WATCH ABOVE: The kensington branch of the Royal Canadian Legion wants to trade some of its valuable inner city land to a developer in exchange for a new revenue generating headquarters. Carolyn Kury de Castillo reports.
CALGARY – A local branch of the Royal Canadian Legion has big plans that many other legions across the country will be keeping an eye on.
This week, the city is expected to unveil the latest plans that could determine the future of the Kensington Legion.
The Kensington branch of the Royal Canadian Legion sits on some very valuable property and now the legion wants to make the most of it.
In January, the Kensington Legion entered into a partnership with Truman Development Corporation.
READ MORE: Legion will stay in Kensington
Truman is proposing a four storey office building that the legion will own and use as a restaurant, lounge and office, as well as generating rental income.
They would then replace the old Legion with a new condo, with retail at street level.
“I like the idea of better use of the legion space and the opportunity for the legion to use their space for commercial purposes and I like the idea of a bit of retail,” said Patti Dibski, who lives in the area.
Throughout the summer, Truman hosted open houses on the project. The two biggest concerns for raised by residents were the proposed ten storey height of the project and the possible increase in traffic.
“Parking is going to be an issue we know that. I don’t think there’s even enough parking stalls for the Legion and this street will have to go to permit parking. We’re going to have a lot of issues there. No matter what they say, there’s not going to be enough parking stalls,” said Nicholas Slick, a resident.
Truman has now released a new version of the plans. They’ve added traffic calming measures and reduced the height from ten stories to eight.
“I think they did a good job of listening to everything that people were feeding back to them. I like the design of the project. I think they have been doing some interesting things, so I am overall supportive of the project,” said Ryder McRitchie, area resident.
“You know what’s going to come eventually but definitely ten storeys is way too high. The lower the better, but you know they’re going to go for as high as they can,” said Slick.
The stakes are high for the Legion. The project is being called a way to ensure its long term survival. Many residents still aren’t happy with eight stories, while others wonder how the economic conditions might affect it.
“You’ve got a five-year construction project and in this environment as we are seeing in the province, does that five years actually end up being five years? Does it end up being seven, does it end up being nine,” said McRitchie.
The City of Calgary will be hosting a public information session on the proposal this Wednesday at the Legion.
The Kensington Legion dates back to 1953 and has one of the largest memberships in Canada, but like other legions, it is struggling to remain a vital and viable organization as the number of veterans declines.
With files from Lisa MacGregor