Plebiscite, abandonment proposal rejected; Calgary rezoning talks continue Tuesday

No resolution to Calgary's blanket rezoning proposal on Monday, although there were some eyebrow raising motions which were defeated. Silvia Naranjo reports.

Day one of the debate on blanket rezoning is in the books, with Calgary’s mayor and councillors in chambers until around 9:30 p.m. Monday.

Another marathon session gets underway Tuesday afternoon.

This comes following the city’s longest-ever public hearing, where Mayor Jyoti Gondek says the city got around 6,100 written submissions from the public since it started on April 22, including 700 Calgarians who said their piece at city hall.

“As we listen to people we also form new ideas. I can tell you that having listened to over 700 people, there’s things that were brought up that I hadn’t been able to consider in their entirety, and now I can,” she said.

Council members will return to hear dozens of amendments to the upzoning proposal.

One amendment calling for the item to be dumped altogether was defeated by a razor-thin margin with an 8-7 vote Monday, while another amendment from Coun. Dan McLean to hold a plebiscite was defeated also 8-7

RELATED: Rezoning talks return to Calgary city hall, councillor plans to once again propose plebiscite

Fellow Coun. Sonya Sharp says there’s plenty of debate — for and against — but believe there must be a better balance.

“One thing that was consistent between everybody — pro and against — was ‘Yeah we do need more housing in Calgary,'” she said. “But, this isn’t a silver bullet.”

“We’ve heard already that 70 per cent of Calgarians don’t support a blanket approach, but we also heard that we have a housing crisis so the question is — how do we skate in between?” Coun. Terry Wong.

Coun. Courtney Walcott adds this isn’t just a housing issue.

“To be very clear here, what we’re talking about whenever we have other people deciding — what we’re doing is letting other people decide, even more granularly what you do with your property versus expanding the right of individuals to decide what they’re doing with their own property,” he said.

If rezoning is approved, Calgary’s base zoning would allow for townhomes or row homes to be built in most communities alongside single-family homes and duplexes.

-With files from Silvia Naranjo

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