A recent City News article has reported the City of Calgary is considering the sale of Glenmore Landing parkland to make room for additional housing. For many reasons, this isn't sitting well with a lot of residents of SW Calgary. Parkland is viewed by many as almost sacred and shouldn't be overtaken by construction and housing, regardless of the external pressures. But that's not always the whole story. With the ongoing housing crisis that seems to be the talk of the town, is developing parkland a viable solution?
According to City News reporting, the parcels of land in question are located to the South and East of the Glenmore Landing Shopping Centre. While the area was once designated as mature greenspace in the 1980s, the city has since altered the labelling, marking it as surplus land. The developer, Riocan, acquiring the 5.6 acres of land, applied for a land use amendment in May 2023.
In response, Communities for Glenmore Landing Preservation, a group formed in July 2023 as a result of this proposal, has taken the lead on pushing back and questioning the possible sale and development.
One of the environmental mandates from the city is to preserve the parkland. It seems incongruous that they’d want to sell parkland in order to redevelop,” said Karen Pauling Shepard, a member of the Glenmore Landing Preservation group. “If the city is successful in selling parkland, it sets a precedent for the entire city.”
Over the next 15-20 years, Riocan plans to develop 1,250 new homes, including six residential towers, which are predicted to house 2,500 Calgarians. There are also plans to add commercial and mixed-use spaces in this area.
A multi-stage plan for the redevelopment of Glenmore Landing at the corner of 14 Street and 90 Avenue SW in Calgary. (Courtesy RioCan)
Imagine in 15 years when the project is complete, you’ll have nine high rises at this location, between nine and 36 stories tall,” Leslie Farrar, Communities for Glenmore Landing Preservation, told CityNews.Farrar expressed further concern at the fact that neither a hydro-geological study has been done nor an environmental impact study done, which could potentially impact the area's drinking water source(s). Additional concerns surrounding the development include obstructed views by tall towers, traffic congestion, and pedestrian safety. Riocan has reportedly addressed the traffic congestion concerns by committing to manage the area traffic through all stages of construction.
Ward 11 Coun. Kourtney Penner told reporters Thursday that things have changed since the 1980s.
When you’re looking at an agreement that’s 40 years old, language has definitely changed and we’re really just coming to understand that there are changes that are needed in the city and this is an appropriate site to consider for additional housing,” she said. "There’s nothing ever, that precludes us from selling parklands or park spaces.”
Is the Glenmore Landing Preservation group the enemy of progress? Or are groups like this the only thing left protecting green spaces? You be the judge!