Nominate your favourite Calgarians for a Calgary Award

Nominations for the 2014 Calgary Awards are now open!

The Calgary Awards began in 1994 to commemorate Calgary's 100th year as a city by acknowledging outstanding citizen achievements. For 20 years, this program has let us recognize the citizen contributions that make Calgary the great city that it is.

I am extremely proud to be the mayor of a city where so many remarkable individuals and organizations willingly give their time and effort to make Calgary better. Calgary is amazing because of its people--they make our city a dynamic, compassionate, and sustainable place to live.

We need your help to identify these awesome people in our community. Visit www.calgary.ca/CalgaryAwards and nominate a person or an organization that deserves to be honoured.

Nominations close on Feb 27.

- Mayor Naheed Nenshi

Column: City serious about cutting red tape

In my latest column for the Calgary Herald, I wrote about the success of our Cut Red Tape program. Here's what I had to say:

Back in 2010, when I was first running for mayor, I kept hearing stories of how The City was not as customer-friendly as it should be. From the restaurant who finally received their permit to operate a patio just in time for winter to the single mum operating a home-based massage therapy business finding herself subject to humiliating inspections and onerous annual fees, many felt the city was inhibiting rather than facilitating their success.

Since that time, we have been engaged in a massive program called Transforming Government to make the City administration more transparent and more accountable, and above all, to put the citizen at the centre of everything we do. Indeed, I often remind my City colleagues that we should be asking ourselves, multiple times a day, “how is what I am doing right now making it better for someone to live in Calgary?”

An important part of Transforming Government has been the Cut Red Tape program, which has been operating out of my office. It's Red Tape Awareness Week in Canada, sponsored by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, and as the program transitions out of my office to become a permanent part of City management, I thought it would be a good time to share some successes.

Since launching in 2011, and with a modest investment (not quite two staff members), we've launched over 40 formal and countless informal Cut Red Tape programs, and saved Calgarians at least $12.7 million dollars (including time and money).