These are a few news items I've noticed over the past several weeks, showing the downside of Calgary's fast-growing economy:
- "Alberta's housing affordability has deteriorated at a fast and furious pace over the past four quarters, according to a new report released today by RBC Economics." The average home price here is currently around $400,000 (up from $275,000 a year ago).
- "A count by the city of Calgary in the early summer revealed more than 3,400 homeless people -- up 30 per cent from two years ago and nearly double the number from 2002..." There is some discussion of a "10-year plan" to deal with the homeless problem. Up until now, the approach has been to build more shelters and turn a blind eye to homeless people sleeping in public parks, on sidewalks, etc. This doesn't appear to have been effective in getting any significant number of them off the streets, and has reduced the quality of life for everyone else.
- "Some Calgary doctors are closing their doors because they say it's too expensive to maintain a practice in the city... According to the Calgary Health Region, over 300 family doctors are needed in the city." My own doctor moved out of town a while back, and I need to find a new one -- if I can.
- "Calgary taxi companies are desperately short of drivers... Al Enders, owner of Checker Cabs, said he is short more than 200 drivers."
- "Calgary retailers say the city's hot labour market has made it difficult to find staff during the holiday shopping season to help curb the increased number of shoplifters."
- "Calgary's air pollution is growing... greenhouse gas emissions in Calgary have increased by 30 per cent since 1990..." Population is up 38% in that time, so it is not as bad as it might be, but still a concern for anyone with lungs.