Facts in the ground
A new strategy looks to remove some of the hurdles to redevelopment in Calgary.
In a city, change is inevitable. People move in and put down roots. New developments rise to meet their needs. But how change happens is another matter. Municipal governments spend a lot of time managing growth. Without these polices we would have chaos. With them we have complexity. In Calgary, growth is governed by the Municipal Development Plan and the Calgary Transportation Plan. The documents work to create a more compact, better connected city. They identify goals and ways to measure progress toward them. But these are overarching documents. They leave the gritty details to other policies. For the next few years, one of the City’s big jobs is the comprehensive citywide growth strategy. As the name suggests, it’s an ambitious task that involves many moving parts. In an attempt to break it down into manageable chunks the City and industry partners have identified three key areas: Established Areas Growth and Change Strategy Industrial Growth Strategy New Community Growth Strategy. The whole initiative comes out of the Industry/City Work Plan. The plan seeks to increase the amount of cooperation between the City and developers working on the ground. The two groups meet regularly to fine tune the plan and deal with new issues. The group has already chalked up some big wins. It’s first achievement was a new Off-Site Levy Bylaw in 2016 and other changes to the development process. These ensure a level playing field and also that development policy takes market forces into consideration. The current focus is on the Established Areas Growth and Change Strategy. Work is centred on removing some of the hurdles to redevelopment in Calgary’s older neighbourhoods. (The City defines the Established Area as those areas built between the 1950s and the 1990s.) The City and industry are working on the nuts and bolts. That means things like figuring out how to identify infrastructure—pipes and utilities—in need of repair or upgrading. The City will also be leading public engagement on the subject. It all means that, if you want to know what is going in the established areas, you just need to keep your ear to the ground.