2020

SO, WHAT IS THE DTC ANYWAY?

By Lee Hunt

Our community is fortunate to have a number of volunteers who serve on the Brentwood Development and Transportation Committee.

When Brentwood was a newer neighbourhood, there were not many applications for re-development of malls, homes, or secondary suites in Brentwood, so BCA members Casper Valstar and Kirk Osadetz were able to review and reply to the City on them.  However, that changed a few years ago when Brentwood Village, Dalbrent Mall, Northland Mall, and Northland Plaza all proposed redevelopment intentions at about the same time.  Around the same time, numerous Brentwood homeowners began applying to construct basement and backyard suites, as well as renovate or rebuild existing homes.  It soon became evident that a dedicated team was required to oversee all of the development being proposed.  Thus, in 2017, the Brentwood Development and Transportation Committee (DTC) was initiated. I recently had an opportunity to interview two DTC members – Melanie Swailes and Peter Johnson.

The DTC now consists of about a dozen people representing a considerable range of ages, occupations, and interests.  All bring enthusiasm to the committee and use their varied skills in various aspects of the committee’s work.  For example, three of the members have recently completed a “Community Values Document” to be used as the foundation for the DTC’s work.  Others have attended meetings with the police and the City regarding such topics as parking rules, while another is in charge of the website, https://developments.brentwoodcommunity.com/

Many DTC members have also taken a number of workshops through the City of Calgary and the Federation of Calgary Communities (FCC) on topics as diverse as bylaws, assisted living, and backyard suites.  Peter and Melanie wanted me to be certain to mention that FCC “Partners In Planning” workshops are free to those who are interested in learning more about planning.  For information on topics being offered, please go to www.calgary.ca and search for “partners in planning”.

Melanie and Peter explained to me that when the BCA receives a Development Permit application from the City for a Brentwood property, they create a “Neighbour Notification” which is then delivered in person to nearby affected residents and businesses. This gives people the opportunity to learn about the proposed redevelopment and provide input to the City.

The DTC team then evaluates every proposed DP according to the Land Use Bylaw, planning rationale and comments received from neighbours.  On behalf of the BCA, a response is then sent to the file manager at the City.  It is important for the City to hear back from the residents in a community, and the DTC ensures that our community has a voice in the redevelopment of houses, retail and commercial spaces in Brentwood.

The DTC posts all new Development Permits on its website so that residents can see what is proposed for our area.  DTC members also interact with City Planners, Councillor Chu, or other individuals who are involved in a proposed development.

We in Brentwood owe considerable thanks to members of the DTC for all of their dedicated volunteer work on our behalf.  The group meets monthly at 7:00 on the first Monday of every month upstairs in the Boardroom at the Sportsplex.  All Brentwood residents are most welcome to attend. Contact the BCA for more information at office@brentwoodcommunity.com or at 403–284-3477.

TO ALL BUGLE READERS – Thanks for reading and all the best in 2020!
Lee Hunt

Guidebook for Great Communities

Part of the difficulty in writing about Planning updates is that articles for the Brentwood Bugle have to be submitted far in advance.  In the December issue of the Brentwood Bugle, I wrote about the Guidebook for Great Communities which, at the time of writing, was slated to go to City Council in December 2019.  Numerous groups including Community Associations and the Federation of Calgary Communities asked for a delay, citing the need for greater community awareness and understanding of the document.

Prior to going before Council, the Standing Policy Committee on Planning and Urban Development (PUD) reviewed the Guidebook, and directed City administration to adopt the Guidebook with refinements that included in part:

  1. Build awareness among Calgarians about the changes being proposed and to allow Calgarians to participate in the community conversation on long-term planning and supporting growth with infrastructure and amenities.
  2. Communicate the vision and intent of the document within Calgary communities in partnership with stakeholder groups, before the document becomes statutory.
  3. Prepare a clear engagement process for statutory planning work going forward, making expectations clear to all stakeholders about when to engage, what type of engagement is required, and what the outcomes of the work will be.
  4. Provide clarity to the relationship between this work and the City’s shift to larger local area plans.

What does all this mean?

Basically, before the Guidebook can be approved, Calgarians should know more about it!  The proposed changes in the Guidebook include significant changes to low density districts such as Brentwood.

The Guidebook is now expected to go before City Council for approval in March 2020.  Once approved, the Guidebook will be a stand-alone statutory policy that guides future developments (or redevelopments).  It will apply to every community in established areas, and it will override current statutory documents in place for our community, for example, our Brentwood Station Area Redevelopment Plan.

What does this mean for Brentwood residents?

Please try to learn about the Guidebook!  There may be some events or information sessions that you can attend.  Dates have not yet been determined but we will post information on the Brentwood CA website as it is made available to us.  Also keep an eye out for possible City of Calgary events or advertising.

Where can I find more explanations and background?
On the City website, enter “Towards a Renewed Land Use Bylaw”.

https://www.calgary.ca/PDA/pd/Pages/Current-studies-and-ongoing-activities/Toward-a-Renewed-Land-Use-Bylaw.aspx

You will find answers to questions such as “What does this mean for low density districts?”, as well as illustrations of what potential redevelopment might look like.

Where can I read the Guidebook?

A complete copy of the 147-page Guidebook is on the City of Calgary website at www.calgary.ca, then enter “Guidebook for Great Communities”. https://www.calgary.ca/_layouts/cocis/DirectDownload.aspx?target=http%3a%2f%2fwww.calgary.ca%2fPDA%2fpd%2fDocuments%2fCurrent-studies-and-ongoing-activities%2fguidebook%2fdeveloped-areas-guidebook-proposed.pdf&noredirect=1&sf=1

We will try to post updates on the Brentwood CA website (www.Brentwoodcommunity.com), with a link to our Development and Transporation Committee website.

If you are interested in community planning and redevelopment issues, we welcome new members to join us.  We meet at 7:00 p.m. on the first Monday of every month in the Sportsplex Boardroom.  Our next meetings are on February 3, March 2 and April 6.  Please contact the BCA for more information at office@brentwoodcommunity.com or at 403–284-3477.

Submitted by Melanie Swailes

On behalf of the BCA Development and Transportation Committee

 What does the Guidebook for Great Communities mean for Brentwood?

In previous issues of the Brentwood Bugle, I have written about the Guidebook for Great Communities.  The Guidebook (once approved by Council, likely in April) will be a stand-alone statutory policy that guides future development in every community in established areas, including Brentwood.  It will override current statutory documents in place for our community, for example, our Brentwood Station Area Redevelopment Plan.

Where can I read the Guidebook?

A complete copy of the 147-page Guidebook is on the City of Calgary website at www.calgary.ca, then enter “Guidebook for Great Communities”. https://www.calgary.ca/_layouts/cocis/DirectDownload.aspx?target=http%3a%2f%2fwww.calgary.ca%2fPDA%2fpd%2fDocuments%2fCurrent-studies-and-ongoing-activities%2fguidebook%2fdeveloped-areas-guidebook-proposed.pdf&noredirect=1&sf=1

What does this mean for low density districts?

On the City of Calgary website, enter “Towards a Renewed Land Use Bylaw”.

https://www.calgary.ca/PDA/pd/Pages/Current-studies-and-ongoing-activities/Toward-a-Renewed-Land-Use-Bylaw.aspx

This illustration shows some of the housing forms that would be allowed in low-density districts, including rowhouses.  This would be a significant change to low density districts such as Brentwood.  It is important for you to learn about the proposed changes before they are implemented so that you can provide your feedback.

Why are these changes proposed?

The Municipal Development Plan encourages growth and change in low-density neighbourhoods by increasing the mix of housing types such as accessory suites, semi-detached, townhouses, cottage housing, row or other ground-oriented housing (Policy 2.2.5a). However, in many communities, including Brentwood, existing R-C1 land uses do not allow for built forms other than a single detached home unless a Change of Land Use (rezoning) is approved by Council.

The Guidebook seeks to make it easier to create a variety of housing types within established communities. Right now most of the homes in Brentwood have R-C1 land use (“single family”).  Allowing for duplexes, rowhouses or other built forms might provide greater variety of housing types and choice for those who wish to live in Brentwood but not in a detached home.

The Guidebook provides the overall framework for future development and Bylaws would need to be amended to accommodate the proposed changes.  The Guidebook would allow for a comprehensive way to allow for changes across all established communities instead of on an individual basis.

What are District Models?
Community planning would occur on a district model, rather than each community creating its own Local Area Plan.  Brentwood will be part of District 14, which also includes Dalhousie, Triwood (Collingwood and Charleswood), Highwood, Rosemont and Cambrian Heights.  Our communites have similar characteristics, and are linked by Northmount Drive.
Representatives from those communities, along with developers, builders and City of Calgary planners will work together to determine where it makes the most sense to have the greatest density, what form those buildings should have, etc.
This is important because the Guidebook would take precedence over any existing Area Redevelopment Plans; communities each still want to have some say in how development proceeds within their boundaries.

Where can I learn more?  Please try to learn about the Guidebook!

  • The City of Calgary has an interactive display at the Create Space on Level 1 of the Central Library, to the end of February, with Planners at the Library installation Saturdays and Sundays, from 1 – 3 p.m. to answer your questions.
  • The City of Calgary will also be at the upcoming Calgary Home and Garden show, Feb. 27 – Mar. 1. Check the City of Calgary website for other events or information.
  • We will post information on the Brentwood CA website as it is made available to us. Also check the Development and Transportation Website at https://developments.brentwoodcommunity.com/ for links or updates.
  • Join the BCA so that you are on our email list for future events or information. http://brentwoodcommunity.com/registration/

If you are interested in community planning and redevelopment issues, we welcome new members to join us.  We meet at 7:00 p.m. on the first Monday of every month in the Sportsplex Boardroom.  Our next meetings are on March 2 and April 6.  Please contact the BCA for more information at office@brentwoodcommunity.com or at 403–284-3477.

Submitted by Melanie Swailes

On behalf of the BCA Development and Transportation Committee

Updates on the Guidebook for Great Communities

The Guidebook was presented at the Standing Policy Committee on Planning & Urban Development (PUD) on March 4, 2020.  Some minor changes may be made to the Guidebook after the PUD meeting, but the document is scheduled to go before City Council on April 27.

The Council meeting will be a public hearing; residents can speak or submit letters for consideration by Councillors.

A complete copy of the 147-page Guidebook is on the City of Calgary website at www.calgary.ca, then enter “Guidebook for Great Communities”. https://www.calgary.ca/_layouts/cocis/DirectDownload.aspx?target=http%3a%2f%2fwww.calgary.ca%2fPDA%2fpd%2fDocuments%2fCurrent-studies-and-ongoing-activities%2fguidebook%2fdeveloped-areas-guidebook-proposed.pdf&noredirect=1&sf=1

For updates, check the Development and Transportation Website at https://developments.brentwoodcommunity.com/.
Past Brentwood Bugle articles regarding development and transportation are now available on the website as well.

for future events or information on the Guidebook and other topics, please consider an annual membership to the BCA to support our community and so that you are on our email list.  Our community is stronger with more members! http://brentwoodcommunity.com/registration/

Update on Short Term Rentals & Lodging Houses

A new City bylaw requiring all short-term rental (STR) hosts to hold a valid business licence came into effect on February 1, 2020.  “The bylaw was developed to help keep communities safe and enjoyable for hosts, guests and neighbours alike.” (all quotes from City of Calgary website for Short Term Rentals & Lodging Houses at www.calgary.ca/shorttermrentals)

What is a Short Term Rental?  A STR “is defined as the business of providing temporary accommodation for compensation, in a dwelling unit or portion of a dwelling unit for periods of up to 30 consecutive days.”  Airbnb is perhaps the most well-known platform, although there are many others.

Business Licence Bylaw – Every host must have a business licence and must comply with the regulations.  Fines can be levied for non-compliance.
If you have a short-term rental unit in your home, you may apply online or in person for a license.  If a secondary suite is being used as a STR, the host must meet all the requirements for a legal secondary suite plus they must have a STR license.

Overlapping Bookings – ​“A host cannot allow overlapping bookings of two or more bookings for the dwelling at the same time. This means an host cannot rent out separate rooms to separate guests under separate reservations but can rent out multiple rooms as part of one guest reservation.”

Advertising

Under bylaw Section 58.1(7), a host must include the business licence number in any advertising for the short term rental (such as on Airbnb).  The purpose of this regulation is to discourage “unlicensed hosts and advise guests that properties require a business licence in Calgary.”
As a guest, if the ad includes a business license number, there is an assurance that the suite has met at least the minimal standards of the bylaw.

How to be a Good Host or a Good Guest

With an increase in the popularity of STRs, regulations have been put in place prevent STRs from creating a nuisance that disturbs the surrounding community.  Two guides have been created to clearly outline the expectations for both hosts and guests.  Both are available on the City website (at the link in this article), and both are worth a look!

The good host guide provides hosts with an overview of regulations and processes, including tips and a checklist.
The good guest guide​ provides knowledge on expectations, accommodation practices and support through booking to stay.

Lodging House

A lodging house is defined as “the business of providing sleeping or lodging accommodation for compensation for three or more persons in the same dwelling unit for periods of 30 or more consecutive days, where each person has entered into a separate rental agreement.”

The owner of a lodging house must have a business license.  The owner must keep a permanent record of all guests, duration of stay, etc. and must provide that information to the Chief License Inspector upon demand.  This is to “ensure transparency of operators for guests and the Chief Licence Inspector”.  In addition, the home must have a Fire Inspection and an Alberta Health Services Inspection.  The City website provides details on STRs and Lodging Houses, including aspects such as noise bylaws, parking and safety.

Bylaw Contacts
For all of the above, you can find more information on the City website (address above).  If you have problems or concerns regarding a Short Term Rental or a Lodging House, contact 311 by phone, online or through the 311 app.

If you are interested in community planning and redevelopment issues, we welcome new members to join us.  We meet at 7:00 p.m. on the first Monday of every month in the Sportsplex Boardroom.  Our next meeting is on April 6.  Please contact the BCA for more information at office@brentwoodcommunity.com or at 403–284-3477.

Submitted by Melanie Swailes

On behalf of the BCA Development and Transportation Committee

COVID-19 and City Planning

This month I am writing an opinion piece rather than about specific City policies or plans.  These are my opinions, not necessarily those of BCA or DTC members.  This article was submitted at the end of March but you will be reading it in May: there may have been significant changes during that time period which are not reflected here.

The COVID-19 pandemic was declared by the World Health Organization on March 11, 2020.  Our lives changed so suddenly and so drastically on the following days as our schools and libraries closed, followed by city facilities, then restaurants and businesses, and finally almost everything except for essential services such as grocery stores, gas stations and of course, our hospitals.  Many people lost jobs and most of those still working were doing so from home.

Our homes become our 24 hours per day boundaries, with only short trips out for essentials or for a bit of fresh air.  This is a radical change to the way we live, work and spend our lives.  Parents, children and other household members were spending every moment of the day together, which could be either beneficial or stressful depending on the circumstances.

Many Brentwood residents have expressed to me that they are very glad and very fortunate to live in a house, a place with a basement for the kids to play in and a backyard with space to just get outside, even if quarantined.  How would the experience be different if you lived in a micro apartment or in downtown New York or Paris?  It’s a lot easier to isolate if you have space in which to spread out.  Even things like storage space make a difference: in many countries around the world, daily or frequent shopping at markets is the norm, not stockpiling in a freezer.

From a planning standpoint, how will this pandemic affect our lives when we get to the other side of the crisis?

Isolation / quarantine and density appear to be conflicting ends of the spectrum.  Is it possible to have both?  A “sprawled out” city is less efficient in terms of transportation, public connectivity, and even land use itself.  On the other hand, it is much easier to isolate in a home without shared access or facilities (i.e. elevators, shared hallways, laundry rooms, parkades, etc.).  A primary benefit of densified living is that common amenities can be provided:  for example, an apartment building may have a fitness center, a pool, a common entertainment area, rooftop decks or other features.  In part, those features may be the trade-off for the apartment size.  It is easier to live in a small apartment or studio because you gain amenities that can be used by all residents.  You are close to theatres,  live entertainment venues, indoor shopping or even plus 15s.  You may opt to not buy a car because you have great access to public transit.

What happens when public or shared facilities are forced to shut or when common access is not only restricted, but possibly dangerous as in the COVID-19 outbreak?

In Calgary, according to the 2019 City census, 929,000 people live in either a single-family or duplex home, representing 72% of all Calgarians.  The proposed Guidebook for Great Communities and the Municipal Development Plan encourage increased densification within our established areas. Is there a conflict between what a majority of residents have chosen for a housing form (built environment) and City sustainablity or even climate change?  Most of us have never really considered a pandemic as a possibility.  Now that we are living through it, will this change how we look at our homes and even our city as a whole?

Market forces will determine where residents want to live.  Beyond looking at amenities, safety has become paramount.  Physical distancing, keeping 6 feet apart at all times, is difficult when you are sharing elevators or common entrances. City sidewalks can be crowded and even our National Parks were shut down when residents seeking an outlet escaped to the countryside.  Suddenly, every day life in the suburbs and private backyards may carry more appeal.

Will we see a resurgence of movement towards suburbs, or will the appeal of the inner city remain? Large cities seem to take on a life of their own, as Vancouver and Toronto have shown.  Despite high costs, traffic jams and congestion, they continue to grow, which means people want to move there.  Even after 9/11, although there was a lull in travelling and building towering high rises, it proved temporary and the city rebounded.

Some things will likely require a rethink.  Public transit relies on a high volume of people, especially in peak periods.  Is it feasible to run buses with empty seats or to clean frequently throughout the day?  If people are hesitant to use public transit, will more of them drive and make the roads more crowded?  Or would it be better to close down some roads and encourage walking and biking?

Large-scale businesses or City facilities such as convention centers, movie theatres, Flames games or exhibitions will have to determine how they can resume activity while at the same time lessening risks.  Such facilities rely on large crowds, yet every individual may pose a risk to the others around him.  However, maybe we will all be so tired of physical isolation that we will eagerly want to be together en masse again.

We’ll almost certainly see some changes from brick and mortar stores to online, including groceries, take-out, even schooling.  Some of this could be beneficial, if for example, on-line learning means greater sharing of facilities so that fewer physical classrooms need to be built. Individuals who have been forced to work from home may decide that is a feasible option going forward.  Companies may decide they don’t need as much square footage after all, which would be detrimental to the many already empty office spaces in Calgary.

Nobody knows what our new normal will look like.  Each of us will make difficult decisions on what our working futures look like, how we will weather the economic crisis, and where we will live.  The choice in what type of housing we feel best suits our needs will play a very large role in determining the built form of our city in the coming years.  Developers will build what people will buy.  Experiencing a pandemic may play a large role in that decision.

Stay safe.  Follow Province of Alberta and City of Calgary Guidelines.
Thank you to the many Brentwood residents who have reached out to help each other during this pandemic.

If you are interested in community planning and redevelopment issues, we welcome new members to join us.  Our meetings have been temporarily suspended until further notice.   Please contact the BCA for more information at office@brentwoodcommunity.com or at 403–284-3477.

Submitted by Melanie Swailes

Why get involved in your community?

Since the COVID-19 pandemic was declared by the World Health Organization on March 11, 2020, we’ve all seen major changes to our lives.  Children are no longer in school, many people have either lost their jobs or are working from home, and other than grocery stores, few buildings are open.  All of the large public attractions or events are closed and will likely remain closed for many months.  Trips or holidays outside of our own areas are discouraged, if not completely impossible.

What this means is that our lives are now focused on our homes and our immediate surroundings.  Our community has become the place where we live, work, home-school and play.  Brentwood is a great area for long walks or bike rides and we are fortunate to have so many greenspaces and trees to enjoy.  I’ve never seen so many people just out for a stroll in the evenings, and during the day, there are always kids outside playing, riding their bikes or creating sidewalk art.

The Brentwood Community Association has stepped forward with a Brentwood Cares initiative so that residents can get help if they need it and others can volunteer their time and energy. http://brentwoodcommunity.com/covid-19/

Although the monthly BCA meetings have been cancelled, the Board is still working on financial updates and planning ahead.  The Development and Transportation Committee (DTC) is still receiving and evaluating Development Proposals.  The BCA has many volunteers who all do a lot of work behind the scenes in order to keep our community active!

But we also need your input. Now that many of you are spending so much time in your own neighbourhood, what have you come to appreciate?  What would you like Brentwood to look like in 20 years time?

The City of Calgary is asking the same questions as part of “Next 20: Municipal Development Plan & Calgary Transportation Plan review”  https://engage.calgary.ca/next20.  From the City website regarding Stage 1 of the survey:  “The survey was live on the calgary.ca/engage portal from March 1 to April 8, 2019, and 543 surveys were completed.”  Out of a population of well over one million people, only 543 people completed the survey last year!  You can now still provide input; due to Covid-19, the current survey questions are open for an indefinite period (as of the April deadline for this article).

Another proposed document that will guide future redevelopment in established neighbourhoods is the Guidebook for Great Communities. (You can find archived development articles from the Bugle at this BCA link:  https://developments.brentwoodcommunity.com/bugle-articles/.)

The Development and Transportation Committee reviews Development Permits (DPs) based on planning rationale, but we also want to reflect the views of our residents.  For example, when we deliver Neighbour Notificaitions for DPs, neighbours often write to the BCA with new information about the site:  information that we would not otherwise know, and which we can then include in our comments to the City file manager.

The same applies to the Guidebook since it proposes some major changes to what types of buildings could be built in current low density areas.  If you have time right now, please consider reading some of the above documents, and then write a letter to the BCA to let us know what you think. All communities and buildings have a lifecycle and will evolve over time.  Make sure you have a say in how that redevelopment happens.

Public participation can have an effect on a community.  We often hear people say “why bother?” or “they will just do what they want anyhow”.  Sometimes this appears to be the case, but by submitting our input, we at least can help the CA, our Councillor or elected officials, or the City understand what is important to us in our community.  It also helps them to understand that we want to be involved in decisions that affect us.

Covid-19 has restricted our movements and brought our focus to a local level.  The pandemic is world-wide, but each of us experiences it in our own little area:  our house, our street, our community.  Many of us have come to really appreciate our Brentwood area even more than we did before. Getting involved in planning surveys, community events and joining the Brentwood Community Association are all ways that we can help to make our community strong and resilient!

Stay safe.  Follow Province of Alberta and City of Calgary Guidelines.
Thank you to the many Brentwood residents who have reached out to help each other during this pandemic.

If you are interested in community planning and redevelopment issues, we welcome new members to join us.  Our meetings have been temporarily suspended until further notice.   Please contact the BCA for more information at office@brentwoodcommunity.com or at 403–284-3477.

Submitted by Melanie Swailes

Next 20:  Making Life Better for Calgarians
The State of the City Report

Calgarians are going to be hearing a lot about “Next 20” in the coming months.  The City of Calgary has detailed information on its website, so this is just a brief overview.  (Go to www.calgary.ca, then enter “Next 20” for links to the Engage site and links to other planning documents.)

What is Next 20?

Next 20 is a review of current plans and policies that guide growth and development in Calgary: the Municipal Development Plan (MDP) and Calgary Transportation Plan (CTP).  The existing MDP and CTP are long-range land use and transportation plans that were developed in 2009.

As it has been over 10 years since the MDP and CTP were finalized, the City is now reviewing these documents:  for example, what is working and what might need revisions?  The aim of this review is to develop a set of goals that will guide the City’s focus for the next 20 years.

The first stages of the review process have been completed and a report summarizes the key findings and the recommended changes.  The State of the City Report can be found here:  https://www.calgary.ca/engage/Documents/Next20/MDPCTP-state%20of-the-city.pdf

What are some of the key findings of the report?

The report findings fall into three main categories:

  • our economy
  • our environment
  • our communities

First, some miscellaneous statistics from the State of the City Report that you might find interesting from 2009 to 2019:

  • Calgary’s population grew by 220,000 people.
  • Most of the growth in population has been accommodated in the developing areas on the outer edges of the city, particularly in the southeast and north areas of the city.
  • The established communities (which includes Brentwood) in the city did experience a net increase in population of about 10% of Calgary’s growth since 2006 in these areas.
  • Growth in established communities has fluctuated with the overall health of the economy. The population in established communities increased when the economy was growing and decreased when it declined. This suggests that redevelopment opportunities in Calgary are tied to the city’s economic growth. Growth in the outer edges of the city also fluctuated, but they never lost population, even during the economic decline.
  • 57% of Calgary households lived in Single Family Housing in 2019.
  • Adults 65+ increased from 10% to 12% of the population, while ages 20 – 24 decreased from 11% to 6% of the total. This decline may be a sign that young adults are leaving Calgary, but it may also be related to natural demographic shifts.

The report details economic and environmental core indicators, but I’ll focus only on the third category, our communities.

In the section on “Revitalizing Established Communities”, a key feature of the redevelopment of existing areas is to shape

a more compact urban form.  “Accommodating some population growth through redevelopment of wide land parcels with single-family homes into multi-family homes like duplexes, townhomes and multistoried buildings can help make it more affordable for people to live in established communities. It also enables people to find different types of homes in the neighbourhoods they live in,  as their needs change.” (page 24 of the State of the City Report)

Brentwood is an example of a community with “wide land parcels with single-family homes” so this will affect redevelopment within our community.  How do you envision Brentwood in the next 20 years? How do duplexes, townhouses and multistoried buildings best fit into your vision?

Keep in mind that one goal of the MDP was to have 50% of all new growth in the City within established areas within 60 years (from 2009).  Right now, only 10% of new growth is in established areas, which means 90% of growth is still happening in greenfield areas, the outer edges of the city.

This is the challenge we face in Brentwood:  how does growth or redevelopment take place within our community, while still retaining the character of our neighbourhood so we don’t lose the things we love most?  There are no easy answers.

The report does acknowledge the “inter-related challenges Calgary communities face. These include: a continued focus on redevelopment in key intentional areas, supporting communities undergoing significant change, clarifying the role of identity and character as communities change, and advancing social equity through increased opportunities and access for everyone.”

Right now, as Covid-19 has restricted our movements, our jobs and our lives, we may see long-term changes that are not reflected in the State of the City Report.  Certainly, our downtown may look different if some workers continue to work from home, and this also affects commuting and transportation.  On a local level, many more people are outside during the day enjoying their own communities and maybe experiencing them in a new way.  This is a huge opportunity to ask people what is important to them.

What do you want the Next 20 to look like?  Get involved, read up on City documents and provide your input!

Thank you to the many Brentwood residents who have reached out to help each other during this pandemic.

If you are interested in community planning and redevelopment issues, we welcome new members to join us.  Our meetings have been temporarily suspended until further notice.   Please contact the BCA for more information at office@brentwoodcommunity.com or at 403–284-3477.

Submitted by Melanie Swailes

2019

Brentwood Development and Transportation Committee

Business in Brentwood

The Development and Transportation Committee (DTC) usually deals with and evaluates proposed new developments in our area, often commercial or retail spaces.  It is also important to remember and support the many existing businesses which we already have in Brentwood.  A Development Permit allows a business or building to be built, but after that, it is up to the local residents in the community to support the business and keep it running.

Brentwood is very fortunate to have so many facilities and businesses within our own boundaries.  Without having to leave the community, you will find medical offices (dentist, physician, physiotherapy, etc.), grocery stores (Co-op, Safeway), shopping centers (Northland, Brentwood Mall), fast food outlets and restaurants.

Sometimes I think we take them for granted because our community has grown up around all these businesses and services.  Many new communities take years to establish such a base, or they have one central shopping area but not nearly as much choice.  Our local businesses appreciate our support, and when we do support them, we make our community thrive!

Clarification Regarding Original Joe’s Restaurant:

Some of the information that appeared in the December Bugle requires further clarification. While a Development Permit has been approved for a cannabis store at the Original Joe’s site, a permit does not have to be immediately acted upon, and generally an applicant has three years in which to start construction. In addition, as of June 2017, the Land Use Bylaw allows an applicant to apply for commencement extensions which can be an additional number of years.

The owners of Original Joe’s would like to assure Brentwood residents that they plan to remain up and running for the foreseeable future. This is good news for us, as the DTC received many letters that opposed the cannabis application specifically because of closure of the restaurant.  Many stated they thought of OJ’s as “our” Brentwood restaurant and loved to go there to eat.  Original Joe’s has a strong base of loyal customers, so if you haven’t ever been, check out this local business.

If you are interested in community planning and redevelopment issues, we welcome new members to join us.  We meet at 7:00 p.m. on the first Monday of every month in the Sportsplex Boardroom.  Our next meeting is on January 7, 2018.  Contact the BCA for more information at brntwdca@telus.net or at 403–284-3477.

Submitted by Melanie Swailes

On behalf of the BCA Development and Transportation Committee

The Village:

On the corner of Crowchild Trail and Brisebois Drive, you will find one of Brentwood’s hidden treasures, “the Village” (the former Rocky Mountain College).  The Village offers everything from music and dance lessons, to acupuncture and therapy practices, learning centres, meeting spaces and others.  If you are looking for a pleasant and welcoming spot to meet with a friend for coffee, don’t miss Joyful Java, a community café with a free library, lots of board games and an all-round great place to meet and mingle.

There are many other great businesses that would be pleased to serve you.  Flower shops, pizza and other take-outs, salons and barber shops, we’ve got it all!  Support your local business and support Brentwood!

The Brentwood Development and Transportation Committee (DTC) was formed in 2017.  We recognized that there were many new Development Permits being proposed for our area and we needed a team to help evaluate and provide input on these proposed developments.  We also try to keep community residents informed about what is happening in our neighbourhood.  (Visit our website at brentwoodcommunity.com, then click on Developments.)  Since we try to reflect and represent the community on development issues, it’s important that we hear from you.

The Development Permit (DP) process for the City of Calgary allows for public input on Discretionary DPs.  A DP confirms that all the rules and planning policies have been considered. It provides a means through which neighbours, community associations and other affected individuals and organizations can provide feedback.

How can you find out about a proposed development in Brentwood?

  1. Notice posting – The City of Calgary will place a sign on the DP property to let you know about the application. The sign will remain in place for at least one week.  It provides details about how you can send your comments to the File Manager.  Typically, you have 21 days in which to submit your comments.
    If you choose to comment, also please send a copy to the Brentwood Community Association as well as to Councillor Sean Chu so we know what you think or how a DP will impact you and your property. The City of Calgary asks the CA for comments, so it is helpful to us if we hear from the affected neighbours.
  2. Online Posting and DP Map – The DP application will also be posted on-line. Go to the City of Calgary website (calgary.ca) and enter “Development Permit Public Notice”.  You can also view a map with every DP listed at https://developmentmap.calgary.ca/#map
  3. Neighbour Notification (NN): Whenever we receive a DP, we try to make sure the neighbours to the site know about the proposal.  We deliver a Neighbour Notification with some details and further information as well as the names of the contact people.  If you receive a NN in your mailbox, it does not mean there is a problem with the development, but rather just that we want to make sure you know about it.
  4. The Brentwood DTC website: We post details and information on our website.  Go to Brentwoodcommunity.com and click on “Developments”.  You will find current and archived DPs as well as topics such as secondary suites, cannabis store regulations and other general planning information.

What other resources allow for public input or provide updates?
The City of Calgary has numerous websites that provide good updates and information.  Here are a few that are recommended for anybody with an interest in civic affairs:

  1. Engage Calgary at calgary.ca has a list of city-wide projects that you can comment on. Issues range from Parking Permits to Off-Leash Areas to Flood Mitigation.  This is a very readable site that lets you simply click to find out more about current city issues and proposals and it’s definitely worth a look.
  2. Citizens’ View is a City of Calgary online panel to collect input from citizens on a wide variety of topics. You will have the option to participate in online surveys approximately once a month.  The website ca has links to join up and FAQs about the site.
  3. Council News in Brief has short summaries on the major issues that have been before City Council. Each summary is only one paragraph in length, but you can click on the title to get more detailed information.  This is a good way to keep track of what’s been happening, although it only reports after the fact.  Enter “Calgary Council News in Brief” into a search engine or go to http://www.calgary.ca/citycouncil/Pages/CouncilWardNewsBrief.aspx

If you are interested in community planning and redevelopment issues, we welcome new members to join us.  We meet at 7:00 p.m. on the first Monday of every month in the Sportsplex Boardroom.  Our next meeting is on February 4, 2018.  Contact the BCA for more information at brntwdca@telus.net or at 403–284-3477.

Submitted by Melanie Swailes

On behalf of the BCA Development and Transportation Committee

Who does the Brentwood Community Association Represent?

One of the best parts of being involved in our Community Association (CA) is the opportunity to meet with members from other CAs to exchange ideas or information.  We often discuss the roles of our respective CAs and how we can best represent our residents. The Bridgeland / Riverside CA has provided me with the basis for this month’s article, so thank you to Ali McMillan and Brian Beck.

We sometimes get asked what the role of our Community Association is regarding planning matters.  In Calgary, Community Associations are considered to be “directly affected” by community planning matters and are therefore entitled to have notice from, and to be heard by, decision makers.  In Brentwood, the Development and Transportation Committee (DTC) receives and comments on planning matters, most often on Development Permits.

Members of the DTC are volunteers.  We are all residents and members of the Brentwood CA.  Our goal is to ensure the widest possible dissemination of information (through our website, Neighbour Notifications, direct mail-outs or The Bugle), to collect feedback from residents or affected parties, and then to communicate the results to the City of Calgary.

We take steps to ensure that the DTC operates professionally, free from conflicts of interest, and we make sure that the process is transparent so that it fairly represents whatever diverse viewpoints may be forthcoming from the community. Meetings are open to the public, as are Brentwood CA meetings.

DTC members are responsible for educating themselves through courses, and through regular workshops put on by the City of Calgary and the Federation of Calgary Communities about the planning process generally, about the applicable bylaws, and about the appeals process. Committee members also must put in the work required to make sure they have a working knowledge of the Land Use Bylaw and applicable policy documents.

When we review an application, we must use sound planning principles.  For example, when we reviewed the recent cannabis store applications, we had to consider the specific locations, proximity to schools, parking and other factors, but we could not comment on whether or not we felt that cannabis should be legalized.  Similarly, since the City of Calgary has approved secondary suites as a discretionary Development Permit application, we must evaluate each application on its own planning merits:  does it meet parking requirements, have proper egress windows, etc.?  We cannot comment on whether secondary suites should be allowed or on renters versus owners.

Only if interested people communicate with the Brentwood CA (e.g. attend a meeting, send an email, make a phone call) can we possibly know to include that person’s comments in any analysis.  That is why we send out Neighbour Notifications to the neighbours directly affected by a Development Permit application:  we want to make sure you have the chance to comment on an application.  Once a Development Permit has been approved, unless it is appealed through the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board, it is too late.

When we receive feedback from the community, we pass along those comments to the City of Calgary Planning Department.  There may not always be agreement on an issue, but we try to provide advice, background information, or community context to help clarify what factors are being used to evaluate the proposal (such as the relevant Land Use Bylaw sections).

In Brentwood and Charleswood we are seeing a lot of change and renewal. Our DTC group tries hard to clearly represent a broad range of views on whatever planning issues the City sends our way. It is not the BCA’s primary goal to focus simply on the pros and cons of each file, but more fundamentally what we do is try to make sure that people have as much information as possible about what is happening, and also clear information about how to participate in the planning process.

If you are interested in community planning and redevelopment issues, we welcome new members to join us.  We meet at 7:00 p.m. on the first Monday of every month in the Sportsplex Boardroom.  Our next meeting is on March 4, 2018.  Contact the BCA for more information at brntwdca@telus.net or at 403–284-3477.

Submitted by Melanie Swailes

On behalf of the BCA Development and Transportation Committee

New Development Permits in our Area

The City of Calgary Planning Department sends a copy of every Discretionary Development Permit (DP) to the Brentwood Community Association.  The Development and Transportation Committee has the opportunity to review the DP, make sure adjacent neighbours know about the proposal, and send our comments to the file manager for each application.

Recently, we have received some interesting commercial Development Permits for new businesses in our area.  Even though the economic challenges persist in Calgary, we are seeing some creative and innovative uses in available commercial spaces, especially in and around Northland Mall.  Some of the vacant spaces are being filled by new-to-market stores, which can test their ideas in a retail setting in our local market area.

We are happy to see the mall spaces being filled and encourage you to check out some of our local businesses.

  1. At Northland Mall, on the site of the former Futureshop, there is a new art-based venture called INKubator. The space is large, allowing for a multi-use facility with space for artists to display their work as well as open space for classes, parties or activities.  INKubator is an “Arts & Science Playground” and it appears the company will adapt to the needs and wants of area residents.
  2. Also in Northland Mall, a recent DP showed a creative solution for an outdoor amenity space for Rhyme & Reason Early Learning Center. A requirement for the business included an outdoor space for children, so on the back side of Northland Mall, near the Gold’s Gym entrance, the applicants came up with a unique idea.  Shipping containers will be used as the “walls” for a space accessed from inside the mall.
  3. An outdoor market will again be a feature of Northland Mall. The application included a fenced off area with canvas tent structures that will remain in place for the season.  The location will be on the eastern side of the mall facing Northland Drive.  At this time, further details are not available, but we look forward to a seasonal market.
  4. A new CIBC bank is being completed at the former Cheesecake Café site. As soon as this building is completed, the CIBC branch will move from Dalhousie (next to the Co-op) to the new location.
  5. At Dalbrent Plaza along 52nd Avenue, a new dessert café will be opening on the site of the former Registry offices. Snowy Village Dessert Café will feature Korean ice cream and shaved ice as well as other specialty desserts.
    You may notice a change in parking along 52nd Avenue this spring because of concerns with available parking in the area around the mall.  Currently, there is school bus only parking all along 52nd Avenue, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  We have requested a change to school bus parking only on school days, and during school hours.  This would open up parking along 52nd on weekends, school holidays, and during the summer, all times when an ice cream café will likely be popular.

Our neighbourhood appears to be a popular one for business and we are lucky to have so many shopping choices within walking or biking distance.  It’s great to see that the store fronts do not remain empty!

If you are interested in community planning and redevelopment issues, we welcome new members to join us.  We meet at 7:00 p.m. on the first Monday of every month in the Sportsplex Boardroom.  Our next meeting is on April 1, 2019.  Contact the BCA for more information at brntwdca@telus.net or at 403–284-3477.

Submitted by Melanie Swailes

On behalf of the BCA Development and Transportation Committee

Brentwood’s Hidden Treasures

Sat May 4 10:00am (1.5-2 hours)

About this Walk

Find out more about Brentwood’s Hidden Treasures!

We’ll meet at the Community Center and walk to the Brentwood mural.  Find out why there’s a dog on the mural and the significance of the other painted items.  From there we’ll take a look at one of Calgary’s outstanding examples of Brutalism design:  the architecture of concrete at St. Luke’s Church.

As we walk along Northland Drive, we’ll stop to discuss the redevelopment and changes planned for Northland Mall.  Have you ever wondered why there are two major malls (Northland and Market Mall) so close together?  We’ll look at the development and planning history that resulted in that decision.

We’ll continue along Northland Drive and continue along Brenner Drive up to Whispering Woods, behind EW Coffin School.  We’ll walk on the hidden paths through the woods.  From there, we can see Nose Hill Park, and we’ll look at a map showing the hidden creeks that start at Nose Hill and run underneath parts of Brentwood.  Did you know that the creek in Confederation Park actually starts on Nose Hill?

We’ll walk back down the hill on Barrett Drive, then down 33 Street to the Brentwood Community Garden.  We’ll stop at the garden and look at the original Skate Shack and community building next to the garden.  From there, we’ll return to the BCA.

Members of the Brentwood Development and Transportation Committee will lead the walk.

Quadrant: NW

Meeting Place: Brentwood Community Association, behind SWC Pool

Finish Point: Brentwood Community Association

Walk Duration: 2 Hours

Areas of Interest: Architecture, History, Environment

Led By: Melanie Swailes, Peter Johnson

Look for: Meet at the Brentwood Community Association (near the Nose Hill Library, just behind SWC Pool)

Inner City: Yes

About the Walk Team

Brentwood Development and Transportation Committee members are passionate about their community! We love Brentwood and we hope you’ll join us!

Who was Jane Jacobs?

Jane was an urban activist and writer (1916 – 2006).  She revolutionized the urban planning profession through her observations and writings about how cities function.  She believed in creating communities with a strong sense of belonging and spent a lot of her time observing people, interactions and neighbourhoods.

Jane coined the phrases “eyes on the street” and the “ballet of the sidewalk”.

Eyes on the street meant that everyone felt safe because the presence of a crowd protected everyone.

She also referred to the intricate Ballet of the Sidewalk in which many different people “have distinctive roles and miraculously reinforce each other and pose an orderly whole”.  All these roles have a fundamental role of their own, and together they make our neighbourhood.

Jane’s Walks are a way of connecting to our own neighbourhood and seeing things in a new or different light.

Walk Route:

  1. Brentwood CA / Sportsplex building
  1. The Brentwood Mural
  • Created in 2016 through a grant from the Calgary Foundation
  • Artists: Daniel J. Fink & Katie Green plus many youth volunteers!
  • Celebrate the historical significance of this site, along with present-day references
    Left side:
    – tribute to Pauline, the woman who previously lived on a farm where the tennis courts are located. She had a brown house and an unpainted barn.
    – Penny, the border collie, was her dog and constant companion
    – Whenever Pauline would go to play bingo at the nearby community, Penny would be on Northmount Drive waiting for her return.Lower left:
    – Brown-eyed susans decorate Pauline’s barn with bright yellow.
    – They move across the mural intermingling with other native flowers such as the sticky purple geranium and harebells.

Center:
– Symbolic representation of Nose Hill.  The Nose Hill shape creates an arch through this visual landscape, connecting earth and Alberta’s open prairie sky.
– Within Nose Hill, you will see representations of grass, sage and other native plants.
– A neighbourhood rabbit sits as a central figure.  Its body integrates with Nose Hill, being and abstract pattern with repeating cell-like shapes.
– These cells represent the ecocsystem and reference the various life cycles that interconnect all things on earth.
– They may also be interpreted as a reference to the rich fossil deposits that exist in Alberta and a tribute to geological time.

Also included:
– Long-Eared Owl, a species which has been seen to nest on Nose Hill Park.
– Collage of abstract shapes and patterns.  They represent imagination as they developed from the creative input of the participating children.
– They are the connection point between land and sky.  They serve to remind us of our place as creative beings.

  1. The Nose Hill Library
    Opened in 1988, replacing the former Varsity Library (which had been in a mobile structure)
    – Trivia:  Confusion with Crowfoot library, which is on Nose Hill Drive!
  2. Luke’s Catholic Church
    – Brutalist style archictecture; a rare example of the Brutalist style used for a sacred institution.
    – A shift from traditional to modern church design.

This Change is a result of 2 things:
1.  A shift from traditional to modernism; the reflection of new, less formal modernist expressions for church design.  It was a radical new design.

2.  A result of the Second Vatican Council in 1962 – 1965.  Pope John wanted to “create an environment of dialogue, where the church would engage in all the forces of the modern world.”

Today, the council is credited with essentially shaping the modern Catholic Church.

– The Architects were Cohos, Delesalle & Evamy. Land set aside by 1964, church was dedicated in 1968.

Brutalism
– It is characterized by simple, block-like structures that often feature bare building materials.
Brutalist buildings are characterised by their massive, monolithic and ‘blocky’ appearance with a rigid geometric style and large-scale use of poured concrete. The movement began to decline in prevalence in the 1970s, having been much criticised as unwelcoming and inhuman.
– The term ‘brutalism’ was coined by the British architects Alison and Peter Smithson, and popularised by the architectural historian Reyner Banham in 1954. It derives from ‘Béton brut’ (raw concrete) and was first associated in architecture with Le Corbusier.

Examples in Calgary:

  • The old Public Board of Education building
  • The old Planetarium buildingAccording to Cynthia Klaassen, president of the Calgary Heritage Initiative Society, … one of the reasons why brutalism provokes negative reactions. “Brutalism is tied to the 1960s idea that, to make cities more liveable, we needed to destroy big swathes of neighbourhoods for these buildings,” she says. It was a utopian “just get rid of it and create something new” ideal that has since fallen out of vogue. Now, she says, we recognize that “new ideas do come from old buildings.”
    – Brutalism in many was responsible for creating the negative perception of downtowns and urban spaces as “concrete jungles.”

Unlike those who see brutalism as a conquest of nature, Jeremy Sturgess sees it as being in tune with its surroundings. “The thing about brutalism is that it’s a function of building organically to the landscape,” he says. “It used, typically, poured-in-place concrete to create heroic forms that are really sympathetic to the landscape.”

Planetarium is a building that is both responsive to its external environment and useful. “Brutalism allows architecture to be very expressive of its place and the ethos of its place,” he says. “Calgary has always been a raw, aggressive, and risk-taking kind of place. I think this building has always been a symbol of that.”

  1. Northland Mall
    “the poorer cousin to Market Mall”. We have 2 major regional malls very close together, not something often seen or allowed via planning zoning or regulations.

    How it came to be:
    – As early as 1962, Northland Mall was destined to become the first regional shopping mall in the NW
    – The Calgary Planning Commission deemed the project premature at this point.- Carma was developing the area around Varsity and expressed interest in creating a mall, now Market Mall.
    – By 1966, a planning study unexpectedly determined that not only was a regional shopping mall viable in the NW, but more than one could survive.
    – Much to the displeasure of the applicants, the CPC recommended that both proposals should proceed to the rezoning stage.
    – Both were presented to Council in January 1967.
    – Council ruled in favor of Carma, and Northland was temporarily abandoned.
    Why?  Possibly because:
    – more citizens opposed to Northland
    – Just before Council’s decision, Carma offered to put down a $25,000 bond and construct a golf course in the area (the Silver Springs golf course).
    – In 1969, Carma proposed transferring density from the golf course to multi-family complexes adjacent to Market Mall.  The City agreed to build Shaganappi Trail up to the mall, widen 40th, etc.
    – Criticism of the process, 40th avenue split the community
    – Northland ultimately ended up being built, but only after controversial changes to density on the Dalhousie side.Future Plans for Northland Mall
    – open air mall space in center, outdoor access buildings
    – similar to Deerfoot Mall renovation
    – outdoor stores, restaurants, etc.
  2. Sir Winston Churchhill High School
    – construction began in 1968, opened in 1970
    – has the IB program, over 2100 students
    Gross Area (sq. m): 19,936.90

Replacement Cost: $58,985,000 (2012)

  1. Wispering Woods Park
    opened in 2008 next to EW Coffin School
    – In September of 1995, the Dr. Coffin School community officially adopted Whispering Woods through the City of Calgary Parks and Recreation Adopt-A-Park program.
    – website:  http://www.natureground.org/wsigns_gps_on.html to find all the signs
  2. Nose Hill
    From EW Coffin, you can see Nose Hill
    Created in 1980 – I remember a march that was organized while I was in high school; a march to preserve the park instead of developing it.
    – 11 square Km, 4 largest urban park in CanadaDevelopment history:
    In 1954, Spyhill Development and Holding Company purchased 190 acres on the upper east slope of Hose Hill.
    In 1956, the company went to City Council with a proposal for 1000 – 1200 homes over a 4-year period.  The City Technical Palnning Board conditionally approved the proposal.
    Development would have gone ahead except for 2 factors:
  3. The Federal Aviation Commission, Airport officials and City: the upper 70 acres obstructed the clear flight path from the airport to the immediate east (the old McCall Field Airport).
    Jet planes were coming into use and needed a longer flight path, which would have extended closer to Nose Hill.  First jet plan in 1961. (land for new airport 1966, openend in 1977)

Utimately, there was a deal for a land swap in Collingwood, and a reprieve for Nose Hill.
(Note:  not based on the emerging concept of the area as a prime asset in its natural state.)

In 1971 Hartel Holdings planned to develop a residential community on the site of present day Nose Hill Park and requested amendments to the prevailing zoning by-law.
In the 1970s, a grassroots group consisting of members of local communities(most notably North Haven) and Calgary Field Naturalists’ Society, later known as Nature Calgary, worked together to lobby the city to protect Nose Hill from development.
In 1972 the City offered Hartel “$6873 per acre”. In 1972 the On July 3, 1972 the City passed a resolution to defer “development of the area in question until completion of a sector plan had been made.” By April 16, 1973 the City restricted urban development on 4100 acres in the Nose Hill area and began investigating acquiring the land.
The City adopted a municipal plan for development of Nose Hill Park on March 12, 1979. and a Master Plan for the park was incorporated in the City’s General Municipal Plan on June 17, 1980 created a regional park with 1,129 hectares of grassland.
In 1984 in Hartel Holdings vs the City of Calgary, the Supreme Court of Canada gave the City the “right to purchase land on Nose Hill at its own pace.”

In the 1980s Nose Hill Park was officially designated a protected area by the city.

Confederation Creek
– Why it’s relevant:  Brentwood is a catchment area for Confederation Creek; Nose Hill is the source

– Highland Park – City Council approved a land use change in 2017, ignoring residents’ concerns of overland flooding and pleas to stall approval until report is complete.
– The Confederation Park Regional Drainage study released June 2018, proposed construction of water storage sites to deal with flooding, at an estimated cost of $35,000,000 and requiring a significant chunk of the land slated for redevelopment.
– map of historical creeks from Nose Hill
– example of relevance: underground creek at Northmount / Brisebois

 Old Hall / Community Garden

Next 20 Years in Calgary
Municipal Development Plan & Calgary Transportation Plan review

There are two overall plans that provide policy and direction to guide decision-making in Calgary:  the Municipal Development Plan (MDP) and the Calgary Transportation Plan (CTP).  The City of Calgary is currently updating these long-range land use and transportation plans as part of the Next 20 plan.  Recently, Calgarians were able to submit their comments on-line in regards to what they feel are the most important aspects to keep in mind for future growth.  For more information, enter “Next 20” into your search engine or go to https://engage.calgary.ca/next20.

The following information is taken directly from the Mythbusters link on the City of Calgary’s Next 20 website.  See if you agree with these comments:

Myth 1: Calgarians love their cars and want to drive everywhere.

The City knows that driving will continue to be the most common way for Calgarians to get around, but it’s not the way for all Calgarians at all times. In fact, more Calgarians are choosing to walk and bike. The City’s goal is to provide transportation choices for all Calgarians, from ages 8 to 80, which are convenient, safe, affordable and attractive, including driving, walking, biking and transit.

Did you know? 1.1 million people use our sidewalks and pathways daily.

18,117 bike trips entered and exited the downtown in 2018, a 47% increase from 2015, when the downtown cycle tracks opened.

 

Myth 2: The things Calgarians need today will be the same in 20 years.

An aging population, more immigrants moving to Canada and our city, and changing lifestyles mean needs are shifting around housing, transportation and accessibility. This will have a growing impact on how and where people live and work.

Did you know? The number of seniors in Calgary is expected to double between 2014 and 2034.

In 2016, for the first time in Canada’s history, 1-person households surpassed all other types of living situations. More people are living alone, without children, or as part of a multigenerational family.

 

Myth 3: All Calgarians want to live in single-family homes.

Calgarians are looking for different types of homes to meet their needs. The number of people living in semi-detached and multi-family homes has increased. Semi-detached and multi-family homes made up 60% of units added to #yyc between 2011-2017.

Did you know? 53% of Calgarians expecting to change their type of home in the future see themselves in a semi-detached or multi-family home.

 

Myth 4: The City doesn’t care about addressing auto congestion.

In fact, Calgary is one of the least congested cities in the world, according to TomTom Global Traffic Index.

Did you know? The City allocated approximately 39% of its 2015-2018 transportation capital budget, about $185 million, to road infrastructure. (Source: Action Plan)

 

Myth 5: My community doesn’t need to redevelop; it’s fine the way it is.

Redevelopment is a natural part of a community’s life cycle. It helps neighbourhoods:

  • Maintain vibrancy and character
  • Support things like schools & shops
  • Accommodate changing housing needs
  • Improve transportation options

Did you know? As our city grows we need to consider our urban footprint & use land more efficiently. We need to account for the housing needs of our growing and changing population and what that will cost. This means balancing growth between developed and developing areas.

 

Myth 6: Good urban design is about making things look pretty.

Good urban design is about making places attractive for people to use. This considers the types of residential and commercial uses, how people get to, from and around the area, and elements like architecture, public art and landscape design.

Did you know? Good urban design contributes significantly to healthier communities and people. It encourages people to use outdoor places, which leads to increased economic activities and vibrancy, reduces social isolation, and promotes healthier communities.

 

Myth 7: Climate change will impact other places in the world more than Calgary, so we don’t need to plan for it.

Climate change is increasing the frequency and severity of extreme weather in Calgary. Climate modelling tells us that Calgary will experience more severe & frequent extreme weather events , which could impact our city water resources, cause damage to or failure of infrastructure, and threats to the health of our citizens.

Did you know? Eight out of 10 of the costliest disasters in Calgary have occurred since 2012. (Source: Insurance Bureau of Canada)

These are the types of things that will be considered in determining what Calgary’s next 20 years look like.  Your  opinions, ideas and concerns help make up the plans for our future.  Voice your opinion whenever you can!  You can also sign up for email updates at https://engage.calgary.ca/next20.

If you are interested in community planning and redevelopment issues, we welcome new members to join us.  We meet at 7:00 p.m. on the first Monday of every month in the Sportsplex Boardroom.  Our next meeting is on June 3.   Contact the BCA for more information at brntwdca@telus.net or at 403–284-3477.

Submitted by Melanie Swailes

On behalf of the BCA Development and Transportation Committee

Multi-Unit Development Permits Around Brentwood


In the past month, several Brentwood residents have contacted me or the Brentwood CA with questions about what is allowed in Brentwood in terms of multi-unit residential buildings.  The questions have been prompted by the 4-unit corner dwellings that are being built along 19th Street or in other areas not too far from Brentwood.  In most cases, what was once a single house has been replaced by a fourplex unit, typically by facint the new building “sideways” on a corner property.

The residents with whom I spoke want to know why so many of these new fourplexes are appearing nearby.

Many of these units are currently being built in the community of Banff Trail.  There are two main reasons for those developments in that area:

  • Most of the properties in Banff Trail are already zoned as R-C2, which means a duplex could have been built, even if the properties were originally built with only a single home. Now that the homes are older, the property owner may decide to rebuild rather than renovate and may choose to build a duplex.  This would not require a Land Use Rezoning if there is an R-C2 designation, even though the built-form of the house is what we’d commonly call a “single-family house”.

The City of Calgary recently approved a new Banff Trail Area Redevelopment Plan.  The amended ARP allowed for greater density, especially on end properties.  The end properties were changed to an R-CG Land Use, which allows for low-density rowhouses.  On the map below, different colors on the same streets designate varying densities depending on the lot location.

  1. You can find more background information here.   https://www.calgary.ca/PDA/pd/Pages/Current-studies-and-ongoing-activities/Banff-Trail-Capitol-Hill-community-planning-project.aspx

In Brentwood, most properties have R-C1 zoning, not R-C2 or R-CG.  Secondly, the Banff Trail ART includes amendments that specifically allow for changes on the corner lots to permit low-density rowhouses:  Brentwood, and surrounding communities such as Triwood or Dalhousie, do not. (Brentwood has a Station ARP which applies specifically to the area around the LRT Station, such as the Co-op and the malls towards Charleswood Drive.)

Any change of land use in Brentwood would require the approval of City Council, and community residents and the Community Association would be able to voice their opinions.  Communities do change over time, but in Brentwood, for the reasons above, a change like that in Banff Trail is not something that is likely to happen in the near future.  If you are interested in learning more, you can find the Land Use designation for every property on this map.   https://maps.calgary.ca/MyProperty/

If you are interested in community planning and redevelopment issues, we welcome new members to join us.  We meet at 7:00 p.m. on the first Monday of every month in the Sportsplex Boardroom.  We will not meet during the summer months, so our next meeting is on September 9, 2019.  Contact the BCA for more information at office@brentwoodcommunity.com or at 403–284-3477.

Submitted by Melanie Swailes

On behalf of the BCA Development and Transportation Committee

Staying Informed:  What’s happening in my community?

One of the challenges in any community is keeping residents informed about what is happening around them.  This applies to anything from construction to development changes or land use amendments.  That’s where the Brentwood Community Association Development and Transportation Committee (DTC) plays a valuable role.

What role does the DTC play in Planning decisions?

Although the DTC has no formal authority in planning matters, we are circulated on every Discretionary Development Permit (DP) submitted to the City.  That means that our group reviews the plans for every proposed development, and then provide comments and community context to the City of Calgary planning team.

Many members of our group have participated in planning sessions run by the Federation of Calgary Communities (FCC).  The FCC holds classes on a variety of planning topics, and provides background information to us related to reviewing a DP.  For example, a recent walking class featured a walking tour of Bridgeland, highlighting both accessibility and affordable housing.  On one part of the tour, we looked at how sidewalks and curb ramps could be built so that wheelchair users could navigate more easily.  Seeing examples in other communities helps us to evaluate or comment on similar items that we might see in our community, and that helps us in our DP reviews.

What role do residents play in Planning decisions?

Residents should have a say in what is going to be built around them.  The DTC writes up and delivers a Neighbour Notification to residents closest to a proposed new development (a secondary suite, a new building, a change of property use or a home-based business).  We started writing Neighbour Notifications in 2017 when it became apparent that residents were often not aware of a development proposed near them, and didn’t know that they were allowed to submit their comments on that application.

Residents can submit their comments directly to the file manager at the City of Calgary Planning Department.  It is also very helpful to us if the comments are also copied to the Brentwood Community Association and the DTC.  Why?  Because the DTC is representing the community, so we want to make sure we hear from you.

When we submit a response to the City on any DP, we first look at the responses or comments we’ve received from our residents.  We may then contact the file manager and ensure that those comments are taken into account, and we also include this feedback in our written review.  All comments have to be of a Planning nature (for example, dealing with height or setbacks, and not things like renters versus owners).

ow can residents stay informed?

  1. The DTC link on the Brentwood Community Association websitehttps://developments.brentwoodcommunity.com/

We post all DPs on this site, as well as other information such as Planning-related surveys.  Under the Archived DPs, you can find information about approved DPs such as the building currently being built at the old car wash site near the LRT.  We try to post information of interest to the community, so check it out!  You can also enter Brentwood Community Association into a browser to get the CA site, then look under Developments for the DTC site.

  1. Development Permit (DP) or Change of Land Use postings on site.  These are the signs that you might see on a signboard on the property next to you.  They are there to let you know that changes will be happening on that site, and there is information on the sign indicating where you can obtain further details or submit comments.
  2. Subscribe to Council News in Brief. These are short summaries on the major issues that have been before City Council.  Each summary is only one paragraph in length and you can click on the title to get more detailed information.  This is a good way to keep track of what’s been happening, although it only reports after the fact.  Enter “Calgary Council News in Brief” into a search engine or go to http://www.calgary.ca/citycouncil/Pages/CouncilWardNewsBrief.aspx
    You’ll find a link to sign up to receive the updates, typically every few weeks.
  3. Engage Calgary. This is a City of Calgary website at calgary.ca with a list of city-wide projects that you can comment on, such as parking reviews or smoking in public spaces.  You can also view more information, the background and updates for each project.  It’s a readable site that lets you simply click to find out more about current city issues and proposals, and then lets you submit your comments.

We’re always interested in hearing from you, so don’t hesitate to contact us or the Community Association to let us know what you think!

Melanie Swailes

Brentwood – We’re Number One!

Most of us Brentwood residents think our community is a pretty great place to live, and now it’s official!  Avenue magazine has ranked Brentwood as the top overall community in Calgary in their annual “Best Neighbourhood” edition.

Avenue magazine collected data on 185 established residential communities in Calgary.  A survey asked respondents to list and rank the characteristics that are most important to them in a place to live. Responses then underwent a max differential statistical analysis to determine just how important each amenity and characteristic is. Further information on each neighbourhood also included data collected from the Civic Census, Calgary Police Service and Open Calgary (the City of Calgary’s open data catalogue).

If you’d like to read about Calgary’s best neighbourhoods, a digital edition is available online at www.avenuecalgary.com.  For a print edition, a free copy is available at a number of locations across the city:  a full list of locations is at www.avenuecalgary.com/find-avenue/. Thank you to Käthe Lemon, Editor-in-Chief of Avenue magazine, for her willingness to help me with information for this article, as well as for explaining the survey and data collection methods to me.

What did residents consider most important?

  1. A High Proportion of Park Space and Pathways: Pathways were scored on proximity to regional (part of City-wide network), local (secondary route within communities) and trails (unpaved pathways recognized by the City). Parks were rated based on the size of parks, the number of smaller green spaces and the parks adjacent to communities.
  2. Good Access to Supermarkets, Grocery Stores and Food Markets: Using the City of Calgary’s business license data, varying points were given for supermarkets, grocery stores, specialty food stores and convenience stores licensed to sell food within a neighbourhood.
  3. Walkability: Walk Score measures the walkability of a neighbourhood based on the percentage of daily errands that can be accomplished on foot in the area.
  4. A High Number of Restaurants, Coffee Shops, Bars and Pubs: Again, City of Calgary business license data was used to determine the numbers of these types of businesses in Brentwood.
  5. Good Access to Major Roads: Brentwood has excellent access to Crowchild and Shaganappi Trails, as well as John Laurie Boulevard.
  6. Strong Community Engagement: A point system was used focused on the idea that a neighbourhood where neighbours run into each other more often is more engaged. Greater engagement opportunities included the number of households with a dog, the percentage of bike and walking commuters, the percentage of owner-occupied dwellings, access to pathways, the number of playgrounds, proximity to a library, and the community association membership levels and activities.

What else makes this a great community?

Brentwood residents really do have it all within our community!  On top of the items listed, we also have schools ranging from Kindergarten to High School, both Public and Separate.  There are several churches in Brentwood, as well as Northland, Brentwood, Dalbrent and Northland Plaza shopping malls.  You’ll also find many services such as dentists and doctors, lawyers, computer repairs, and even dog grooming and a registry office.

There is one more crucial element that makes Brentwood great:  resident involvement and volunteers!
On page ….. of this issue, you will see a long list of volunteers, everything from president to directors to representatives for figure skating or gardening or the environment.
Brentwood is very fortunate to have so many people involved with the Community Association (CA).  At our monthly meetings, guests from the City or other organizations have expressed surprise at the number of people who are always present.

Whether you are new to the community, or whether you’ve lived here for a long time, you are always welcome to join us.  If you’ve never been to a CA meeting, the best place to start might be with our Annual General Meeting on September 5th at the Brentwood Sportsplex (the ice arena building behind the SWC Pool and the Nose Hill Library).  Registration will begin at 6:30 with the AGM to start at 7:00.

Brief reports of the activities of the past year will be presented so it’s a great way to learn more about what has been happening in Brentwood and what is planned for the coming year.  Refreshments will be served after the meeting so that there will be time to socialize and meet some new neighbours.

We’re always interested in hearing from you, so don’t hesitate to contact the Community Association with questions or comments:  all the addresses and contact information are listed on page …..

I will end with a message from the BCA President, Bonita McCurry, who is always quietly active behind the scenes helping to make our community an active and vibrant one!

“As one of the board members and volunteers for the Brentwood Community Association, I am excited and honoured that Brentwood has been selected as the number one Community in Calgary.

Our residents are always willing to step up and volunteer when help is need. We are starting to get younger families back into the community which brings fresh ideas and suggestions for events in the community.

I want to thank everyone involved in this process of selecting Brentwood as the top community and hopefully we can keep moving forward with new ideas and plans.”

Submitted by
Melanie Swailes

What if I have a problem in the neighbourhood?

The Brentwood Community Association (BCA) sometimes receives calls or emails from residents who have a problem and are wondering what to do.  The nature of the problems can be diverse, ranging from parking issues, traffic (speeding), property upkeep (weeds or unkept lawns, snow removal or “messy” properties), noise (barking dogs, parties), or even wildlife (bobcats in the area).

Sometimes the BCA can directly contact someone to address the issue.  For example, we have a Community Resource Officer from Calgary Police Services, and a Neighbourhood Partnership Coordinator through the City of Calgary.  We may also contact our Councillor, Sean Chu, or one of his staff members.  We can pass on the information to them and sometimes they can advise us or resolve the issue directly.

If not, then what?

First, can you address the problem directly?  Ideally, talk to the responsible person / homeowner if possible.  Make sure they are aware of your concern and give them a chance to fix the problem.  If there are problems that a conversation does not solve, the appropriate way to deal with them is through 311 at the City of Calgary.

From the City of Calgary website:
“311 Citizen Services is your single point of contact for local government information and non-emergency services.  Whether you’re a resident, a business owner, or a visitor, your connection to The City is at your fingertips.”

Note that generally you cannot call most City departments directly, but 311 can advise you or forward your request. The City of Calgary wants 311 to be the entry point to all of its services and departments, so this really is the way to start.  311 operates 24 hours a day, through phone calls (dial 311), online submissions or via Mobile APP.  They will transfer your service request to the appropriate department for action.

Note also that Bylaw works on a complaint basis only.  Contacting 311 is the only way to register a complaint and seek action to resolve the issue.  If you say nothing, then nothing will or can be done.  (For example, bylaw officers do not generally drive around looking for unkept properties, illegal secondary suites or barking dogs.)

Many people have told me that they don’t want to complain, they don’t want to be on record and they don’t want to “tell on” someone.  All 311 reports are private and confidential.  The Mobile APP allows for anonymous submissions, but depending on the complaint, if you provide your name and address, you may receive follow-up information or be able to track your request.  You will be asked to provide a password and given a tracking number so that you are the only one who can request information about any follow-up on the complaint.

If you are unsure as to what the bylaws are with regards to noise, fire pits, pets, untidy properties or other issues, enter “Good Neighbour Practices Reference Guide” on the City of Calgary website.    https://www.calgary.ca/CSPS/ABS/Documents/Bylaws-by-topic/Good-Neighbour-Practices-Reference-Guide.pdf
This Guide is a very readable document.   What time can I start my leaf blower on a Saturday morning?  Where can my downspots drain water?  Can I park my RV in front of my house?  Does my dog need a license?  You can find answers in the Guide.

If you see a problem, likely other neighbours do as well and it benefits everyone to have the issue resolved.  It also sets an expectation for every property owner that he must maintain his property and comply with the existing bylaws.  Finally, if there truly is a problem property, calls to 311 are the only way to ensure that there is a record of complaints.  A bylaw officer will investigate and fines or penalties can be levied if necessary.

If you are interested in community planning and redevelopment issues, we welcome new members to join us.  We meet at 7:00 p.m. on the first Monday of every month in the Sportsplex Boardroom.  Our next meeting is on October 7, 2019.  Contact the BCA for more information at office@brentwoodcommunity.com or at 403–284-3477.

Submitted by Melanie Swailes

On behalf of the BCA Development and Transportation Committee

The Brentwood Pathway  

It takes a village to raise a child, but it takes a great community to paint a pathway!  On September 14th, Brentwood residents came out in force and created a terrific work of art in our community.  We had so many eager volunteers that we had make a quick run to the Dollar Store to pick up more brushes!

The idea behind the project was to engage the community and create a meaningful shared space.  The Brentwood Pathway has certainly done that.  In the past few weeks, as I walk along the path, I have seen children proudly pointing out the sections that they painted.  I have also seen one of our local seniors walking along the path, then jumping for a few steps as she reached the hopscotch!

Lee Hunt has written more about the painters on page …. of this edition of The Bugle.  I’ll focus instead on some of the numbers and questions that I’ve been asked about the project.

By the numbers:

Number of participants:  60

Age range of participants:  from 2 years old to 89!

Gallons of paint used:  16

Cans of spray paints:  about 12

Brushes used: 32

Rollers used: 18

Number of giant stencils supplied by the City of Calgary:  5
Stenciled games painted on the pathway: Hopscotch, Mirror Me, Jump, Left/Right and Bullseye

Sponsors:  Coop ($200.00 gift certificate used for snacks and drinks), Panago (pizza for lunch), and Starbucks (coffee first thing to wake us up!)

Paint from:  Sherwin Williams (Ranchlands)

Total cost of supplies and materials, snacks and refreshments:  $894.74   (does not include donated items)

How did the Brentwood Pathway come about?

The project started with an application to ActivateYYC early in the summer.

ActivateYYC started in May 2017 as an “urbanism micro-grant initiative”.  ActivateYYC encouraged Calgarians to come together to complete projects that would be fun and would liven up their community.
In June 2019, Activate YYC joined forces with the Federation of Calgary Communities, Sustainable Calgary, The Calgary Foundation, and The City of Calgary to “reimagine spaces across Calgary as places of greater walkability, activity, and connectivity”.

How was the project site chosen?

After the Brentwood Community Association application was approved, the next step was deciding which of our potential projects to undertake.  A group of volunteers met with members from ActivateYYC, and we decided that painting a pathway would be fun.  The obvious choice was the area now known as the Brentwood Pathway.  Why?  Because it is used by students walking to and from the four schools in the area, because residents use the path to get from the community to Northland Mall, because it connects with the bike lanes on Northland, and because it is right next to the community garden, rink, Old Hall and playground.

What were the next steps?

A section of the pathway needed to be repaved since it was badly buckled and uneven.  Through the efforts of the City of Calgary, our Councillor Sean Chu, and our Neighbourhood Partnership Coordinator, Dru Mohler, that section of the pathway was repaved just in time for painting.
Brentwood resident Candace Krush enthusiastically stepped up to create designs and a vision for the pathway.  The night before the event, Candace, Jeff Swailes and I swept the path and base-coated some sections so it would be ready for Saturday.  Colleen Jones contacted local businesses for donations, then also purchased snacks and refreshments.  There were many other people who helped out behind the scenes to make this happen.  A special thank you to Linda at the BCA offices for handling the emails for volunteers and printing waivers and posters.

A huge thank you to everyone who participated in creating a beautiful Brentwood Pathway!

If you are interested in community planning and redevelopment issues, we welcome new members to join us.  We meet at 7:00 p.m. on the first Monday of every month in the Sportsplex Boardroom.  Our next meetings are on November 4 and December 2, 2019.  Contact the BCA for more information at office@brentwoodcommunity.com or at 403–284-3477.

Submitted by Melanie Swailes

On behalf of the BCA Development and Transportation Committee

Jeff Swailes getting paints, rollers, brushes and supplies ready for the volunteers.

Candace Krush painting one of her sunflower designs.

How Should Communities Evolve and Grow?

When Brentwood was established in 1960, the population of Calgary was about 261,200 and the city covered 196 square kilometers.  (source: Glenbow Archives).  Today, Calgary has a population of about 1.3 million, and the city covers about 825 square kilometers.  Long-time Brentwood residents may remember when our community was a new suburb, seemingly far from the City core, but now we see development stretched out for many kilometers beyond our area.

As the Calgary population continues to grow, questions arise about the manner in which the city should expand.  Should we continue to grow outwards (commonly referred to as sprawl) or should the growth occur in already established communities?

In 2009, the City of Calgary approved a new Municipal Development Plan (MDP) which guides the planning process. That MDP set a very ambitious target that 50% of all population growth from 2009 until 2069 would be in older established communities called the Developed Area.  Of course, many things have changed in Calgary since 2009, including our economy, but even though the population growth has slowed down, the city continues to grow.  The City has set a mid-term target of about 33% of the cumulative population growth by 2039 to happen in established communities.  That includes communities like Brentwood.

In view of this challenge, the City is adopting a new Guidebook which directs how communities will grow and evolve. You’ll be hearing a lot about the Guidebook for Great Communities (“the Guidebook”) in the upcoming year.  At press time, the Guidebook is slated to go to City Council for approval on December 16, 2019.  To find a complete copy of the 147-page Guidebook go to the City of Calgary website at www.calgary.ca and enter “Guidebook for Great Communities”.

What is the Guidebook?  The Guidebook is the tool (statutory policy) that sets out guidance and a common understanding of how development will proceed. Part of this approach is to establish Multi-Community Local Area Plans that include policies for a group of communities instead of those stand-alone plans, as was the practice in the past.

What are Multi Community Plans (MCPs)?
There will be approximately 42 districts (MCP areas) representing the built-out area of the city.  For example, Brentwood, Charleswood, Triwood, Dalhousie and others might be included as one MCP.

Why is it important to you and your community? The Guidebook is the foundation for the future of planning in Calgary. This Guidebook will be a stand-alone statutory document and is an implementation tool for the MDP.

How will this affect communities?

  1. The Guidebook will be the foundation for all new Multi-Community Plans and will be the base for all policy for developments in our area.
  2. The Guidebook will apply to every community in the established area immediately, once approved by Council. Chapter 3 has policies like parking, site design, scale transition, building frontage, building design to name a few. These polices will override any current statutory document in place for our community, for example, our Brentwood Station Area Redevelopment Plan.

Why are some groups asking for a delay in approving the Guidebook?

Numerous Community Associations as well as the Federation of Calgary Communities feel that there has been limited consultation and awareness of this document.  The Brentwood Development and Transportation Committee also feels that there needs to be greater clarity and understanding of the document since it has major implications for all established-area communities in Calgary, including Brentwood. Since the Guidebook will sit at the highest level of Calgary’s planning hierarchy, if there is a discrepancy between a local area plan and the Guidebook, the Guidebook will prevail.

Please take a look at the Guidebook yourself (at www.calgary.ca).  There are numerous links that provide a great deal of information regarding future development in Calgary.  Thanks to the Federation of Calgary Communities for their efforts in evaluating and understanding the document, and for providing answers to questions.

If you are interested in community planning and redevelopment issues, we welcome new members to join us.  We meet at 7:00 p.m. on the first Monday of every month in the Sportsplex Boardroom.  Contact the BCA for more information at office@brentwoodcommunity.com or at 403–284-3477.

Submitted by Melanie Swailes

On behalf of the BCA Development and Transportation Committee