Report draws roadmap to economic prosperity in the next 10 years
"I have a concern that we are not actively attempting to diversify our economy pretty drastically to make sure that we do remain robust."
The blueprint for Calgary’s next decade of economic success was delivered yesterday morning at Historic City Hall.
The economic development strategy, written and developed by a committee of 17 people from a variety of sectors, including the arts, housing, government and business, had three focus areas: people and community; business and enterprise; and international reach.
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The 31-page report outlined a broad range of infrastructure, education, innovation and cultural catalysts for Calgary’s continued economic growth, many of which have been targeted in a variety of other roundtable reports delivered to city council.
Sixty-eight recommendations were addressed in the report, including: affordable housing to ensure a shelter for a growing labour population, a city-wide wireless broadband communication system, improvements to inter-city and intra-provincial transportation — including desire for a bullet train — and construction of sustainable communities and new media facilities, among many others.
“Today we enjoy the strongest economy in Canada and one of the strongest in the world. Ensuring that prosperity in the future means making strategic investments in our community which will keep us a competitive and attractive place for business and people,” said Mayor Dave Bronconnier.
While the report was generally met with praise by council members, there were questions over certain elements believed missing from the report.
Economic diversity was a question for the committee who wrote the report, stating in the pages it wanted Calgary to be “THE global centre for all things energy.”
Ward 11 Ald. Brian Pincott applauded the strategic plan in general but felt it lacked in providing the city with a more diverse economic plan.
“One of the things I have a concern about it that it seems like (the report) is weighted fairly heavily toward the energy sector, and within that towards conventional oil and gas,” said Pincott.
“The danger in doing that is that we’re not really identifying where we are going globally — which is away from being a carbon-based society.
“I have a concern that we are not actively attempting to diversify our economy pretty drastically to make sure that we do remain robust.”