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Mayor responds to proposal for 11 new communities in the city

Last Updated Oct 16, 2020 at 12:41 pm MDT

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi wears a mask while speaking to reporters at the Glenmore Dam on Friday, September 4, 2020. (PHOTO: Tom Ross, 660 NEWS)

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – Next week, city council will look at a proposal to build 11 new communities on the outskirts of Calgary.

Administration will recommend that the city reject the proposals for now and instead, invite developers to apply for the next budget cycle starting in 2023.

Mayor Naheed Nenshi said rushing on several underpopulated communities will end up costing other Calgarians.

“We still have to sort through snow removal, street cleaning, fire services and so on. Before enough people live there, it ends up costing taxpayers and all water ratepayers quite a lot of money.”

Nenshi added it makes more sense to finish one neighbourhood before moving on to another.

Groups such as the Calgary Firefighters Association and local paramedics are not in favour of building the new communities unless more staff are hired and more funding is given to their departments.

Vice president of the association Matt Osborne said firefighters are at breaking point and approving more communities quickly jeopardizes safety.

“We’re not against growth. What we do, what our job is is to protect Calgarians. We need to be there for Calgarians on what’s possibly the worst day of their life. What we need is as the city grows and continues, we need to be there, we need to be there for all Calgarians, regardless of where they live in a timely manner.”

WATCH: Sprawling development a concern to Firefighters Association

 

Ward 7 Councillor Druh Farrell also raised concerns about the proposal earlier this week and said it’s not the right time for this type of expanded growth.

“It’s about supply and demand. It’s really that simple. And who is carrying the risk,” she said. “If we do move forward with it, as a council, then we will be looking at cutting services to every Calgarian.”

Nenshi agrees, pointing to a recent study showing a problem with oversupply.

“I think my colleagues on council and land developers need to answer the question, why in the world would this be a good time to add to an already dangerous oversupply which would risk destabilizing the entire housing market and popping the bubble. To me, that’s super dangerous.”

Administration said in its report that the economic conditions right now do not favour the developments and moving ahead with the plan could prevent the city from making improvements to existing communities.

City council will hear the proposal for the new communities on Monday.

-with files from Tara Overholt, CityNews