Parker: Another year of success stories in local business

This turned out to be a good year for many, with some exciting happenings that showed a renewed confidence in the city as a great place to do business and live with family

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This past year didn’t start off too well, as for the first time in more than 20 years of penning these columns I missed deadlines. My extended vacation on Maui that resulted in an extra two weeks on that fabulous island paradise took a while to recover from.

But I was blessed with exceptional care at Memorial Hospital (and visitor valet parking no less) and a thoughtful Herald editorial staff who cared more about my recovery from legionnaires disease than twice weekly columns.

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The first column in 2023 was a real booster; telling that Jennifer Massig was relocating her small engineering company from Chestermere to the Atlantic Avenue Art Block in Inglewood. Launched in 2016, Magna Engineering Services had grown into a world-recognized leader in specialized stormwater management, and urban and rural land development.

Happy to see that her company is still growing — now 30 staff — and Massig was honoured as one of the business leaders at the Business in Calgary Awards.

This turned out to be a good year for many, with some exciting happenings that showed a renewed confidence in the city as a great place to do business and — compared with most of the world — a great place to live with family.

One of the columns I really enjoyed writing was helping celebrate the 100th anniversary of Trail Riders of the Canadian Rockies. It made me realize what a beautiful and safe part of creation we are privy to — standing in awe on the Kananaskis Golf Course and marveling at mountains that international travellers pay a lot of money to experience.

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The Trail Riders of the Canadian Rockies celebrated their 100th anniversary in 2023. Pamela Roth/Postmedia Network Photo by Pamela Roth /Postmedia Network

People keep coming and that has led to the need for more housing. Office conversions will help, but let’s hope that some will be affordable to many — and as they are small in size, what happens when children come along, and where will those kids go to school? Council doesn’t want cars downtown — how about fleets of yellow buses twice a day?

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The city seems to have a real hate on for cars. This is a need-a-car-to-get-around city. Driving north down Crowchild Trail I was amazed at the constant, heavy stream of vehicles headed south. I tried to picture all of those drivers riding a bicycle instead. And I laughed out loud.

A new view for me as, after living in Edgemont for more than 30 years, we made the move to Marda Loop. Love it.

I miss the wide expanse of the northwest but enjoy the convenience of being able to walk to the grocery store, coffee shops and restaurant, banks and Cobs Bread Bakery.

It’s not so convenient for motorists the past few months though, as 33rd Avenue was dug up and rerouting was a bit of a nightmare. Lack of parking was hard on retailers, and it’s going to get worse as I see at least a couple of multi-family residences planned. There will be more lane closures — and then I’m sure the planning department will allow for fewer parking stalls than needed, so where will residents park? There’s no space left on 32nd and 34th Avenues now.

Back to the good happenings.

Pleased to see Calgary was chosen by Arup as its third Canadian location, OK Frozen Dough is expanding its Armstrong, B.C., operation into a large plant here, and global CEO advisory firm Teneo opened a Calgary office.

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Selling and leasing commercial real estate can be long winded. It took a while, but the downtown YMCA has new ownership, as has the prime original Jack Carter Chevrolet location on Macleod and Glenmore trails, and the former Viscount Bennett school site.

And after many frustrating years seeking approvals, construction at Uxborough on the former Stadium Shopping Centre is now well underway.

There has been a new focus on affordable housing and I’m pleased to see a growing concern for accessibility to buildings throughout the city. It would be mighty expensive to change entrances to some of our older buildings, but surely all new construction should be mandated to make them accessible to all.

One thing that didn’t change this year was the offerings of designs for new buildings to out-of-town architects. We have a lot of talent in this city, and certainly when taxpayer money is being used, use it.

David Parker appears regularly in the Herald. Read his columns online at calgaryherald.com/business. He can be reached at 403-830-4622 or by email at [email protected]

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