For several years now, we have been discussing proposed developments in a western area of our city next to Canada Olympic Park that has come to be called the Paskapoo Slopes. Recently, a developer came forward with a plan that would develop one-third of the privately-owned land, leaving the rest to the City of Calgary Parks department as a natural preserve. A final proposal came before Council this month as a change of land use, and it stirred up a lot of debate and concern amongst Calgarians. From the beginning it was crystal-clear to me that Calgarians from every corner of the city care deeply about this land, and want it to be preserved.
Last week, Council debated the proposal at length, and we decided that it did not go far enough in protecting the Paskapoo Slopes. Instead, 16 thoughtful amendments were brought forward to ensure that accessibility, heritage value, and the area’s sheer wilderness were preserved, and I voted with eleven other members of Council to approve the land use change. Ultimately, I felt that the amended development will comprehensively protect wildlife access and the natural state of the area.
The Paskapoo Slopes are very important to our city, and they carry a unique cultural and environmental heritage. Council’s decision yesterday lays out a plan for what may be built. For the ideas to be carried out there will still be further development applications and a rigorous process. Because the land is deemed to be so special, anything built on the site will be highly scrutinized – my colleagues and I, as well as all Calgarians, will watch this space very closely.
I am very thankful to the hundreds of citizens who took the time and wrote our office, made submissions to the City, and participated in the Public Hearing. I could not have made the informed decision I did without their help. I hope that those who made their voice heard in this conversation will stay involved with the project, and ensure that the compromises and promises made are held to the highest standard. The Paskapoo Slopes are in good hands, and they will remain an attractive, protected and natural destination for us to visit far into the future.
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