New shopping centre and housing development proposed for area near northwest Calgary city limits

A new shopping centre and housing development are being proposed near northwest Calgary city limits and it’s raising concerns from people living on both sides of the border.

It’s called Ascension and would include commercial, retail, entertainment and 883 residential units. It would be located in Rocky View County southwest of the intersection of Highway 1A by 12 Mile Coulee Road.

“There’s a large retail and commercial presence with density similar to the city of Calgary that is being proposed, and perhaps this particular project is not really in step with where the world is right now,” said Tom Dechert, a spokesperson for 12 Mile Coulee Group, which was formed by local residents who have raised concerns about the project.

Dechert said they’re not anti-development but are concerned with the density of the project and the transition zone between the city and the county.

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Twelve Mile Coulee Road would act as the border between Ascension and the community of Tuscany.

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“This particular project also has the commercial component that makes it that much more complicated in terms of whether this truly is a transitional zone between rural and city,” Dechert said.

The company’s website says the preservation of open space and variety of lot sizes through the plan area strikes a balance that the project team feels fits into the transitionary context.

“The residential development density has been designed as an ideal transition between adjacent Calgary developments at typical suburban densities and the nearby Bearspaw acreages,” the company said.

“This is achieved through a transition of density across the site itself, and thoughtful transitions with existing acreages. At a density of 9.3 units per hectare, the development is higher than traditional Bearspaw densities; however, this is offset by an abundance of open space and amenities within the development.”

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Coun. Ward Sutherland said he’s heard from Tuscany residents who like the idea of more amenities and others who are worried about traffic.

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“The intersection of Crowchild Trail at 12 Mile Coulee Road already has lineups in the morning coming in from the west into Calgary to work and adding a retail space, obviously, is going to add to that stress,” Sutherland said.

Sutherland said the landowner is willing to participate in the costs of intersection upgrades but details still need to be worked out.

“The big question is who pays for the upgrade of this intersection in order to manage the traffic properly? Right now, unfortunately, there is not a defined program between counties and the city,” Sutherland said.

The plan goes to Rocky View council for a public hearing on April 20. If given the green light, it would still need the approval of the Calgary Metropolitan Region Board.

Area residents have been informed that they have until April 7 to send in written submissions.

On the project website, the developer said they’ve engaged in public consultation over the years and have addressed residents’ concerns.

“Stakeholders expressed some concerns about the potential for increased traffic and the desire for ample pedestrian and cyclist connections,” it said.

“The development concept has proposed a well-connected road design, which should help distribute future traffic. In addition, a new traffic circle on 12 Mile Coulee Road will support the flow of traffic at an already problematic offset intersection.”

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