Parker: New year heralds continued success of Calgary and region business community

The Calgary and region business community has another positive outlook heading into 2024

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The dawning of a new year has most of us thinking of changing habits and picking beneficial ones. None seem to last very long, so I won’t dwell too much on a thought that I should ease up on my rants about politicians.

But despite them — at all levels of government — I will continue to give thanks that I live in the best city, in the best province and in the best country in the whole world.

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I don’t know how we keep it up.

But we can start 2024 knowing that Stoney Trail is open. There was a time I wondered if I would last long enough to see the completion, considering all of the hiccups since Peter Lougheed first dreamed of it.

We recently had the pleasure of driving over another super new highway into Golden, B.C., and I marvelled at the safety and speed that the new road allows; both have been well worth the waiting.

Calgary ring road opens
The now-open Calgary ring road on Monday, December 18, 2023. Darren Makowichuk/Postmedia

The new section of Stoney Trail really opens up the new Taza development on Tsuut’ina lands. On Taza Park, Metro Ford and Big 4 Motors are open and construction has started on the new South Centre Volkswagen dealership. Site work begins this summer on residential lands, and I look forward to being able to announce additional retail in the Shops at Buffalo Run in the spring.

Retail development throughout the city will continue at a strong pace again in 2024.

People living around Northland Village Shoppes have had to be patient in waiting for the planned redevelopment, but now it is happening quickly and new inner roadways are making sense — and an expanded, ground-floor Winners is a sign of other good things to come. And the residential towers that looked rather depressing under construction are looking great today, adding needed activity to the site.

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In that same quarter of the city there is still no news on the planned redevelopment of the Calgary Co-op stores in Dalhousie and Brentwood but, in the northeast, work should begin this year on a new 40,000-square-foot Co-op store and other mixed-use buildings at the North Hill Centre along 16th Avenue. Construction will begin in the spring on a new grocery store, car wash and liquor store in Cochrane, and plans are underway for a new store in Marda Loop.

With all of the pressure from the federal government to be rid of gasoline vehicles, I wonder what will happen to gas pumps and whether there will be all-electric plug-in-only stations. By the number of cars travelling our roads today that depend on filling gas tanks, it’s going to take a lot longer than dreamers think to force a change.

Another sector where we will see continued activity this coming year is in the building of new seniors’ homes. Some will be expensive to live in, offering all kinds of amenities to allow for activities and good care as we grow older. But, fortunately, several will cater to those who need the benefits of community living and assistance offering subsidized living.

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One of my favourites since I announced the plans for its first facility that opened on Centre Street N. in 2014 is Wing Kei. Since then, it opened two in Greenwood and Clark Builders will start construction of Wing Kei Crescent Heights on Centre Street N. within a couple of months. Everyone needs, wants and deserves to have their cultural ways and desires respected, and the board of not-for-profit Wing Kei certainly take care of our elderly Chinese population.

We can approach 2024 full of confidence, but with some urgent wishes that include less crime, a safer city — especially on public transportation — and in this boasted rich province everyone should be able to have a roof over their head — and find a doctor.

Unfortunately, parts of the world are in a sorry mess right now and we feel so bad that there is little any of us can do to stop the senseless fighting that results in so many wasted lives.

I can only offer the response of: “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.”

Happy New Year to all.

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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