CMLC to assess redevelopment potential of west end community
Since 2007, Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) has been advancing an ambitious redevelopment vision for what was once one of Calgary’s most downtrodden neighbourhoods – East Village. As the fully redeveloped and revitalized East Village now rises skyward, CMLC is assisting the City of Calgary by providing a comprehensive investigation and assessment of the extent of the environmental contamination of West Village in order to determine if the community can be transformed into a vibrant mixed-use neighbourhood.
West Village is a proposed redevelopment site on downtown Calgary’s west end. The 56-hectare (139-acre) site is bordered on the north by Bow Trail westbound and the Bow River, on the east by 11 Street SW, on the south by Bow Trail eastbound and the CPR tracks and on the west by Crowchild Trail. The area is currently occupied by GSL GM City, Renfrew Chrysler, Hyatt Auto Gallery, Pumphouse Theatre, Mewata Armoury, the Greyhound terminal and a handful of other businesses.
“In view of our success in transforming East Village from a stagnant, underutilized site into one of the city’s most vibrant and sought-after neighbourhoods, our Shareholder (City of Calgary) and our Board of Directors, have asked CMLC to investigate the development opportunity of West Village”, says Michael Brown, President & CEO, Calgary Municipal Land Corporation.
Specifically, CMLC has been charged with analysing the area’s environmental conditions and exploring legal conditions related to future redevelopment opportunities in the area. CMLC will report its findings to the City in April 2016.
“Historical documentation and environmental reports produced for the City of Calgary point to varying degrees of contamination in the area – the result of previous heavy industrial use,” says Brown. “We are initiating a three step environmental assessment – Site Assessment; Risk Assessment; Remediation and Mitigation Options and Analysis - to understand the degree of contamination and the impact of contamination on the site’s redevelopment potential.”
As part of its environmental scan of West Village, CMLC issued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) in July 2015 for Environmental Consulting Services (Site Assessment). From 14 respondents, CMLC selected WorleyParsons Canada Services Ltd. for the first phase of work.
Beyond conducting an independent review of previous environmental assessments, WorleyParsons will perform a field program of drilling and sample collection at several approved sites [see accompanying map]; starting the week of November 9, 2015 drilling machinery will mobilize in the site area. Results of the WorleyParsons review and field work will inform the remaining two phases of work and will shape CMLC’s recommendation of next steps for West Village. A full report will be shared with the City of Calgary in April 2016.
CMLC has also secured the services of DENTONS Canada, a legal expert in the area of environmental matters. Dentons is engaged to complete a regulatory and legal analysis related to polluter responsibilities for the costs of the remediation, risk management, and/or mitigation.
While the City has several planning documents, including an Area Redevelopment Plan for West Village, there is currently no comprehensive master plan vision in place for the community. Depending on the outcome of the environmental assessment and legal review, CMLC could be asked to assist in delivering a West Village master plan vision based on its solid track record and expertise in designing, delivering and implementing the masterplan vision for East Village.
The Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation have described a vision of a mega-sport complex in Calgary’s west end, dubbed CalgaryNEXT.
“It is still too early to assume how development can responsibly occur in West Village but we are committed to working with the City to answer the right questions," added Brown.