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  • Writer's pictureWard 7

Councillor Wong on Citywide Rezoning

Updated: Jun 2

On May 14th, 2024, Calgary City Council voted to approve the Rezoning for Housing-related bylaw with a 9-6 vote. Based on the feedback expressed by Calgarians throughout this entire process, especially at the 4 Townhalls I hosted, at the Public Hearing where over 700 speakers, and after reviewing the more than 5,000 emails and letters received with over 70% of respondents were against blanket rezoning, I voted against this proposal.

While I know that Calgary is facing a housing shortage and affordability problem, the initial recommendations and the process of sharing these with the public were flawed. The Housing Strategy has 98 recommendations, and many are related to helping, particularly those sleeping rough in encampments, living tough in shelters – some of which are unsafe, and living next to being evicted or in abusive situations; these were the priorities that Calgarians believe should have been addressed first. Instead, we dedicated significant City staff to focus on passing this one recommendation of 98. This recommendation will provide hundreds of additional housing units each year, but not for the thousands that need transitional housing, social housing programs, and below market affordable housing supports. The process followed, and the votes- with the number of Calgarians that turned out and expressed their views and priorities, I believe that the outcome was disrespectful to the principles of representative democracy in Alberta.

Later this year, August/September, citywide blanket rezoning will come into effect, changing the zoning for all low-density parcel zoning from R-C1 and R-C2 (single-dwelling, semi-detached, duplex) parcels to allow for single-dwelling, semi-detached, and duplex PLUS rowhouse, or townhouse)R-CG, which will allow for a maximum of four dwelling units and 4 secondary suites on a typical 50’x120’ residential parcel.

Throughout this process, I worked diligently to find solutions that would provide the additional needed homes while still respecting the character and feel of our communities. This is why I brought forward several amendments and supported numerous others that reflected what we heard from community members throughout the process. I want to outline these efforts today to help you understand the measures we took to address this issue thoughtfully based on what Calgarians expressed that they wanted.

I firmly believe that addressing the housing crisis is the right thing to do. However, I also believe in addressing the needs of all Calgarians by doing things the right way. Respecting all constituents is a responsibility shared by elected officials and public servants. While the amendments to the recommendation brought some improvements, the decision to implement blanket rezoning was misguided and fell significantly short of the right approach.

There are better ways to address the housing crisis, such as focusing on other housing strategy initiatives rather than blanket rezoning. We should not address this issue to the detriment of our communities, and certainly not by disregarding the voices of thousands of Calgarians who expressed their concerns. We must find balanced and respectful solutions that genuinely address the housing needs of our city without compromising the integrity of our neighbourhoods.

Regardless, I will continue to advocate for and represent our constituents in finding, if not building, affordable housing that meets their needs.

Thanks for allowing me to represent you on this critical challenge.

Terry Wong, Ward 7 City Councillor

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