Global News. June 9, 2015 - CALGARY –Residents in Canmore are debating whether the town should turn part of Larch Park into affordable housing. The green space, on the southwest edge of the mountain community, is currently a municipal reserve.
Neighbours say a rink on the property is used year-round, and the rest of the five acres is popular with picnickers and dog-walkers.
Fourteen hundred residents from across Canmore signed a petition opposing the rezoning of Larch Park.
“It’s precedent setting,” said residents group spokesperson Hugh Tafel. “So if they can do this to this park, then really any park…is basically in jeopardy.”
Despite the outcry, the town says there’s a shortage of affordable housing and new buildings are desperately needed.
“In terms of needs and what’s in the best interest of Canmore, we have to take a look at all options to bring about perpetually affordable housing,” said town councillor Sean Krausert. “So in the eyes of most people, it’s actually not that controversial.”
Canmore struggles to keep workers in town because rental rates and real estate are so expensive.
A public hearing on the rezoning will be held on June 17.