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  • December 16, 2011 9:48 PM | Anonymous
    Calgarians are invited to recognize fellow citizens for their contributions in making Calgary a dynamic, progressive and compassionate city by nominating them for a Calgary Award, a City of Calgary initiative that has been recognizing exceptional citizens since 1994. The City of Calgary encourages all Calgarians to consider nominating a colleague, community leader and neighbour along with local organizations and businesses by the nomination deadline of Friday, March 2, 2012. Calgary Awards is one of the largest citizen recognition programs in our city. With 17 awards in five major categories, The City proudly celebrates the difference Calgarians make. The major five categories include the following.
    Community Achievement Awards 
    Recognize outstanding contributions and achievements in community life including arts, commerce, education and heritage. This category also includes the Grant MacEwan Lifetime Achievement, Citizen of the Year, and Community Advocate for both an individual and organization.
    Environmental Achievement Awards
    Recognize efforts to protect and promote the city’s natural environment. Awards include Blue Skies, Corporate, Educational Institution, Individual Achievement and Not-for-Profit Organization.
    Signature Award 
    Recognize activities gaining international acclaim and bringing significant recognition to Calgary.
    Award for Accessibility
    Awarded for a building or facility that exceeds the minimum requirements of Section 3.8 “Barrier-Free Design” of the Alberta Code for accessibility by persons with disabilities.
    The City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Book Prize 
    Named in honour of Calgary writer W. O. Mitchell, recognize literary achievements by Calgary authors. NOTE: the deadline for the book prize is Dec. 31, 2011.
    Here’s your chance to recognize someone in your community whose efforts really stand out. Additional information, nomination criteria and the online application form can be found at calgary.ca/calgaryawards, by phoning 403-268-8881 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              403-268-8881      end_of_the_skype_highlighting or e-mail calgaryawards@calgary.ca.
  • December 08, 2011 10:22 PM | Anonymous

    When Beryl Ostrom's elderly neighbours decided to give up their Glamorgan home for seniors housing, they didn't leave the neighbourhood. They found a place in Glenway Gate, a few blocks away. They didn't even sell their home. Instead, one of their kids is moving in with a young family. That, Ostrom says, is what's great about Glamorgan. She keeps her neighbours, inherits some new ones to help keep the community fresh, and she avoids the losingyourneighbours anxiety that often accompanies such news. "This happens quite often in our community," says Ostrom, who is the president of the Glamorgan Community Association. "You can go from cradle to grave without having to leave the community. That keeps your social investments." In the urban planning world, Ostrom is speaking of housing mix, a once esoteric part of planning that has come to have a huge effect on the way communities in Calgary grow, age and regenerate. Although Calgary is famous for tidy suburbs filled with tracts of single-family homes, a diverse mix that also incorporates condominiums, apartments and seniors complexes has become a new mantra for planners and many developers, who are touting housing options in new communities under construction. While planners say a diverse housing mix makes for stronger communities by attracting diverse residents - young, old, rich and poor - and lessening the effect of the boom-bust demographic life cycles that plague some areas, the idea is far from beloved. In fact, the idea of housing mix is at the heart of a continuing debate in the city over secondary suites, and many residents worry that retrofitting communities in line with such ideas threatens to destroy the things they love about their communities. For Project Calgary, the Herald has compiled City of Calgary data on the housing mix in 200 Calgary communities and found some surprises. Some of the least-diverse are those single-family dominated burgs on the fringes of the city, such as Hidden Valley, Saddle Ridge and Coventry Hills. But also lacking diversity are urban communities downtown and in the Beltline, which are filled with condos and apartments, but few detached single-family homes. The most diverse communities are those like Glamorgan, a 1950s-era suburb with a healthy dose of single-family homes punctuated by a large number of condominiums, duplexes and apartments, mostly on the fringes of the neighbourhood. Also scoring high on the list are Patterson, South Calgary, Dover and Midnapore. Gary Weikum, an instructor of urban planning at the University of Lethbridge, says a diverse mix of housing has several positive implications. By offering more options, people can stay in their community throughout their lives, without having to look elsewhere when they have kids, retire or move into assisted living facilities. A mix can also help shelter a community from the downsides of big demographic changes, such as when school enrolments fall or aging residents have difficulty maintaining amenities. "Most neighbourhoods go through that generational life cycle over time, but the life cycle tends to lessen if there's a mix," Weikum says. Ostrom says she thinks the diversity in Glamorgan has helped give it a strong foundation and enabled it to keep a vibrant population through the years. "It's a huge bonus, but we also have a very stable housing population group," Ostrom says. "If you want to sustain your community, you need a big mix. You also have to have things to attract people that will regenerate a community, like  schools." Tamar Epstein, president of the Rutland Park Community Association, which also includes Currie Barracks (currently under construction) and Lincoln Park, which also scores well on the housing mix index, agrees with Ostrom that a stable core group is essential to keeping a sense of community. She thinks the diverse mix in her community - which also includes co-operative housing - gives the neighbourhood more density. "Because of the density, it's creating a lot more options," she says. "It supports local business and makes for more housing options." These communities, however, were planned with that mix. That wasn't the case with many suburbs built during the 1980s and 1990s, which are dominated by single-family homes. Trying to retrofit such neighbourhoods to add more housing options can be expensive and disruptive. In the southeast community of Riverbend, which has 3,253 single-family homes out of a total of 3,445 dwellings (94.4 per cent), according to city statistics compiled for Project Calgary, community association president Rose Martin says she sees how more housing options might benefit her community, but initiatives to make such changes are often resisted by residents. A recent condominium proposal on the edge of the neighbourhood, for example, was initially rejected by neighbours, until both sides agreed to concessions. "To all of a sudden have these big, huge buildings, looking down into people's backyards and that kind of thing, it was just not (accepted) by the community," Martin says. She and many other residents worry such developments might ruin the feel that has existed in the neighbourhood for years. Such arguments have dominated the city's recent debate over secondary and basement suites. Advocates for affordable housing trump relaxed restrictions on secondary suites as a way of creating more affordable housing units and bringing more people into existing neighbourhoods. Opponents, however, say changing the rules after they bought into a certain lifestyle is unfair. They worry about parking and traffic problems, and changes to the feel of their neighbourhood. Calgary's new municipal development plan, developed from the document known as Plan It, calls for the creation of "complete communities," which is defined partly as places "where people of varying ages, incomes, interests and lifestyles feel comfortable and can choose between a variety of building types and locations in which to live." While such principles guide new development in Calgary, city council rejected a call this year to allow secondary suites throughout the city. The debate over housing mix is not uncommon in other municipalities, says Weikum, even with its inherent contradictions. He pointed to a study that found most aging empty nesters would choose to move into an apartment if it enabled them to stay in their community. The same group, however, said they would not like to have more apartments built in their neighbourhood. "I don't think we are always good at understanding the long-term consequences of our own individual choices," Weikum says. "There's this balancing act between what's good for the public . . . and what is sometimes seen as good planning. "That's what the role of municipal politicians should be, maybe to look more long term." For her part, Ostrom says she's grateful her community was built with a mix of housing, and she sees that reflected in the way homes are kept within families for generations. "What makes a community work is the people who live in it. They've invested their lives and their children's lives," she says. "If you plan things, as people age, you don't have to go very far." Help us explore the idea of density. One of the bigger questions raised by the issue of housing mix is around density - the number of people who work and live in a given area. The city's long-term goals include increasing density in some areas, but such actions are controversial. That's why we're asking Herald readers to help us explore the issue. Visit the Project Calgary blog to share your thoughts on housing density, or drop us a line. Visit CalgaryHerald.com/ProjectCalgary, drop me a note at Twitter.com/ TomBabin, Facebook.com/Tom. Babin, on Google Plus, or e-mail me at tbabin@calgaryherald.com.

    How we did it- Housing mix can be a tricky thing to measure, so we took the advice of the City of Calgary and, using city data, compiled what's known as a Simpsons Diversity Index. The index was devised to quantify the biodiversity of ecosystems, but is increasingly used by urban planners, as well. The index takes into account the different types of housing in a neighbourhood and the total number of dwellings, and creates a score, from zero to one, representing the diversity of that housing. In our measure, the communities closer to zero are the most diverse. To see the raw data, visit our website and download the spreadsheet. Communities with the most diverse housing mix:

    1. CFB-LINCOLN PARK PMQ

    2. GLAMORGAN

    3. PATTERSON

    4. SOUTH CALGARY

    5. PALLISER

    6. GLENBROOK

    7. INGLEWOOD

    8. ROSSCARRCK

    9. GREENVIEW

    10. ALTADORE

    © Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald 

  • July 13, 2011 10:23 PM | Anonymous

    New playground gets mention as one of the best playgrounds and play spaces Calgary has to offer.

    See: http://www.calgaryplaygroundreview.com/2011/07/coach-hillpatterson-heights-community.html

  • February 17, 2011 10:25 PM | Anonymous

    CALGARY - WinSport Canada is planning a huge retail/commercial development at Canada Olympic Park that would include a grocery store, retail stores, restaurants and two hotels, the Herald has learned. The proposed development, subject to city approval, would be about 400,000 square feet. Retail stores would be geared to promoting healthy, active lifestyles and the hotels would accommodate 300 rooms - one family-based and a larger one with a spa and conference centre. The proposal is currently before the City of Calgary. It includes the sale of about 22 hectares of land to a developer. The proposal is geared to complement current use at Canada Olympic Park, raise capital for the facility and create an ongoing cash flow. Dan O'Neill, president and chief executive of WinSport, said "we're on a very clear mission to become unique to the world." "We want to have a national sports institute here," he said. "And that includes a high school. We want to be able to service all the winter sports. "When we were giving the guidelines to the potential purchasers, we wanted these things to complement what we're offering." The proposal will be before the Calgary Planning Commission in late March or early April. Contingent on city approval, WinSport would like to start servicing work this summer and perhaps start construction in early 2012 with opening some parts of the project by 2013. Jim Younker, chief operating officer of WinSport, said the process started in the 1990s when WinSport had accumulated these lands with a Master Plan done in 2000 which led to an Area Structure Plan in 2005. "The biggest change in the Area Structure Plan and why we're seeking an amendment there's two issues. One is refining the areas that are developable and the second is the actual land uses," he said. "And in large part the land uses are dictated by the market. "We spent a fair amount of time pursuing opportunities to develop more of an employment area, which basically the city defines as office ... But after the crash of 2008 and the current state of the office market, there just simply is no demand for office in this area and we commissioned an independent report and it identified that not only is there no market now but there's unlikely to be demand for office in this area for 10-15 years." Younker said the development of the land will help WinSport create the national winter sport institute on the site. About 22 hectares of land just off the TransCanada Highway and Sarcee Trail will be sold to develop the site. He said there is about 178 hectares of land at Canada Olympic Park of which about 66 hectares is being given to the city for a park, which would be directly south of the proposed commercial development. Younker said about 12 per cent of the land there is proposed for commercial development. Also, the city has an interchange planned for the intersection at Bowfort Road and the TransCanada Highway. "We've been entrusted with the responsibility of maintaining these Olympic facilities up to speed so the athletes continue to train," said O'Neill. Younker said WinSport is working on an arrangement to sell that land which is subject to getting all the approvals and servicing in place. "We went to the market through Brookfield Financial who's our real estate consultants. Basically solicited offers on these lands and proposals on how they'd be developed and interestingly enough we received 13 proposals which we were amazed. We were able to narrow that down to six then three then our final choice which we're negotiating with now," said Younker. "Every offer came in for hotel/retail. We didn't get a single company expressing any interest in office. The developer, we're working with now, we're working on incorporating some office into the plan. What we want to accomplish with this is three things. We need capital. So that's motivating us. We also want to make Canada Olympic Park a bigger draw. So hotels, restaurants, those sorts of things are strategic to us. They fit very well with the other things we're developing here. We want an ongoing cash flow. All of these things are going to help us be sustainable." An open house is scheduled for Tues. Feb. 22 between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. at the Festival Tent at Canada Olympic Park to discuss the new Master Plan and amendment to the current Area Structure Plan. "The proposed shopping and dining amenities of this project are welcome news for residents in this under-served quadrant of the city," said Michael Kehoe, an Alberta-based retail specialist with Fairfield Commercial Real Estate Inc. "Retailers and food service tenants seeking locations on the west side are sure to demonstrate high levels of interest even though the project is two to three years into the future. "The mixed-use nature of the proposed development that includes the hotels, restaurants and lifestyle-oriented retailers will be well-suited to the trade area and tourist traffic." Recently, WinSport Canada unveiled its new athletic and ice complex with the opening of three North American size rinks at the 500,000-square-foot facility. Once completed the facility will also include a 3,000-seat international ice rink and a high-performance training centre. That project includes a five-storey office tower of about 100,000 square feet. Dan Harmsen, vice-president and associate broker of Barclay Street Real Estate Ltd., said about 30,000 square feet of that tower will be occupied by WinSport, Hockey Canada and other non-profit sports groups and about 70,000 square feet is available for lease. The office tower will be available for occupancy this fall, he said.

    mtoneguzzi@calgaryherald.com

    Printed in Calgary Herald.

  • December 04, 2007 10:26 PM | Anonymous

    A $1-billion private health club, complete with a spa, squash courts, hockey rinks, a movie theatre and a 22-storey condo hotel, is being proposed for the city's west side by a local developer calling it the "largest sporting and social club in North America." The upscale Edworthy Club would be built just south of the Trans-Canada Highway, between Sarcee Trail and the Bow River. Its developer is seeking approval for land-use changes within the next five months. "It's a Dubai type of project. We want the biggest and the best in the world," said Martin Dolemo, whose Dolemo Developments has built projects in several Calgary communities. Dolemo proposes a two-million-square-foot facility to be built on about five hectares of a 19-hectare site, featuring 16 squash courts, two hockey rinks, an auditorium, a conference centre, a spa and wellness centre, a 400-unit condo hotel and some 130,000 square feet of workout space, including three gyms, a running track, tennis courts (10 indoor and seven rooftop) as well as five swimming pools. The facility will be private, with a goal of up to 10,000 members. Other amenities are to include six restaurants, stores, an art gallery, music and computer training rooms, a car wash, a nursery and an 11,000-square-foot indoor playground. "This will be a place where everyone in the family can enjoy themselves . . . but stay together under one roof. It keeps the family together," Dolemo said. "And even though it's private, it will free up public space. People from Springbank, for instance, may no longer want to go to the Westside Rec Centre." But surrounding communities and conservationists fear the project's scale and location are inappropriate for a wildlife corridor adjacent to the Bow River. David Baker, planning director for the Montgomery Community Association, says the project takes away from the public realm, from the view of the river valley, which is something he says belongs to everyone. "It's tall, it's massive, it's quite out of context for a river valley . . . a rather mundane piece of glass-and-concrete architecture, which is quite oversized and inappropriate." Niki Smyth, a member of the society of Bowness Residents, says she opposes the project simply because of its location along the river. "It's a huge footprint -- 20-plus storeys on top of a private club, inside of a wildlife corridor . . . where there's all kinds of wildlife, flora and fauna." Mac Hickley, manager of the Parks Foundation's river valleys committee, says he'd rather see the 19 hectares be dedicated to open public park space with an improved pathway system. "Even though the area they plan to develop is flatter, open space, it's still an important part of the habitat, the habitat area of Edworthy Park continues to this site. "Animals need that meadow and flatter land, too." But Dolemo argues his company is doing everything possible to ensure minimal impact on the site, proposing to use only 28 per cent and leaving vegetation undisturbed. Mike Gavan, a project consultant for Dolemo, adds that environmental assessment studies have been done by the developer showing the lands are a brownfield site, formerly housing a brick factory and an auto-wrecker. "When we build, we will exceed all regulations placed on us," Gavan said. Hickley adds that increased traffic to and from the site may pose problems, particularly for neighbouring communities who may get shortcutting. Other groups are also concerned the recreational features won't be available to the public. Perry Cavanaugh, president of the Calgary Minor Hockey Association, said he wouldn't want the two hockey arenas closed off to public groups such as minor hockey leagues that need more ice. "There's a huge demand for ice in this city. For us, it's all about getting as much as we can as quickly as we can." Dolemo confirmed he wouldn't provide public access to his rinks, explaining that use of those facilities would free up other arenas. "I'm well aware there is an ice shortage . . . but I'm not here to solve all of the city's problems for them." No date has yet been set for Dolemo's application to redesignate the land from an urban reserve to a direct control district, but it is expected to go before the Calgary Planning Commission within five months. Once the planning commission debates the proposal, it will go before a public hearing of city council, allowing communities, environmentalists and any other parties to speak to it.  eferguson@theherald.canwest.com

    © (c) CanWest MediaWorks Publications Inc.

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