This issue has been sliding under the radar of many Calgarians because most Calgarians just don’t go downtown anymore.
Those of us who still have to go downtown now and then, particularly by transit have been watching the swift and steady decline in downtown conditions for months now.
City hall has been looking at studies and talking about ways to convert the ghost-town of office buildings into family residential buildings. To be blunt, they are wasting time.
The city needs to do two things in order to populate the core again:
They need to bring enterprise and business back to the core. Unless there is somewhere to work, there is little reason to live down there.
They will not be able to draw residents or businesses downtown until they find a way to deal with the growing population of addicts downtown. The homeless population who are often plagued with addiction and mental health issues has exploded and they have essentially taken over the LRT system to use as a means to warm up and consume drugs. They are becoming increasingly aggressive and almost territorial downtown now as they have settled in.
The fellow below is smoking heroin on a Calgary LRT
The addict in the video below was smoking meth on the train downtown.
Things are bad and they are only going to get worse.
It is a delicate issue and a tough one to deal with. That of course is why City Hall won’t touch it.
We need a massive new addiction treatment program and it will take an effort on the part of every level of government. These people won’t simply quit on their own and chasing them around or jailing them is pointless.
Until that reality is faced though, Calgary’s downtown will continue it’s decline.