March 20, 2017 9:12 am
Updated: March 21, 2017 7:32 am

Contentious Highland Park redevelopment approved by Calgary city council

WATCH ABOVE: City council has given the green light to the Highland Golf Course project. The building cannot start until a city flood and storm water study is finished in mid-2018. Gary Bobrovitz has more.

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Calgary city council approved the redevelopment of the former Highland Park Golf Course on Monday.

However, no shovels will hit the ground until the city completes a study to analyze flooding and storm water issues at the site.

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Vancouver-based developer Maple Projects Inc. wants to change the privately-owned area into a mixed-use site, incorporating residential and retail units. The $1-billion project would see as many as 2,700 condos and town houses to be built on the site.

READ MORE: Calgarians make final push against proposed development in Calgary’s Highland Park

Some area residents have expressed concern about storm water and flooding issues, claiming the site is integral to the community.

Mayor Naheed Nenshi said council is investigating.

“I’m quite worried about this actually. We’ve heard a lot of differing issues on the groundwater. The good news is that no shovels will touch any dirt until the groundwater study is completed which should be another year-and-a-half or so. And from what I heard today, that study could result in changes to this plan yet again.”

In January, council voted to approve the redevelopment of the site in principle.

Some members of the community have opposed the project, holding their latest rally on Saturday. About 80 people showed up at council on Monday to hear the discussion and vote.

Elise Bieche, president of the Highland Park community association, said she wonders if they should have gotten in front of council sooner. “We really were hoping that being reasonable would be something that would win council over. And unfortunately, it didn’t. I hate to say it, but sometimes the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

Maybe we weren’t squeaky enough… soon enough,” said Bieche.

Maple Projects Inc. president Ajah Nehru bought the 21-hectare inner city site four years ago, and promised Monday that his company will build a project the community can be proud of.

“I think what’s been approved is a win-win for everybody because the community gets a very large green space. Thirty-three per cent of the site is going to be public green space, and for me, that’s a win.”

READ MORE: Calgary city council approves Highland Park golf course development in principle

The city expects the groundwater study will be completed and presented to council by late spring or early summer of 2018.

With files from Gary Bobrovitz

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