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Safety concerns cited in petition against proposed Marda Loop development


Community members in the southwest business district of Marda Loop are raising several safety and infrastructure concerns over a proposed development plan to construct a six-storey building with 120 new residential units.

Sarina Homes has plans to build the site along 33rd Avenue S.W., which would see seven properties rezoned starting on the corner of 19th Street S.W.

The new build would allow for ground-floor commercial space with supplementary residential units but that isn’t sitting well with those living nearby.

"The size and scope of this building is massive and (it) seems to be there's a definite lack of infrastructure within the community to support this redevelopment at this scale," said Kerry Parker Smith with Save Our Marda Loop

"If anyone's driven down 33rd Avenue at any of the peak hours during the day, it can be gridlock. We're noticing our bus stops have delivery vehicles in them at all hours, cars are stopping in the middle of the road, blocking traffic, so there's gridlock and we have big concerns already about pedestrian safety."

Save Our Marda Loop has since launched an online petition, which had garnered nearly 300 signatures as of Wednesday morning.

Some of the group's biggest concerns with this proposed build include poor roadway and sidewalk conditions to support the project, a lack of public transit or green spaces and aging utilities in the area.

Natalie Crump, who lives nearby, says one of her biggest concerns is parking.

She notes that an extra 120 residential units will almost certainly create further congestion, which will impact accessibility to the area.

"I can tell you that 33rd Avenue is already a parkade every morning and afternoon, so it's not suitable for that many residents with all their vehicles," she said.

"The overcrowding in this high-density area will definitely impact us, for sure."

Nearby resident Lai Louie says the proposed building would also be 23 metres high, which would cast a large shadow onto his home.

He says this project would decrease accessibility to his backyard and garage with vehicles coming from and going to the proposed building's parkade through the alleyway.

"When I purchased my house here, I specifically looked at the zonings for the houses but now this area has had a lot of infilling and if you count the number of dwellings, it's actually almost doubled on this street," he said.

"These are all single detached or semi-detached homes in this neighbourhood, so to put a six-storey building adjacent to these properties takes away all the sun."


Nazim Virani, president of Sarina Homes, notes that several engagement sessions have taken place between his development team and residents over the past few months.

He says concerns from residents are being taken seriously and some adjustments are being made with respect to the height of the building.

The originally proposed height was 26 metres, but Virani says that has now decreased to 23 metres.

"We've also set back considerably on the east side as well as some of the upper floors of the building to reduce shadowing as well as to enhance the contextual kind of height of the building along the main street," said Virani.

In response to concerns that the building is too tall, Virani notes that his development team has been working with the city to follow its policies.

"The City of Calgary has a policy for main streets that they're working through – it's in draft form – whereas on the main streets, there's an opportunity to build smart, thoughtful density along these neighbourhood corridors from heights of four to six storeys."

Virani says it's his team's goal to go through all feedback from residents.

"These issues and these pains of growth are real and they're complex and it takes different stakeholders to kind of come together to see it through," Virani added.

"That includes with density bringing investment in from the city as well as other stakeholders and different levels of governments, and so it's a complex process that takes time and it's definitely a transition period as we continue to grow the main street."


The City of Calgary says an application has been submitted to them by Sarina Homes asking for a land-use change at the corner of 33rd Avenue and 19th Street S.W.

Ashley Parks, planning co-ordinator with the city, says the review process is just about complete, but a few more steps are needed.

"It (the land-use application) still needs to go to Calgary Planning Commission, followed by a public hearing of council for discussion and potential approval," she said.

"It's important to clarify that this application falls within the South Calgary/Altadore Area Redevelopment Plan and is only requesting a change to the land-use district. Any reviews for a specific building or property design would come later in the planning process, when a development permit is submitted." Top Stories

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