Council hops on the bus for a mystery tour

·2 min read
Council members leave City Hall as they prepare for a tour of city facilities.  (Scott Dippel/CBC - image credit)
Council members leave City Hall as they prepare for a tour of city facilities. (Scott Dippel/CBC - image credit)

A chartered city transit bus pulled up in front of City Hall on Thursday and nearly every member of city council hopped on board.

They went on a day-long tour of key facilities, designed to familiarize council with a variety of city services.

City administration came up with the idea as part of the enhanced council orientation for the group who won seats in this month's municipal election.

Mayor Jyoti Gondek said it's also good for the new council to spend some time together as they're still getting to know one another.

"We have a lot of big decisions to make during budget season. There are decisions that we make in council meetings that relate to a lot of our facilities and the people that work there," said Gondek.

Scott Dippel/CBC
Scott Dippel/CBC

"This is really intentional, organized by administration to ensure that new members of council are familiar with our various operations."

Several stops

All members of council, newcomers and those re-elected, were invited to take the tour. Coun. Sean Chu was the only member to not get on the bus.

Their tour featured several stops such as the city's emergency operations centre, the Whitehorn multi-services facility and Calgary Transit's operations centre near the Westbrook CTrain station.

A full list of stops was not released to the media.

The mayor said the orientation process being offered to council is going well. But she said it's always nice to change things up and get out of the building for a field trip.

Scott Dippel/CBC
Scott Dippel/CBC

"Everything we do is educational and fun," said Gondek, laughing.

Not just for newcomers

Minutes before jumping on board, a veteran councillor said he felt it was worthwhile joining his colleagues.

Coun. Gian-Carlo Carra is now starting his fourth term representing Ward 9.

"I think it's great," said Carra. "It's good to spend a full day seeing the city that we're governing with the new governors of the city."

Given there are nine new members of council, he sees value in such a tour.

"You know, we talked for the last 11 years about, from time to time, getting onto a bus and seeing the city together, and we never did it."

"I'm very pleased that we're doing it now," said Carra.

The council orientation process started a few days after the election and is slated to continue into December.

During the sessions, council members are learning about the responsibilities of their jobs, how the city organization functions as well as what resources are available to them.

Much of that training is happening in boardrooms, online or in the council chamber.

So for one day, the group seemed pleased at the chance to get out of the building to see things for themselves.

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