Calgary softens growth plan in hopes of quieting critics

City hall is aiming to pacify critics of its 60-year growth plan by erasing river crossings from the future Calgary map and softening language around car use and a less sprawling city. Photograph by: Archive, Calgary Herald

City hall is aiming to pacify critics of its 60-year growth plan by erasing river crossings from the future Calgary map and softening language around car use and a less sprawling city. Photograph by: Archive, Calgary Herald

By Jason Markusoff and Kim Guttormson, Calgary Herald

CALGARY – City hall is aiming to pacify critics of its 60-year growth plan by erasing river crossings from the future Calgary map and softening language around car use and a less sprawling city.

Ahead of a crucial council hearing Monday, city officials modified Plan It Calgary in hopes of tamping down criticism from home builders and developers, as well as some aldermen who agreed the strategy called for radical change to the city’s development.

But initial reaction suggests the conflict hasn’t yet subsided, potentially leading to a tense council debate over Calgary’s future.

The planning department is still drawing industry ire by rejecting calls to do away with Plan It’s long-range targets, including one stating that half of future population growth should occur in already-developed areas, rather than mostly in new suburbs.

“No matter what kind of language there is, the numbers are still in the document,” said Michael Flynn of the Urban Development Institute-Calgary after seeing the new version on Monday.

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Some comments already posted on the Calgary Hearld site:

“The public has spoken. At the public hearing, it was clear members of the general public were in favour of this plan. It was pretty much only developers that were opposed, and most of them even were in favour of the vast majority of the direction of the plan, only a few issues with some of the targets, which have been adjusted to be more flexible. Pass the plan and move on with the real job, which is implementing it. More transit, move investment in downtown, inner city communities and TOD sites. Less subsidy for sprawl.”

“Allow people to live on big single family lots on the edge – just make them pay for the true cost of that urban form. We need to ensure that growth is dense and efficiently designed enough within complete communities to ensure that growth can pay for itself and not be a drain on the rest of the city (sustainability).”

“You want to run roads out to the contryside fine, why do my taxes have to go up so rich people can have big houses? stop this sprawl!”

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