Calgary Herald

Homeowner insights underestim­ated by council

Well-informed population is being ignored on zoning, says.

- Cassy Weber Cassy Weber is chief executive of a non-profit, a community builder, problem solver and concerned citizen of Ward 1.

There have been many news articles written, opinion columns submitted and an abundance of social media posts from residents — all clearly and unequivoca­lly voicing concerns and opposition to city council's blanket upzoning proposal.

Additional­ly, some experts have weighed in based on lessons learned from other major municipali­ties in Canada and the United States regarding best practices, all whom have stated blanket upzoning does not result in affordable housing.

My concern lies with council's attempts to obfuscate Calgarians' concerns and expert insights. I don't need to elaborate on what has now been stated by tens of thousands of Calgarians regarding negative outcomes, so will just summarize those key issues:

■ Changing 60-year-old bylaws to blanket the city with R-CG and H-GO eliminates certainty of use, and this is undemocrat­ic given the vast majority of Calgarians are in opposition.

■ Reduced property values due to overshadow­ing, loss of backyard privacy, parking density.

■ Traffic congestion, pedestrian safety.

■ Damage to the urban tree canopy through mass culling of trees.

■ Infrastruc­ture that is aged and was only designed for low-density.

■ Waste and recycling management issues. Aging-in-place disruption­s.

■ Absolute lack of appropriat­e community engagement.

■ Myopic view that affordabil­ity is a zoning issue.

I take issue with council's demonizati­on of single-detached homeowners — referring to this segment of the population as “exclusiona­ry” land or property owners. My community has 47 per cent single-detached housing and 53 per cent low-rise, highrise, middle, senior, subsidized and more. It took decades for previous competent city officials to implement the urban planning guidelines and the result is spectacula­r — we have housing options for every possible type of living need, including single-detached homes. Why would our council demonize one segment of the population?

What concerns me the most is council seems to not appreciate how highly informed and highly educated Calgary's population is, which has resulted in attempts to obfuscate the realities of legitimate concerns raised by Calgarians from all quadrants of the city:

In Calgary, Canada Census data show 61 per cent of the population holds a minimum of one post-secondary degree.

Alberta has the top-ranked K-12 education system in sciences, not only across Canada, but globally, which is why we have among the highest-educated adult population. Since 2015, the innovation ecosystem in Calgary has seen a 460 per cent growth in business incubators and accelerato­rs, which has resulted in more than 1,700 privately held technology companies. Innovators who seek venture capital to scale their big ideas can find it in Calgary.

The above points of considerat­ion should underscore that Calgarians are some of the most highly competent, well-informed, educated, scientific, hard-working citizens across Canada. Additional­ly, based on the highly amplified level of opposition to council's blanket upzoning proposal, I would also add that we have an equally competent level of engagement regarding our civic affairs issues.

There is a resounding level of opposition. Listen to Calgarians.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada