The redevelopment of the Foothills Athletic Park immediately north of Calgary’s McMahon Stadium got an update in the form of a concept plan and refined vision on Monday morning.
The area redevelopment advisory committee, made up of area stakeholders and city councillors, heard that maximizing space for a year-round sports, recreation and entertainment village is among the guiding principles. The city would seek to build the area to connect to the LRT, be walkable and bikeable, and be built out in phases.
Planner Geoff Dyer said the triangle of land between 24 Avenue N.W., Crowchild Trail and University Drive is “well-positioned for redevelopment into a dynamic four-season, mixed-use recreation and entertainment village, anchored by two major sports venues.”
“A lot of this came about really because of the fieldhouse — this idea that we’re going to create this significant investment on this piece of land and the realization that we need to do that sensitively to what’s around it but also making sure that we’re fitting into a bigger plan,” Dyer said.
The concept plan presented to the committee comes following a two-week, multidisciplinary engagement process called a “charrette,” and showed ideas for adding an arena, aquatics facilities, two more outdoor fields, residences, hotels and office space in the nearly 90-acre parcel.
With McMahon Stadium and parts of the development concept sitting on University of Calgary land, Dyer noted that the university has not yet made a commitment to the plan. Instead, he said the conceptual plans presented were part of “setting the stage for what is possible, but not necessarily a commitment from any party.”
Ward 5 Coun. George Chahal, who serves as the committee’s chair, said there are two streams of work involving the wedge of land: plans for area development and the future fieldhouse as catalyst for that development.
“The fieldhouse is contingent on other partners coming to the table and that’s other orders of government,” Chahal said. “We’re always advocating and hopeful that a great project that provides tremendous public benefit to Calgarians is realized.
“We’ve seen during the pandemic there’s nothing more important than our health, our physical health and mental well-being. And investments like this can really help our community come out of this pandemic and be stronger and make sure that we are building back a stronger and more resilient community.”
The city has yet to receive funding commitments from provincial or federal governments, and already has other capital projects worth hundreds of millions of dollars set to be constructed ahead of the fieldhouse: the new event centre, the BMO Centre expansion and the Arts Commons redevelopment.
Chahal said the city is “a number of years away” from being able to firm up plans for the fieldhouse or area.
“The plan as presented, is contingent on funding,” Chahal told reporters. “If funding does come available from another partner, I think plans could be accelerated. But at the current stage, I think we will move forward cautiously to make sure that we do not move too far ahead unless we have those funding commitments in place.”
Foothills Athletic Park Concept Plan Presentation – June 14, 2021