After A Job Well Done, Calgary To Get New Mayor

This this editorial in the Herald was quite good and fair with respect to the legacy of (now) retiring Mayor Bronconnier.  While it appears from opinion on the street and certainly on the blog and message boards that his tenure was getting a bit long in the tooth insome people’s opinion, I think the Herald correctly notes he did much for the city.  Key among his accomplishment were building infrastructure with increasing momentum; he got that city building requires a lot of actually physical building and rebuilding in some cases.  The decade of the 90s was one where very little was built in this city as collective political will focused (perhaps too intently) on debt and deficit reduction, at all levels of government.  Although fiscal prudence is certainly a good thing; blind adherence to it, especially when it come to building the physical capital that boosts future productivity, can have negative consequences, as Calgary and much of Alberta appeared to learn when the oil boom hit with gusto in 2002-03.  “Mayor Dave” tried his best to catch up both in securing senior government funding, and getting shovels in the ground.  Many examples abound; many others are in progress such as the West LRT and East Village project.  I have also written here on Plan-It, Calgary’s long term planning guide that aims to focus, at least in part, on redeveloping and intensifying the inner city; this too is an intelligent change borne during the Mayor’s tenure.  Other efforts to boost the supply of affordable housing for purchase (something other Canadian cities would do well to look at) will leave a strong legacy.  I don’t think I have been here long enough to be overly partisan but if progressive civic leadership is castigated as “tax and spend liberalism”, I think people need to better consider what sort of city they would like to live in.  Just my two cents.

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