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Back  |  May 25, 2018  | 


Calgary was built on the efforts of neighbours working together toward a brighter, shared future.

And never has our city's relationship with our neighbours been more important than it is today.

With the announcement of the Tsuut'ina Nation's Taza development at the southwestern edge of our city, several passionate stakeholders have begun asking what it will mean for them.

Taza is a 1,200-acre, 17-millionsquare-foot, $4.5-billion commercial, residential and industrial development that will be built out over the next 20 years. In context, the development at full build out will exceed the footprint of more than 10 Chinook Centres.

The project is gearing up to be one of the largest First Nation developments in North America, and is enabled by the province's $1.4-billion investment in the southwest ring road, expected to be completed in the fall of 2021.

Put simply, Taza and its ultimate potential for 90,000 jobs will help reshape the southwest Calgary region, and likely Western Canada, as we know them today.

On the eastern edge of the proposed Taza development is the established community of Lakeview, home to approximately 5,500 Calgarians. The Tsuut'ina First Nation and Lakeview have been good neighbours and thrived side by side for more than three generations.

I have met with representatives from both the nation and the Lakeview Community Association.

What I've personally seen has been thoughtful, positive and constructive interaction between the two.

The nation is building to meet the test of time, and sees Calgarians as playing an important part.

Lakeview residents are supportive of development, and want to be part of the dialogue as it proceeds. What I hear from the community has never been whether or not the nation should seize this opportunity. It is the nation's right - and in so doing, it will contribute to making our region an even better place to live, and one where our children will pursue the best possible future.

Rather, the concern has been how those ambitious plans will stand alongside Calgary's existing communities. Or, in other words, how do we ensure a large-scale commercial development such as this interfaces with an established residential community in a mutually beneficial way? Work remains to be done to continue to build relationships, engage in a healthy discussion, and ensure that a complex issue is not made into a simple controversy.

The next step is to gather the key stakeholders together and put all of the information, questions and opportunities on the table for discussion. We can tackle head on the concerns regarding traffic safety, planning, emergency response, and so on.

With the concerns clearly identified, the city can work with the nation to mitigate them, and identify solutions that either or both parties can put in place without violating the rights and safety of the other.

Let's enter this open dialogue in good faith and without a predetermined outcome in mind. From this experience, I believe we should develop a framework to address issues of joint concern.

When (or if) similar opportunities emerge regarding development adjacent to other Calgarian communities, we will start from a place of shared experience and understanding.

We should acknowledge that many of the concerns raised are legitimate; and once they are acknowledged, they can be addressed in an evidence-based way.

We will meet these opportunities in full stride only by working together.

With Calgary and the nation bordering as they do, our fates have become intertwined. History and circumstance have granted us a unique chance. It would be the lost opportunity of not just our generation, but many more, if we do not make good on it.

Let's work together as neighbours and find a solution that works for all.

It's the Calgarian way.

This opinion editorial was published in the Calgary Herald on May 25th, 2018 (Page A9)​


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.​