Wyness: My vision is balanced growth and common-sense infrastructure projects that support efficient movement around the city. The foundation of my focus will be making decisions that will improve homeownership in the city.
CREB®Now: What is your opinion on a potential land transfer tax for Calgary and/or all of Alberta?
Wyness: Land transfer taxes are opportunistic taxes that accelerate homeownership costs, as they become imbedded into the cost of the homes. This has been witnessed in B.C. The difficult part of a land transfer tax is it becomes imbedded into the transaction and gets paid over the length of the mortgage. Therefore, homebuyers do not feel an immediate impact of the tax. Additionally, removing a land transfer tax is very difficult because it is so lucrative to provincial governments. The tax is also very regressive – the less wealthy pay a significantly larger tax rate relative to their income.
CREB®Now: What are your thoughts on the future of energy-efficient homes and how they could potentially be classified?
Wyness: Energy efficiency should be reviewed in a holistic approach: building, living and demolition.
CREB®Now: How would you approach the issue of affordable housing in Calgary?
Wyness: The City has tools that are very effective and need expanding. Transitionary housing, such as the drop-in centre’s Centre 4800 project, need to be supported, especially since they already have their funding in place. This helps people get off the street and work their way up to being a stable renter. Developers are a key partner in creating affordable homes. Calgary has a wonderful program called Attainable Homes Calgary, which assists in renters getting into homeownership when they have difficulty saving up for a down payment. This is a crucial missing link for people to transition from renting to homeownership.
CREB®Now: What are some infrastructure projects/improvements you would like to see in the next 25 years?
Wyness: The Green Line needs to happen, and a review of the transportation network and efficiencies. Crowchild Trail over the Bow River needs to be widened and a better system for getting people from downtown over the river needs to occur. Additionally, parking needs to improve and expand downtown. The City will need a new or renovated arena in the next 10 years. Specifically in Ward 2, the overpass at 14th Street and Stoney Trail NW needs to be completed.
CREB®Now: What is your position on the current secondary suite approval process?
Wyness: City council should be guiding the direction of growth in the city, not micro-managing the R-S1 approval process. R-S1 needs to be amended to differentiate between lane houses and basement suites. As legal basement suites are a good way to support homeownership, I am for them. Lane houses are a separate issue, as they are technically detached dwellings. The City needs to stop trying to hold back the inevitable, and work with stakeholder groups to best manage the issues.
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?
Wyness: The new arena needs to be in a central location that is best served by transit. The current location does an excellent job of this, and the adjacent proposal would build upon this strength. Calgary is a suburban City, so making sure there are sufficient roads in and out, and sufficient parking will be important.