Nenshi concerned infrastructure, post-secondary education could take a hit during economic downturn
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Nenshi concerned infrastructure, post-secondary education could take a hit during economic downturn

Mayor Naheed Nenshi discusses flood plans for 2014

Calgary’s mayor believes the current economic downturn in provincial revenues could slow down infrastructure projects in the city, but he’s hoping that won’t happen.

In a year-end interview with 660News, Naheed Nenshi said although the lower price of oil is worrisome, there was a bigger decline back in 2008, which Calgary and the province got through better than most areas in the world.

He said the City of Calgary will be fine on the operating side, but there will be impact on building.

“I’m certain that both the provincial and federal government will want to slow down their pace of infrastructure spending,” he said. “And to them I remind them of the lessons of 2008, which is it actually makes a lot of sense to build stuff in the downturn of the market while the prices are lower, it creates employment, stimulates the economy.”

He added infrastructure needs are for those who are already here and he hopes the government will look at the slowdown as an opportunity to catch up.

As for which sector could be affected the most, Nenshi is most concerned about cuts to post-secondary education, especially following the recent announcement by the Tories to allow tuition increases to 25 college and university programs.

“This is a bad idea, if the economy is slowing down, if we want to ensure that people have access and opportunity, then we have to make sure people have somewhere to go and they’re getting an education and they’re diversifying the economy,” he said. “To me, this is very, very short-sighted and I’m worried that there will be even further cuts to post-secondary.”