City-Industry Partnership

A cultural shift means building a better Calgary.

It wasn’t so long ago that the contentious relationship between Calgary’s Mayor Nenshi and developers was frequenting the news. Since 2013, however, industry and The City have been edging toward a new way of being. And now, they collaborate to improve the building process in Calgary for residential, industrial and commercial in Calgary. They share the same goal: to build a great city. 

The Industry City Work Plan grew out of the renegotiation of Off-site Levy Bylaw in 2016. As developers agreed to pay 100% of the cost of “connecting” new communities to the rest of Calgary, The City agreed to collaborate on creating efficiencies. The initiative is unique; there are working groups made up of industry members and City Administration, and involving all Business Units and all stages of the approvals process.

So, why do we care? The City says it best:

“The initiatives of the Work Plan aim to address City and Industry needs while delivering outcomes that better serve our city and facilitate development that meets the needs of Calgarians and the principles of more sustainable and citizen-oriented communities.”
- City of Calgary website 

If you’re new to the details of development, read our primer on the process, “From Dirt to Door” before you attempt to digest the Industry City Work Plan report. 

The semi-annual report on the progress of the collaboration, released in January 2018, indicates that it’s working. Here are a few positive outcomes from the latest report:

  • Alleviate housing shortages in the future: Changes to the process and exploration of funding arrangements/capital financing allows developers to begin work ahead of City budgets. That way, when the Calgary experiences a boom, homes can build faster and avoid a housing squeeze. 
  • Reducing risk in redevelopment projects: Work has continued at The City to help developers understand the full scope of the investment risk in a specific location. Learn more about the challenges of redevelopment in our book online, “Raising a Smart City.
  • Diversify industrial land use: Research, along with coordinated efforts with City departments, agencies and other initiatives whose work impacts the industrial sector, to support industrial land-use planning and building to diversify Calgary’s economy. 
  • Process improvements  One arm of the team :is looks carefully at all processes, such as permit coordination, and already there are notable enhancements in processing applications. That’s saved time for developers – and saved dollars for homebuyers, in the end. 

Ultimately, the Industry City Work Plan is there to align all parties with the Municipal Development Plan. Working groups are supporting:

  • Prioritizing investments for the future
  • Using existing resources more efficiently
  • Investing efficiently
  • Increasing transparency and accountability

For further updates on the Work Plan, subscribe to our newsletter. 

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