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Guidebook for Great Communities – Day 2 public hearing

Council watchers heard many of the same positions, as the public hearing on the Guidebook for Great Communities wound to a close Tuesday night.

Concerns around heritage, single-family detached parcels, and engagement dominated the submissions from panel speakers in day two of the public hearing.

The panelists who spoke in favour talked about housing choice, complete communities and equity in neighbourhoods across Calgary.

Kathryn Davies summed up the pro side late Tuesday evening.

Davies said she sympathized with those worried about change in their community.

“Change is scary. However, I would suggest that there are serious costs associated with maintaining the status quo. Calgary’s current growth patterns are simply not sustainable environmentally or fiscally,” she said.

Several speakers on the pro-Guidebook side talked about the feelings around class and racism associated with the segregation of single-family-home neighbourhoods. There was a sense of it being unattainable for some Calgary residents.

Others though, were concerned that the city was pushing things forward without adequately hearing from regular citizens. While the city was trying to simplify the planning process, they complicated it, some said.

Mount Pleasant resident Estelle Ducatel felt the engagement was biased and that far too few people knew about the documents.

“I felt that there was poor communication upon the rollout,” she said.  

“I only heard about this plan mid-2019. By then there was no longer an opportunity to get involved.”

Ducatel she also doesn’t agree with how the city defines low density in terms of Guidebook building typology. 

Other participants said that the Guidebook should be delayed and simplified so people understand how it connects with the Local Area Planning process and the impact it would have on their respective communities.

Council split?

As councillors heard more than nearly 150 panelists, the belief is that if the Guidebook survives, it would be a somewhat watered-down version.

Councillors will still hear the public members on the North Hill Local Area Plan before debating the proposed Guidebook, and any amendments.

Coun. Jeromy Farkas will put forward an amendment that’s been referred to as the Elboya 2.8 amendment. (ATTACHED BELOW) It will address some of the concerns brought forward by citizens concerns with aspects of the Guidebook. Coun. Farkas said that he’s mulling other potential amendments to the Guidebook.

2021 03 22 v1 Farkas Guideb… by Darren Krause

Last week, Coun. Jyoti Gondek said she would be bringing forth an amendment that defined a special policy area that could be applied for single-family dwellings.

That would allow communities to designated areas as single-family only during the Local Area Planning process.

It’s believed other amendments will be put forth to massage the Guidebook into a form that could be approved at council.

The meeting ended at 10:30 p.m. Tuesday and will reconvene at 1 p.m. Wednesday.