Observations from my latest trip to Calgary

I know I complain about Calgary a lot. Every time I go back, I am even more resolute in my desire to never live there again. Even though the weather was really nice[1], everything was so dirty and dull looking because of the snow. There was a beautiful Chinook Arch yesterday and I really enjoyed seeing it. The weather was always interesting in Calgary. I also saw a beautiful view of the mountains, at dusk, as I was driving to my friend’s house. It was absolutely stunning.

Now onto the complaints:

Growth

Calgary needs a smart growth plan. There seems to be very little densification going on in the city. They just seem to keep building houses in new developments. Unfettered growth poses so many problems. It seems that Calgary is facing many of these issues right now. Health care seems to be suffering a great deal. According to my friend, who works for Alberta Health Services, the system is a ‘shit show.’ Promises of new resources coming on line are often a huge source of frustration as they lack the physical space and infrastructure to support the staff needed to provide services. I have also seen this when my mother ends up in the hospital. The nurses are overworked and trying to connect with a doctor is almost impossible. During her last hospitalization she couldn’t even get a prescription for prednisone before she left; they gave her 1 pill and told her to see her family doctor.

Traffic

I remember when I lived in Calgary, we would be absolutely indignant if our commute took 10 or 15 minutes more. Calgary prided itself on having the least vehicle congestion of any North American city. Not any more! Every time I arrive, I seem to get stuck in traffic on the Deerfoot. Out where my mother used to live the traffic was horrific. It was taking about 20 minutes to travel a couple of kilometres. It would be impossible for road construction to keep up with the level of growth. I can only imagine how transit is affected.

Amenities

It seemed that every plaza we went to was packed. Finding a parking spot was very difficult. On Friday we went out for dinner at 7:30 pm and we still waited half an hour for a table. On Saturday I went to the Naot store[2] and trying to find parking there was a nightmare as well. I contrast that to life in Maple Ridge where not getting a parking spot close to the door is a rarity. Even in Vancouver things are not as busy as they are in Calgary. This level of activity in Calgary certainly caused me a higher level of stress. The other thing I noticed was a dearth of small business. Every strip mall and plaza was rife with chain restaurants and stores. I like that I can still shop local at small businesses and eat at independent restaurants.


[1] Sunny.

[2] A whole store devoted to Naot shoes!!!

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Published in: on November 19, 2012 at 1:38 pm  Leave a Comment  
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