CALGARY, Alberta – With oil prices at historical lows, with some future contacts for Western Canadian Select in the negative territory, Mayor Naheed Nenshi is exploring the idea of having the city acquire oil in the very near-term with hopes that it can sell it when prices rebound when international supply and demand stabilize.
This is just one step in the City of Calgary’s bid to generate revenue to offset the shortfall of income from office tower property taxes that have been declining over the past few years.
“What I’m talking about here is investing 1o1, people: You Buy low, and then you sell high. And it’s even better than that, because at negative prices we don’t even have to spend money to acquire it, in fact we’ll make money just getting our hands on it. Here’s the secret, we wait, and wait, and wait, and when oil is worth something again, we sell it to the open market at insane profits. This is the type of forward thinking that Calgarians expect of its city Council.” – Mayor Nenshi
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According to a memo sent to councillors on late Thursday, Mayor Nenshi proposes that the city to make use of under-utilized facilities and assets including closed swimming pools, transit busses, and outdoor hockey rinks, to store the crude oil. “We will also consider using a number of strategically located storm water drainage ponds throughout the city once we figure out the best way to line them, because it is important that the City not put profits before the environment,” the memo read. It also stated that the City of Calgary must do its part to help with the international shortage of places to store crude oil that continues to be produced, but has nowhere to go.
Councillor Sean Chu, along with 5 other councillors, is diametrically opposed to the idea for the city to acquire and then resell oil.
“What’s next? Is [Nenshi] going to drain the Glenmore reservoir and use it to store oil?! I swear, that guy is losing it. I understand the economic appeal to this proposal, because buying something for -$20 and then selling it for, say, $60 is not a bad profit, but it’s what happens to the crude in the interim that concerns me, and will likely concern Calgarians as a whole.” – Sean Chu
Other opponents to the plan say that it will be difficult keeping kids away from the outdoor rinks and pools that are filled with crude oil, and that the smell of the crude would likely waft into nearby homes.
“So the city wants to store crude oil in the rink in the greenspace behind my home so that they don’t have to raise my property taxes? My ass they’re gonna do that. I have 3 kids and a dog and they are all climbers, so you can see where this could go,” remarked Royal Oak resident Clayson Fartle.
Ilika Goldenshower, the spokeslady for non-profit Calgarians for the Planet, says that this plan has all wrong written all over it from an environmental point of view. “Can you imagine storing oil in storm water drainage ponds? What happens when it rains? Yeah, then we have oil on water, and with some slight agitation (likely from the ducks swimming about) we’ll basically have a vinaigrette, but no salad to put it on! What a waste! I believe the City of Calgary can do better.”