Calgary’s 2017 Infrastructure Status Report shows the city is grappling to maintain and repair its aging buildings.
According to the report, over the next 10 years Calgary will see an infrastructure funding shortfall of $5.67 billion.
No actual list has been made public about which specific city-owned buildings will need upgrades. However, the report estimates about 44 per cent of recreational facilities are in poor or critical condition.
About 37 per cent of libraries are in rough shape and about 27 per cent of Calgary Transit buildings will need repairs too.
The report rates building conditions on a scale from very good, meaning sound or “as new” condition, to “critical,” meaning the asset has “deteriorated to such an extent that it is generally inoperable or unsafe.”
About 2.3 per cent of city-owned buildings are in “poor” or “critical” physical condition. By contrast, 88 per cent are in “very good” or “good” condition.
The most recent example of failing infrastructure was the Fairview Arena collapse in February. City and fire officials had deemed it unsafe just one day before the arena’s roof caved in.
No one was injured in the collapse. Later in March, the city demolished the rink section of arena.
Ward 11 councillor Jeromy Farkas called the budget funding gap “alarming.”
“It should be [alarming] for city council and Calgarians both,” he said.
Going forward we need to make sure we triage, prioritize the structure where there is a clear and present immediate safety concern.”
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On the flip side, Ward 1 councillor Ward Sutherland said there’s no need to sound the alarms bells just yet, suggesting that perhaps the city should take a look at what assets the city should be in control of.
“It’s not alarming,” Sutherland said.
“Again, when you take a look at the assets that we have… people are forgetting we have over 90 billion in assets. We need to look at our life cycle and accounting of our buildings and whether or not we should have those assets.
“That’s why we’ve asked to come back for it to be a full-day conversation. It’s very complicated.”
Council will meet next week to discuss next steps on how to move forward to bridge the funding gap.