Midfield Heights land use design set to go before council this spring

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WATCH: It’s been nearly three years since the Midfield mobile home park closed for good and its residents were evicted. While the city is set to seek approval for its land use outline plan in March, there’s increased interest in developing other areas along 16 Avenue. Tracy Nagai reports – Jan 15, 2021

The City of Calgary said it’s on track to have its vision for a new northeast community brought before city councilliors in the next few months.

Since late 2019, city developers have been finalizing their plans for the land where the Midfield Mobile Home Park used to sit.

Read more: Calgary’s Midfield Mobile Home Park officially closes

“We’ve worked a lot with the community,” Midfield Heights project manager Carol-ann Beswick said. “It’s been really crucial to our engagement and the success of the plan.”

The Land Use Outline Plan up for approval at the end of March dictates how the land will be used and where roads, greenspaces and buildings will be placed in the community.

“We’re really emphasizing the importance of good, urban design,” Beswick said. “A mixed-use urban village, nestled in an existing inner-city community.”

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Artistic renderings of Midfield Heights show a large greenspace near the centre of the community, with condominiums and storefronts encircling it.

Beswick said the design is comparable to The Bridges development in nearby Bridgeland.

Affordable housing and pedestrian priority streets are also highlighted in the plan.

“We believe the street design we’re putting forth is really unique in that it visually slows the traffic down to about 30 kilometres per hour,” Beswick said.

“The Midfield site is the entryway from the east and so it should be beautiful,” Ward 7 City Councillor Druh Farrell said. “It should indicate a change on 16 Avenue that we’ve been talking about for some years.”

Read more: City of Calgary looks for public input on the future of former Midfield Mobile Home Park site

Meanwhile, Midfield Heights isn’t the only major development planned for the busy roadway. Just down the street the Ambassador Motor Inn could also get a major facelift.

“The beauty of that site is, it’s a full block deep,” Farrell said. “There’s really an opportunity to make sure that it fits in with the neighbourhood.”

Leonard Perozni, the owner of the motel, is seeking a re-designation that will allow for a 20-storey mixed-use building that includes residential towers.

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Currently, a timeline for the proposed project is still unknown.

“There’s some work that needs to be done, but we’re working very closely with the owner,” Farrell said. “I think with the economic situation that we’re in, the timelines are probably all stretched out.”

Read more: City of Calgary seeks feedback on new inner-city community

During the Midfield Heights public engagement process in 2019, some community members voiced concerns about increased density, traffic and parking issues.

In an email to Global News, the Winston Heights Community Association said to date its been satisfied with the level of engagement from the city.

“We are supportive of growth in the community that aligns with our area redevelopment plan, and serves our community members in a positive way,” planning and development committee chair Kris Webb said.

“We look forward to seeing how these projects evolve and will continue to facilitate engagement, input and feedback from our community at large.”

If the Midfield Heights Land Use Outline Plan is approved at the end of March, Beswick said it will be still be some time before Calgarians notice anything happening above ground.

“It’s possible in 2023, once we’ve started selling some parcels that you’ll see some vertical construction and buildings going up,” she said.

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“It might take several years for the project to be completed but it’s very exciting for us.”