'This is a hot mess': Highland Park golf course development gets tentative nod but no final decision
Calgary council gets twisted into procedural knots before delaying ultimate vote on controversial proposal
A controversial plan to redevelop the former Highland Park golf course was given a tentative nod by Calgary city council Monday but the final decision was put off until March, leaving the door open for more changes.
A Vancouver-based developer wants to build up to 2,000 residential units on the land, which is bordered by Fourth Street N.W. on the west and McKnight Boulevard to the north.
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The site is near where the city plans to put an LRT station when it eventually builds the north-central leg of the new Green Line.
Area residents held demonstrations last summer to protest the density of the development, the loss of green space and the potential environmental impacts.
The proposal was revised in response to those concerns but numerous members of council said Monday they're not satisfied with the latest plan.
Council then gave initial readings to several bylaws that would make the project possible but stopped short of giving those bylaws third and final readings — which is required to bring them into force.
The discussion and votes consumed several hours on Monday afternoon and saw several councillors confused, at points, as to what they were voting for as they delved into the minutiae of the project's details.
"This is a hot mess that we're in right now," said Coun. Druh Farrell, after one particularly confusing exchange.
In general, Farrell said it was clear that a slim majority of council is OK with what's being proposed for the peripheries of the old golf course, but a slim majority is opposed to the plan for the chunk of land in the middle.
"So if the community's biggest concern is with the middle, let's send it back for more work," she said.
Council heard hours of complaints from area residents last week and received 196 pages of public submissions on the development, before deciding at that time to delay their vote until Monday.
Coun. Brian Pincott described the revised proposal as a "neither here nor there plan" and, while he's generally in favour of redeveloping these types of sites, he couldn't support this project as it stands.
"I think the area deserves better, deserves more," he said. "There is huge opportunity here."
The proposal is now set to return to council on March 20.