Shawnee-Evergreen Community Association addresses residents’ concerns

Dozens of outraged residents gathered at the Peace Lutheran Church on Oct. 17 for the annual general meeting of the Shawnee-Evergreen Community Association (SECA).

Stripping down and re-developing the centerpiece of the community, the Shaw-Nee Slopes Golf Course, was the primary concern on residents’ minds.

As it currently stands, the golf course land is still designated as recreational space; but Geo-Energy Enterprises Ltd., who recently purchased the land from the Shaw family, plans to develop the land into high-density housing.

“By building the proposed 1,600 residential units, the current homes are expected to drop anywhere from $50,000 to $100,000 in price, depending on the proximity to the golf course,” said Norm Rousseau, SECA board member and real estate agent.

Dwight Blix, a resident of Evergreen, made a similar complaint.

“People currently don’t have the option to sell their homes due to the hiatus caused by the struggle between residents and Geo-Energy Enterprises,” he said.

According to a website for the proposed redevelopment, to be known as Shawnee Park, Geo-Energy Enterprises began meeting with the SECA in September 2008, after acquiring the land that July. The concept plans were finalized between February and May of 2009.

Since that date, the road towards securing a deal between Geo-Energy Enterprises and SECA, as well as the city’s department of land use and development, has been fraught with resistance from the community, as well as alleged poor dealings with representatives of SECA and the city.

Ald. Diane Colley-Urquhart, who fielded questions from residents, expressed her outrage.

“To disrespect the community the way that Geo-Energy Enterprises has with the signage, auctioning of golf course assets, and refusing SECA board members from attending said auction is unacceptable. I expect far better in this city.”

Shawnee-Evergreen Community Association president Gloria Dingwall (second from left) speaks to concerned residents Monday night along with fellow board members (l-r) Lisa Doty, Andrew Rodych and Peter Snell about plans to redevelop the Shaw-Nee Slopes Golf Course.

Photo by: Sunjeev PrasadThe meeting also addressed previous efforts made by the community to draw attention to the impending redevelopment, such as the rally that took place on Oct. 2 outside the Shaw-Nee Slopes entrance, which drew an estimated 500 supporters.

The rally served as another sign that residents stand united against the proposed development of the land. Blix, who attended the peaceful rally, said, “Houses on the outskirts of the golf course have been re-zoned from recreational to residential land in previous years.”

This is of course a concern for residents who not only worry about property values, but are also concerned with traffic congestion — more specifically the impact it will have on the response time of Calgary’s police and emergency medical services.

Moving forward, the focus is to gain support from fellow community associations to block the proposed development. The motion to re-zone the land will not be approved by city council unless eight out of 14 aldermen vote in favour to do so.

Urquhart urged residents to convince other communities to encourage their aldermen to support the preservation of lifestyle communities and green space.

“If this happens in Evergreen and Shawnee, what’s to stop it from taking place in other communities such as Douglasdale?” asked SECA president Gloria Dingwall.

sprasad@cjournal.ca