The issues and possibilities facing Cambridge will be the focus when City Manager David Calder and Cambridge Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Greg Durocher sit down for a one-on-one discussion at our ‘Good Morning Cambridge’ Breakfast on Nov. 1 at the Galt Country Club.
To get a small sense of what participants can expect, we reached out to Mr. Calder to ask a few questions. (To register for this in-person event, visit https://bit.ly/3D2omlh.)
Q. What are some of the challenges the City of Cambridge will be facing in the next several few years?
A. The City of Cambridge is expected to grow by 70,000 people by the year 2050. With more people living in the community, we will also see a growth in local business as well as a need to expand the facilities and services that we currently offer. With growth comes the challenge of how to accommodate.
The old solution of growing outward isn’t sustainable, and creates a need for public input into the current policies for denser communities. Although people understand and support development, it becomes more challenging when developments are closer to home. This creates a balancing of the needs of neighbourhoods with the needs of the community, both those currently living here and those that will be calling Cambridge home in the future.
Q. How has the pandemic changed the way many cities, such as Cambridge, operate?
A. The focus of our City staff during the pandemic was to continue to deliver programs and services in a variety of ways that met the needs of our community all while ensuring safety for everyone. In the process, staff have found more efficient, open, transparent and accountable ways to deliver many of our services. As we transition back to in-person and the “new normal” staff are applying their pandemic learnings to offer more options for the public to access us.
Q. What is one key lesson the City of Cambridge learned from the pandemic?
A. The experience of delivering services during the pandemic taught us how committed City staff are to serving the public in innovative ways. From offering services remotely, transitioning to hybrid and returning to in-person situations, staff rose to each occasion with renewed enthusiasm.
Q. Should Cambridge residents be hopeful for what lies ahead for this community?
A. Cambridge will be celebrating its 50th in 2023 and we have a lot to be proud of as a community. We’ve seen tremendous growth and development across Cambridge and a commitment to improving our distinct cores in a way that creates places and spaces for people to gather. The City has committed close to $150 million to three large recreational projects which will come to fruition in the next few years. A Parks Master Plan as well as an Arts & Culture Master plan are also underway along with an Older Adult Strategy.
These plans will help us to map our recreational and creative activities in a way that the future community can enjoy. Next year, a Recreational Master plan is scheduled to begin reviewing what other Recreational activities would be needed to help accommodate the anticipated growth and change in our community.
Our Transportation Master Plan has many recommendations as to how best to move people from place to place, including better linked multi-use trails and making public transit more attractive. This will help us to prepare for the growth in population and ensure they have choice in how they move around the city.
Q. What is the best part of your work for the City of Cambridge?
A. The people. The past few years have been challenging for everyone. I am extremely proud of what we were able to achieve through our foundational commitment to excellence in customer service, while tapping into what makes Cambridge unique. This commitment and openness to new opportunities has not only encouraged growth in our community but also created opportunities for future prosperity.
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