Calgary councillor refutes conflict of interest allegations over blanket rezoning event

A Calgary city councillor is speaking out after allegations he was in a conflict of interest after attending an event on blanket rezoning over the weekend.

One resident is alleging that during the meeting, Ward 9 Coun. Gian-Carlo Carra was guiding people on how to persuade other members of council to vote yes to blanket rezoning during a public hearing.

Carra is refuting those claims and says he was only invited to the event to provide advice.

“I was invited by a citizen group that was offering a free workshop at the Calgary Library on how to present to city council,” he says.

The councillor adds he is still amenable to persuasion.

“Let’s not be naive, this is something we’ve been working on for years,” Carra says. “I don’t go in without opinion.”

But George Clark, a Ward 9 resident who attended the event, says he believe the councillor’s actions amount to a conflict of interest. He says he is filing a formal submission of his complaints to the public hearing process.

“It will be part of the public record,” Clark says. “I’ve also filed a complaint with the integrity commissioner.”

Carra was the only councillor invited to the event, says Alex Shevalier with Calgary’s Future — the third-party adviser that put on the event. He dismisses the allegations.

“Everybody was welcome, it wasn’t like it was a secret,” according to Shevalier.

Clark says he wants Carra to recuse himself during the upcoming public hearing. Council’s public hearing on blanket rezoning is on April 22.

The public hearing will see council listen to concerns from Calgarians, which will then be followed by a vote to make a change to default base zoning to rowhouse-ground oriented in fill (R-CG). A rowhouse building has more than three units and is located side-by-side, and there can be a secondary suite within.

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

joint letter signed by more than 40 community associations in Calgary is urging city council to vote against blanket rezoning, saying it won’t supply more affordable non-market housing options.

Ward 14 Coun. Peter Demong recently hosted a couple of townhalls, and Landon Johnston, who has become synonymous with the recall petition on 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.

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith took to the airwaves of her province-wide radio show Saturday to share her thoughts on blanket rezoning, saying she has “always lived” in communities zoned with a variety of mixed uses because of the proximity to commercial amenities.

However, she said that’s just her personal choice.

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