Downtown Calgary operates under the legal entity of the Calgary Downtown Association (CDA), which was formed in 1988.
CDA is a Business Revitalization Zone established under the Municipal Government Act that represents 3,000 businesses in a 120-block area in the centre of the city. This area comprises over 50 million square feet of office, hotel, retail, restaurant, entertainment, attractions, cultural and government buildings. It was formed as a result of a petition by Downtown businesses in November 1988 and is funded primarily by a levy on the business taxes paid by Downtown businesses.
The CDA continues to support significant expenditures in promoting the downtown as the place to work, play and live. With the recent improvements in safety, programming and amenities, we are fulfilling our mandate to enhance the economic development in the downtown through promotion and marketing and to advocate for policies and practices that support business success.
Whether it is our commitment to safety and cleanliness through our HOST and graffiti removal programs, our ‘Back to Style’ and 'Downtown for the Holidays’ events, or our collaborative support of events like the Grey Cup, the Mozart Festival and the High Performance Rodeo’s Midway, we believe informing Calgarians and tourists about the unique experience of downtown is our most important role. Working with policy makers to ensure the downtown develops and operates in the best ways possible, ensuring strong economic development and citizen satisfaction underpins our promotional work.
The CDA has not increased our levy since 2006, and we have remained well under 1% of the business tax assessment over the past four years. We have been operating sound business practices to utilize funds from our reserve fund to accomplish our goals. In addition, interest income has decrease 90% in the same time frame, grants are down more than 70% and rent has increase by 85%. In order to continue to perform at our current level, we need to increase our levy rate for 2011, but are still committed to remain below 1%.
Our ratepayers provide services and employment to the 120,000 to 145,000 workers who commute each day, to the approximately 16,0001 people who make the downtown their home, and to visitors who come to Calgary to conduct business or as tourists.
It is the responsibility of the CDA to support the desires of the businesses we represent, act as their voice, and by direct initiatives which increase the vitality of the downtown for all Calgarians, constantly improve the image of downtown.
As advocates and catalysts for Downtown vitality, the CDA provides leadership and management in five key areas:
- Media, Public & Government Relations
- Economic & Urban Development
- Marketing & Communications
- Festivals & Event Development
- Safety & Streetscape Improvements
Our boundaries are the inner city core between 9th Avenue and the Bow River and from 9th Street SW to 3rd Street SE (map)
Downtown is the premiere place in Calgary for people to live work and play
To champion a vital, prosperous, attractive and livable downtown community.
1 City of Calgary 2008 Census for Chinatown, Downtown Core, Downtown East Village, Downtown West End and Eau Claire