenishment. Expiring federal operating agreements represent a risk to social housing providers. To alleviate affordable housing challenges, the city needs to leverage the federal government’s National Housing Strategy and Affordable Housing Initiatives. Besides stacking municipal-level efforts on the preceding initiatives, easily available financing to social housing developers, starting from the pre-construction phase, and access to federal lands, are some ways to approach the problem of affordable housing.
CREB®Now: What are some infrastructure projects/improvements you would like to see in the next 25 years?
Ganti: I would like all the transportation infrastructure projects currently in planning or evaluation stage to be brought to fruition in the next 25 years. Some of them are the Green Line (north and south), northeast and south LRT extensions, branch line to Airport, Shaganappi HOV, and the north and south cross BRT. Our water services and road infrastructure needs to be world class, too.
CREB®Now: What is your position on the current secondary suite approval process?
Ganti: The secondary suites approval is very inefficient. This matter is very tricky to resolve using logic, as tension will always be between illegal suites and a blanket re-zoning which will upset the implicit promise to home buyers that there will be no re-zoning without their express consent. Instead of council hearing all applications, I propose an amendment to the appropriate bylaw to take the matter out of council hands and let the Calgary Police Service look into these applications on a case-by-case basis.
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?
Ganti: The proposed location by Victoria Park is far better than the West Village location. I am a strong believer in using the existing infrastructure optimally and the current Saddledome is fine and is not crumbling and can seat nearly 19,000 people. The new arena will also seat the same number of people and thus a new arena is not mandatory. However, in the interest of delivering a stimulus to the city economy, I will support a new and a modern arena provided the project is structured right.