Tensions flair at open house on blanket rezoning in SE Calgary

Landon Johnston and Calgary city councillor Peter Demong coming face-to-face at a blanket rezoning open house Tuesday, days after Johnston said he'll make Demong his next recall target.

Discussions on blanket rezoning in Calgary hit a new high Tuesday night at a an open house in the city’s southeast.

Landon Johnston, the man known for starting the petition to recall Mayor Jyoti Gondek, was one of hundreds of people at a packed open house in Lake Bonavista to share their concerns with city-wide rezoning.

“We’re not happy with you,” he said to Ward 14 Coun. Peter Demong. “You’re supposed to be a leader, you’re supposed to be fighting for us every single day in office.”

“We’re fed up with this administration and council shoving their agenda down our throats and telling us to take it, and I think it shows that people are going to stand up and fight back against this,” Johnston added.

The city has been looking at boosting density in many neighbourhoods that currently only allow single-family housing.

The proposed change is based on recommendations from the housing strategy approved in September.

Demong says it’s clear from his constituents that many want nothing to do with blanket rezoning.

“Is there not city land available? Is there not places closer to downtown that they could build housing? Why are they infiltrating the rest of the city where people have moved – whether you call them NIMBYS or not — people moved to the suburbs for a reason,” Johnston said Tuesday.

The Ward 14 councillor says it is all part of a bigger issue.

“I’ve mentioned this to the province several times — when we see the population of Medicine Hat moving to the Calgary area every single year, we need some help,” he said. “We need help with our infrastructure, we need help with housing, we need help, and the province has got to be there and start coming to the rescue to us because it’s huge.”

A public hearing is set for April 22, where the mayor says she hopes misconceptions will finally be put to rest, and hundreds of Calgarians will share their thoughts with council.

“What I’m encouraging these people to do is actually have their own voices heard. They have an option of showing up in person or on the phone at the public hearing on Monday, April 22,” Demong added. “I am encouraging as many of them as possible to write their concerns down and send it to the city clerk so the rest of city council will actually hear their voices as well.”

Johnston isn’t exactly hopeful.

“They say we have a say in it, it’s already going to pass,” he said. “There’s nothing we can do about it, except we can get rid of councillors that aren’t going to fight for us.”

This event comes days after the petition organizer told CityNews he planned to launch a recall of Demong.

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