Day 2 | Day 1 Recap and Political Leadership for Downtown Recovery
Day 2 | Day 1 Recap and Political Leadership for Downtown Recovery
Day two will launch with a summary of the previous day and an overview from the Chair of the Big City Mayor’s Caucus on the priorities municipal leaders will focus on in 2022.
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Mary Rowe [00:00:04] As I said, I’m in Toronto, which is the traditional territory of the number of First Nations, the Haudenosaunee, the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Wendat, Anishnabeg, and the Chippewa and home to many, many First Nations and Inuit and Métis people. And we continue to struggle with the legacies of exclusion that reconciliation calls us to amend for, and also the different ways in which diverse communities haven’t been well served by urban life. And so we’re struggling with that. And you can see on the program we’re struggling with that. We don’t have as much diversity on the program as we should have had, and we continue to make sure to try to find ways to have new voices and people from communities that have our equity deserving as present as they can be and should be in these conversations. So we ask everybody to continue to work with us on that and in the chat, please use the chat to raise all the issues that you are experiencing in your in your urban life. And and this is our forum to try to create that kind of connective tissue and learning across our differences and our communities to address and to be thoughtful about how we emerge from COVID. So joining me this morning, fortunately, are two important municipal leaders. Carole Saab was the CEO of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and Mayor Mike Savage, the mayor of Halifax, who also happens to be the chair of the Big City Mayors Caucus. So I’m looking forward to having a chance to hear from them what they see as the political priorities going forward and what the role of municipal electeds are in advancing in advancing the discussions that we’re having. I think it’s appropriate, though, Michael who is our friend and colleague and fellow at CUI, is suggesting that we take a moment of silence, right at this moment to acknowledge this news that broke in the last 24 hours about the new discovery of more residential school graves. So we’re going to do that. Just take a moment of silence to recognize the trauma that Williams Lake has exposed and that people across this country need to acknowledge, and we’ll just take a moment and grieve that. Thanks for that, it’s a poignant way to start today and to move from a place, a centered place, a grounded place in the ancestral territories that we all are settlers and visitors on. Thanks, Michael, for flagging that in, Michael. Thanks for joining us from where I bet is chilly, but I hope sunny Winnipeg and we invite everybody to check in as you can. Please let us know where you’re coming in from. And we’re going to have an action packed next day. I can give you a little of the highlights from yesterday for those of you who weren’t on, although just looking at the chat, many of you were with us yesterday and it’s a bit of a marathon here too. A solid six hours stance for six and a half hour stance. We’re trying to make the point here that this is just a conversation that begins and it’s going to need to continue through 2022, what our priorities need to be as we advocate for what cities need and what a, remembering that the Canadian Urban Institute focuses on cities with the small C. So we’re about all the different components that make up urban life and that make up cities and our colleagues here are going to talk to us specifically about the municipal leadership that they’re providing with mayors and city councils, council members across the country. But this next session for the set this afternoon or in this morning for the West is focusing on economies on the role of economic development in terms of city staff and different kinds of civic organizations like business improvement areas that are doing really herculean tasks here to try to figure out how we’re how we were going to get through Covid, how the businesses weere going to get through and how we as patrons of businesses, we’re going to get through through the last two years. And now we’re going to move our attention, obviously, to what happens as we recover. What’s the longer term impact of these lockdowns and all the different things that we’re exposed through Covid. So we’re going to hear about the mental health challenges that we now see really much more viscerally to the surface. And we’re going to hear about public safety and what the implications are for that. We’re going to talk about culture, the role of important role of culture and and recreation in different kinds of activities, not only for attracting tourists, but also just feeding our locals. How do we actually celebrate urban life together or our communal life together? And how do we need downtowns to reimagine, to do that? Last year, yesterday we dealt with housing and transit and a whole bunch of other topics, but none of this is going to get solved in a two day summit. It’s a discussion that needs to be ongoing, and so we look forward to engaging with you over an extended period as we try to build more and more awareness and also expose good solutions. And that’s part of the business that CUI is in, is creating creating platforms to share best solutions and best approaches because all of you out there are doing interesting things and we all need to hear about it so we can. You know, the old story imitation is the highest form of flattery, so you’re trying something we want to try it to and. And so that’s also part of a CUI work with the Federal government and with community foundations of Canada for the Healthy Communities initiative, which is placemaking across the country. You’ll see during the breaks in addition to the Fabulous Summit, a summit on the City playlist that CUI staff put together, which everybody’s agreeing it’s fantastic. You’ll see slides of those sessions as some of the highlights of the project, and you’ll also see examples from My Main Street, which is again in partnership with the Economic Development Council of Ontario, a little pilot in southern Ontario to support main streets. And there are lots of examples from southern Ontario that are also in those slides. So if I can invite the mayor and Carole to open their cameras so that I could see them. Hello and welcome them here to the summit on the city recovering downtown session. Very appreciative of you to look at that backdrop. Mike, you just look at the sun shining in Halifax today. Like you said, it’s always beautiful there, I’m sure. And Carole is in front of a studio set of books. I always tease her, how many books of those really has she read and you know, you know me, I have my preserves behind me and this is my tomato sauce and various things. Anyway, Mike, I’ll go to you first if I could. You’ve got a big job, not just running Halifax, and there’ve been lots and lots of participants from Halifax on yesterday, just so you know, and I’m sure they’re in the chat now, too. But just so you know, your city has been your regional municipality has been very vocal and well-represented. We had your wonderful chief librarian on yesterday talking about the potential of libraries. She was fabulous with her colleague from Calgary and Paul MacKinnon was present on almost every session. I’m going to give them a gold star. So not only do you have that role, but you also lead the big city mayors caucus. And you and Carole together are in constant, I’m sure, constant contact with the government of Canada, with the Prime Minister’s Office and with various ministers. So we’re here to hear from you what you as a dynamic duo are advancing in terms of the advocacy about the future of cities in this in this period and what the government of Canada’s disposition is going to be towards us. So I’ll ask you a couple of questions specifically yesterday over the next couple minutes, but I’m interested for you just to start off Mayor Savage, if you would, and just give us a bit of a high level in terms of what’s on your mind.
Mayor Mike Savage [00:08:02] Sure, I will. Thank you very much, Mary. I believe you’ve been to Halifax before quite often. Look, first of all, let me acknowledge that I come to you from Mi’kma’ki, the unceded territorial land of the Mi’kmaq people and the Peace and Friendship Treaty signed with the Mi’kmaq, as well as the Maliseett and Wolastoqiyik with the Crown are very important. We consider ourselves here to be all treaty people. I did see Paul flash by on the chart, the resplendent Paul McKinnon. I also noticed Asa, our librarian. And you know, if anybody’s looking to really jumpstart it downtown, just go and, you know, hit it out of the park like we did with our Central Library a few years ago. It’s hard to believe it’s, that was probably 2015. So it’s good to have them and everybody else on the on the call as well, you know. It’s occurred to me that as I was sitting reflecting over the Christmas period, studying my documents for regional council and for the big city mayors caucus on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day, that there’s a number of things we all realize what touch points for us, for Covid and for me, one of the things that really struck me during Covid was coming into my office every day, minus the mayor’s offices in the city hall, which like in lots of cities downtown and just seeing the quietness of Argyle Street, which is one of our real entertainment districts, which you would know and feeling every single day, just palpably feeling how downtowns and main streets have been impacted by COVID and the challenge that we have with COVID. So, you know, there’s some there’s some good things. You know, if we hadn’t redevelop downtown Halifax and brought in as many people to live downtown as we had over the last decade, it would be even worse because the offices have certainly emptied out. So working with MacKinnon, Paul MacKinnon and our in our bids and a number of others, we’ve been very active trying to understand the dynamic where exactly a downtown is going. As you know, you and Paul joined us at our last in-person big city mayors caucus in November, perhaps to talk and every single mayor in the country, whether they’re in the big city mayors caucus or many other caucuses that have seen him recognize how important downtowns and main streets are, they are the living room of our municipalities. They are the things that people go to. And we’re a huge physical municipality where 5500 square kilometers, where we’re bigger than Prince Edward Island were twice as big as Ottawa, which is another large municipality. And so but wherever you go in the municipality, the downtown matters. And I would also say, frankly so to some of the rural areas matter in the downtown, but that downtown dynamism is so important. I know Paul’s been on a lot of the call. I know it was on between 11 and noon because he was on a call with me talking about this very topic and what cities can do to support the recovery. And just to recognize how important it is that we get live up and going again. Investing in the downtown, bringing people together, particularly acknowledging those who’ve been particularly hard, hit the bars, the restaurants, retail cultural industries and how important they are to the future of our cities. And we have to we simply have to get it going.
Mary Rowe [00:11:20] Yeah, I mean, as you say, it’s a I was in Halifax, not that long ago, and there was there was evidence of more recovery. We were taking all the right precautions. There were various things that were happening. But as you say, we’ve been bobbing in and out of this state and I’m going to go to Carole now, who’s really experiencing it viscerally because Ottawa has a very different feel because of the predominance of the government of Canada as the principal tenant of most of your office buildings. So Carole nice to see you and I appreciate how busy a time it is for you because this is the first week that cabinet is sitting federally so. Thanks for squeezing this in. Do you have a sense of what the sort of consensus is within the famine within CMC in terms of these priorities? And how are you going to get the attention of the federal government to think about this a little differently?
Carole Saab [00:12:06] Yeah. Thanks, Mary. It’s good to be here with you and congratulations on the summit and thanks for your leadership on this very important conversation as you’re hearing to cities really across the country as we go forward. And I should also start and acknowledge that I’m coming to you from my home, which is in Ottawa on the unceded and on surrendered territory. Algonquin Anishinaabe, Nation and I appreciated the moment of silence there, you had to lead us off and ground us in our work because so much of this work, as we continue to think about recovery, needs to really be intersected heavily with an equity lens, including how and the opportunity here and the moment the necessity of advancing reconciliation in our urban context as well as we go forward. So really important to acknowledgment off the top there. Appreciate that. Yeah, I mean, we’re hearing from the chair of our big city mayors caucus the situation. Halifax does feel different here in Ottawa for many reasons. Our downtown is still still quite hurting, you know, and down, you know, lots of sort of big buildings sitting sitting empty. Transit is taking a hit, which I’m sure we’re going to get to as we talk for it. I think though, that sort of pull this out because into the bigger context which we’re in the conversation we’re having with the federal government around it. I mean, really, all of these things point to and have just laid bare how fragile our cities are, how our downtowns are. And, you know, that kind of resilience that we expect and need them to have for our economy, for Canadians, quality of life, for all of these things was rocked. I mean, so fundamentally very quickly by Covid because of the framework in which we operate. And so, you know, it’s important, I think, to talk about all of the sort of input lines to that and the necessity and the intersection of transit and housing and the arts and the culture spaces that that need to come together to create fiber downtowns and also a real moment to take a step back and say, you know, how come we were so vulnerable? What does this mean? How do we fix this given what we expect out of cities going forward and to really have an ambitious conversation around that. So that’s where we, you know, we need to do some emergency triage work here, too, to help cities continue on transit. It is really got to be a moment for housing and housing affordability and the full spectrum really from homelessness forward. And beyond that, we need to have a bigger conversation about how to make our cities more resilient to whatever the next shock is, right? Whether it’s a climate emergency, whether it’s another pandemic, whatever might come, we’ve got to learn lessons here.
Mary Rowe [00:14:53] Yeah, I mean, I’m with you on this and that the interesting thing is, you know, we said it from the beginning, you know, we’re all in the same boat. And then people say, Well, no, actually, we’re not all in the same, but a lot of people don’t have a boat. And so we started to adjust our language. But the the interesting thing is that this this unit called the downtown, exists at almost every scale. So in larger cities, maybe there are several downtowns. I’d be interested. Mike, you know, I hear you. You know, you’re a huge landmass. You probably, of all cities have more than one downtown because Darmouth, of course, want to say they have a downtown. And I’m sure you have other neighborhoods that would say they have a downtown. So it’s a curious discussion for us to be having about how do we get federal policy to be that targeted, I guess, and even municipal policy to get that to be that targeted. It’s interesting for us to explore when we talk about housing, for instance, can we bring more housing into downtowns or into commercial districts? And what is that going to take, Mike? You and I talked about this a bit when I was there. You have some empty office tower, office floors or buildings that could be potentially converted. It was talked about a little bit yesterday. Could we have more? The neighborhoods that have had more diversity are, as you suggested, Carole. They’re more resilient. If there is more use Ottawa, you’ve got a number of commercial buildings that are that are largely empty. Could they be converted? Can we get people to get their heads around that introducing housing? What do you think?
Mayor Mike Savage [00:16:20] Well, I certainly think so. It’s funny the call I mentioned I was on before with Paul, Andy Fillmore was on as well and I just sent him a note because he and I have talked about federal support for moving commercial to residential, particularly in the downtown area. And I think it’s really there’s a lot of opportunities for that. You’re in Halifax. I know there is, you know, across the country and that’s a really important piece. So we have to work on who’s living in the downtown and we also have to, of course, look at who’s working in the downtown. And then even more importantly, right now, who’s not working in the downtown that used to work in the downtown and we’re going to get them back into the downtown.
Mary Rowe [00:16:55] Well, and what about the people that are downtown? So we know that there are a lot of people that have had challenges around mental health or addictions or are homeless, and a lot of those populations are accustomed to getting services that have been located in the downtown. This is true across the country and those services have shuttered or they’re overwhelmed or whatever. And so now we’ve got a situation as we know where downtowns feel threatening to some folks because they don’t actually know how, how predictable the environment is. Maybe we’re not that skilled at knowing how to actually interact with people who have different kinds of circumstances. And so I’m interested. Carole is mental health in the psyche for you guys as you advocate to the feds again. Mental health being seen or health being seen as a provincial jurisdiction. But how can we get? I know that Mayor Nenshi and others have, were championing this last year about a mental health strategy and what’s the thinking on that?
Carole Saab [00:17:49] Yeah, it’s a big part of our thinking, and I’m glad you’re raising a bit, an important part of this, this conversation. I mean, I’m sure what you’ve been sort of highlighting throughout the summit so far has been how these things are intersected, so heavily and relying on one another sort of collective success for the downtown and mental health s s a big part of that. You know when we’re talking about housing, we’re also talking about supports to make real supportive housing a possibility. I mean, without that, it’s we’re not going to crack the knot and have folks housed and be addressing mental health in the way that we need to as well going forward. And so we are going to continue to prioritize a big conversation on mental health. I want to give you an example, Mary, but I wasn’t able to attend a bunch of the sessions yesterday. Has anyone from Calgary jump in and talk to you about their downtowns work, if not a highlight.
Mary Rowe [00:18:40] Oh yeah, you’re segueing into our next session perfectly. Tom Moeller is in the wings waiting.
Mary Rowe [00:18:45] You can talk about the downtown strategy, but but as you say, it’s the reason we’re going to those to talk to those local folks immediately after is that it is possible at the local level to think horizontally and actually integrate these levels of attention. So housing and mental health. And I think that’s partly I think that’s partly yours and my little co-mission, eh Carole, that we help tell the story to the national government that there’s actually solutions on the ground that they could be, right, that they could be supporting. So last thing with the last few minutes.
Mayor Mike Savage [00:19:18] Can I just say something? You know, when we have a big city mayors meetings, we always invite the prime minister or deputy prime minister, the infrastructure housing for our next meeting. I think we’ve invited Carolyn Bennett to come and talk about it. I think she’s accepted Carole, has she?
Carole Saab [00:19:31] She has, yeah.
Mary Rowe [00:19:32] Well, good.
Mayor Mike Savage [00:19:34] One of the issues we talk a hell of a lot about at the national level is the opioid and the impact of addictions and how that all impacts and how you get into housing, how you get into health care and the environment and educate and it’s all tied up together. And so, yeah, so mental health is a huge issue, and most of us, as cities don’t have a direct responsibility for it, but we absolutely are affected by it and we have to deal with it all together.
Mary Rowe [00:19:58] Like so many things. You may not have direct responsibility for it, but the regular folk think you’re responsible for it, so they blame you for housing or whatever else. I know this is true of so many local leaders. They have to wear it all. And during COVID, you had all your municipal staff have had to become fabulous multitaskers and suddenly go and do a bunch of other things. And as I’ve said anecdotally before, I know there’s not a single city staffer out there that stood there when it’s when they saw a crisis in front of them and said, well, it’s not actually my jurisdiction. I mean, I’m sure they just rolled their sleeves up just as community folks have been doing rolling their sleeves up to figure out how we’re going to support each other. So with a few minutes left, we thought, here’s the critical thing, and we know it’s going to surface again and again and again transit. We know that getting people around is critical. You’ve had systems across this country functioning at 30 percent, 20 percent ridership. They are dependent on the fare box to balance the budgets. You’re all with a big honking hole. What are you going to do when they mean in the in the immediate and then Carole, I’m interested what the strategy is that I’ve seen with the CMC to see if we can get a different kind of funding approach to transit going forward for Canada the way other countries have. Where are you on that? Who wants to speak first about that?
Mayor Mike Savage [00:21:10] Let me just leave some of that for Carole, but absolutely the operating of this much. But we all have plans we’ve been successful in. Achieving some funding for electrification and rapid transit and studying electric ferries and things like that, that’s really important. But a lot of us will tell you if we can’t afford to keep the transit system going that we have now, which are good for the environment and good for the roads, good for our health, then we’ve got a real problem. And so transit operate. I mean, John Tory is looking at somewhere between $6 million and a billion dollars, a shortfall just to operate in transit. So we do need the help. And I know the feds are saying, Look, you’ve got to get the provinces to. We’ve carried the load and a lot of the load on Covid relief, but we can’t just simply stop running the busses because then people don’t get to work. Right? Well, the nurses don’t get to work, the public health people to get people to work in the pharmacies and the grocery stores don’t get to work. And so we have to keep the buses going. It’s been a real challenge. We’ve kept them going. We do need some help. And Carole can talk about sort of our plans going forward. There have been a lot of conversations, politician to politician, now staff to staff.
Carole Saab [00:22:20] Yeah, yeah. Thanks, Mike. I mean, you’ve summed it up well, we’re really and really what’s at stake here. You know, you’ve given the Toronto example. Translink in the in the Vancouver region is is looking at 100 hundred million. I mean, the numbers are staggering and quite impactful, and what’s at risk is being really covered by the mayor. And so we’ve been, you know, Mike and I were just talking to each other this morning about this. We’ve been living and breathing, trying to find a solution to transit. And I think that conversation is progressing. But again, back to this point, Mary, that it’s just shows you, how not sustainable this is, how not handable it is for the long term. And I think transit we need to put it in the bigger picture of how cities are funded, how what powers and levers they have accordingly, to be able to have sort of a more sustainable conversation going forward. And I’m glad you’ve got the Calgary folks coming up next. They’re doing amazing work locally. And I think, you know, to your point, Barrie, what we need is not only the local leadership to think horizontally and be driving that kind of agenda, but that we need to convince governments at the different orders to have that conversation in that way. You know what, Calgary is done on their own is massively scalable. You know, yeah, Calgary. But across the country, and that’s where the thinking is going to happen, where we can tie these pieces together and really advance more sustainable, tenable solution for cities.
Mary Rowe [00:23:46] Yeah, I go semi crazy when people talk about, oh, they need another bailout. And I just think, wait a minute. I mean, we, you know, the cities are actually driving the economy. They drive innovation. They drive culture. People come in from a way into the cities for reasons, and then they go back out, but they come in. And so it’s not as if you’re in line with your hand up handout, saying, Oh, what about us? Like this is about understanding how the country works and what kinds of ways, what investments we need to build a civilization that benefits all of us and your municipality is a perfect example. Like you’ve got rural right in your in you, like Ottawa and others, there is rural inside the regional municipality. And this notion, as you just suggested Carol about Translink, these regional solutions for transit, we need for housing to we need and I think there’s an awareness. I think it’s a growing awareness in governments that they need these kinds of collective approaches without changing constitutional arrangements. I’m sure this is going to come up this week. The rest of the day. We have a wrap up at the end with a constitutional person who I’m sure we’ll talk about. You know, I like to call it wiggle room. There are, and you guys are all about wiggle room, FCM is carving out wiggle room all the time. So thanks for joining us. We’re hoping, as I say, to kind of get a kind of good, actionable list of priorities that I’m sure that CUI and FCM we’ll continue to collaborate on and figure out who can, who’s best at what and how do we get this and how do we get that? And I just want all of our listeners to appreciate that these two folks are the ones corralling cats, herding cats, electeds across the country who with councils, all who have their own set of ideas and and positions. And the mayors are the ones that really carry the political voice through the FCM to the government of Canada. And it’s such an important role, and we’re so just so you 2 know, there’s a whole lot of other folks back here thinking about solutions, identifying challenges and hopefully supporting you, as you do the advocacy you do so. Thanks for taking the time to join us. I’ll be back in Halifax soon, Mike I hope and stay with your sister I hope and absolutely and Carol onwards. And I know it’s a busy week for you. So thanks so much and good luck with the next minister. The meeting you have with Minister Bennett. That will be very important.
Mayor Mike Savage [00:25:52] Thank you very much.
Mary Rowe [00:25:53] Great to see you.
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00:27:37 Janice Solomon: Hello from Toronto Downtown West BIA
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00:28:25 Laurel Davies Snyder: Hello from Stratford, ON
00:28:30 Peter Vaisbord: Hello from City of Vancouver EcDev Planning
00:28:36 Matthew Pelletier: Hello from Tracadie Cross, PEI!
00:28:47 Jim Ballinger: hi from halifax
00:28:55 Diego Almaraz: Hi from the Uptown Waterloo BIA – second BIA in the world! This year is our 50th anniversary 🎂
00:29:02 paul mackinnon: Downtown Halifax is back for day 2! Looking forward to it.
00:29:05 Ken Kelly: hands across the country!
00:29:05 Jeffrey Sundquist: Greetings from the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce
00:29:08 Michelle Groulx: Hi from Ottawa Coalition of BIAs! Excited for day 2
00:29:13 Roland Dorsay: ROLAND DORSAY, Federation of Citizens Associations of Ottawa (FCA)
00:29:18 Chuck (W.J. Parker: Hello from Chuck Parker in London, Ontario
00:29:20 Mary Chevreau: Greetings from Kitchener Public Library
00:29:28 Patrick Murphy: Hello from Barrie, Ontario. Great support for our downtowns.
00:29:32 Mark Garner: Hello from Downtown Yonge
00:29:40 Deborah Ballinger-Mills: Hello from northend Halifax
00:29:50 paul mackinnon: Go Mayor Mike – we appreciate his ongoing support of our urban core, and also his leadership with the Big Cities Mayors.
00:30:55 Meg Marshall: Hello from Queen West, Toronto
00:30:56 Michael Champagne: thank you Mary and all for taking this moment to acknowledge this 🧡
00:30:58 Erwin Dreessen: Hello from Ottawa — sunny but still VERY cold.
00:31:02 Al Smith: Hello from the St. Lawrence Market Neighbourhood
00:31:24 Tasha Morizio: Hello from Montreal SDC Boulevard Saint-Laurent.
00:31:29 Clint Wensley: Los Angeles California
00:31:32 sherry heinze: Hi from Calgary
00:31:36 Carol Jolly: Hello from The Toronto Junction BIA. 🙂. Hi Al!
00:31:37 Åsa Kachan: Good afternoon from Halifax. Home of Mayor Mike!
00:31:38 Cameron Charlebois: Cameron here – Montreal/Toronto
00:31:58 Donald Goertz: Greetings from Calgary. Looking forward to another informative and challenging day.
00:32:26 Zelda Brown: Good afternoon & howdy from The Forest City,🌳 (London, ON). Cheers, Zelda
00:32:42 Luwam Kiflemariam: Hello from 124 Street BIA in Edmonton!
00:32:56 Janet Wood: Hello from Charlottetown PEI
00:33:05 Robert Plitt: Greetings from Treaty 7 territory
00:33:08 John Kiru: Hello to all my friends and collogues from the centre of the Hockey Universe, Go Leafs Go.
00:33:21 Scott Cluney: Greetings from Downtown St. John’s Newfooundland. The most eastern BIA in North America. Looking forward to day two.
00:33:27 Judith Cox: Good afternoon from Coldwater BIA and the Township of Severn⛄
00:34:02 Cherie Klassen: Good morning from Edmonton AB. I represent the Old Strathcona Business Improvement Area.
00:34:22 Patrick Murphy: Good afternoon, Judith!
00:34:34 Canadian Urban Institute: Carole Saab is a tireless champion for cities and communities, driving an ambitious vision for local government leadership in building a more sustainable, prosperous, and inclusive Canada. Carole is an accomplished strategist with a decade of experience in federal and municipal advocacy. High performing and goal oriented, Carole has been a driving force behind watershed achievements for municipalities, securing unprecedented investment and progress for cities and communities. Recognized by peers as tenacious, ambitious and a game-changer and consistently voted as one of the Top 100 Lobbyists in Canada. She is a 2020 recipient of “Canada’s Top 40 Under 40”, and the “Women of Influence in Local Government Award” from Municipal World. Carole’s leadership and effective team-building have positioned FCM as one of the most respected and effective advocacy organizations in Canada.
00:34:57 Judith Cox: Good Afternoon Pat!!
00:35:42 Canadian Urban Institute: Mayor Mike Savage was elected Mayor of Halifax Regional Municipality for a third term on October 17, 2020. As Mayor he has followed a mandate to grow the economy, foster greater social and economic inclusion for all, and promote a healthy, sustainable environment. An active member of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) Big City Mayors’ Caucus (BCMC), Mayor Savage was selected by his counterparts from across the country to co-chair FCM’s Syrian Refugee response task force in 2015. In spring 2021, he was elected Chair of the BCMC. He served four years as President of the World Energy Cities partnership, an international organization of cities with significant energy sector interests.
00:36:02 Canadian Urban Institute: Prior to his election as Mayor, Mike Savage served three terms as Member of Parliament for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour, during which time he played a national role as Official Opposition Critic for Human Resources, Social Development and Status of Persons with Disabilities and chaired the Liberal Party Post-Secondary and Research Caucus.
00:36:18 Anneke Smit: Hello from the Centre for Cities at Windsor Law, University of Windsor. Happy to be a supporter of this excellent CUI event!
00:36:27 Patrick Sullivan: Great representation from Halifax yesterday and coming now.
00:36:46 Jean Coles: Hello from Ilderton ON – just 10 mins north of London!
00:36:52 Michael Champagne: libraries are the revolution!
00:36:59 Anne Poirier Basque: Hello from Downtown Moncton, NB
00:37:19 paul mackinnon: I’ll ask the same Q as yesterday: Is there a key ask from FCM / BCMC to the Feds that you need BIDs and others to lend support to?
00:37:19 Sue Uteck: Our Library is the heart of downtown in the beautiful Spring Garden Area Business Association!
00:37:24 Rylan Graham: Hello again from UNBC in Prince George!
00:40:59 Amber Livingstone: Hello from Downtown North Bay, ON.
00:45:36 paul mackinnon: The first wave of Covid-driven commercial assessment impacts are now being felt at the municipal level. Halifax saw a 1.9% rise in comm assessment for 2022 (Downtown saw a 6.5% drop, mostly due to hotel re-assessments). As office tenancy impacts leases, this is expected to be worse next year, which will add pressure to city services and residential taxpayers. Curious if there is good data on how assessments are impacting cities across the country.
00:49:12 Canadian Urban Institute: Hi everyone! Please change your chat settings to “all panelists and attendees” or to “everyone” so that all can see your comments.
00:50:51 Alice Casselman: Can we look at Germany and other countries where the government heavily supports the city transit systems?
00:50:53 Mark van Elsberg: This is the issue the solutions are not the responsibility of any single level of govt. the solutions are also not simple and must be combined with others. Downtowns and Main Streets are a small fraction of the City footprint, but they do all the “healthy” lifting. We need to create a program that reimagines this small part of the overall city. The benefits will extend to all.
00:51:40 Michael Roschlau: Transit should be a fed-prov collaborative. If it can be done for child care, it can be done for transit. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
00:53:43 Gordon Price: Not quite sure if this is the place for this observation, but it is based on a thought I had after yesterday’s session: Is the loss of downtown interactions being made up in the suburbs as a consequence of working at home.
In those neighbourhoods where a higher percentage of people are spending a substantial part of their day in their homes, do they take breaks in their workday to walk, cycle or drive in their neighbourhoods – and then interact more with their neighbours, shop more in their communities, attend more local events?
I asked a total sample of one (an SFU prof, as it happens) and she responded immediately: “Oh, a lot more!” She meets people on her walks she rarely saw before, shares local news, gets to know each other’s pets, kids, etc.
So it raises the question: is the loss of downtown interaction made up in suburban strengthening for the overall net benefit of the region?