Rezoning Survey Response

Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to connect with me ahead of the April 22nd Public Hearing. It takes time and effort to be an active participant in our local decision-making. I have well over 500 emails in my inbox from Calgarians weighing in on this conversation and the majority of them outline significant concerns around this proposed change in our City.

Over the past couple of months, I have encouraged Ward 12 to reach out and share feedback on The City recommendation Rezoning for Housing which is one of over 98 recommendations in Calgary’s Housing Strategy and the most controversial recommendation attached to the Housing and Affordability Task Force recommendations. All of these proposed actions are meant to help The City of Calgary respond to the growing housing and affordability crisis outlined in the Housing Needs Assessment, with the tools available to The City. A proposal that I find myself leaning towards for reasons outlined here.

As I have been preparing myself to carry your feedback into the Public Hearing here are the actions I have taken:

  1. Back in 2023 after the approval of the Housing Strategy by Council on September 16th, I published my summary on September 20th. It included an early draft of R-G in Ward 12 for anyone following the conversation and curious about where my head was at on the proposed rezoning recommendation.
  2. More recently, on March 27th our Ward survey on Rezoning for Housing was sent out through the monthly newsletter and posted on social media (March 28th, April 1st, April 3rd, April 11th)
  3. Additionally, the Ward was invited to come to speak with me, in person, at the Seton YMCA and notified through the newsletter and social media on (Feb 23rd, Mar 22nd, and April 19th)

As of April 11th, 272 Calgarians have filled out the Ward 12 survey and the results have come back:

(No: 71% Yes: 25% Maybe: 4%)

I have spent a great deal of time reading the survey responses and have gone through the exercise of collating the feedback into themes.


Rezoning Survey Concerns:

Democratic Process

  • Removal of a key opportunity for homeowners to have a say in their neighbourhood (Public Hearing)
  • Lack of transparency and opportunity for public input
  • The Current Council and Mayor do not have this mandate or the trust of the electorate
  • Overall criticism of City Council’s handling of major issues
  • A decision of this magnitude necessitates a plebiscite
  • High uncertainty around impacts on individual neighbourhoods and streets


Impact on Community Character and Safety

  • Erosion of homeownership and the long-term impacts on a community
  • Fear of neighbourhood degradation as new housing types allow for different demographics and evidence that this could lead to more crime
  • Loss of suburban benefits and a safe place for families to raise children
  • Erosion of fire safety in our housing stock
  • Decrease in the sense of community and loss of historical neighbourhood aesthetics
  • Negative experiences in areas with high-density housing (parking, shadowing)
  • Older neighbourhoods are beautiful and should be preserved


Infrastructure and Service Strain

  • Current road infrastructure is inadequate to support increased density, leading to congestion
  • Inadequate City infrastructure such as rec centres, police and fire stations, and utility infrastructure (especially in older neighbourhoods)
  • Inadequate Provincial infrastructure such as hospitals, schools
  • Inadequate City services such as transit, police, fire, bylaw, parks
  • Inadequate Provincial services such as EMT, teachers, health care
  • Inability of our power grid to accommodate growth
  • Overall lack of planning and foresight to accommodate growth


Parking Issues

  • Street parking is already strained and increased density exacerbates the issue
  • Congested parking leads to safety, vibrancy, and emergency service level erosion
  • Opposition to potential future policies such as pay-to-park


Quality of Life and Property Values

  • Decrease in property values and quality of life due to overcrowding, noise, and loss of privacy
  • Increase in lower-income and rental tenants impacting the overall quality of life and property values
  • Long-term economic stability that home values represent and the threat that any devaluation may pose
  • The market wants quieter neighbourhoods with single-family homes and larger yards


Big Business Influence and Accountability

  • Developers are dictating planning decisions without adequate accountability to the public
  • Profits are being prioritized over community needs
  • Housing is being monetized and communities are being saddled with the fallout
  • Criticism of inadequate oversight of landlords


Environmental Impact

  • Increased rain runoff, reduced green space, and loss of local flora and fauna
  • Negative impacts on our urban canopy


Impact on City Planning

  • Disregard for long-established city planning and the outcomes those plans prioritized
  • Disregard for Master Planned communities in our Ward whose vision we bought into
  • Citywide planning is inferior to localized planning in achieving the best outcomes
  • Call for more focused rezoning in areas with existing infrastructure and amenities
  • Concerns about rezoning leading to a hodge-podge mess in The City
  • Calls for stricter limits to prevent oversized row houses


Actual Impact on Housing Affordability and Supply

  • Skepticism about the proposal's impact on affordability (Where is the data that shows that this works?)
  • There are other solutions to addressing housing shortages rather than rezoning
  • Call for more affordable housing options and support for smaller, modest homes


I want you to know that I will be carrying these concerns with me into the Public Hearing. I will be spending a lot of time hearing these concerns in full detail from Calgarians during the Hearing and then asking Administration to respond in similar detail. This is important because beyond the vote I believe that most of these concerns are here and here to stay simply because of this:

Calgary is growing and growing rapidly and the vast majority of levers to influence this growth do not rest with City Council. That doesn’t mean City Council can ignore this reality due to the positive economic path, interprovincial migration and federal immigration policies that influence the current situation. Let’s not forget, growth doesn’t just present challenges, it also brings opportunity.


Here is a breakdown of the positive feedback received through the Ward 12 survery:

Rezoning Survey Merits:

Housing Priority and Diversity

  • Recognition of housing as a top priority and the need for diverse housing options
  • Preference for mixed housing over homogeneous developments
  • Desire for diversity within neighborhoods and acknowledgment of changing household dynamics and lifestyles
  • Advocacy for affordable housing for all residents
  • Support for property owners to have more flexibility within reason
  • Acknowledgment of the necessity for diverse housing options for aging populations


Urban Planning and Growth

  • Better enabling established community redevelopment and spreading the burden of growth across the city
  • Goals to alleviate pressure on the housing market and improve city service efficiency
  • Recognition of the need to increase density to address housing affordability
  • Support for densification to expedite building processes in established areas
  • Desire for smaller, more affordable homes and support for gentle density
  • Positive impact on reducing environmental footprint and encouragement for bold action
  • Increase in density near transit corridors and revitalization of older neighborhoods
  • Need for more housing options in inner-city neighborhoods and acknowledgment of existing density in some areas


Community Impact and Communication

  • Expectation of minimal impact on newer communities due to existing densities and age of homes
  • Anticipation for increased amenities alongside population growth and acknowledgement that services need to keep pace
  • Importance of communication and education about the changes and concern about the fears causing resistance in The City


Forward-Looking Planning

  • Support for preparing to be a City of 2million and implementing the Housing Strategy recommendations
  • Advocacy for market led parking decisions to support growth
  • Support for the economic advantages for reducing this regulatory step, reducing red tape
  • Affordability as a key factor in supporting the zoning change and personal experiences of entering the housing market
  • Positive experiences from living in denser cities and support for housing choice
  • Encouragement for bold action and support for upzoning everywhere


As you can see, while the weight of the feedback trends toward concern, it is offset to a degree by a contingent of Ward 12 that see the merits of Rezoning for Housing and are reaching out to encourage myself and Council to move in this direction.

As I sit with this feedback and continue to prepare for April 22nd here are my commitments to Ward 12:

  1. I will be taking the week of April 15th-19th to sit with your feedback and build a version of my concerns with Rezoning for Housing and share that with you on or before Friday, April 19th.
  2. As the Public Hearing unfolds, I will share information in a daily rollup of learnings and impressions from the presentations and invite further feedback.
  3. After the vote happens you can expect a detailed response as to why I ended up voting the way I did.


Evan Spencer

Cllr. Ward 12

[email protected]


  • Evan Spencer
    published this page in Blog 2024-04-12 14:39:05 -0600