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Calgary’s Guide getting a rough ride at city committee

Speakers at the morning portion of a public hearing on the Guide for Local Area Planning overwhelmingly opposed the revised version presented at a Calgary committee Wednesday.

The Guide (formerly known as the Guidebook) underwent 62 amendments and a name change prior to a return to Calgary’s Planning and Urban Development committee.

Wednesday’s public hearing was somewhat of a replay of the March edition, this time with a lack of public engagement playing an emphatic role. Roughly 90 people were signed up to speak.

Mount Pleasant resident Al Barber said he was disappointed with what administration returned with, calling them “a few token concessions.”

Barber said the city has an agenda of rapid densification and has huge advantages in manpower and funding to control the process in their favour.

“There was never any good faith on the part of the city, not in raising awareness, educating or engagement,” Barber said. He said he would like to see the current document discarded and the process started after an upcoming election.

Others, like Catherine McCunn, said a document that impacts so many Calgarians should have robust engagement.

“Give Calgarians the opportunity to work with city council on getting this right,” she said.

“You have our attention. We should not rush the process now that you have our attention.”

McCunn closed by saying that she’s disheartened to hear councillors say that those fighting the Guide are doing so because they’re opposed to change.

“We are not opposed to change,” she said.

“We just want to understand it and have an opportunity to have a two-way dialogue about approaches and outcomes before we agree to it.”

The city said they did work with many speakers from the past public hearing. They also went back to stakeholders on the revisions.

More to come in afternoon panels and the debate…