Ald. Stevenson ‘disappointed’ about proposed fitness centre getting voted down

KEYSTONEthumbThe Keystone Hills area structure plan was at the forefront of the community and protective services standing policy committee’s agenda Oct. 3 at City Hall.

Keystone Hills is an area located between the northwest and northeast quadrants of the city, just above Country Hills. The area is projected to have three communities housing 60,000 people and one industrial area providing approximately 18,000 jobs.

 The city’s subdivision services co-ordinator John Hall said the area is aiming to be “sort of a town centre for the northern communities of Calgary … similar to the downtown of a mid-size city.”

An area structure plan is being proposed to outline where future recreation sites will be placed throughout the community. The plan is 15-20 years out, but there is already disagreement between council members over where facilities should be located.

The issue surrounds the capacity of Cardel Place in Country Hills, and the need for more recreation centres as the area develops over the next 30 years.

It was requested by Ald. Jim Stevenson on June 11, 2012, that administration re-examine the need for recreational facilities within the KEYSTONEphotoThe Keystone Hills project is still 15-20 years away from being started. The school has already stirred disagreement among council members.

Photo by Aryn Guthrie and Shannon GalleyKeystone Hills community, by October of 2012.

Upon re-examination, city administration presented their findings on Oct. 3, and proposed that due to recreational facilities in other communities surrounding the Keystone Hills area, there would be no need for one in Keystone Hills.

“I don’t know whether I can express how disappointed I am in this report,” Stevenson said in council. “We have approved an area structure plan for 60,000 people here, and it talks here about the fact that we are going to have [recreational] locations in the east, the north and the west, that are not going to be developed for 15 years. What are these 60,000 people going to do in the meantime?”

Ald. Stevenson added that he would like to amend the recommendation and have it re-examined by administration in the new year.

Ald. Gael MacLeod of ward four voted against the recommendation saying she would like to see recreation centres go smaller and develop a greater partnership with schools.

“I just think we want these big fancy buildings, but kids can’t walk there, why can’t we use school gymnasiums,” MacLeod said.

“I think that we do need to think smaller, and make it doable. I think that’s part of the problem here, is we are thinking huge and it becomes cost-intensive,” MacLeod added.

Ald. Andre Chabot of ward 10 initially said he would be happy to move the recommendation based on looking at the greater needs of the city. He said, “when I compare (Keystone Hills) to my area, I’m thinking wow this is good.”

However, upon further questioning to administration, Chabot decided that based on the rapid growth he could not support the recommendation.

“I think that right now the growth in this area is growing exceptionally, and I think it’s time we start looking at where we can accommodate growth in other parts of the city, so I’m not going to support this,” Chabot said.

The motion was lost in City Hall, and Stevenson expressed his disappointment, “we cannot sit and say everything is fine — don’t worry be happy. This is not going to be a happy place in the next 10 years as Keystone starts to build up.” / 

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