Supporting Calgary’s great communities with our citizens

Calgary is a city of strong communities. We want to keep them strong through our economic recovery, so they can thrive well into the future. It means growing communities where people can live, regardless of income or stage of life; communities that appeal to our youth, while providing the right amenities for our mature and aging citizens; and communities that attract new people and investments to our city.

As part of building a great city, The City of Calgary is working with citizens to make sure their communities can be successful. Our improved approach includes working with citizens – the experts in their respective communities – to guide growth in the right places. They are directly positioned to benefit from that growth and community investment.

Nathan Hawryluk, a citizen living in Renfrew and a participant in the North Hill Communities Local Area Plan working group, reflects, “People have been reinvesting in Renfrew for years, but most of Renfrew’s planning is based on 40-year-old policies. Creating and revising area redevelopment plans, neighbourhood-by-neighbourhood, is time-consuming. Larger local area plans can be updated more often. Residents help decide where to allow flexibility so people can incrementally redevelop over time with a range of missing middle housing (like duplexes, fourplexes, cottage courts, townhouses, and multiplexes). And residents can help direct where actual density is appropriate.”

When we support growth in our communities the right way, they offer more choice and reflect better the inclusiveness of our city. Communities become more walkable, giving more people access to what they want and need in their daily lives: more transportation choices, nearby schools, libraries, parks and recreation centres. This growth also supports local, Calgary-owned businesses to stay open and serve their communities.

As Chinook Park resident and Haysboro Community Association representative Teresa Tousignant explains, “Those of us who live in middle-aged suburbs are currently seeing the results of having our local population dwindle after peaking in the 70’s. We have a school in danger of closing due to low enrollment. We have small businesses struggling to survive (even before COVID). We’ve even lost recreation facilities to newer communities further out. If we can sensitively guide redevelopment to attract additional people, it can provide that socioeconomic boost to keep our neighborhoods functional. Diversifying housing types also allow us greater choice and the ability to stay near our friends and with our community as we move through the stages of life.”

Our new approach to guiding growth is modern and collaborative – just like Calgary. It makes change, which is already happening, and investment into the community more certain and predictable both for residents and developers. Even though we’re taking new steps to guide growth, our existing review and approvals processes and public notification for new homes, redevelopment, or commercial buildings stay the same.

Guiding growth in our communities this way positions Calgary as a better place to retain our home-grown talent, while attracting new talent to our city. Both Place and Talent are two of the four pillars of Calgary’s economic strategy. It’s one way our communities play a role in supporting Calgary’s economic recovery and make us stronger with competing cities.

The Guidebook for Great Communities creates a more inclusive and consistent way to plan for our city’s future. A future that is inclusive, resilient, and attractive; a future that provides economic opportunity and can weather future changes.

It keeps Calgary an attractive place to live, work, and visit both locally and globally, as we grow to 2 million people.

Administration is presenting the Guidebook for approval at the next Combined meeting of Council on March 22.