Belt tightening, idling cars and pay freezes hot topics in Canadian cities

Post by Daniel Fontaine in

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idle freeHere are some stories coming out of Canadian cities that caught our eye this week.

The National Post wrote about how Toronto's real estate market has now all but collapsed. Whereas only two years ago some city councillors were worrying about too much development in their wards, today it's quite the opposite.

Here's what Councillor Adam Vaughn told the Post:

“This bubble had to burst to some degree, but it’s bursting now in a catastrophic way,”

Meanwhile in Calgary, City Manager Owen Tobert sent a memo to all department heads telling them they need to tighten their belts and ensure every penny is accounted for. Like most cities across Canada, Calgary is heading for a very difficult 2009 budget.

Here is an excerpt from Tolbert's memo:

"I am asking you to increase your oversight and direct approval in key areas to ensure we maintain as much flexibility as we can ... so that we can react to changes and deterioration as necessary,"

In an interview with the Calgary Herald, Mayor Dave Bronconnier reacted to the City Manager's directive to staff by stating:

"This lets them know they should always be on the lookout for cost savings," 

In Alberta's capital city, Mayor Mandel annouced late last year that he planned to forgo a planned 5.5% pay increase as a gesture of good faith to the citizens of Edmonton during these economic hard times.

Mandel is also considering implementing a new aggressive panhandling bylaw in his city. If enacted, the new bylaw would make it illegal for anyone to panhandle in an aggressive manner. Anyone making continual requests, insulting, threatening, coercing, obstructing passage or making physical contact with another person could be slapped with a $250 fine.

Lastly, Edmontonians will not be seeing a new anti-idling bylaw anytime soon. Council has agreed to undertake an education campaign over the next year, rather than adopting a new anti-idling bylaw. Vancouver was the first major city in Canada to adopt an anti-idling bylaw as part of their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions throughout the city.

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