Calgary residents expressed anger over plans to build a 400,000 square foot shopping mall beside Canada Olympic Park (COP).
'Not only is it just a mall but you can't get to it and you can't leave. It's just wrong.' — Judi Vandenbrink
At a city-run open house Wednesday night in Bowness, locals were concerned about creating a possible traffic nightmare and spoiling a key entrance into Calgary.
Judi Vandenbrink of the Bowness Community Association was strongly against the project.
She is disappointed that where an Alpine Village was once planned there could now be a mall that she's convinced will clog roads in the area.
"Not only is it just a mall but you can't get to it and you can't leave," she said. "It's just wrong."
John Hall, with the City of Calgary planning department, said the proposed mall will be roughly a third of the size of the largest regional shopping centres in Calgary, like Chinook Centre or Cross Iron Mills.
He said the city is working with WinSport, which runs the COP facilities, to minimize the visual impact of the proposed development.
"From most angles along the Trans-Canada Highway the retail development would not be visible," he said. "Where it would be visible we’ve required in our policies an upgraded architectural treatment that would be a more appropriate entrance way to the city."
But longtime Bowness resident Andrew Stiles wondered why there was even a need for a mall because he said there's already plenty of shopping in the area.
"And I don't see any compelling need to develop anymore," he said.
Vandenbrink says a planning review of the whole burgeoning Trans-Canada corridor at the western end of the city is needed.
"There is an incredible amount of development that is being proposed all through that area," she said.
"So they need to do their research beforehand so we are not always looking at correcting mistakes after the fact."
City council is scheduled to hear public submissions on the proposed mall in early November.