Growth Management in a nutshell

Druh Farrell
2 min readOct 14, 2021

Date Published: May 29, 2013​​

“If you want to make enemies, try to change something.”

— Woodrow Wilson

With Calgary’s population set to more than double over the next 60 years, The City needs to accommodate growth while ensuring we are financially sustainable in the long term.

How Calgary grows and who pays for growth has been at the forefront of recent City discussions. Mandated by Council in 2009, growth management (Framework of Growth and Change) is a new process which allows The City to budget for the needs of new communities. In the past we dealt with the costs associated with growth on a random basis. Growth management will ensure that Calgary grows responsibly, that residents in new communities will not have to wait as long for key services, and that the financial risks are covered by those who profit from development.

While there have been suggestions that The City is “social engineering” and mandating that everyone must live in a high-rise, this is simply not the case. We will be ensuring free-market choice that better reflects actual development costs, establishing a logical pattern of growth, and eliminating subsidies currently covered by all Calgarians.

Historically, more than 100% of our population growth occurred in new suburban communities while we slowly lost population in older areas. We are making our first, tentative steps toward increasing densities in established neighbourhoods. And while the ultimate aim is for an equal split between growth in new and existing communities, this is expected to be gradually realized over a 60 year time period. Over the next five years, 94% of the city’s growth will still be in the suburbs.

Currently, approved development plans in Calgary allow for 2,400 hectares of serviced land by 2014, with capacity for 160,000 new people. Community plans in various stages of approval on the city’s periphery will provide space for 407,000 new people. There are presently 23 new communities in Calgary where people can purchase a yet-to-be-built starter or mid-price home. Consumer choice in single family homes will not be stifled by growth management, given the amount of housing currently and yet-to-be available over the coming years.

Change, sometimes can be uncomfortable, which is why the debate around growth management in Calgary has been heated at times. A new and robust plan is now in place for Calgary’s future growth, which will deliver a more financially sustainable future for all of us. We have chosen to live within our means rather than bestow a great debt on future generations, and that’s a responsible decision I believe we can live with.​

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Druh Farrell

Druh Farrell is a born-and-raised Calgarian and a long-time resident of Ward 7. As a City Councillor, Druh brings a depth of experience to Calgary City Council.