Chahal: Calgary is an important part of the Canadian economy and we need a strong vision for our city to manage growth that meets the needs of our residents, now and in the future. We need to focus on building clean, viable and sustainable communities. Communities must offer residents opportunities to live, work, play, learn and collaborate. Ideally, if appropriate infrastructure is in place, we need to create Transit Oriented Developments and Pedestrian Oriented Developments. We must ensure our communities are inclusive and have a diversity of housing types for all residents.
CREB®Now: What is your opinion on a potential land transfer tax for Calgary and/or all of Alberta?
Chahal: No, it should not be implemented as it increases closing costs for buyers.
CREB®Now: What are your thoughts on the future of energy-efficient homes and how they could potentially be classified?
Chahal: I support energy-efficient homes, both as a homebuilder and a consumer. However, they cannot be overregulated, as it potentially increases costs. Accordingly, we need to balance any increase in construction costs with potential energy savings. We need to consider, and work collaboratively with, industry participants to form a standardized system of classification.
CREB®Now: How would you approach the issue of affordable housing in Calgary?
Chahal: We need to create communities with a diversity of housing types. I am in favour of secondary suite approval but the City of Calgary needs to streamline the process to make it more efficient and cut red tape. In addition, we need to consider density bonusing and developer set asides to produce more affordable housing. We need to work with non-market housing providers to ensure that appropriate policies and programs are in place to encourage more development.
CREB®Now: What are some infrastructure projects/improvements you would like to see in the next 25 years?
Chahal: Public transit is vital to our infrastructure as the city grows, which includes the expansion of the Green Line and Blue Line and the development of future connections to the Airport and Mount Royal University. I also support a Regional Transportation Strategy in coordination with local towns and cities surrounding Calgary. It is important we invest in our youth, therefore we need to build appropriate recreational facilities and field houses so we can have a stronger future generation that is well rounded and healthy.
CREB®Now: What is your position on the current secondary suite approval process?
Chahal: It is ridiculous that elected officials are still debating this issue. I support secondary suites and believe that we need to ensure that they meet building safety codes. Unfortunately, city councillors spend too much time on a case-by-case basis and the process needs to be streamlined to provide certainty to homeowners in approved areas.
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?
Chahal: I prefer the West Village site, as it eventually needs to be re-developed and ultimately the City of Calgary as a landowner will need to clean up the area. A comprehensive redevelopment plan must include an arena, field house, entertainment district and housing. I also believe we need to think about the future of other sports in Calgary, as we have an outdated football stadium and no plans or discussions for MLS Soccer, which is the fastest growing sport in North America.