Half of Calgarians optimistic about Calgary’s economic future: poll

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“A year or four years ago it would have been very, very different. I think this is a great indication that things are improving ‘

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Amid higher energy prices and positive signals from Calgary’s burgeoning tech sector, about half of Calgarians say they are optimistic about the city’s economic future, according to a new poll.

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An online Leger poll found that 51 percent of residents said they were optimistic about Calgary’s economic future over the next several years, while 41 percent described themselves as pessimistic.

“A year or four years ago it would have been very, very different. I think this is a great indication that things are improving, ”said Ian Large of Leger.

The survey was conducted between Dec. 2 and Dec. 5 on the heels of a provincial fiscal update, which indicated that Alberta’s finances had improved significantly thanks to revised forecasts suggesting that oil prices could be $ 25 a barrel higher in 2021-2022 than the government predicted nine months ago.

“The updated budget and high oil prices are really pulling us forward,” Large said. “What’s on the other side is that there are very, very few who are very optimistic – only three percent – I feel like there is lukewarm positivity. , but it’s still positivity. “

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Brad Parry, interim president of Calgary Economic Development, attributes some of the optimism expressed in the poll to recent developments in sectors other than oil and gas. He pointed to Calgary’s “unicorns,” companies like Shareworks, Benevity, Enverus (formerly RS Energy Group) and Parvus Therapeutics – companies that have reached valuations of $ 1 billion in the past 24 months.

Parry said it took a while for Calgarians to regain their confidence, but the narrative about the city is changing.

“You’re starting to hear about big companies like RBC coming to town and global players coming to town,” Parry said. “Then you have local stories like Symend and Benevity – massive companies that could have gone anywhere in the world to do what they do but actually chose to stay here because they can,” because the infrastructure is there, the support is there, the talent is there.

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“These stories permeate the community at large. “

And according to Léger’s data, the level of optimism about Calgary’s economic future does not change significantly with age or gender, with younger cohorts, including 18- to 34-year-olds, being overwhelmingly optimistic. .

“You want the notion of a rising tide to float all the boats and there’s a feeling in Calgary that’s what’s happening,” Large said.

“You want young people to feel optimistic because you want them to stay. “

Municipal taxes

Leger’s poll also polled respondents in Calgary to get their perspective on property taxes.

The survey found that 49% of Calgarians wanted property taxes frozen, even if that meant cuts to municipal services would be needed, while 36% said they wanted services maintained or improved, even whether this resulted in an increase in taxes; about 13 percent didn’t know what they liked best.

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Younger respondents and women were less likely to agree that property taxes should be frozen.

Respondents were polled just days after Calgary City Council approved a 3.87% property tax rate hike in 2022.

Large said the results were not surprising. “People like to complain about taxes,” Large said.

“Still, you still have a third of Calgarians, which sounds like a lot, saying, ‘You know what? Even if my taxes are increasing, I want my city services to be maintained or even improved ”.

Mayor Jyoti Gondek defended the city council’s decision last month to raise taxes to pay for additional spending on police, fire, downtown revitalization and climate action.

“They’re getting an increased level of service, they’re getting better snow removal,” Gondek said.

“I would also encourage people to make sure they understand where the majority of their taxes are going and it’s for public safety, it’s for providing infrastructure, it’s for taking care of all of them. days.”

The survey collected responses from 446 Calgarians, aged 18 and over, who are part of Leger’s online opinion panel. Technically, the margin of error cannot be determined for an online panel. If the data had been collected through a random sample, the estimated margin of error would be plus or minus 4.6%, 19 times out of 20.

[email protected]
Twitter: @mpotkins

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