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Cliff Bungalow residents worried proposed development will undercut neighbourhood's history

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Residents in Cliff Bungalow are convinced a new development proposal will zap some of the charm out of their historic neighbourhood.

The offered change will enable a new five-storey, multi-residential building with 71 new units at 537 20 Avenue S.W.

But it’ll come at the expense of four current structures, including a building and two homes that have been up for decades and split into apartments.

Heather Saitz moved out of one of the units when it was sold a few months back.

She’s worried about the new vision.

“It was one of the most beautiful apartments I’ve had in my entire life,” she told CTV News. “These buildings should have a different fate.”

Saitz and others have launched a petition and canvassed the area with fliers to gain support for their opposition.

The crux of their argument is a worry the build will change the landscape of Cliff Bungalow.

One resident says she believes tearing down historic housing to make way for multi-story apartment buildings is bad for the city.

She argues those older homes house Calgarians still paying relatively manageable rents, who won’t be able to afford large-scale builds.

“I’m actually a huge advocate for density,” Ahn Mur said. “But I also think there’s a reason why people react so much to increasing density, and it’s because we lose things like community, character and affordable housing. And so this is a good example of a hot topic for people in the area.”

The group’s members are even suggesting a compromise.

“There are lots of precedents from around the world about building new developments that pay homage to the existing community character in some way,” Mur said.

Heritage Calgary is on board.

“I really want to see from the developer, can they incorporate elements of those houses into the property,” Josh Traptow said. “It could be brick, it could be windows or a door. It will just take some creativity from the architect.”

CTV News reached out to the developer to learn more about its plans, but as of publishing hasn’t heard back.

The project is still listed as a proposed land use change, which means it doesn’t yet have a timeline.

The city is collecting feedback on the proposal and will be until Thursday evening.

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