Calgary suburbs viewed from the air. Photo: iStock/imagineGolf

LETTERS: We don’t need more new communities

It’s time Calgary takes sustainability seriously.

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We want to hear from our readers and listeners! Your feedback makes us better. Send us a letter to the editor at hello@sprawlcalgary.com. Include your full name and the city/town where you live, and please indicate that the letter is for publication.

Dear Sprawl,

First of all, thank you for covering issues that are important to Calgarians! I'm so appreciative of your work. I'm writing now regarding the construction of 11 new communities in Calgary, a plan put forward by developers and awaiting approval by city council.

As a concerned Calgarian, I strongly feel that a city suffering from major job-loss and net negative migration does not need new communities. Already, Calgary has a glut of new homes that are not selling.

According to Kent Hehr, who presented to the council about this issue, there are currently 41 new developments in Calgary. Furthermore, city council approved 14 new subdivisions in 2018. Six of these were not recommended by the administration, and those houses are not selling. They sit empty as ordinary Calgarians pay the bills for the infrastructure to those neighbourhoods; the developer levy is not covering the costs associated with this infrastructure.

As a result, there was a $57 million hit to the 2019 budget, with more shortfalls expected in the coming years. And as a result of that shortfall, every Calgarian saw a property tax increase of almost 1% in 2019 and we will see a 0.5% increase per year to water utility rates for 2019-2022. The total 2019 tax increase to subsidize the entire 41 communities was 2.15%.

It is time that Calgary got serious about meeting climate targets and worked to make this city more sustainable.

Deborah Willis,

Calgary, AB

This is unacceptable. Especially in a city that has suffered from a recession since 2015, especially during a pandemic that has hit every family and working person hard. Why should Calgarians suffer, in order to subsidize a few developers who wish to profit? It makes no financial sense to build new communities in our city at this moment. As Mayor Nenshi put it, "Why in the world would this be a good time to add to an already dangerous oversupply?"

It also makes no sense in terms of the ecology of our city. It is time that Calgary got serious about meeting climate targets and worked to make this city more sustainable—by further developing existing communities, bike lanes, transit, and green jobs.

Homes should follow the creation of good, sustainable jobs—they should not be built on spec, in a city that is losing population, during a global pandemic that may lead to a global economic depression. Building unused roads, pouring useless concrete, and erecting empty houses is wastefulness on a vast scale.

Thank you for all that you do,

Deborah Willis
Calgary, AB



Dear editor,

In response to the letter by Lesley Mitchell, and the Sprawl's manifesto in general: When I first read the manifesto in the early days of the Sprawl, I'll admit I felt a bit disappointed.

In a largely conservative province, with the only newspapers fully Fox-i-fied by Postmedia's American majority shareholders, I wasn't looking for reporting that donned kid gloves before laying out the issues affecting the province.

Perhaps my opinionated roots as a native Bostonian are far too apparent at times, but attempting to be Switzerland when every other news outlet writes for the Axis Powers just doesn't cut it.

When the UCP government is handing out Bollinger and truffles in the form of our tax dollars to oil companies and paying for it by gutting healthcare and education and shuttering parks, I want to know the details, and if a bit of cynicism or dark humour bites back—well, it's an editorial, not the crop report.

Back to the letter: presumably the two manifesto items in question are numbers 5 and 6: "We are constructive, not cynical," and "We reject polarization, seeking common ground."

These are noble goals, and preaching to the choir never converted sinners. And if Jason Kenney wakes up tomorrow and decides a sales-tax and investing in solar power is the way forward for the province, I'd expect the Sprawl to happily report on that.

There is a fine line between rejecting polarization” and tacit approval of the wrong side of history.

Sarah Graves,

Calgary, AB

However, there is a fine line between "rejecting polarization" and tacit approval of the wrong side of history. If you were writing an article on modern-day slavery, I would not expect to hear both sides of the issue.

I would not expect you to carefully walk the tightrope between detailing the evils of owning human beings, and the delicate feelings of the slave-owners themselves, all in the interest of "seeking common ground" or "not sounding overly cynical."

These are dark times, we are hobbits, and have another three years on the rocky road to Mordor.

If you are writing about whether pie or cake is superior (it's cake, obviously), then I'd hope to see a balanced approach. But when literal life-and-death issues like access to health care, access to AISH, and the very real possibility that we've crossed the Rubicon of climate change are staring us down, do you really want to say you remained neutral?

Sarah Graves
Calgary, AB


Hi,

I just listened to my first couple of Sprawlcasts, and I was really impressed with the professionalism of both the interviewers and their guests. I especially liked the segment on Jason Kenney and his not-so-implicit mindset surrounding issues of equality, fairness, and racism.

I would be very hopeful that some future guests will include Mr. Kenney and a spokesperson from The Soldiers of Odin to explain and defend their views, not only to give your listeners some balance, but also to bolster The Sprawl's credibility as an independent, unbiased source of news and education.

We sorely need more brave thinkers in the news arena that aren’t simply mirrors to the mindsets of their target audiences.

Russell Giles,

Red Deer, AB

There's more than enough sources of biased "news" these days. We sorely need more brave thinkers in the news arena that aren't simply mirrors to the mindsets of their target audiences and are willing to do the work to deliver fair, balanced journalism to the majority in this province who are desperately hungry for it.

It's what Albertans want. It's what Albertans need.

Regards,

Russell Giles
Red Deer, AB



Why is it so hard for the Alberta government to clearly call out racism? In order to find the answer to your question, one need only look to our south to one Donald Trump.

He who masquerades as the President of the USofA, just as Kenney masquerades as the Premier of Alberta. Both these individuals are cut from the same cloth. With the same interests, those being the best interest of themselves. Period.

And here in Alberta we seem to be OK with that.

Disgusting, no?

John Marchi
Medicine Hat, AB

We want to hear from our readers and listeners! Your feedback makes us better. Send us a letter to the editor at hello@sprawlcalgary.com. Include your full name and the city/town where you live, and please indicate that the letter is for publication.

Support journalism that digs deep.

Sign me up!

The Sprawl relies on our readers to make in-depth stories possible. With your support, we can keep making our work available to all—no paywalls. If you value slow, independent journalism, become a Sprawl member today!