The first six months of 2015 presented different challenges and opportunities to the Planning & Development Committee. We continued to see an increase in “contextual” approvals for developments that comply with zoning and the land use bylaw, a process does not allow for community or neighbour input. The growth in contextual approvals has reduced the number of development permit applications for new single and semi detached housing requiring our input. This change created time for us to be proactive instead of reactive, time to focus on broader community issues and the creation of a community plan.
One major development proposal in our community is the land use change and town house development at 29 St. and Parkdale Blvd. NW. That proposal has moved forward through the Calgary Planning Commission with committee input and support and will be considered by City Council on July 20, 2015.
Another role of the committee is to understand and provide input on issues that are beyond our boundaries. Committee members continue to be actively involved in those issues through the Foothills Medical Centre Master Plan process and the South Shaganappi Area Planning Group.
The proactive work of creating a Parkdale Plan has moved forward under the leadership of Paul Mercer and Kara Inman. As reported earlier in the year, a group of Masters Students from the Faculty of Environmental Design focused on Parkdale and prepared reports and planning documents. Each of the four reports offers unique perspectives and opportunities for enhancing our community. Their research and recommendations, combined with the input of residents at the two “Image and Ideas” nights will form the base for further discussion in the fall. We look forward to involving residents as the plan is moves forward.
My perspective is that Parkdale is on the cusp of becoming a different community but one that is safe and welcoming for all. As the role of our committee changes we can focus on community enhancement and growth and not just focus on buildings. We can explore linkages and green spaces and support opportunities for community building. It is evident that Parkdale is changing and the new buildings and residents are bringing new life to our streets. Our committee will continue to focus on enhancing all aspects of our built community. Everyone needs to play a part in building our community.