Taylor: Planning and development in Calgary is best served by diversifying our economy. This will stabilize our economy, jobs and housing needs in the longer term – a situation that will be much easier to plan for. I’d like to see us develop using a multi-centric approach, balancing activity and attention between downtown and other centres. I’d also like to see us offer a range of viable transportation options. Making good alternatives available also eases traffic congestion, which motorists will appreciate. Finally, I favour complete communities that provide public and commercial services, transportation options and housing options within a reasonable distance of each other. I also favour fine-grained planning, which integrates housing options rather than using large blocks and features gradual transitions between different urbanization levels.
CREB®Now: What is your opinion on a potential land transfer tax for Calgary and/or all of Alberta?
Taylor: A land transfer tax has the potential to reduce liquidity in the housing market and reduce selling prices for homeowners. In Calgary’s current economic climate, this is not needed, and could even be destructive. Calgary does not currently have an issue with an overheated housing market and, as such, I do not see a reason to impose a new tax.
CREB®Now: What are your thoughts on the future of energy-efficient homes and how they could potentially be classified?
Taylor: We need to be able to adapt more readily to newer technology and ideas that can improve our homes. There are so many opportunities that are easily implemented with just small tweaks, make houses more comfortable to live in, and save a considerable amount of energy.
CREB®Now: How would you approach the issue of affordable housing in Calgary?
Taylor: I support a housing-first strategy, which has demonstrated success, including in Alberta. It is more cost effective, and humanitarian, in part because it eases the burden on other services, such as health care and police. My experience in urban planning and civic engagement allows me to make reasoned, informed, community-aware decisions about affordable housing. There are opportunities to make housing more affordable with more diverse types of housing. We must ensure affordable options are available near existing services, including commercial areas, schools, libraries and transportation options.
CREB®Now: What are some infrastructure projects/improvements you would like to see in the next 25 years?
Taylor: We can ease road congestion and car dependence by providing other options for those who can take advantage of them. For example, we can modify our largely radial LRT network with connecting bus rapid transit (BRT) lines. BRT, if done well, can move many people very quickly. BRT is also cheaper and faster to implement than light rail. Being faster to construct, it can respond more readily to changing conditions, such as our current downturn, and our trend toward multi-centric planning.
CREB®Now: What is your position on the current secondary suite approval process?
Taylor: Requiring individual approval for secondary suites is a waste of council’s time. I’d prefer to spend council’s time on moving Calgary forward and ensuring we have a bright future. Further, making secondary suites illegal puts both landlords and tenants at risk. There are simple planning approaches and technological tools that can tell us where secondary suites are appropriate and popular. I would like to see a simple, three-area solution: 1) areas where secondary suites are permitted, 2) areas where secondary suites are discretionary, and 3) areas where secondary suites must come before council (as they all must now).
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?
Taylor: I believe in taking a moderate and thoughtful approach. Overwhelmingly, the hundreds of Ward 1 residents I’ve spoken to have told me that they want me to be careful, respectful and smart with their money as their councillor. Where the stadium is concerned, that means I’d have to be certain there would be a defined return and benefit for the city and the public before I could spend public funds on a new stadium. After all, public funds are for meeting the needs and best interests of the public. I’ll work with my colleagues on council to ensure we allocate public funds in the best interest of the city and Ward 1.