Calgary River Valleys has been very active recently in providing input to the City of Calgary’s planning process for multiple projects. These are in various stages of the decision-making process.
Highland Valley (former Highland Park golf course)
At the City Council hearing on March 20, 2017, Council approved the land use change proposal for the Highland valley, with some minor changes made on the floor of Council to the municipal reserve (park) land allocated. This approval was made subject to the results from the pending Confederation Drainage study, which was investigating what was going to be required to address stormwater drainage for the Confederation Creek watershed, which covers a 17 square km section of north central Calgary, from Nose Hill to Nose Creek. In January 2018, the early findings of the Confederation Drainage study were presented in private to Council, but Council voted to release the PowerPoint slides showing the Highland Park valley (previously known as the North Hill coulee) was indeed the final drainage course for multiple streams, springs, and Confederation Creek, before it joins to Nose Creek, and these watercourses are considered Crown claimed.
Current status: Calgary’s Water Resources Department is negotiating with the landowner regarding options for managing stormwater on the Highland Valley site, as well as elsewhere within the Confederation Creek drainage area. City Administration will be preparing a written interim report by the end of May 2018 for presentation to Council and to the public regarding the recommended options for managing stormwater in the area. See below for more background on this land parcel & CRV’s concerns expressed about developing it as was eventually approved.
These lands are located in the historical valley of Confederation Creek and its tributaries which flow to Nose Creek. Back in the 1960s the creek was channelized inside an underground vault starting in Confederation Park, and running to Nose Creek through these lands. These lands also include two wetlands fed by artesian springs.
CRV’s concerns regarding this land use change included, among others, the following:
- the legal status of the creek and its historical bed and shores was not properly addressed when the land use decisions were being made; we believed it should be considered Crown land, and we were shown to be correct,
- these lands have served as the drainage area for an area larger than 17 square km, reaching to Nose Hill Park, and the land use which was approved by City Council calls for the filling in of the valley which will significantly impact the flooding risk in the surrounding areas,
- the approved land use calls for the destruction of the two wetlands on site, which appear to be sustainable and not “temporary” as they have been categorized in the developer’s report,
- the approved land use calls for the destruction of 500+ mature trees that act as living infrastructure to absorb a very large amount of both rainfall and groundwater,
- the approved land use shows that City Administration failed to take Environmental Reserve lands on this property, and
- the approved land use indicates City Administration failed to uphold a large number of its own policies in recommending approval of this land use change.
To download a copy of the series of letters submitted by CRV to the City regarding this proposal since 2015, click here.