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Guidebook for Great Communities: Where do the mayoral candidates stand?

We know where the two councillors vying for mayor are on Calgary’s Guidebook for Great Communities – but what about the rest of the field?

Jyoti Gondek has said she supports the Guidebook, though wants clarity on the application of single-family homes in Calgary’s established communities. She has submitted an amendment for debate at the March 22 combined meeting of council.

Jeromy Farkas said the Guidebook should be an election issue this year and therefore postponed until after the Oct. 18 municipal election. Farkas has said not all Calgarians want to live in high density neighbourhoods.

So, there’s that.

First, though… if you want actual information on the Guidebook from a reliable source, you can find the information at the City of Calgary website.

Next, if you want a read/listen where we ask about all the concerns around the Guidebook, we direct you to this LiveWire Calgary piece. Trust us – it answers all your pressing questions.

Finally, if you want opinion, you can read this, from Richard White.

Questions for other mayoral candidates

We dropped an email to the other mayoral candidates in the race on Thursday with three questions. Not all responded directly to the questions and other have posted their thoughts on social media or online.  Here’s a round up of those responses.


1.) Your position on the Guidebook for Great Communities?

2.) What should happen with it?

3.) What is the biggest advantage / disadvantage of the Guidebook? 

Teddy Ogbonna:

1.) Not a fan. We have community associations etc. 

2.) Rip it off.

3.) None. We have Calgary Tourism etc waste of taxpayers money.

Shaoli Wang: (via email)

A group of spenders’ plan at this very time of a major recession is of no interest to me. I would rather suggest you to take a look, if you don’t mind, at my website at www.shaoliw.com where I had my positions upon major issues clearly illustrated.

I am now dealing with one urgent issue of our city – the “Tax Sale”. 

Zane Novak:

Emails were sent to two campaign addresses for Mr. Novak. There was no direct response, but Mr. Novak posted to social media the following comments:

“I have serious concerns regarding the impact that the implementation of this Guidebook will have on Calgarians. I feel that there has NOT been proper community engagement and that there are many flaws in this plan.  If adopted, it will forever change neighbourhoods as well as the geographic and economic makeup of the city. It will definitely move homeownership out of the grasp of many residents in the city.”

Grace Yan: Yan said she’s been hearing a general lack of consultation from a variety of stakeholders. She said for too long Calgarians have felt shut out of the debate on issues that impact all citizens.

“As your Mayor, I will ensure a major initiative like this one is driven by Calgarians, decided by Calgarians and for the benefit of Calgarians!” Yan said.

“We want safe and livable communities. While the Guidebook is a step towards defining what this means to each neighbourhood, the re-imagination of our city needs to be in the hands and hearts of Calgarians.”

Along with added consultation, Yan said that there should be a simplified, user-friendly format that any Calgarian can consult. She said it lacks a level of interaction that Calgarians have come to expect.

Brad Field: Field, whom we spoke to via telephone, said the document is too vague, too broad and open to interpretation.

He said there’s a fear among Calgarians who are unsure of how it might impact their neighbourhoods. Field said citizens have made major financial investments in these areas because of a vision they anticipated for the community.

Field said the lack of a clear understanding of how the Guidebook will be used is a problem for many Calgarians.

“There’s lots of stuff that resonates with me (in the Guidebook) as a resident of Calgary,” Field said.

“You go, ‘wouldn’t that be nice,’ but as you read through because there’s a lack of clarity because there’s lack of concrete rules within the guidebook. What it does is you’re able to formulate your own application, I guess, to what suits your needs.”

Field said the city needs to continue the conversation with residents before approving it.

Larry Heather:

  1. I want not only the Guidebook defeated, I want the entire Municipal Development Plan rescinded along with all associated Vision documents such as Melbourne Triple Bottom line, and Imagine Calgary.

2. File and abandon the Guidebook.

3. It is a perpetual bankrupting jobs machine that beggars normal Calgarians in favor of the elite planning class and grafting prone inner-city developers.

Naheed Nenshi (current mayor, not confirmed he’s running again): “I’m hearing an enormous amount of misinformation,” the mayor said after Tuesday’s Priorities and Finance committee meeting.

He said it codifies best practices in neighbourhood redevelopment. Right now, he said the area redevelopment plan process is long and complicated, but many of the neighbourhoods want them.  Nenshi likened it to a cake recipe, where you have the recipe, but you don’t always have to have the same cake. It just tells you the ingredients.

“When you’re ready to do the plan, we’ll bake the cake,” he said.