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Coronavirus: City of Calgary prepares for post-pandemic economic recovery

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi speaks after receiving an award from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during the Public Policy Testimonial Dinner in Toronto on Thursday, April 20, 2017. Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi says it's not his first choice to make a downtown convention centre into a temporary homeless shelter during the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact Calgary’s economy, the city is looking ahead at how it can best recover in the future.

A task force has been formed to create a list of important projects for the city — should the provincial or federal government announce stimulus funding.

“This is not the City of Calgary trying to take advantage of this crisis, or use it as an opportunity to get stuff that we need from other governments,” Mayor Naheed Nenshi said of the task force during Thursday’s Intergovernmental Affairs Committee meeting.

READ MORE: 1,200 City of Calgary employees face temporary layoffs amid COVID-19 pandemic

Nenshi said the future may be a strange thing to think about when jobs are currently being lost, but he said the city needs to be ready for when the pandemic is over.

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“The country cannot afford for Calgary to be on its knees for any longer,” he said.

“You’ll never be able to balance the federal budget, for example, if the City of Calgary is not doing better.”

READ MORE: Road closures planned for Calgary to give more room for pedestrians and cyclists

Nenshi said Calgary and the province as a whole will be hit harder than the rest of Canada when it comes to recovering from the pandemic.

He added that a priority for Calgary could be using funds for maintenance work — especially on affordable housing.  The city is also looking at a list of so-called “shovel ready” projects that could still be completed during this year’s construction season.

“What we really did was comb through our list of unfunded infrastructure and said: ‘what is going to create the most jobs, and what can go fast,'” Nenshi said.

The mayor added that the city has billions of dollars worth of unfunded infrastructure projects.

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