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Why vacant green spaces in your neighbourhood could turn into housing — or not

The City of Calgary’s upzoning bylaw passed earlier this week including a provision to review the current zoning on vacant green spaces.

That means the city will look at vacant land owned by the city to determine whether it is correctly zoned. Some spaces, currently zoned for residential development, could be redesignated as park space.

On the other hand, some vacant spaces could also be zoned for future housing. 

Ward 7 Coun. Terry Wong brought forward the amendment Tuesday.

“It takes properties that are currently green space or park space but zoned as residential and ask that administration go back and rezone them properly to their proper land-use district,” Wong said when presenting the amendment.

Ward 8 Coun. Courtney Walcott said the city has seen conflicts before in communities over green spaces.

“[Community members] said this is a park, but really it’s just been an undeveloped piece of land for 30 years,” he said.

Mayor Jyoti Gondek said she thinks it’s important to provide clarity to the public.

“And sometimes we get caught up in what we know as administration and as council,” Mayor Jyoti Gondek said.

“We know things that are permissible in certain land-use districts and so we take it for granted that everybody does.”

With more residential development expected due to the city’s upzoning plan, Gondek noted it may increase the value people place on community green spaces.

The executive director of the Federation of Calgary Communities, Leslie Evans agrees.

“Those park spaces, they’ll be needed as density comes into community,” Evans said. 

Council has not given a timeframe as to when the review needs to be completed by.

“While communities and residents will feel council didn’t listen to the rezoning request there were a lot of amendments that need to be digested, understood and moved forward to see if we can go to a better place,” Evans said.

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