62 amendments proposed for Calgary's contentious new planning document

·2 min read
The Guidebook for Great Communities is supposed to lay out common planning principles to guide policy decisions and shape future local area plans for Calgary's communities. (John Gibson/CBC - image credit)
The Guidebook for Great Communities is supposed to lay out common planning principles to guide policy decisions and shape future local area plans for Calgary's communities. (John Gibson/CBC - image credit)

The City of Calgary is proposing dozens of changes to its controversial new community planning document.

The 131-page document, titled the Guidebook for Great Communities, is intended to help city hall and Calgary's neighbourhoods develop new local area plans.

However, some community groups have contended there hasn't been enough consultation about it and that changes are needed.

People in a number of communities opposed the guidebook because they feared it would be a threat to single family homes, endangering historic properties and green spaces.

Following three days of public hearings in March, council voted to put off finalizing the document.

Council has directed administration to do a report on the public hearing and to bring forward amendments in May.

A total of 62 amendments have now been proposed, including a name change. It's now to be called the Guide for Local Area Planning.

The city's coordinator for the guidebook, Lisa Kahn, says there was misinformation about the guidebook but she's hoping clearer language will address people's concerns.

"The biggest thing for me is really making sure that people see that we've listened to all of their suggestions and all of their comments and that we've reflected on that in a positive way," she said.

"We still have a document. We still have a guide that helps us move the city forward but is reflective of the needs of Calgarians, that they see themselves in this document."

The chair of city council's planning committee, Coun. Jyoti Gondek, says clarifying the language in the book should dispel misinformation that has been spread about it.

"By indicating that this is a guidebook and it's not statutory and also by highlighting that one land-use district that people were worried was being removed and clarifying that it's not being removed — that being the R1 — I think that will address some concerns too," she said.

R1 refers primarily to single-family residential homes.

The amendments will be discussed by city council's planning committee on Wednesday.