Diane Colley-Urquhart – Ward 13

CREB®Now: What is your vision for Calgary in terms of planning and development in the short and long term?

Colley-Urquhart: There is too much micromanaging by some members of council when it comes to land-use planning and development. This results in costing the private sector hundreds of thousands of dollars on residential and commercial projects. It also adds to considerable delay in getting these projects to a public hearing of council. Time is money. As an elected official, I am a legislator not a micro-manager. We have City staff who are experts in this area. We need to foster a competitive business environment and eliminate as much of the bureaucracy as possible. Also, the chairing of public hearings needs to be tightened up and stay on topic.

CREB®Now: What is your opinion on a potential land transfer tax for Calgary and/or all of Alberta?

Colley-Urquhart: This is a tax grab and I am not in favour of this. Increased taxes, such as the land transfer tax, add to the cost of doing business and ultimately increase the cost to the consumer. This fuels inflation and makes homeownership more onerous for citizens.

CREB®Now: What are your thoughts on the future of energy-efficient homes and how they could potentially be classified?

Colley-Urquhart: The province has jurisdiction in this area and hasn’t made their green-energy strategy entirely clear. I believe that climate change is real and is resulting in unpredictable weather patterns. We need to do all we can to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduce consumption by having energy-efficient homes. ENMAX, the City-owned utility, is providing more solar options for consumers. We need significant citizen consultation before any home classification system is imposed on citizens.

CREB®Now: How would you approach the issue of affordable housing in Calgary?

Colley-Urquhart: There is a strong partnership now that has resulted in council’s 10-year Plan to End Homelessness, between the three orders of government. The RESOLVE Campaign is a leading best practice in Canada. We need to continue to lobby both the federal and provincial orders of governments to incent through tax exemptions. We are still lagging in the affordable housing industry and need to continue the commitment.

CREB®Now: What are some infrastructure projects/improvements you would like to see in the next 25 years?

Colley-Urquhart: There is a strong partnership now that has resulted in council’s 10-year Plan to End Homelessness, between the three orders of government. The RESOLVE Campaign is a leading best practice in Canada. We need to continue to lobby both the federal and provincial orders of governments to incent through tax exemptions. We are still lagging in the affordable housing industry and need to continue the commitment.

CREB®Now: What is your position on the current secondary suite approval process?

Colley-Urquhart: The province needs to amend the Municipal Government Act to enable garden suites, small homes and secondary suites across the province, rather than each municipality doing something differently.  We need to avoid citizens having to come before council and feeling they have to divulge personal circumstance to get approval for a suite.

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?

Colley-Urquhart: We don’t just need an arena. We need a multiplex field house for the Flames, Roughnecks, Stamps and Hitmen, plus junior hockey and concerts. The location is a moot point, just as long as the field house remains within the City of Calgary boundaries.

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