January 16, 2017 11:13 am
Updated: January 16, 2017 1:00 pm

Calgary councillors push for economic summit to breathe new life into downtown core

WATCH: Ward 7 councillor Druh Farrell joins Global Calgary to explain why she will push city council for a one-day downtown economic summit.

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Two Calgary councillors think the city needs to host an economic summit to look for ways to breathe new life into the downtown core.

Ward 7 councillor Druh Farrell and Ward 8 councillor Evan Woolley will be pitching the idea in a notice of motion set to go before Calgary city council on Monday.

“I would like to see us look at every possible idea to bolster the core,” Farrell said. “The reason being, the core is the economic driver of our city.”

“The impacts are huge for everyone.”

Calgary currently has a 30 per cent vacancy rate among office towers in the downtown core and the highest unemployment rate in the country.

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Farrell said they’re looking at Denver as an example of how to battle reinvigorate our downtown core.

“They went through something really similar – although not as severe – in the the 1980s. They did a lot to encourage other industries to come into their core.”

READ MORE: Calgary’s downtown core suffering through 1980s-style recession

“It is time for the elected officials to really get involved,” Calgary Downtown Association executive director Maggie Schofield said in an interview with Global News.

Schofield cited certain “roadblocks” that could hamper upcoming initiatives aimed at reinvigorating Calgary’s downtown core.

“Things around land usage in particular,” she said. “If you’re going to take vacant properties and turn them into something else, it sounds like a great idea, but it doesn’t happen as easily as you might think.”

WATCH: Maggie Schofield joins Global Calgary to discuss a proposed one-day economic summit

If the rest of council backs the idea, it’s expected the one-day summit would be held in February.

The goal would be to bring together small business owners, real estate experts, various levels of government and industry associations.

READ MORE: Nearly one third of Calgary’s office space could be empty by 2018, says real estate firm

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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