Our communities are facing increasing pressure from redevelopment, from the Highland Park Golf Course project with more than 2,000 new residential units and office space, to the new Brentwood Co-Op Project that proposes 501 residential units and 166,000 square feet of added commercial space, to individual property redevelopment applications. Unfortunately, the current Councillor hasn’t been effective at supporting communities in Ward 4 that are grappling with these changes.
Here’s my plan for creating an environment for better development in Ward 4 communities:
Focus on good development — not just any development — along the edges of our communities, especially along transit corridors.
Residents agree that Calgary can’t keep growing from Airdrie to Okotoks. That’s why accepting reasonable development within our existing communities makes sense. I believe if we focus on the edges of our communities along transit corridors such as Crowchild Trail and Centre Street, we can deliver the housing choice we need, while preserving existing tree-lined streets and neighbourhoods.
We must ensure that the City works to improve consultation processes so that new developments are responsive to local feedback. Residents are tired of being asked their opinion when it seems the city has already made a decision.
On major development projects, I would propose the city fund a "Citizen's Advocate" to assist duly-formed resident groups. This advocate would assist residents with the language and process of land use and development, help translate residents' feedback on proposed development into actionable planning language, and generally ensure that residents' ideas and concerns are heard by the city.
Provide housing choice for our seniors, as well as young adults and their families.
There are elderly residents in our communities who have enjoyed living here for decades, but increasingly face the prospect of moving away in order to find seniors housing. We need to ensure that we are building housing in our communities that supports a range of needs for young adults and families, and also our seniors who want to remain in the communities they love as their lives evolve.
Create local plans that respect our communities yet encourage investment in housing and services.
Local area plans are needed to stitch together independent projects into more cohesive plans for our communities. Not all communities will need them, but some areas, for example along Crowchild Trail, where there are currently up to seven proposed high density projects, require an overarching plan to ensure that communities are respected while encouraging investment in housing and services.
Communities around the planned train stations along Centre Street will not see local area plans until the Green Line is funded north of 16 Ave N. However, we need local plans today that reflect a future with the Green Line - and stop the current pattern of haphazard development.
Protect and preserve green spaces and parks in our communities
Our communities are some of the best in Calgary in part because of their open parks and green spaces. But as we saw with the recent approval of the Highland Park Golf Course redevelopment, our green spaces are at risk of disappearing.
A rendering of the Highland Park Golf Course redevelopment.
We need a Councillor who will fight to protect our precious green spaces and ensure new development doesn’t sacrifice the quality of life in our communities. In a city that has a close relationship with water, we must recognize the role our green spaces play in moderating times of flood and drought. Every time we build, we risk losing "permeable" surfaces, and turn water into a waste product to be removed rather than the critical resource it truly is.
End the proliferation of unsafe illegal secondary suites and wasteful Council sessions by properly regulating safe legal suites
In the last four years we’ve seen a continuing proliferation of illegal secondary suites in Calgary. Clearly, the process around which City Council arbitrarily, one-by-one reviews each application is having the opposite of the desired effect and encourages homeowners to build suites “underground” - outside the purview of formal City approvals and regulation.
That’s why we need leadership on City Council to bring the necessary reform and lay out clear rules under which we can properly regulate safe, legal secondary suites. We must put an end to the hours and hours wasted by City Council reviewing individual applications.
Ward 4 deserves more. If elected, I will take a leadership role in advocating for better, more sensible development in our communities.