During an extraordinary three-day meeting, City Council reviewed a proposal to rezone the Paskapoo Slopes to support a 38 acre mixed-use development at the base of the Slopes. The application also called for the creation of a 67 acre public park on the Slopes themselves. Dozens of Calgarians came to speak to Council, most in opposition to the proposed changes. This followed months of letters, postcards, and emails from concerned residents from across our city.
We heard over and over that this is an important site within Calgary that contains many rare species of flora and fauna, great walking and cycling trails, ancient First Nations artifacts, and stunning views. It was clear that such a special site deserves an equally special design. What was presented to Council though was too large, encroached too far into environmentally sensitive areas, was too automobile and big box store oriented, and failed to contain the commitment to sustainable, high quality design that this site deserves.
Throughout the public hearing and the debate that followed, it became clear to me that this proposal for the future of Paskapoo Slopes was simply not good enough for Calgarians, and I voted against supporting the application. Unfortunately, and though many Council members expressed serious concerns, the majority of Council felt otherwise, and the proposal passed first reading. This means that Council has given approval to the project in principle. The plan will come back to Council on July 27th for second and third reading, and only after those readings pass could the development proceed.
On July 27th, I will propose a suite of amendments to the proposal to ensure the development meets the highest levels of environmental leadership and low-impact development, maintains wildlife connectivity, and further minimizes conflicts with the natural area. My amendments will also require buildings to demonstrate design excellence, reflect the character of Paskapoo Slopes, as well as acknowledge and celebrate the site’s significant aboriginal history. These and other amendments will serve to elevate the design of the development and ensure that the sustainability of the project respects this important site.
While the development is now almost certain to proceed, I will strive to improve the quality and fit of the development to a standard deserving of the site. Calgarians deserve no less.
This content represents the personal views and opinions of the Ward Councillor and should not be taken as a statement of policy of The City of Calgary. The inclusion of any external content does not imply endorsement by The City of Calgary.