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Planning System - EXPLORE


Explore is a phase in the Planning System. It is an early design and review discussion that happens before you make a formal application to The City of Calgary. Sound interesting? Below you'll find all the information you need to find out if Explore is right for you!

Four Options for Explore



Receive advice through our call centre or book a one-on-one consultation with a planner. This can be a good start to go over the basics of your concept. This is the same process as the current pre-application meeting, which is free.



Meet with relevant stakeholders to collaborate on your proposal. Any file that would previously have been a paid CPAG pre-application meeting can go through the Explore Meeting process.



Some applicants have decided to start a one-on-one discussion under Inquiry, and then additional stakeholders are identified for collaboration. This results in an Explore Meeting being needed.



Explore is completely voluntary, as it serves to help you with your development. If you wish, you can bypass Explore completely, and go directly to submitting a Development or Land Use application.


There is no fee attached to Explore Inquiries, as they are a one-on-one consultation with a planner.

There is a fee attached to Explore Meetings, since they require a large number of stakeholders to participate in the session. View the current fee schedule.

Explore Meeting benefits


Finding out issues and opportunities during the design phase means you can make changes before your plans are finalized - saving you money.


Collaborating during the design phase and solving issues upfront simplifies the review of your application-saving you time.


After the meeting, you'll receive a report that summarizes what was discussed at the meeting. The report will clearly identify what was decided, unresolved, and what will be required when your make your application.

Community Involvement

At your request, community representatives can participate as a stakeholder in your Explore Meeting.


The focus of Explore Meetings is to have the right people in the room at the right time, so the team can come to decisions or solutions with all the stakeholders at the table.

Multiple Meetings

Many applications, like outline plans, will require multiple meetings. Each meeting can have a different focus. For example, you could have an initial meeting with City stakeholders focused on technical issues, followed by a second Explore Meeting with community representatives to talk about engagement strategies.


At an Explore Meeting, all participants are encouraged to be open and flexible in service of innovation and the best possible outcomes.


An agenda is prepared before the meeting, based on input from all stakeholders. You can come to the meeting prepared and ready to engage in collaborative problem solving.


Explore Meetings can work for small scale applications and large scale projects. The topics discussed and the amount of stakeholders in the room is flexible.


With the new online system, applicants can:

  1. Track the status of your request
  2. Upload documents electronically
  3. View the agenda and report online
  4. Update the contact person for the file

Is the Explore Meeting right for you?


Apply for a Meeting

New user?

To become a registered user, follow these four steps:

  1. Go to
  2. Click on New User
  3. Check the Development Permits checkbox
  4. Fill out the form
Things you need to know!

Explore Meeting requests are made online. To make a request, you will need a VISTA account. Please note that VISTA credentials may take up to five business days to process.

What we're looking for when you make your request online:

  1. Topics you'd like to discuss at the meeting
  2. Digital copies of any supporting documents you'd like all participants to review before the meeting. Supporting documents could include things like site information, proposed plans, and concept drawings. You can upload any material you feel is relevant
  3. Credit card payment. See the Development Permit / Planning Applications fee schedule for details
Need to make a request right away?
8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Mon - Fri
Third Floor, Calgary Municipal Building
800 Macleod Trail S.E.
(closed holidays)

8 a.m. - 4:15 p.m.
Mon - Fri
(closed holidays)

The Explore Meeting: how it works


Input: Applicant submits the Explore proposal, and what topics they would like to discuss, and the questions they need answered. The file manager reviews the submission and contacts the applicant to talk about the proposal as well as any community involvement in the Explore Meeting.

Preparation: The file manager then takes the application to the CPAG team, to determine what stakeholders will need to be in the meeting. Additional topics are added to the meeting, and an agenda is prepared and circulated out to everyone.

Explore Meeting: The meeting occurs with all the stakeholders in the same room. A City facilitator runs the meeting to ensure all topics are discussed and a City note taker captures all the conversations that take place.

Draft: The discussions that occured in the meeting are captured by the note taker in a draft Explore Report. This draft report is then circulated to all the City stakeholders to confirm that the report accurately reflects the discussions that took place.

Explore Report: Once City staff have confirmed that the draft is an accurate representation of the discussions that took place in the meeting, is it then circulated out to external stakeholders, like the applicant. If there are any inconsistencies with the report, the applicant can contact the file manager to discuss.

Submit: With the information in hand, the applicant can now make changes to their application, which will ensure a smoother and hopefully shorter application process.

Explore Inquiry


The Explore Inquiry Process is still in development.

In the meantime, please continue to use our existing planner only pre-application process by contacting our planning support centre at 403.268.5311. They will be able to answer questions about planning, or they can set up a one-on-one meeting with a planner.