City politicians speak their minds on Plan It Calgary

Fast Forward talks to every council member (except one) about long-range plan

After the city released a draft of Plan It Calgary Fast Forward asked city council members for their thoughts on the document ( full story here ). Here are their responses:

Mayor Dave Bronconnier: “I think really what it is doing is taking a holistic approach to development in the long-term for the city. It’s strategically putting resources where we know they’re going to be needed — in and around transit-oriented development.”

Dale Hodges Ward 1: “I’m underwhelmed. What they’re doing is proposing some major changes in the planning process and planning policy for the city. I don’t buy into a massive case for big big changes.”

Gord Lowe Ward 2 : “I find the fundamentals of it sound. I’ve got some reservations that have to be addressed. Some of the prescription in there about density worries me because at the end of the day it will be the market that prescribes density.”

Jim Stevenson Ward 3 : “I’m not happy with it. There hasn’t been enough consultation with the stakeholders. I believe that the marketplace knows better what should be built than some of the planners do. I’ll either vote for amendments to it or I’ll vote to reject it altogether.”

Bob Hawkesworth Ward 4 : “There’s a lot about Plan It that’s deserving of support and approval but I do think there are these criticisms about it that have to be addressed before we can move to the next step. How do we get from the very long-term and the very strategic to the tactical and the daily?”

Ray Jones Ward 5 : “I have a gut feeling to vote no because I’m kind of more on the development industry’s side on this one. They create a lot of jobs for a lot of people and in particular I’ve got two kids that are in the industry. I think jobs are a very important part of livelihoods.”

Joe Connelly Ward 6 : “While I appreciate the document — it’s very aspirational — we need to think about how we’re going to get there. And that means a plan for tomorrow and the next 10 years — not 60 years out. I have a lot of questions that need answered.”

Druh Farrell Ward 7 : “I support the principles behind Plan It. We’re talking about many different housing forms and offering a variety of choice in each community and looking at underutilized opportunities and filling in the gaps. And we have lots of them.”

John Mar Ward 8: “It’s highly divisive. It’s for a greater good but it is also something that is intangible at this level. We all know there’s something that has to be done. How do we do that and how do we implement it is to be determined.”

Joe Ceci Ward 9: “I can see myself supporting this. I’ve been supporting this all the way along. I’m continuing to believe that ensuring that Calgary grows in a sustainable fashion is what people want — and what I believe is necessary.”

Andre Chabot Ward 10 : “It’s maybe a little aggressive in its objectives. I would prefer to see it not move forward until we have an agreement with our regional partners because I don’t want to force development outside our boundaries.”

Brian Pincott Ward 11: “We as a city have the right to choose the kind of city that we want. This is about saying what kind of city we want. I think that now is the time to actually start moving forward and to make the decision.”

Ric McIver Ward 12 : “The document is so long and unwieldy and it goes between being too prescriptive to too nebulous. And I think it’s going to be really hard to get any intelligent planning done in the future with a document like that.”

Diane Colley-Urquhart Ward 13: (Declined to be interviewed.)

Linda Fox-Mellway Ward 14: ”It just makes statements but it doesn’t really say ‘And here’s how we implement it and here’s the value added.’ Unless they’re going to get really big big help from the province and the feds it means big big tax increases.”