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Calgary City Councils want the community guide to be postponed until after the election – Calgary

Two Calgary city councilors want to postpone the adoption of the city’s proposed guide for large communities until after the local elections this fall, and leave those changes to the next city council.

The guide, which is supposed to guide the rehabilitation of communities within a local area plan, goes to the council on Monday.

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“City councils should be transparent about the impact this planning document has on each and every Calgarian,” Ward 11 councilor and mayoral candidate Jeromy Farkas said Wednesday.

“If you firmly believe in the benefits of this, you should be transparent about it, advocate for it and, after the election, have the mandate for these major changes.”

Farkas supports Ward 4 Coun. Sean Chu’s motion to postpone the guide until the October 18th general election.

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Since January, the public has had two options to make presentations in the guide to the city’s planning and urban development committee. Monday will be another opportunity.

Work on the guide began ahead of the 2017 local elections and was part of a multi-year project led by Ward 9 City Council and former urban planner Gian-Carlo Carra, which includes the 2009 urban development plan and local plans.

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“The guide is a legal document and will influence the legal documents of future local plans,” said the mayor hopefully, flanked by citizens from Elboya / Brittania, University Heights and Meadowlark Park.

“When it comes to these local plans, they will have the weight of the law and influence what comes on the council in the future.”

Calgary’s current mayor disagreed with this characterization.

“It’s actually a travel guide,” said Naheed Nenshi.

“It’s not a legal plan. It’s not a law. It’s a travel guide.

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“The problem we’ve always had is when we’re planning and redeveloping older neighborhoods and most neighborhoods really want one, they’re long and complicated and you start from scratch,” added the mayor and said the guide would formalize best practices in neighborhood redevelopment.

Like baking a cake

Nenshi had a culinary comparison for the controversial document.

“The travel guide is a cake recipe, but it doesn’t tell any neighborhood that they have to have a specific cake,” said the mayor. “When the neighborhood is ready to come up with a plan, they can say, ‘Do we want a chocolate cake, a vanilla cake, or a red velvet cake? ‘But all cake recipes are in the travel guide.

“All it says is when you’re ready to come up with a plan, let’s bake a cake.”

Farkas said the city’s “one-size-fits-all” approach was flawed.

“I think it is very wrong to try to force these changes on Calgarians in a way that tells them how to live their lives,” said Farkas. “To be clear, the guideline has no effect on the zoning on site, at least today.

“But it affects both the future plans that are presented to the council and the future motions that the council receives.”

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One problem is the ability to demolish a house on a 50-foot lot and convert an eight-plex building – something that is already possible under current rezoning regulations.

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“What the guidebook does is it actually puts a context around everything that I think is really important,” said Nenshi. “It doesn’t really change the zoning of a single property in the entire city.”

The city redesign process for land use involves the city government, community associations, the Calgary Planning Commissions, and then committee and council approvals.

A flowchart of the City of Calgary’s land use renaming process, accessed March 17, 2021.

City of Calgary

Jyoti Gondek, City Councilor Department 3, chairman of the city’s planning and urban development committee, and another hopeful mayor will table an amendment at the council meeting on Monday proposing a single separate special policy area.

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If approved by the council, the change would result in local plans identifying portions of parishes that would remain as single-family homes.

1 / With the guide to large communities coming to #yyccc on Monday, I worked with several council members and administrators to discuss what we heard from communities. Attached is a change we will propose to clarify the location of single family homes and the inclusion process. pic.twitter.com/Wex4Gcbrwc

– Jyoti Gondek (@JyotiGondek) March 17, 2021

“When we had the public meeting of our last meeting of the Planning and Urban Development Committee (February 4th) there seemed to be a lot of confusion about what would happen to the single-family type,” Gondek told Global News.

“It became clear that people were concerned that it was going to leak.”

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The proposed guide identified two zones in the city for likely infill redevelopment – a collection of pre-war communities where this work is already in progress and another group of communities where this work has started or is expected to start.

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Gondek said citizen engagement for single-family home maintenance comes during the on-site planning phase after a municipality applies for the city.

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Ward 6 Coun. Jeff Davison said there is a business-friendly argument for the guide too.

“This is about policy consolidation,” said Davison. “This is about studying how we can cut red tape and do it in a way that is beneficial to the community.

“That said, we’ve heard that there are a lot of people who are still confused about what’s going on.”

Misinformation is a problem

Ward 7’s Mayor and other councilors like Druh Farrell, Davison, Gondek, and Carra say a lot of misinformation has been spread about the guide’s implications, mostly with single-family homes.

A group called Calgarians for Great Communities, who appear to be behind a prominently advertised website that outlines their concerns about the guide, did not respond to multiple interview requests from Global News.

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Third party vendor (TPA) Alberta Proud and Ward 13’s candidate Dan McLean paid for Facebook advertising against the travel guide, with the TPA paying for a potential reach of a million people.

The City of Calgary has also paid for travel guide-related ads on the social media platform in 2020, public information event promotion, and the prep process.

1 / Thank you to everyone who signed up with comments on the Large Communities Guide. I have heard both support and opposition, and I believe the guide is an important policy document that will help Calgary grow in its best and thoughtful way. pic.twitter.com/E8TrD70G57

– Evan Woolley (@ EWoolleyWard8) March 17, 2021

According to Carra and Gondek, around 40,000 Calgarians have been consulted in over 130 guide-specific consultations and 80 urban planning events.

Aging communities facing revitalization

The mayor noted that the developed neighborhoods have seen changes in their demographics over time that have produced some typical results.

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“Either the neighborhood is stagnating because there is no redevelopment, or the neighborhood is getting better and no one can afford to live there anymore,” said Nenshi on Tuesday.

“Well thought-out planning is how you prevent this from happening and how you think about how you can go about creating a neighborhood that meets the needs of the people who live there now and the people who will live there in the future.”

Carra said part of the overall plan is to diversify the neighborhoods in many ways.

“The whole point is to have neighborhoods that celebrate a greater variety of options, environments and lifestyles, rather than dividing the city into places where rich people live and poor people live,” Carra told Global News.

The Large Community Guide is the answer to decades of costly and unsustainable expansion outward and outward. It helps ensure that existing communities are complete, resilient, and vibrant. Check out my new blog for an in-depth look at the travel guide: https://t.co/lT0p8YrULU pic.twitter.com/GtmarhxfRk

– Druh Farrell (@DruhFarrell) March 12, 2021

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“We want to build our city as complete, compact, mixed-use, walk-through neighborhoods, and these neighborhoods will be different … and it will make sense.

“With the toolbox that the guide provides, we can find out where and how this can be done through local planning exercises.”

–With files from Adam MacVicar, Global News

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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