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CED's 2024 Report to the Community: Blue Skies with the Chance of Housing Crisis

CED’s Report to the Community is a pillar of Calgary’s yearly political and business cycle. While technically an economic update for the business community, the event often signals the tone and themes for the year that The City of Calgary (which CED is fully funded by) and major players in the business community have agreed on. I have always enjoyed the vibe of a big, exciting convention that only lasts a couple hours so you can still get home in time for dinner.

This year’s event felt especially celebratory. With the “slow launch” of CED’s new blue skies brand, cartoonish skylines graphics and bright blue were everywhere. Even on the cupcakes. Clearly pre-prepared audience members stood up and told heartfelt stories of why they loved Calgary. Musicians, artist, and athletes told us why Calgary was the best to make a living and to make a life, as the old tag line used to say.

Only one speaker from Calgary Arts Development hinted at a few clouds in the sky: Calgary hasn’t always been a welcoming utopia.

Typically, Mayor Gondek’s speeches at CED events tend to show her strength in economics and city building. However, her speech today was an unusually personal one. She told a charming story of the job interview that landed her in Calgary and the opportunities she’s had here since. Perhaps hints of a re-election message?

While I loved her speech, it was difficult to not contrast it with the looming clouds of the housing rezoning council meeting coming up on Monday. Anyone who spends time in Calgary City Hall can tell you the energy there is very different. Mayor Gondek has said herself Calgary is facing both a climate and a housing crisis. She has a divided council who are about to listen to likely a week of public comments about a divisive policy that will define her tenure. She is fending off calls for resignation and a recall petition, with a rough election season on the cloudy horizon.

Even though CED’s event was just down the street, it was in a different world from city hall.

Navigating these complex political and economic weather patterns is not going to be easy for many local organizations seeking funding or just trying to be a part of the conversation. Feeling overwhelmed? Let’s talk!

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