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Councillors consider new communities on Calgary’s outer edges

One day after Calgary city council voted to approve citywide rezoning, some councillors were back at city hall Wednesday to discuss new communities on the city’s outer edges.

The city’s Infrastructure and Planning Committee heard seven applications from developers to build new communities and sections to current subdivisions.

However, city administration recommended just four of the proposals move forward.

“Temperatures are a bit high coming off the last couple weeks,” Ward 1 Coun. Sonya Sharp said. “But we do need to strike a balance between inner-city development and greenfield.”

The seven growth applications include new neighbourhoods in Belvedere, Crestmont, West View, Lewisburg, Alpine Park, Hotchkiss and Moraine.

The proposals in Belvedere, Hotchkiss, Lewisburg and Huxley were the recommended to proceed by administration, which committee abided by.

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City officials said the proposals are evaluated using criteria that include land supply, planning, existing and needed infrastructure and services.

During the meeting, Ward 13 Coun. Dan McLean questioned why all the proposals weren’t recommended after efforting to have a proposal in his ward added to the list.

His motion was defeated six votes to three, with only Couns. Sean Chu and Jennifer Wyness in support.

“We’re all going to fight for things that are in our ward,” McLean told committee. “I think we should be approving all of these, let’s not be stingy with supply here. Let’s build, baby, build.”

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City administration said the four recommended proposals would enable 18,677 new homes; however, no timeline was provided.

The four proposals could come with $81.2 million in capital costs for infrastructure over the next two years, according to early city estimates, but around 60 per cent would be eligible for funding through off-site levies

“Significant continued investment will be required in future cycles,” administration’s report noted, including $189.5 million post-2027.

City estimates also showed it could cost $883 million if all seven growth applications in front of committee were considered during budget talks.

Click to play video: 'Mayor Gondek explains landmark rezoning vote for diverse housing'

Mayor Gondek explains landmark rezoning vote for diverse housing

Hazen Ellwood with Strong Towns Calgary, a local urbanism advocacy group, said greenfield development has been an “easy answer” to building more housing supply.

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Although Ellwood said they don’t have an issue with greenfield development, but the potential costs should be noted.

“I think it’s really important to weigh those numbers and try to make sure we can deal with what we currently have, before we start adding more to our plate,” Ellwood told Global News.

If approved by city council later this month, the proposals will be considered during budget deliberations for final approval.

Click to play video: 'Calgary seeking feedback on housing proposal at Franklin LRT Station'

Calgary seeking feedback on housing proposal at Franklin LRT Station

Ward 14 Coun. Peter Demong questioned why the proposals had to wait until November, given council’s approval of citywide rezoning following weeks of public hearing.

“If we are truly in a housing crisis, why are we waiting six months to decide at budget how we can bring in literally thousands of units,” Demong told reporters. “If we’re in an emergency, let’s act like we’re in an emergency.”

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Sharp, who chairs the committee, said the move is so council is able to consider costs in the larger context of other budget priorities.

“We’ve got to make sure that these are all going to happen, and the infrastructure capital is there to make it happen,” Sharp said. “We have to be able to look at these and say what are our coffers at, what can we spend money on, what are our competing priorities?”

BILD Calgary, an association representing local homebuilders and developers, spoke in favour of the proposals.

The organization’s CEO Brian Hahn noted increasing supply is critical to address issues of unaffordability in the market.

“Increased housing supply will be the key which will unlock the door of home affordability,” Hahn told committee.

&© 2024 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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