Information | Rezoning for Housing

Public hearing on April 22, 2024. Proposed rezoning will support more housing options in all communities.

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Ward 7 - Terry Wong

Housing Strategy Statement

Thank you to everyone who has sent the Ward 7 office your feedback to the Housing Affordability Task Force (HATF) recommendations and actions, the recently released City Housing Needs Assessment, and the proposed update to the City’s Housing Strategy.

The Housing Crisis

We understand that the high cost of housing impacts almost everyone – the property owner, rental tenant, post-secondary students, landlords, etc., in some way or another. We know that housing supply is limited for an increasing Calgary population. We know that the living conditions faced by many Calgarians is less than desirable, if not outright unhealthy.

Since 2001, The City has considered households to need affordable housing if they earn 65 percent or less of the median household income in Calgary and spend 30% (before tax income) or more on shelter. According to The City’s definition, the 2023 report cited 84,600 Calgary households could not afford their housing costs. This number is forecast to exceed 100,000 households over the next few years.

We believe that housing is a human right. Calgary is in a housing crisis. City Council, together with the Federal and Provincial governments, must take immediate action. Post-secondary institutions, school boards, and hospitals must help as well. Housing and shelter providers are doing a lot to support those in need; thank you, we’re with you.

Non-Market Housing

In recent days, the Ward 7 office has engaged many significant housing stakeholders including HATF expert members, the past President of the Calgary Real Estate Board, and the current and former Alberta Housing Ministers. There’s general agreement – The City must act on the things that they can control that will deliver the greatest housing need first – Non-Market Housing Supply and Affordability.  Everything else can be addressed in due course.

To this end, I will seek to have Administration identify and make available city land and building for sale or leasing to address non-market housing needs. Similarly, I would encourage Alberta post-secondary institutions and hospitals to utilize their available lands and buildings to meet the non-market housing needs of their students and staff. Land and buildings close to Calgary’s LRT and transit network are ideal and high-priority property that will also address the need for affordable and accessible mobility options. Mayor Gondek is suggesting similar amendments which I may support.

Again, the creation of more non-market housing options will help provide fast solutions for people in immediate housing need.

Market Housing

The development of market housing that provides an ample supply of diverse and geographically distributed housing options is crucial to meet the demand from Calgarians that are currently in or looking to enter the housing ownership marketplace. As more people continue to arrive in Calgary, there is an increased demand for market housing units of various densities and build forms that fit different lifestyle choices, including multi-generational living. The demand for market housing is currently growing faster than the available supply, which increases market housing prices - placing them beyond affordability for more and more households.

Calgary must respond by enabling market housing development.

Failure to provide affordable market housing will push more Calgarians into non-market housing situations, which is an unsustainable long-term demand. However, the public marketplace paired with  real estate principles and strategies also define price. Government cannot and should not control market factors.

Reducing input costs to land/building development, removing unnecessary risk, and increasing certainty to developers are crucial ingredients to improving the affordability of market housing. The City can take steps to enhance market housing-affordability, supply, and variety - via land use bylaws, local area planning policy, procedures and permit fees.

The Housing Strategy proposes to roll together R-C1, R-C2, and R-CG land use bylaws into a singular R-CG bylaw and implemented a city-wide redesignation (aka blanket rezoning) of affected properties. While this proposed blanket R-CG Bylaw may appear to achieve the aforementioned affordability goals, it does not address a variety of concerns that have been previously expressed by the public at land use public hearings. Most significantly is the loss for affected property owners to address specific land use applications through the public hearing process. Increasing the speed to affordable market housing should never be at the expense of affected parties’ ability to democratically express their concerns regarding potential new developments’ impacts to adjacent properties, neighbouring streets and laneways, and established community character and heritage.

Any alternatives to blanket redesignation must be established in a way that retains a process for affected parties to address specific concerns.

Furthermore, I support the idea of allowing both secondary suites and carriage suites on one property, recognizing the importance of meeting the diverse housing needs of multi-generational families and that secondary suites and carriage suites are an important housing form for students and young individuals.

Our office is dedicated to collaboration and advocacy, working closely with all levels of government and partnering with housing development, building, and industry providers to find comprehensive solutions to our housing challenges. I remain open to persuasion, and I look forward to friendly and healthy public input and council deliberations over the coming days.


Terry Wong

Ward 7 City Councillor (He/him/his)

Categories: Affordability, Engagement, Housing, Updates, Ward 7