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Large community guide drawn from the May Committee meeting in Calgary

After nearly 18 hours of public hearing, with input from 139 Calgarians, the Large Community Guide returns to the city’s planning and urban development committee in May. The move allows the city council to synthesize what was heard over three days.

“I think this is a very good result,” said Mayor Naheed Nenshi. “As someone who has been talking about the need for this work for 15 years, I heard things in the public hearing that I said, ‘You know what? We could have done a better job. We could have explained that better. ‘”

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“And instead of trying to do this on the floor of the council, after three days of hearing from the citizens, we said, ‘Let’s go away, think about it, combine things and see what kinds of changes we can make that will improve, not water down, the travel guide. “

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Councilors Jeff Davison, Diane Colley-Urquhart, Peter Demong and Ward Sutherland have moved. Building on that, Coun. Shane Keating proposed an amendment that ultimately came in line with the motion that most city councils approved.

Text from Calgary City Council approved application for Guide to Large Communities dated March 24, 2021.

Handout / City of Calgary

Only number 7 of the final motion failed with 6-8 votes, with councilors Jeromy Farkas, Druh Farrell, Jyoti Gondek, Keating, Evan Woolley, Gian-Carlo Carra, George Chahal and Mayor Nenshi opposing it.

The committee will consider changes during its meeting and present its recommendations to the council at a subsequent meeting. The public also has the opportunity to attend this meeting.

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“The concerns I heard (from a city council) about the engagement were broadly: ‘I want to kill this, but I don’t want to say that,’ said Nenshi advocates that we have to hear from the public, to vote against hearing from the public because he actually said, “I just want to kill this.”

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When the council was about to vote on the amendment and the final motion, Ward had 11 Coun. Farkas looked for ways to vote for parts of the motion that would achieve his goal.

“As a member of the council, my intention was to get the work done on it in full and to finish the guide, rather than pushing the guide forward as suggested by the author of the amendment,” Farkas told Nenshi. “Would a vote against (item numbers) five, six and seven do that?”

Vote on the motion: # 2 – adopted unanimously;
# 1,3 & 4 – Farkas on the other hand;
# 5 & 6 – Farkas & Chu on the other hand;
# 7 – lost 6-8 with Farkas, Farrell, Gondek, Keating, Woolley, Carra, Chahal and Nenshi. pic.twitter.com/AcM6bA9KKt

– Adam Toy (@Adam_Toy) March 25, 2021

Nenshi suggested to reporters that Farkas “owes an explanation” after advocating citizens’ concerns about the guide after trying to vote on it.

Part of the work at committee level will be to consider re-qualifying the guidance as a policy document rather than a legal document.

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The guide will be approved by the Council at the next meeting after the committee meeting on May 5th.

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Commenting on the public opinion after the meeting, Nenshi said, “Everyone said, ‘There’s a lot of good in here. It just needs to be massaged. ‘”

The guidebook public hearing has drawn most of the Calgarians to a council meeting for the past decade. 121 citizens and 113 Calgarians were featured at the city’s conversion therapy ban hearings during the July 2020 hearings against racism.

Of the 139 people speaking this week, 21 were from Elbow Park and 41 percent of the moderators were from Division 11, city officials told city council. Districts 6, 7, 8 and 9 were also represented, with 21 people not declaring their home communities. Lisa Kahn said 37 communities were represented at the public hearing.

Opponents’ concerns included changes in their neighborhoods and the perceived loss of single-family homes.

Many also said the five-year process, which included mailouts, billboards, social media, and 200+ public events, wasn’t enough public engagement. City officials also told Global News that the city had contacted every community association in the city independently and through the Federation of Calgary Communities.

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Proponents hailed the guide as a way forward to support the development and revitalization of Calgary’s older communities to be more inclusive and enable a more diverse population. Concerns about the city’s growth and off-tax infrastructure investments have also been raised.

Ward 3 Coun. Jyoti Gondek filed a motion to address inequalities in the public hearing process.

“The intent is to create a user-friendly and inclusive public consultation process that includes, among other things, the collaboration between the City Clerk and the Chief Information Technology Officer to find out how best to implement an integrated, automated registration system. Said Gondek.

Your proposal was unanimously accepted.

Ward 7 Coun. Druh Farrell also said she had registered a complaint with the city’s integrity officer about a flyer distributed outside of Coun. Farkas’ parish.

“I was informed by a number of people that there was a flyer with the city crest and the official city logo of Coun. Farkas who were doing well outside of his ward, ”she told the council.

Farkas replied that he had “approved a publication in my capacity as Ward 11’s agent,” but added, “If it had been sent to other stations, it would have been Canada Post’s mistake.”

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Nenshi confirmed that he had received complaints from citizens of similar flyers “quite a long way away”.

“You might want to check with Canada Post – they may have overwhelmed you.”

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

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