A Red Deer architectural student recently won a competition to spark ideas for the future design of the west annex space of Hillhurst United Church. Although the winning design may never be built, it is igniting conversation about design in Calgary.
Located in the heart of Kensington, Hillhurst United Church was established in 1907 and is considered one of Calgary's historical buildings. However the gym in the west annex needs a bit of a makeover, according to the church's minister John Pentland.
"They added [the gym] 55 years ago when communities needed an extra space for people to play, and churches were great at slapping gyms on the side of a building. It's old, dirty and tired — it needs lots of attention."
After discussing some ideas with a committee about what to do with the space, chair of the church's board, Terry Rock, approached Calgary based intern architects Holly Simon and Kevin Lo to create an international design competition that would generate some ideas for the project.
Residents, community organizations, developers and city planners are among the stakeholders joining to envision the future of Calgary's main corridors.
The first phase of the Main Streets project started in November. The city, using workshops, events and online engagement with all stakeholders, is looking to identify issues, opportunities and potential outcomes with the new redevelopment plan.
"Many of the changes in our community are happening without much concern in our main streets... It is good (City Hall) is listening to us," said Nancy Tice, a resident of Cliff Bungalow-Mission, at a workshop with stakeholders about 4th Street S.W. redevelopment on Nov. 20.
"This is not another fairytale planning exercise," said Ward 8 Councillors Evan Woolley, during the workshop. "The planning department, in a very exciting way, is investing a lot of recourses into this."
With the winter months approaching, Calgarians are starting to get ready for hazardous driving conditions but not everyone has faith in the city's snow removal efforts.
Petroula Christakis lives in Hawkwood, a hilltop community west of Nosehill Park in the city's northwest. She cited that every winter city buses getting stuck is a regular occurrence and that getting to work in the morning can be a frustrating endeavor.
"The snow removal is always really bad in this area," she said.
As evidenced by the snowfall on Sept. 8, parts of Calgary can fall into disarray when there is snow on the road in the winter months.
Some Alberta smokers are living within a loophole of the law when it comes to indoor puffing of electronic cigarettes, also known as E-cigarettes.
Alberta's Tobacco Reduction Act states that, "'smoke' means to smoke, hold or otherwise have control over a lit tobacco product" – the word "lit" being the loophole.
Once again technology has outpaced law-making and the City of Calgary is trying to catch up.
City councillors met on Sept. 22 and passed a motion to begin a work-plan on E-cigarettes. The goal is to conduct comprehensive research about E-cigarettes to better understand what health concerns there may be. Some Calgarians are worried that this work-plan is only the beginning of future bylaws restricting use of the cigarette substitute.
Abba Shytermeja smoked for 15 years. She used E-cigarettes to quit smoking and thinks the possibility of bylaws is ridiculous.
"You can see the smoke, but it's just vapour air," she says.