The Beltline Neighbourhoods Association (BNA) is a vibrant community association for the Beltline district in urban Calgary home to over 25,000 residents in the neighbourhoods of Connaught and Victoria Park.
Based out of the McHugh House Community & Arts Hub, the BNA is non-profit organized by a volunteer Board of Directors who work to make the BNA an accessible and diverse association open to all residents to get involved in making the Beltline an even better place.
It’s been a very different year but a busy one again none the less! Here’s what we’ve done together…
We Hosted Great Events
McHugh House - Open Doors
In January, we invited the community to come check out the McHugh House Community Arts Hub. We continue to work to make this an affordable and engaging community/arts space in spite of current challenges posed by COVID-19 restrictions.
2020 Beltline Bonspiel
This was the first and last big event for the year for us before things went sideways with the pandemic. The 2020 Beltline Bonspiel at Lougheed House was arguably our most fun ever with beautiful weather, great teams (congrats to the Unicorns!) and a fantastic turnout. For 2020, we were once again happy to have local Beltline brewers Inner City Brewing and Last Best Brewing to provide delicious beer for our bumping beer gardens. Matt Masters emceed the event alongside local DJs C-SIK, Mother Mary, Dr. Space, Myke Atkinson, Archive Pat, and DJ Helen on the tables.
2020 BUMP Festival
The 2020 BUMP Festival was a huge success! Despite a global health pandemic we were able to make 2020 our best year yet:
- Completed 20 new murals from artists across Canada (up from 16 murals in 2019) taking the project total to over 50 murals since 2017.
- Festival participation has skyrocketed with over 8,000 downloads (and counting) of our self-guided mural tours, up from ~500 guided mural tour participants last year.
- Our online following has roughly doubled since the start of the year to over 8,000 on Instagram.
- We hosted several new COVID-safe live DJ “BUMP-UPs” alongside mural artists painting throughout the community and at Central Memorial Park.
- We've made the BUMP Festival more accessible than ever with artist talks videos and podcasts now available for free online.
Thank you to everyone that came out to our events, tagged us in your social media posts, watched our artist talks, and participated in the mural tours. Although the month-long festivities are over, the good news is that the 20 new murals that have been added to our great city are here to stay for years to come.
We Advocated for Beltline Neighbourhoods
Completing the Cycle Track Network
We continue to work with the City of Calgary to address missing gaps in the cycle track network through the addition of missing links. This year 2nd Street SW is finally getting completed as you read this. 11 Street SW will be upgraded summer 2021 and 14/15 Avenues South are being investigated for more neighbourhood safety improvements including permanent curb extensions and protected wheeling/cycling tracks on 15th Avenue.
Flood Mitigation: Springbank Reservoir
It’s been seven years since the devastating floods that impacted Victoria Park in the Beltline as well as Downtown Calgary and many surrounding communities. We continue to advocate for all levels of government to proceed with the Spring Bank Reservoir plans, which are the best option we have for flood protection in Calgary.
We anticipate the Natural Resource Conservation Board will be holding a public hearing in February 2021 on the SR1 Springbank Off-stream Reservoir, required to protect Calgary from more devastating floods of the Elbow River. We are working with other community groups to support advocacy efforts for this project and will keep residents informed on how they can help.
(Ir)responsible Growth Management in Calgary
We continue to advocate for responsible growth in Calgary and investing in existing neighbourhoods over subsidizing the development of new communities. The 14 new communities approved by City Council against the recommendation of City Administration in 2018 are now costing Calgary taxpayers upwards of $57 million due to the oversupply of housing their approval has created and the slower market absorption associated with this oversupply.
Now Councillors are being lobbied by suburban developers to approve 11 additional new communities. This makes no sense and will cost taxpayers to the tune of an additional $23 million per year, the equivalent of a 1.5% tax increase for every Calgarian.
Supervised Consumption Site (SCS) at Sheldon Chumir
We continue to advocate for an evidence-based response to the opioid epidemic that involves community-focused solutions. We’ve publicly called for the Government of Alberta to adopt a community-focused, evidence-based action plan that includes:
- Letting healthcare experts lead the response to the opioid epidemic
- Supporting local communities like Beltline by reducing local pressure and providing more distributed services across the city to respond to increasing demand
- Support a broad range of treatment as called for by healthcare experts
- Support decriminalization of drug possession and safe supply of drugs to help break the cycle of addictions and drug related crime
Beltline Aquatic and Recreation Centre
We are partnering with Inglewood and other community groups to advocate for the City of Calgary to allow adequate time for the Beltline and Inglewood Aquatic and Recreation Centres for a new operating arrangement to be found for the centre. Operating funds for the recreation facilities were cut as part of the City’s $60 million budget cut this past August.
With more cuts expected and further recreation facilities at risk, it’s imperative that we find a way to keep the centres serving our communities until newer, more modern facilities can be built.
Centre City Police Station
The last Downtown police station in Victoria Park was closed due to Calgary Police Service budget constraints back in 2017. In the wake of the economic downturn and a drug-addictions crisis Calgary Police have been stretched thin to respond to the challenges presented by this context and as a result we have seen an increase in crime levels in the Centre City.
Today, Calgary is the only major Canadian municipality without a downtown police station and that is why we continue to work with surrounding communities to advocate for the reinstatement of a Centre City police station.
Green Line LRT
Despite an 11th hour attempt to hack and slash the Green Line by certain City Councillors, we successfully supported a groundswell of public advocacy to support the vision of the Green Line that crosses the Bow River and travels north on Centre Street. Equally important is the Green Line’s alignment through Beltline and Downtown, which was approved by City Council for a shallow underground tunnel running along 11th Avenue south and up 2 St SW to the Bow River.
The alignment, as passed, is a city-shaping piece of infrastructure that will serve Calgarians for the next hundred years of growth and support the future expansion of the rapid transit network north and south.
We Planned for the Future - Beltline Urban Development Committee
Over the course of our twice per months meetings we’ve reviewed and provided feedback dozens of development permits in the Beltline, met with developers, City Planners, and local stakeholders to help with better urban development in the Beltline. The committee is open to all Beltline residents who want to get involved in improving the the Beltline neighbourhoods.
Rivers District Master Plan & Beltline ARP
We’ve engaged with the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) and the City of Calgary to provide input and feedback into the Rivers District Master Plan and the new Beltline ARP for East Victoria Park and Stampede Park so that it can be not just a successful arts and entertainment district but a great neighbourhood to live in and visit.
We will continue to stay engaged with CMLC, the City of Calgary, Calgary Stampede and other stakeholders with the new developments of the BMO Convention Centre Expansion and the new Event Centre.
We Created New Parks for Beltline
Humpy Hollow Park
Thanks to incredible work over the past two years by the Beltline Parks subcommittee, we have taken this project from initial concept to a fully funded a near complete design that will be going for tender this winter with construction planned for completion Summer/Fall 2021.
The new park located on the corner of 17 Avenue and Centre Street South will provide a much better public space for the community to stay connected, enjoy live performance, play with dogs and more.
We were thrilled to launch HIGH PARK this October, a new rooftop public park and event space in the Beltline serving as an exciting destination for residents and visitors to the city alike. The park reimagines the under-utilized 90,000 sqft (2-acre) rooftop of the Centre City Parkade located at 340 10 Ave SW and provides much needed additional public space in the community.
We Created New Ways to Stay Connected
In 2020, we launched The Beltlandian, a friendly neighbourhood Beltline zine to add a local voice with engaging community news and information. Watch for Issue 003 in early 2021!
HELP US KEEP BUILDING A STRONGER, BETTER BELTLINE.