Calgary

Tsuut'ina chief meets with Lakeview residents over ring road development

The First Nation has planned a commercial development along Calgary's southwest ring road, that will include entertainment, hospitality, retail and mixed-use developments.

Residents are concerned over 37th Street closure

Tsuut'ina Nation Chief Lee Crowchild addresses attendees at a town hall in Lakeview on Saturday. (Terri Trembath/CBC)

The chief of the Tsuut'ina First Nation spoke to residents of the Calgary community of Lakeview on Saturday to open a dialogue as construction begins on a multi-billion dollar development.

"To take on something of this magnitude, it's kind of a game-changer," Tsuut'ina Nation Chief Lee Crowchild said.

The First Nation has planned a commercial development along Calgary's southwest ring road, that will include entertainment, hospitality, retail and mixed-use developments.

The project has been estimated to cost approximately $4.5 billion.

Part of the planned construction on the ring road includes the 37th Street access project, which is a joint project between the City of Calgary, Alberta Transportation and Tsuut'ina.

Residents were concerned construction would effectively remove one of two access points into the community for two years, Crowchild Trail as the main route through the area, while a new overpass is built at Glenmore Trail and 37th, which Alberta Transportation said would not be the case.

About 400 local residents attended the meeting at a local charter school, many of whom were there to voice concerns about the development.

Residents voiced concerns about property values and crime rates during the meeting.

Scharie Tavcer lives in Lakeview. She expressed her concerns about traffic at the community's town hall. (Terri Trembath/CBC)

Scharie Tavcer, a parent who lives in the community, said Lakeview citizens are particularly engaged because it's an established area where multiple generations of families live.

She said she doesn't want a misunderstanding over why some residents are upset about the development.

"It's not about telling them what to do, no colonial ideas or attitudes, it's about the roadway. It's simply about traffic," she said.

Chief Crowchild said concerns were raised when the casino was first built about it bringing a "criminal element" to the community.

But he said that fear is simply not true.

"We have a very dedicated police force. We are on top of it," he said.

Building bridges

He said his main mandate as chief has been to build bridges between communities, and said that he welcomes people voicing their concerns, especially given the scale of the project that's underway.

"We have to move forward," he said.

Lakeview Community Association president Geoffrey Vanderburg said he's glad discussions are taking place.

"The fact that the Tsuut'ina Chief Lee Crowchild came and talked to us, says that if you're willing to have a dialogue, willing to listen, you're willing to get to know each other then you're going to get more done," he said.

Construction on the ring road is expected to be complete by 2021.

With files from Terri Trembath

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