It’s not every day you get to be part of history in the making, but in a few weeks students and staff at four brand-new public schools will be doing just that.
Nose Creek School in Coventry Hills will soon open to 455 students in grades 4 to 8, allowing kids who previously had to be bused to Colonel Macleod school way down on 16th Avenue N.E. a chance to learn and play in their own neighbourhood.
“This has been a labour of love, and an opportunity that seldom comes along in a career,” says incoming principal Carol A. Hall, who comes to the new school from Colonel Macleod, so she won’t be a stranger to many of the kids.
“This is a wonderful opportunity to build something from the ground up.”
The school was constructed, like the other new schools built for the Calgary Board of Education this year, under a P3 (public-private partnership) initiative. Hall says all four schools use the same basic two-storey “batwing” design, with a core school connected to wings of modular classrooms, adding her school is set up to ultimately accommodate 800 students.
Although classes have yet to start, future Nose Creek students have already been involved in establishing new traditions, including picking the sports team name (Kodiaks). “The student voice will be a huge part of what we do here,” says Hall.
Hall says the school will incorporate up-to-date technology, such as smartboards, and the Learning Commons (formerly called the library) will feature innovations such as a Wall Talker — a whiteboard students can use to plan projects — and a 55-inch flat screen connected to a Mac Mini that will allow students to share projects from their iPads using AirServer.
Hall says the new schools have also partnered with Alberta College of Art + Design to base artists at the schools for several months.
Nose Creek is one of four new public schools opening this fall. The others — like Nose Creek, also middle schools in the north part of Calgary — are Captain Nichola Goddard School (grades 4-9) in Panorama Hills, Twelve Mile Coulee School (4-9) in Tuscany, and Ted Harrison School (5-9) in Taradale.
The only new school under construction is Robert Thirsk High School, a 10-12 in Arbour Lake set to open during the 2013-2014 school year. The CBE also has modernization projects underway at Western Canada and Lord Shaughnessy high schools.
Calgary ranked as fifth most liveable city in the world amid strong showing for Canada
Three Canadian cities have again cracked the top five on a ranking of the world’s most liveable places.
In the latest report from the Economist Intelligence Unit released Tuesday, Vancouver ranked third, followed by Toronto and Calgary in fourth and fifth respectively.
The Canadian cities were bested only by Vienna in second and Melbourne, which topped The Economist’s Liveability Ranking.
The annual survey of 140 cities uses more than 30 factors to gauge the state of healthcare, education, infrastructure, stability, culture and environment — rendering a score out of 100.
Top 10 cities
Melbourne, Australia — 97.5
Vienna, Austria — 97.4
Vancouver, B.C. — 97.3
Toronto, Ont. — 97.2
Calgary, Atla. — 96.6
Adelaide, Australia — 96.6
Sydney, Australia — 96.1
Helsinki, Finland — 96.0
Perth, Australia — 95.9
Auckland, N.Z. — 95.7
Vancouver lost marks only for petty crime rates, availability of quality housing and congested road networks, with report authors citing a series of infrastructure projects such as the new Evergreen transit line “that will no doubt have a long-term benefit, but in the short-term they can be disruptive.”
Toronto received a “Tolerable” rating (as opposed to Acceptable) for roads, public transit and housing while Calgary waned in temperature ratings.
Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi mused that his city’s spot on the ranking proves a “thriving business community, and a vibrant cultural scene that is attracting people from around the world” — echoing comments from Stephen Harper’s speech at the Stampede last month when the Prime Minister declared the Alberta metropolis as the greatest city in Canada.
The only other Canadian city to make the Economist list was Montreal in the 16th position.
Australia was the only country to outperform Canada, posting four cities in the top 10. The authors say the trend among the most liveable cities shows a preference for “mid-sized cities in wealthier countries with a relatively low population density.” Canada’s density is 3.40 people per square kilometre, while Australia’s is 2.88.
The results vary little from the last ranking released six months ago, with Vancouver maintaining the third spot after slipping from first place in 2011.
Most of the top-tier countries are separated by fractions of a percentage — the first-ranked Melbourne is scored 97.5, only 1.8 points higher than 10th-place Auckland, N.Z. The Economist Information Unit uses the ranking to provide suggestions on how businesses should compensate employees working abroad in cities “where living conditions are particularly difficult.”
It’s one of several studies of its kind, but economic development experts in the listed Canadian cities say The Economist report’s catering to business communities could lead to tangible benefits.
“It’s certainly circulated to an audience of potential investors and investors that may be interested in relocating to our city,” said Randy McLean, a strategy director at the City of Toronto, adding good scores in categories like education will help attract top management talent and their families.
“Certainly it’s encouraging,” he said.
National Post email@example.com Jake Edmiston | Aug 15, 2012 12:42 AM ET | Last Updated: Aug 15, 2012 12:06 PM ET
He tells the BBC's Katty Kay that trust and dialogue is what makes Calgary so successful.
"I firmly believe that you make the best decisions as a policy maker when you've got the best data," he says. "That information has to include what the real experts in the world, that is the people who live there, think about their own community."
Calgary Luxury home market booming Increase in upper-end condo, single-family sales
DECEMBER 9, 2011
CALGARY — Calgary’s luxury home market has seen a spike in demand this year with sales in the upper-end approaching the record levels of 2007.
Brendan Hughes, a realtor with RE/MAX Real Estate (Central) in Calgary, said sales in the upper-end market are a sign of a good economy in the city.
“It’s vibrant and it’s growing. Jobs are being created. People are moving here,” said Hughes.
According to the Calgary Real Estate Board, so far this year from January to November there have been 25 MLS condo sales over $1 million compared with 19 for the same period in 2010.
Year-to-date, there have been 406 single-family sales at that price point, up from 326 a year ago.
The record number of luxury home sales in the Calgary market took place in 2007 with 431 single-family sales over $1 million and 30 condo sales in that price bracket.
Sano Stante, president of the Calgary Real Estate Board, said there is a lot of confidence in the local real estate market these days.
He said many oilpatch executives are showing confidence because of what they see coming up for the future with projects in the energy sector.
“Those are the people that are buying these properties. So there’s confidence in that realm,” said Stante.
“There’s a fair bit of inventory out there available in that upper range as well. The people who are buying them now are being selective in the upper-end, in the luxury market. There’s a lot of good product to choose from and they’re selecting only the best deals. So homes in the luxury range have to be priced right to sell in a reasonable amount of time.”
According to CREB, the top sale prices for single-family homes in Calgary this year have been $4.525 million in Rideau Park, $3.995 million in Elbow Park-Glencoe and $3.8 million in Aspen Woods.
Top selling condos this year have been $4.1 million in Eau Claire, $2.935 million in Eau Claire and $2.05 million in Victoria Park.
Hughes said one factor in the demand for upper-end product is executives who have been relocated to Calgary.
“They like the high-end condo market,” said Hughes. “We’re also seeing these young professionals — the investment bankers, the lawyers, whatever they might be doing — they work really hard ... They’re looking at that high end.
“And then there’s that investment side of it too. Some people shudder when you mention a million-dollar condo but compared to a lot of other markets what you get here for $1 million, $2 million, is a lot more than you’re getting in some of the other markets. And people see that.”
Hughes said there are people who are also buying these upper-end condos and renting them out to executives in the oilpatch.
Calgary in top 5 world's most livable cities: survey
Calgary made it into the top five list of the world's most livable cities, while Melbourne claimed second place from Vienna and Australian and Canadian cities dominated the list's top 10 spots.
In the annual survey by The Economist Intelligence Unit, the Canadian West Coast city and 2010 Winter Olympics host scored 98 per cent on a combination of stability, health care, culture and environment, education, and infrastructure -a score unchanged from last year.
It has topped the list from 2007. Although Melbourne since the Austrian capital for a silver medal, there was no other major change near the top of the list of 140 cities worldwide. Auckland, N.Z., came in 10th. "Mid-sized cities in developed countries with relatively low population densities tend to score well by having all the cultural and infrastructural benefits on offer with fewer problems related to crime or congestion," Jon Copestake, editor of the report, said in a statement.
Pittsburgh was the top U.S. city with 29th place -just ahead of Honolulu -while Los Angeles moved up three places to 44th and New York held onto the 56th spot. London moved up one place to 53rd while Paris came in at No. 16. The top Asian city was Osaka at No. 12, tying Geneva, Switzerland, and beating out the Japanese capital of Tokyo, which came in at 18. Beijing, capital of the world's most populous nation and No. 2 economy, straggled in at 72. Harare, capital of Zimbabwe, once again claimed the worst position with a rating of 37.5 per cent, narrowing beating out the Bangladesh capital of Dhaka.
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