Development is important to cities and communities, it helps provide increased housing options, brings jobs and helps the economy (that’s just a few of the reasons). But when development is taking place within your community, or on a community that hasn’t started construction yet, but did you know there are a number of ways you can provide input?
A recent Smarter Growth Initiative survey found there’s low awareness of public engagement opportunities among Calgary residents, and, even when aware of ways to give input, there’s only moderate participation. Experience tells us that active, engaged citizens make for a more vibrant, positive and welcoming City. And, collaborative efforts usually lead to better decisions. [Smarter Growth]
If you’re looking to take a proactive or informed approach, here’s the top 10 ways to influence community development:
- Join your community association: did you know there are over 150 community associations in Calgary? Join your association and join newsletters in your neighbourhood to become aware of engagement opportunities.
- Be mindful with the mail: the City of Calgary, City of Airdrie, developers and community associations use snail mail for important notifications. So don’t be too quick to assume things aren’t relevant—read on.
- Look for updates: development sites are required to post signs when rezoning applications are made. Also, new development permits and plans appear in newspapers on a near weekly basis.
- Check your community newspapers or notices: your community communications or associations will often be the first to know about engagement opportunities, so don’t ignore the notices you receive.
- Check local newspapers: new development permits and plans actually appear in local newspapers once a week.
- Attend an open house: developers, community groups and the City will often host open houses regarding development that you are welcome to attend, ask questions and provide feedback at.
- Check the City of Calgary online: check out the City online, where invitations to open houses, public information sessions or feedback opportunities are posted all the time.
- Take part in surveys: for large developments that will affect an entire community, surveys are often sent out to residents for feedback.
- Consider writing to the government: you may not realize it, but before decisions are final, your opinion helps your representative understand community needs. If you don’t know your ward representative, you can search via community on the City of Calgary website here. Contact information for the City of Airdrie councillors can be found here.
- Consider launching an appeal: even after a decision is made on a development plan, citizens can launch an appeal with a municipal appeal board.
If you have questions about the developments we work on, please contact us.