Committee to consider selling land for Glenmore Landing redevelopment

The city received nearly 2,700 public submissions about the land transfer, most of which were against RioCan’s proposed redevelopment.

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Despite opposition from area residents, Calgary councilors are recommended to authorize the sale of 5.48 acres of city-owned land adjacent to the Glenmore Landing shopping center to make room for future redevelopment.

The city’s planning and infrastructure committee will meet Wednesday to consider the administration’s recommendation to sell the green space, a parcel the city has designated as “surplus” park, to RioCan Management Inc.

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Last year, RioCan submitted a plan to the city to redevelop Glenmore Landing to “intensify and expand uses to include residential.”

“Approval of these applications will allow RioCan to take a phased approach to strengthening retail at Glenmore Landing with the addition of residential housing options to transform the site into a pedestrian-friendly, mixed-use community,” part of the application states. from the developer.

The developer entered into an agreement with the city in June 2022 to purchase the excess land along 14th Street and 90th Avenue SW to facilitate development. The parcels, directly south and east of Glenmore Landing, currently serve as a landscaped barrier between the shopping plaza and the two highways.

RioCan’s proposal includes the development of six residential high-rises, which would house between 2,000 and 3,000 new residents, plus another seven multi-story buildings that would provide enhanced commercial and mixed-use development.

Altogether, the development would house approximately 4,200 residents.

Glenmore Landing
A consultation sign is displayed in front of 90 Avenue SW announcing a proposed redevelopment of the Glenmore Landing commercial area and surrounding green spaces on Monday, January 8, 2024. Brent Calver/Postmedios

‘Unprecedented’: many area residents oppose the proposal

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Many area residents have objected to the scope and density of the developer’s proposal.

The city’s public notice about the land transfer garnered 2,698 responses. According to the city, the vast majority of respondents were against the proposed sale and remodel.

Opposition focused on the sale of parks without first holding a public hearing, the increased traffic flow as a result of the influx of residents, and the effect on surrounding communities.

A group calling itself Glenmore Landing Preservation Communities formed last spring and has been sounding the alarm ever since. The group also started a petition on stopthetowers.cawhich describes RioCan’s plans as “unprecedented.”

Member Lesley Farrar said she would prefer to see city-owned land revegetated and revitalized with native species to create more habitat for wildlife.

“This level of development at that location, at the gates of the reservoir parks, will create unprecedented levels of congestion and extreme overuse,” he told Postmedia.

Glenmore Landing
A sign facing west of 90 Avenue SW is displayed on Monday, January 8, 2024 in protest of a proposed redevelopment of the Glenmore Landing commercial area and surrounding green space. Brent Calver/Postmedios

Farrar added that he is also concerned about the effect that years of construction and subsequent pollution could have on the Glenmore Reservoir, which is Calgarians’ main source of drinking water.

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But not everyone is against the proposal. Some who responded to the city’s public notice said they see the redevelopment of Glenmore Landing as a positive opportunity for transit-oriented development, affordable housing and improved access to roads and commercial services.

‘The infrastructure cannot support the traffic’: businessman

Many of the business owners in Glenmore Landing are wary of the possible development.

Gerry Miles, owner of Margareta Design for 34 years, said her women’s clothing store already suffered during the construction of bus rapid transit (BRT) lanes on 14th Street SW a few years ago. She argued that some customers told her they couldn’t access her store during those years.

Now he worries that the same thing could happen if RioCan development moves forward, but on an even larger scale and longer term.

While the prospect of a larger customer base is appealing, Miles noted that the development’s completion is many years away and several businesses in Glenmore Landing likely won’t survive the hardships to see that eventual payoff.

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“You can imagine, from a retailer’s point of view, how difficult it will be to build six towers,” he said. “Who knows how long it will take? Who knows what the value is? “To anyone with half a brain, it is very evident that the infrastructure cannot handle the traffic.”

Glenmore Landing
The Glenmore Landing commercial area and surrounding green spaces are shown on Monday, January 8, 2024. Brent Calver/Postmedios

The proposal ‘meets all the criteria’ for densification, says the area councilor

Although he is not part of the infrastructure and planning committee, the area’s Coun. Kourtney Penner said RioCan’s application “checks all the boxes” for transit-oriented development.

“In terms of looking at it from a political perspective, it’s next to public transportation, it’s close to other recreational amenities, it’s close to major roads (and) it’s next to major shopping and amenities,” he said. “It meets all the criteria of where we are looking to densify our city.”

The Ward 11 councilwoman admits the proposal has been controversial, but said she disagrees with the argument that the land for sale is currently a viable public park.

“There’s a lot of rhetoric around this being park space,” he said. “I am 100 percent committed to investing in parks. I would say, however, that we need to invest in parks where it makes sense, where people are actually going to reap the benefits of those investments. “This is not one of those spaces.”

Pending Wednesday’s planning and infrastructure committee decision, the sale of the land would still have to be presented at a regular city council meeting in the future.

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