Will the City of Calgary's new double-edged eco-housing solution have the wheels to go around at a good cadence. (Editor's note: It's okay, I'll show myself the door.)

CALGARY, Alberta – Two of the most pressing challenges the City of Calgary faces at the moment are housing and climate change. In an effort to effect positive change on both fronts, city council has approved a measure that will surprise some, confuse a few, and infuriate most.

A proposal, dubbed the Power Housing Initiative, has been approved to repurpose several facilities and/or indoor spaces owned by the city into semi-full-time housing for individuals struggling with the current economic climate. The spaces will be individualized, secure from crime and abuse, and provide meals and utilities. While still a form of group housing, as planned it would be a very novel and accommodating space to reside.

The caveat, and what will divide most prospective residents, is the renewable energy program linked to becoming a tenant. Tenants in these city-owned facilities will be required to ride repurposed Peleton and Echelon bicycles which have been retro fitted to small dynamo generators, providing electricity back to the city’s electrical grid infrastructure. A barter system of sorts, housing and sustenance for human power, or as Dom would say, “Ride or Die.”

Mitch McKellemt, PHI Manager, City of Calgary

“We believe this program is a way to help the community and empower people to achieve their personal contributions. It’s really all upside. People can get housing, meals, utilities, exercise, and help the planet while they do it. Whats wrong with that?” Mitch McKellemt, Power Housing Initiative Manager

The program will no doubt be controversial, and hints at a benign form of extortion. An economic review of the financial costs to taxpayers has been completed and the finding garnered mixed reviews. The accommodations as a whole hold a value of $1800 per month per individual, which at face value isn’t much, but the tradeoff to commit to a 2-hour ride twice a day is still equivalent to a part time job, and requires no transportation. But, if the ride requirements are not met the individual will be asked to give up their tenancy to another prospect on the waiting list.  Awkward at best, horrible at worst.

Ward 7 Councillor Shawn Chewy

”I must say that I did not vote in favour of this initiative at last week’s council meeting. Word has it that the idea is the brainchild of former Mayor Naheed Benshi, who apparently cooked up the idea when his parents forced him to pay “basement” rent, but instead he told them that he would contribute to the monthly utility bill n a unique way. Anyhow, I can’t see this pedal-for-rent plan working, although Prince Purple is walking around today at no more than 97lbs!.” – Ward 7 Councillor Shawn Chewy

After the his interview with 2P News, Councillor Shawn Chewy pulled our political correspondent Yu Mii aside and whispered to her, “In all honesty, the only way this plan will work is if each bicycle is fitted with rearview mirrors and a life-size cardboard cutout of Mayor Joki Gonyet is propped up behind each tenant as they ride…. hey sexy… you wouldn’t happen to like to role play, do you? I’ll play the big bad police officer man and you can play the helpless girl who needs a ride home…. **wink, wink**”

As a future benefit of the program, the City of Calgary has also petitioned the Tour De France organizational committee to enter a team of the top PHI energy producers in the 2030 Tour, showcasing what a grass-roots team build can look like on the international stage.


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