10/18/2013 08:46 EDT | Updated 01/23/2014 06:58 EST

Gian-Carlo Carra Alderman, Calgary Ward 9: Great Neighbourhoods Make a Great City

I have long characterized Ward 9 as the Brooklyn of Calgary, in that it's:

1. a veritable City in its own right within the City of Calgary (all we'd need is a water treatment plant)

2. an amazing collection of some of the City's most authentic and historic neighbourhoods nestled within the working and natural landscapes that created the original Calgary

3. one of the most exciting real estate development opportunities in Calgary as we begin to establish the regulatory environment to tap the demand for transit-oriented, neighbourhood-based, urban living.

Long before I became a City Councillor, I worked as a community leader and professional with communities, businesses, local institutions, industry, and government to establish the regulatory conditions necessary to support extensive neighbourhood redevelopment.

Over the last three years I have been a voice of leadership for this transformation on Calgary City Council. There are several initiatives currently underway that are central to this project for development throughout Calgary:

1. nextCITY - where City Administration, industry and community stakeholders are collaborating on a complete transformation of our planning processes and laws. Over the next four years I anticipate a new system that:

a. streamlines approval work by combining land use policy, approvals and front-end planning

b. is administered by empowered local teams, and

c. combines certainty of outcomes with the flexibility to respond to changing market conditions.

2. The Route Ahead - Calgary's new 30 year strategic plan includes seven new transit lines, and five of those lines will impact Ward 9. Of these, the North Central, the Central East Corridor and the SouthEast Transit Way (SETWAY) provide a massive opportunity to establish networked Transit Oriented Development and develop a new customer base of lifestyle transit users.

3. The Mission Rd Main Street Innovation Pilot Project - was a test bed for best practices in neighbourhood-scaled collaborative planning and it proved that engagement leads to better business outcomes.

4. Inspiring Strong Neighbourhoods and Tomorrow's Workplace Today - where we are developing the tools for area-based teams of civil servants.

5. City Charter and Municipal Government Act review - we have a signed Memorandum of Understanding with the Province regarding the establishment of a City Charter, and a review of the Municipal Government Act is currently underway. This means that we have never been closer to establishing a more flexible planning regime for Calgary's development sector.

I look forward to continuing to work with industry and community groups over the next four years as we develop new processes and new market opportunities. I encourage the voters of Ward 9 to check out my platform on