Five takeaways from Mayor Naheed Nenshi’s first townhall question and answer on Facebook on Friday.
The mayor’s office said it’s hoped the availability will be held every three months.
- On bargaining for a new arena/entertainment centre: “Some members of council have a motion coming up trying to set up a new negotiating committee, and that’s fine. Maybe what we need is a fresh start at the table. It does require the other side to come to the table, but it has to be at a place free of threats and recrimination and say ‘look, let’s just make the best possible deal.’”
- On a possible Olympic bid: “If Calgary bids on the Olympics, we’ll have a very strong case, and if we win, we’ll throw the best Winter Olympics ever. It’s not an appeal to exceptionalism — it’s precisely because of the way we think here. If we move forward on this, we move forward with a very Canadian approach, which means it’s honest, ethical, it’s transparent and it’s above all, frugal. Our next step is to work with the province and the federal government of Canada. Some people say if the City of Calgary takes on all of the Olympics, it’ll double our debt, but we’ll never do that. I want to get away from the ankle-biting on every single misstep and really talk about the big potential here.”
- On Cannabis legalization and the city’s bylaw banning public smoking of the drug: “You can still use cannabis (publicly), you just can’t smoke it. What we know in places like Colorado, where the market has become more mature, is that very few people smoke it — most people are using oils, edibles and dabs. There is one issue here, that if you live in a multi-residential building with shared air intake, you can’t smoke inside; you don’t have a balcony, you can’t smoke on the street; we don’t yet have cannabis lounge legislation from the province, we’re essentially saying ‘it’s legal but you can’t smoke anyway.’ We’re looking at creating spaces, like pot park, but you can’t walk down the street. If we find things aren’t working, we can change the rules later on.”
- On China’s recent refusal to accept North American trash and recyclables: “All municipalities in Canada have been relying on this one buyer. We don’t have a solution, but we will. (Recyclables) are not being tossed into landfills, but it’s starting to piling up.”
- On snow clearing: “I always talk to other mayors and they say, ‘no, we get more complaints than you.’ Our average satisfaction rating for snow removal went up by about 40 per cent. Some folks are saying ‘should be like downtown Toronto and shovel all the sidewalks ourselves and no longer make that a homeowners’ problem.’ It would mean a massive tax increase, but if people think it’s worthwhile for safety, we could have that conversation.”