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The Rivers District Community Revitalization Plan

What is the Revitalization plan?

The "Rivers District Community Revitalization Plan" outlines a public infrastructure program that will facilitate the reclamation, redevelopment and revitalization of this underdeveloped inner city area.

The plan is needed because much of the area has been stagnant for many decades, even as the other parts of Calgary have redeveloped. The revitalization of the Rivers District will create distinct neighborhoods that are vibrant, safe and accessible to all Calgarians.

In order to encourage private and public sector development in the Rivers District, extensive public infrastructure is required, along with a sustainable funding source which does not create an additional tax burden for citizens.

Council approval

Calgary's City Council reviewed the "Rivers District Community Revitalization Plan"  on April 16, 2007. With one amendment, the plan was approved as part of Bylaw 27M2007.

Where is the Rivers District?

The land where the Bow and Elbow rivers meet was where Calgary first established itself as a community.

For details on the whole Rivers District revitalization area (including the Calgary Zoo, Fort Calgary, Stampede Park and Manchester Centre), see the Map: The Rivers District revitalization area.

A part of the Rivers District is included in the Rivers Community Revitalization Levy initiative, a new financing mechanism. See Map: The Rivers (Community Revitalization Levy).

Public infrastructure projects

Infrastructure projects planned for the district have been delineated into two phases.

The initial phase includes only those projects required to kick start the redevelopment of the East Village portion of the Rivers District. The initial projects focus on:

  • infrastructure upgrading, including road raising and floodproofing, and 
  • a Riverwalk.

Large-scale private development in the northern portions of East Village will not occur without these projects.

The plan anticipates commencement of these projects in 2007 and lasting for approximately five years, at an estimated cost of $135 million.

Other infrastructure projects are also proposed and would commence after the initial projects are underway

A sustainable funding source

Recent changes to the Municipal Government Act, enable The City of Calgary to implement a Community Revitalization Levy ("CRL"). This new financing mechanism is designed to provide up to 20 years of stable funding, which is necessary to achieve economic, social and environmental objectives for the Rivers District.

Revenue from the Province

A significant component of the plan involves the Provincial portion of the property tax levies. During the 20 year period of the Community Revitalization Levy (CRL), the Province has agreed to forgo a portion of their property tax revenues in the Rivers District, thereby enabling The City to leverage this contribution to fund redevelopment projects.

Borrowing for initial projects

The plan requires that The City borrow to front end the cost of the initial projects. Revenues generated from the CRL are used to repay the borrowing. As a result no tax increase is necessary to cover the cost of borrowing.

Next Steps

The Council-approved Rivers District Community Revitalization Levy Bylaw, must be sent to the Province of Alberta for approval by the Lieutenant Governor in Council, in accordance with Provincial legislation.

See also the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation: The Rivers District.