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New communities debate leads to heated exchange at City Hall

Last Updated Oct 20, 2020 at 7:19 am MST

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – A discussion on whether to add 11 new communities in Calgary resulted in a heated exchange at City Hall.

On Monday council heard arguments for and against building the communities which would add an extra $23 million in annual costs.

At one point Ward 2 Councillor Joe Magliocca said that developers were leaving to build in other cities like Edmonton because it takes forever to get a permit in Calgary.

Mayor Naheed Nenshi disagreed with those comments saying developers always say that when things don’t go their way and that none have left Calgary.

Magliocca then asked the Mayor to speak with the developers themselves which led to this response.

“I’ve talked to them all Councillor Magliocca, I don’t go out for lunch or drinks with them, but I do talk to them all.”

The remark was in reference to the expense scandal currently shadowing Magliocca who inappropriately expensed thousands of dollars to taxpayers, including false work-related meals and flight upgrades.

RELATED: Magliocca ordered to repay more expenses, asks for same standard for council

Magliocca was upset by the comment and demanded Nenshi apologize.

The mayor said he’s sorry if his comments offended Magliocca.

Council heard a report regarding the new communities with City Administration recommending council not approve them at this time.

Administration wants developers to reapply following the next budget cycle in 2023.

The recommendation is based on a review of growth factors such as market demand, financial impact as well as development and transportation plans.

The 11 communities would cover 1,080 hectares and could house around 56,000 people.

“All administration is saying is not never just hold on, let the market catch up to what we approved to years ago and we will consider you. To me, that seems like an eminently reasonable thing to say,” said Nenshi.

According to the report, six of the communities did not meet the no capital cost criteria for the city. The report also noting the city may not have the revenue to invest in the infrastructure and services when needed.

“As the city gets bigger and our budget gets smaller we get thinner and thinner. we need to make sure we have the tools to do our work,” said Matt Osborne with the Calgary Firefighters Association.

WATCH: Sprawling development a concern to Firefighters Association

 

Even if developers get the green light, that doesn’t mean shovels hit the ground this year.

In 2018, 14 communities were approved by council, against city administration’s recommendations, and many are still sitting empty.

 

With files from Jackie Perez, CityNews