Community pushes back against new seniors complex
A plan to redevelop a parcel of land in southwest Calgary and add a brand new condo building is being met with opposition from area residents.
There is a proposal before council to build a new 12-storey building in the community of Cliff Bungalow called Riverwalk.
The 141-unit development, to be built at 5 Street and 25 Avenue S.W., is supposed to replace a low-rise apartment complex across the street.
However, the proposal has already been met with considerable opposition from a group of concerned residents who don’t want to see such a large building placed in their community and zoning doesn’t even allow for such a project either.
“It’s simply too big,” says Robert Jobst with Friends of Cliff Bungalow. “It’s eight storeys taller than is allowable under the current zoning.”
Jobst says all the buildings in the community are low to mid-rise and Riverwalk has the potential to become just the first tower of many that could take over.
“We’re willing to welcome additional density, but this is just too much.”
Robin Thompson, also with Friends of Cliff Bungalow, says the building will also ruin the atmosphere of their community.
“This community is very urban, but we’ve done that without towers. This tower will throw shadows and will make the street much less welcome to walk on,” she says. “This is a historic community, full of historic buildings and it’s a very modern design.”
Thompson is also accusing the city of tacking on an amendment to the area redevelopment plan along with the Riverwalk proposal.
“It will rezone the entire southernmost two blocks of the community to towers. That’s going to change the face of the community for the next 75 years.”
She is also upset over how the city managed the community engagement sessions, which she says were all conducted by Civic Works, a third party firm.
“We want the city to come out and do their own community engagement.”
Ward 8 councillor Evan Woolley insists that the city participated in all the engagement sessions.
He’s also spoken with the developer and is satisfied with the consultation they’ve done so far with community members.
“From what I see, it’s a very beautiful building. The development permit is coming concurrently and they’ve undertaken significant engagement,” he says. “One of the things I always struggle with is ensuring whether you’re for or against a project that you use facts and good information.”
Civic Works, in statement, said:
We undertook a professional best practice engagement process that was broad, multi-method, and inclusive for stakeholders to ensure all voices were heard and considered. With up to date information and opportunities to provide feedback online and in-person, we held a full complement of events, meetings, open houses, and hosted over 50 hours of engagement at a local retail-storefront. As is standard practice, The City of Calgary’s Planning and Engage Resource Unit provided guidance and advice in shaping and implementing our engagement process, and have affirmed that our process met and exceeded their expectations. The City Administration actively participated in key engagement events and consistently provided direct contact information to stakeholders through all of our engagement methods and materials.
The zoning change to allow for the development of Riverwalk is expected to come before council on Monday.
If approved, the developer hopes to complete the project by late 2019.
(With files from Ina Sidhu)