Sprawlcast Ep. 1: NIMBY City

Calgary journalism project The Sprawl take a deep dive into a contentious Calgary development project.

In its first podcast episode, independent Calgary pop-up journalism project The Sprawl focused on the Highland Village Green project in north central Calgary. 

Sprawlcast Ep. 1: NIMBY City, which was released on March 12, 2018, takes a close look at this proposed development in Highland Park, where Vancouver developer Maple Projects plans to build a mixed-use development on the former Highland Park Golf Course. 

This is private land, but for years the residents of this community have enjoyed it as a green space. Adding a layer of complication is the presence of Confederation Creek, which runs through the site … but through an underground vault.

“We call people NIMBYs when they fight against basement suites, bus lanes or condo towers in their neighbourhoods. But what do we miss when we apply that label too hastily?”

- Jeremy Klazsus, Editor of The Sprawl

Several residents and community leaders have opposed the project – and been accused at times of “Not In My Back Yard” attitudes, or NIMBYism (learn more about the meaning of NIMBYism in this video). But as The Sprawl discovered, applying this term too broadly can derail the informed, constructive conversations we need to have about how our city grows. 

“[NIMBY] is a loaded pejorative from where we’re sitting, in that once it’s introduced to the conversation it pretty much shuts down engagement.” 

- Marvin Quashnick, Vice President for Public Service, Thorncliffe Greenview Community Association 

Maple Projects was responsive to resident concerns, but no one felt like they were getting what they wanted. In exploring the conflict, Sprawl founder and editor Jeremy Klazsus learned that both the residents and the developer believed they were entitled to more support from the City.

“I keep working with the City, working with the community, working with people to move this ahead, and then there’s always a new hurdle. And it gets frustrating.”

- Ajay Nehru, President of Maple Projects

The episode includes conversations with community leaders from the Thorncliffe Greenview Community Association and the Highland Park Community Association, as well as Maple Projects president Ajay Nehru and City of Calgary planner Troy Gonzalez.

Building in developed neighbourhoods is always a complex process with several layers of approvals and consultations. Find out more about the process by following the steps to redevelopment here.  

May 17th, 2018
Updated: May 18th, 2018

A redevelopment case study on a proposed mixed-use project.