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Calgarians ask for protection of Nose Creek Valley at parks open house

It’s been two decades since the city updated the Parks Plan and since then city officials say the needs of Calgarians have changed.

A new parks plan is now being developed to help deliver accessible and sustainable parks.

The city is looking for input this month online and at open houses.

In the spring the city launched the first phase of city-wide engagement.

“During the first phase, there was a real balance. I think people want places where they can go experience nature and in those places, they don’t want amenities but they also want parks where we have lots of fun amenities that kids and seniors and everyone can enjoy,” said Kari Zral with the city of Calgary who was at an open house held at Vivo for healthier generations in northeast Calgary on Saturday.

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Comments listed at the open house called for more washrooms, shade and snow clearing along with protection of wildlife.

“We’ve heard from quite a few people about the need for multi-generational amenities within parks, washrooms is something we hear, and we’ve had good support on policy around naturalization so it’s a real mix,”  Zral said.

Some of the themes being discussed are the creation of more parks and green spaces and growing Calgary’s tree canopy as well as the addition of amenities and infrastructure.

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“The pandemic really showed us that people need to get outside for their own mental health and access to those parks is really important,” said Andrew Yule,  president of the Nose Creek Preservation Society.

Members have been pushing for a park system that would extend from Calgary to Airdrie along Nose Creek.

Yule said part of the issue in North Central Calgary is the lack of connection to open green spaces.

“The Nose Creek Valley is a great connector. That’s one of the policies in the municipal development plan – is to connect communities through green spaces and the Nose Creek Valley is a great connecter both for human connection and also wildlife connection,” Yule said.

Yule is encouraging people to take part in the engagement sessions.

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“There’s a lot of potential in the Nose Creek Valley for that to be the park that many north-central citizens are looking for.  The city really needs to hear from Calgarians that they want this,” Yule said.

Last fall, Calgary City Council approved an application to rezone a series of properties along Nose Creek, despite advocacy from community members to protect the natural land in the area.

The privately owned properties are part of the Stoney Industrial Area, a large segment of land previously dedicated to industrial and commercial businesses along Deerfoot Trail between Stoney Trail to Airport Trail.

With little development in the area over the years, it’s become a well-used park space for residents in the Northern Hills communities.

The new parks plan will be presented to city council for approval next fall.

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