Redevelopments on the horizon
Residents in the Millican-Ogden area of southeast Calgary are in for some big changes.
The changes are coming with an Area Redevelopment Plan (ARP) that will be discussed in the new year, coinciding with the construction of the Green Line Light Rail Transit (LRT) system that is expected to run through the community.
Other projects in the ARP could be extensive, offering opportunities that could help develop and redevelop current parks, residencies, and employment areas.
Rick Smith, president of the Millican-Ogden Community Association (MOCA), believes the introduction of Green Line will bring more attention from the public to an older area of the city. The community is near the Canadian Pacific Railroad yards, sitting between Ogden Road to the east and the Bow River to the west.
“We’ve always thought of Millican-Ogden as a diamond in the rough,” he says. “These redevelopments can help grow the residential and commercial aspects of the neighbourhood and we are really excited for that.”
The ARP's November draft document details main objectives that include improving access for pedestrians and cyclists, enhancing the transit system connected to the Green Line, incorporating a new plaza as a socializing area with Ogden Station, and establishing Ogden Road as a “vibrant street with an urban character.”
Karim Abbany, a senior transportation engineer for the City of Calgary, says, “South Hill and Millican-Ogden have been identified as Transit Oriented Development areas.” What this means is that there “are going to [be] mixed-use developments, such as on the ground level you might have some retail, and in the higher levels you might have some residential. You want to have the transit, the open spaces, the residential, and the commercial so people can live, shop, and play all in one area.”
David Couroux, a senior planner for the city working in South Calgary, says the ARP will lay “the groundwork for when the funding is in place and all the plans are established. It’s very early stages, but it’s the exercise of describing what is intended and what the rules are for redeveloping these communities.”
Redevelopments also raise concerns
However, one drawback to these developments is the lack of parking.
“The Millican-Ogden ARP and the South Hill Station Area Plan do not provide adequate parking,” says Smith from MOCA. “We don’t understand why there is inadequate parking at the Lynwood/Millican station and we really do not understand why there is no parking at the South Hill station.”
Smith feels the city might have its own plans for the community, regardless of what residents say.
“We feel as if our input is welcome, but we do not feel that it is being taken into consideration.”
One of the biggest concerns that has come from the Green Line and linked projects is the South Hill mobile home park and the possibility that those residents might have to relocate.
“We understand that it is a set-back area, but the mobile home park has been there forever and we don’t see why that needs to change for the residents there,” says Smith. “The people there are happy and healthy. We don’t want to have a death sentence put onto these homes.”
These worries are also shared by residents of the mobile home park.
One resident, Owen Lindsay, told CBC News that “without that long-term security our investments will go down the drain, our homes will go down the drain, the people that live here won't have any places to go.”
Couroux says that they have responded to these concerns.
“Through the process of holding open houses and doing workshops, we’ve receive feedback, we’ve received input on how the community is developed and how it operates, and we have responded to that.”
A Future Comprehensive Plan Area will decide land amendments at a later date.
“We changed the proposed plan for South Hill into what we call a ‘Future Comprehensive Plan Area,’” says Couroux, “so that it is explicit that redevelopment of that site will not happen for maybe 20 years into the future.”
Currently, plans for the north-south Green Line include cutting across a portion of the mobile home park.
A Future Comprehensive Plan Area means the city will decide at a later date what to do with the area and land amendments will be required before any developments.
Regarding future projects, Smith says, “we will have our five minutes in front of the council,” when public hearings are held on the proposed ARP.
Smith remains optimistic, even though his expectations are realistic.
“We don’t want [the plans] to stop, we just want to have realistic expectations. We don’t want this document to be something that just sits on a shelf.”
ARPs are also being considered for the Inglewood and Ramsay areas, with the city committed to creating a dialogue with community members.
- By Will Cowan