Beltline Social Environment Committee
While facing the prominent belief that in Calgary density and urban life are socially problematic, Beltline encourages demographic and social diversity within the community. One of the Beltline's most vibrant attractors is the wide mix of residents and services located here.
Health Care in the Beltline
The Sheldon Chumir Health Centre opened its doors in April 2009 and is accommodating more patients in a larger space than the old 8th + 8th clinic downtown. The new centre includes diagnostic facilities, mental health programs, and sexual and reproductive health and urgent care clinics.
The building replaced the old brick Colonel Belcher hospital which stood on the site since 1942. The building was designed with the community in mind, incorporating 485 underground parking stalls and setting itself back from the street to provide an unimpeded view of the First Baptist Church, showing how heritage and new buildings can fit together.
The Calgary Alpha House Society (CAHS), which provides detoxification, drop-in services and addictions outreach for people experiencing substance abuse problems, has recently expanded their existing facility. The extra space will significantly improve the functionality of the building and facilitate the capacity of CAHS to respond to changing issues in a growing community. The redevelopment focused on: improving the quality of space in the drop-in and detox programs, improving the quality of assessment areas and clinical rooms, and addressing a significant need for storage, laundry and shower facilities. A Phase II addition of detox beds for clients transitioning to a residential addiction treatment program is also proposed.
A Vision for Calgary...
Canada25, a non-partisan organization dedicated to engaging the perspectives of young Canadians, set out their vision for a city built around density, diversity and discovery and outlines priorities for action.
Calgary can be a dynamic city… if we try.
Good Neighbour Agreements
Building Strong Relationships in the Community
The organization intends to shift the Seed’s focus in the Beltline away from emergency front-line services. Of the 180 units, 120 are single room occupancy (SRO) and the remaining 60 units are affordable studio apartments. The main difference between the two types of units is SRO’s share shower and kitchen facilities with other units on each floor, and studio units do not. The building also includes a medical clinic and community services.
The GNA process, originally used in the development of the Mustard Seed facility is a precedent for future Good Neighbour Agreements between social service agencies and the Beltline community.
Crime and Policing in the BeltlineFor some years, Beltline has been advocating for an increase in police presence in the community. City Council responded by approving a motion in November 2008 to fund an extra 10 police officers and 25 new bylaw officers for the downtown and Beltline. The extra funding marks the resurgence of the successful and popular Community Support Officer (CSO) pilot project. The program allows bylaw officers to deal with lesser complaints of vandalism, littering, loitering and noise complaints, freeing up more time for police to deal with serious offences. An increased communication and interaction with the community is facilitated by officers who patrol the streets on foot and on bicycles. Ward 8 Alderman John Mar believes the addition of police on the streets is a first step in dealing with crime in the area which includes urban decay indicators such as drug use and graffiti.
Cash Corner, where casual day labourers look for work, may be relocated out of the Beltline. A community and protective services committee agreed to move the ad hoc site, currently situated along Centre street between 12 and 13 Avenue, to 1807 Macleod Trail near the Elbow River Casino. The new location will include a facility with washrooms and trash receptacles, and will be monitored closely by social agencies and bylaw officers to ensure it is being used properly. This shelter, however, will be a temporary service running from 6 am to 1 pm until an alternative solution is created.
Cash Corner is problemmatic in the Beltline community since the improvised employment zone is not an official entity of the city.