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Community Association (PBPCA)
Creating Opportunities for Community Connections
RioCan / Glenmore Landing Development Update - September, 2023
By John Kipp
On September 5th, the PBPCA Board of Directors welcomed representatives of the Communities for Glenmore Landing Preservation (CGLP) to deliver a presentation on the work and research they have undertaken since forming earlier this summer in response to RioCan’s announcement that they were moving forward with long-term redevelopment of the Glenmore Shopping Centre.
The CGLP is a committee formed by residents of the many surrounding communities south of Glenmore Trail to identify shared concerns and provide feedback to the City of Calgary about the proposed RioCan plan. The group’s goal is to inform and represent the wishes of all the communities impacted. The central concern over the RioCan plan is the significant residential densification in the form of six high-rise towers expected to house approximately 2,700 new residents over the next 15 years. The retail re-development planned by RioCan is also expected to add 300 new employees for a total on-site incremental population of 3,000 people.
At one time, Glenmore Landing was accessible by three road entrances and two exits. The access to Glenmore Landing from 14th street was cut off for the dedicated BRT lanes leaving two roads in and out. However, only one exit is available for traffic heading east and two exits for traffic going west on 90th avenue. The CGLP believes that traffic and parking in and around Glenmore Landing is already congested and RioCan has no plans to add new access and egress points. Adding 3,000 people will worsen the situation and the ability to reasonably access 14th street.
In addition, several concerns have been identified by the CGLP including, but not limited to, parking-on site and neighbouring streets, shadows created by the new towers, safety and crime issues, and the concretization of the parkland adjacent the Glenmore Reservoir. However, the biggest concern highlighted by the CGLP remains the inevitable traffic gridlock on 90th avenue and 14th street SW that would be caused by the densification of the centre plus news of a new development by the Calgary Jewish Centre located across the street.
The Calgary Jewish Centre has plans to add a school, a seniors’ facility, and possible retail on their site in the near future which includes the green space at the SW corner of 90th avenue and 14th street. The rezoning was approved some time ago and will further exasperate the traffic—both automotive and pedestrian—at those critical intersections. The 90th avenue and 16th street SW (Jerusalem Way) is a busy intersection for pedestrians and semi-mobile seniors living in the nearby retirement facilities will be further impacted.
The notion that most of these new residents, employees, seniors, and students would use the BRT Max Yellow line to commute and get around the city seems implausible to the CGLP, and they believe that both projects will result in regular gridlock on 90th avenue. However, this is not to say that gridlock will occur only when the developments are completed. The construction phases in that area over the next 15 or so years will congest this critical artery as soon as the permits are approved by the City Planning Department and City Council. This was exactly the PBP community’s frustrating experience during the construction of the BRT tunnel and station at 90th and 14th completed in 2019.
Once construction gets underway, area commuters may well avoid Glenmore Landing altogether and shop elsewhere, and then take the long-way home.
Interested in contributing or donating to the Communities for Glenmore Landing Preservation? Email email@example.com.
A Message from Communities for Glenmore Landing Preservation
September 9, 2023
We are a group of concerned citizens from area communities that is opposed to the redevelopment of Glenmore Landing as proposed RioCan. This is not NIMBYism. We are not opposed to development. The development industry and construction industry have contributed immeasurably to this city and continue to do so. Densification of our city seems to be a reality and is referenced in the Municipal Development Plan. We are not opposed to that conceptually, provided it is done responsibly, in appropriate locations respecting the existing character and traffic capacity of the neighbourhoods. The notion of adding density does not logically mean that all additional density is acceptable wherever proposed. There are locations where redevelopment may be appropriate, but in our view Glenmore Landing is not one of those locations. The proposal would see six 36 story towers plus intensified commercial space constructed on the lands, which will loom over the adjacent communities and parklands. The City is selling lands to RioCan that currently provide important green space and minimizes the centre’s visual impact.
We have two general areas of concern. The first relates to parklands, the City proposing to dispose of parklands and how the parklands around Glenmore Landing will be impacted by this proposed redevelopment. The original approvals for Glenmore Landing gave rise to an agreement between the City and the owner of the centre (then Intrawest, as purchaser from Campeau Corporation), which the City calls the “Park Agreement”, and which states that the lands to the west, to the south and to the east of the centre and transferred to the City by Campeau Corporation as parklands as a condition of those approvals. The agreement states that the City agrees that these lands would only be used by the City as parklands, subject to certain other limited other uses like pathways and roads and certain signage. That agreement is currently registered against the title to the centre. The current RioCan proposal includes that the City will agree, subject to the zoning of these lands being changed, to transfer the parklands to the south and to the east of the centre to RioCan, to be incorporated into the development area for the project. In 2015, the City passed a “Notice of Motion” which purports to characterize these parklands as “surplus” because the development of the lands is impaired by limited access. These lands were never intended to be developed but were transferred to the City as parklands and to provide for buffers to Glenmore Landing. These parklands are serving a vital purpose and are not “surplus” to that purpose at all. In our view, this Notice of Motion and any agreement of purchase and sale as between RioCan and the City contemplating that the City would sell these “surplus” parklands to RioCan for towers to be constructed on them, are inconsistent with the Park Agreement and the City approvals from which the Park Agreement derives and need to immediately be reviewed and cancelled. The proposal to amend the land use designation of these lands to eliminate their use as parklands and allow them to be developed with residential towers should also not proceed for the same reasons. We need confirmation that all legal requirements were followed to dispose of these parklands as required by the Municipal Government Act of Alberta.
Our other major concern is the impact of 1,248 new residential units plus intensified commercial development on the transportation network. With more than 3,000 additional residents and employees living and working here, traffic will be unacceptable verging on gridlock for all 90th Ave traffic. Glenmore Landing’s internal road access is already congested. There are only two driveways with no more proposed by RioCan. The one left turn lane onto 90th Avenue eastward is already congested. It is unrealistic to add 1248 residences with their associated commuter traffic, delivery vehicles, taxis, visitors, plus the intensified commercial traffic (large daily transport trucks) and expect the existing driveways to function. Will emergency vehicles be able to access the densely redeveloped centre or navigate through the congested 90th Avenue to neighbouring communities, adjacent seniors’ residences, and other facilities? The proposal does not in our view address the three seniors’ residences directly south of the centre and the pedestrian traffic which at times is understandably slow because at times involves walkers and wheelchairs. Does the traffic analysis contemplate additional traffic coming from approved and proposed developments such as the Co-op site at 24th Avenue and Southland Drive, redevelopment of the Jewish Federation across 90th Avenue (additional seniors’ residences, a school, a synagogue, and expanded day care facilities), potential development on 90th Avenue by the Tsuut’ina Nation, and other potential developments? Traffic will simply not function along 90th Avenue and especially at the intersection of 90th Avenue SW and Jerusalem Road. Simply put allowing more green time to exit the centre takes away from 90th Ave through traffic.
Other significant concerns from a planning perspective relate to shading on the adjoining parklands and the adjacent communities, light pollution, glare from the towers the affect on birds and bats and other wildlife in the adjoining parklands and accessing those lands from the parklands around the reservoir, noise, the visibility of the proposed towers from the adjoining parklands and recreational facilities all around the centre , including the pathways and walking paths, as well as from Glenmore Reservoir and Heritage Park.
Are the geotechnical characteristics and water table level of the lands suitable for the development and for deep underground parking facilities? Overflow parking of vehicles in adjoining neighbourhoods and shortcutting traffic are also planning concerns.
In short, we oppose this proposed development as being inappropriate for this unique and special location and unacceptable from a planning perspective. We also oppose any proposal to eliminate and sell parklands to be used for development purposes. How this proposed development will impact the adjoining parklands and recreation facilities, which are enjoyed by all Calgarians is not consistent with the City’s vision for the parklands around the reservoir and is not acceptable. City Hall fought hard to maximize the recreational parkland and ensure the centre would not be a blight on the adjoining communities and parklands. That great legacy and vision, which benefits all Calgarians, should be respected and continued. Parklands need to be protected and enhanced for all Calgarians both existing and for generations to come, not sacrificed to the addition of density.
We suggest that you make your views known to the following people at The City of Calgary:
David Duckworth, City David.Duckworth@calgary.ca
Brendyn Seymour, City Planner- Brendyn.Seymour@calgary.ca (587)-576-4310
Kourtney Penner, Councillor for Ward 11- Kourtney.Penner@calgary.ca
Courtney Walcott, Councillor for Ward 8- Courtney.firstname.lastname@example.org
Dan McLean, Councillor for Ward 13- Dan.email@example.com
Communities for the Preservation of Glenmore Landing reach out to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
The views expressed in the above document are solely those of the Communities for Glenmore Landing Preservation (CGLP) and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of the PBPCA, its directors, or its staff. The CGLP's opinions are based on their personal experiences, research, and analysis, and should be interpreted as such. Readers are encouraged to critically evaluate the content and form their own informed opinions on the subject matter. This opinion piece is intended to stimulate thoughtful discussion and debate and should not be taken as professional or expert advice.
City of Calgary releases 64 page Glenmore Landing Design Framework at https://www.calgary.ca/pla.../projects/glenmore-landing.html
PBPCA Announces Position on Glenmore Landing Development by RioCan
The PBPCA Board learned more about the planned RioCan development at their May 2nd board meeting and will be sharing additional details with the community across our social media platforms including our website at www.pbpcommunity.ca. In addition, Urban Systems, who is RioCan's interdisciplinary community consulting firm, will be posting updates to their website at https://urbansystems.ca.
As fellow PBP community members, we appreciate the concern expressed by our members both in person and via email. We are all affected and concerned by the changes proposed by RioCan. The City of Calgary approved the sale of their surplus lands to RioCan with the express purpose of leveraging the investment in the Max Yellow BRT with nearby residential development with a focus on creating a place where people can live, work, shop, and play within walking and cycling distance. This was voted on and approved by Calgary's City Council in 2015.
The PBPCA has decided to remain a neutral party to the developmental process. However, this does not mean that we cannot help our residents express their support, concerns, or opposition to RioCan’s plans. The PBPCA’s Mission is to connect the residents of the PBP and surrounding communities. So, while we strongly encourage community members to reach out and share their concerns, our role is to bring the community together and help support meaningful initiatives. This can be done by coordinating events, communicating updates through our social media channels, and making our facilities available for gatherings of interested groups in favour or in opposition to all/some of the proposed development.
Given the current state of the RioCan development initiatives, you have three areas of recourse. The first is through the Communities for Glenmore Landing Preservation. The Communities for Glenmore Landing Preservation is a committee formed by residents of the many surrounding communities south of Glenmore Trail to identify shared concerns and provide feedback to the City of Calgary about the Glenmore Landing Shopping Centre. Those concerns include:
• Proposed land use amendment changes by the City
• Proposed sale of “surplus” land from the City to RioCan
• RioCan’s potential re-development of the Glenmore Landing Shopping Centre and its currently designated Park Lands.
Their goal is to inform and represent the wishes of all our communities regarding this proposed re-development.
The second is through the Ward 11 Councilor, Kourtney Penner. The Councilor can be reached at 403-268-2430 or through email at email@example.com.
The third is through the City of Calgary’s Planning Department:
https://www.calgary.ca/development/contacts.html at 403-268-5311.
PBPCA President on behalf of the PBPCA Board of Directors