Historic blanket rezoning hearing takes over Calgary city hall

Calgarians packed city hall Monday for the first day of public hearings on the city’s blanket rezoning proposal. With upwards of 700 speakers, the hearing is expected to last all week. Jillian Code reports.

Monday marked the start of the largest public hearing in Calgary’s history, with hundreds of people signed up to speak to city hall to share their thoughts on proposed city-wide rezoning.

The marathon hearings began at 9:30 a.m., and will go for 12 hours — wrapping up at 9:30 p.m. The public hearing is set to last a number of days, to give nearly 700 people a chance to speak.

More than 5,500 written submissions have also been made to city council.

Alida Brisha is one of many against the proposal, and showed up to a protest outside city hall to voice her concerns.

“I have no problem with people moving to Calgary, but you’ve got to understand that just moving to Calgary doesn’t mean that you get affordable housing or you get a job,” she told CityNews. “I moved to Calgary because I’m an avid skier, I love the mountains, I moved out here for a lifestyle. But, a lot of people are moving out her because they think there is jobs here and they think there’s affordable housing here, but there’s not.”

Another protester, Verna, who lives in Meadowlark, told CityNews she believes the introduction of blanket rezoning policy will cause residents to lose rights.

“If blanket rezoning goes through, we lose the right to speak up against any development that happens, we have no — even not against it, but even having a comment — and adding to the process, it takes away our democratic rights,” she said.

Verna also expressed worry over the loss of tree canopy, issues with parking and infrastructure.

Verna, who lives in Meadowlark, outside Calgary City Hall for protest against proposed blanket re-zoning on Monday, April 22, 2024. (Reese Tenhove, CityNews image)
Verna, who lives in Meadowlark, outside Calgary City Hall for protest against proposed blanket re-zoning on Monday, April 22, 2024. (Reese Tenhove, CityNews image)

Mayor Jyoti Gondek says she understands this issue matters to a lot of Calgarians.

“There is a lot of emotion around this and people are incredibly concerned about the magnitude of change that will come,” Gondek told CityNews660 on Friday. “The one thing I will say is this will be incremental, it’s not as though your neighbourhood is going to change overnight. First of all, the property owner has to make that decision — it’s not a city decision to come in and change what properties look like. So, this is something that will be a gradual exercise.”

Over the weekend, Gondek was busy preparing for the week ahead, meeting with representatives from 42 community associations on Saturday, as they voiced their concerns about the proposed changes.

“It was a great two-way dialogue and there was a common bond in the fact that we recognize that we need more housing in our city and that we want to build stronger, more neighbourly communities,” she said following the meeting. “At the same time, representatives of these community associations talked about some of their concerns, and what they’ve been hearing from some of their residents.”

WATCH: Councillors weigh in on blanket rezoning proposals

The premise of blanket rezoning is to make it faster for housing approvals, and make it easier for more housing options to be built in some neighbourhoods around the city, by allowing R-CG — also known as Residential Grade-Oriented Infill — which would mean more duplexes, rowhomes, or townhouses could be built.

Coun. Dan McLean told CityNews at a protest outside city hall, he still believes putting the proposal to a vote would have been the best choice.

“I’d like to hear from everybody, and the simplest way to do that was a plebiscite,” he said. “So, I still think that was the best way — we could’ve put it on the ballot and heard from everybody — quicker, cheaper, and actually more effective.”


McLean brought a notice of motion forward in March, which suggested a blanket rezoning plebiscite be added to the October 2025 municipal ballot.

He had the support of Couns. Andre Chabot, Sonya Sharp, Sean Chu, Peter Demong, and Terry Wong, but the motion was ultimately defeated in an 8-6 vote.

The mayor, who voted against running a plebiscite, says she is looking forward to hearing what everyone has to say at this week’s hearing.

“I’m interested in hearing what Calgarians have to say. I’m very interested in hearing what my colleagues have in terms of amendments,” Gondek said.

Listen live to CityNews660 for the latest on the historic public hearing.

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