Residents in the southeast Calgary community of Riverbend are pushing back after a change to a city proposal that would make way for more housing near a future Green Line LRT station.

It’s a proposal that city council will be asked to give final approval on next week.

The city’s proposal would see close to 15 acres of vacant city-owned land on the east end of the neighbourhood rezoned to make way for several two and three storey townhomes and four to six storey multi-residential buildings.

The proposal would allow for the construction of up to 600 units and would be home to an estimated 1,100 people within walking distance of the future South Hill Green Line station.

However, the city is looking to connect Riverstone Road S.E. to the proposed redevelopment to allow for transit buses to connect with the future LRT stop.

Residents on the street provided their feedback to city planners late last summer.

“It seemed like agreeing to transit access only was a compromise between the residents and the city and it seemed like everybody was on board with that,” said Jason Wingate, who’s lived on Riverstone Road for nearly 20 years. “Although it’s not ideal, it’s not perfect, it’s better than opening it up to full traffic.”

A map outlining the proposed changes from the City of Calgary on the east side of Riverbend.

A map outlining the proposed changes from the City of Calgary on the east side of Riverbend.

Global News

A barrier currently sits at the end of the street, which leaves it unconnected to the city-owned land, as well as the nearby 24 Street S.E.

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“Originally, they said they would only have buses and emergency vehicles come through here, and there would be a gate,” Calista Wintrip, a nearby resident, told Global News.

But when the proposal made its way to the Calgary Planning Commission, the city’s authority on land use and planning matters, commissioners voted to add a provision allowing Riverstone Road to be opened up to all modes of traffic.

Commissioners noted they couldn’t find a “technical reason” to only allowing access to the street for transit and emergency vehicles.

The city’s website said the transit-only proposal had support from the file review team.

Wingate, who will lose a portion of his front lawn to allow for the road to be expanded, told Global News the change to the proposal isn’t sitting well with people in the neighbourhood.

“It just felt like we had been lied to, like the public engagement was a farce, like it was just a show so they could check some boxes,” Wingate said.

Ward 11 Coun. Kourtney Penner said she advocated to the Calgary Planning Commission to maintain the limited road access for transit and emergency vehicles, but it wasn’t supported.

“Knowing this was important to nearby residents, I am working with administration to understand if there is another opportunity to give direction to have Riverstone Road open to only transit and emergency access,” Penner said in a statement. “It is my hope to have this plan in place for public hearing on July 16, 2024.”

Penner is encouraging residents to speak to council at the public hearing, which many on Riverstone Road told Global News they plan on doing.

“My hope is they reject this plan,” Wintrip said.

Wingate said he feels it’s situations like his that has the city and elected officials “misconstruing” their relationship with residents.

“It’s not unruly child and parent, it’s employer and employee and they’re the latter,” Wingate said. “I think they need to realize it.”