News from the Friends of Nose Hill – November

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Join us on Wed. Nov. 15 at Triwood Community Centre Lounge at 7 p.m. for our annual members meeting. Details on www.fonhs.org.

The Supreme Court of Canada played a role in the creation of Nose Hill Park. Planned public purchase of land for a park can be a legitimate reason for refusing to grant a building permit or for a refusal of an application for rezoning.

In 1973, Calgary passed a resolution restricting urban development on 4100 acres in the Nose Hill area and requiring investigation by the City of “all available means” to acquire the land. In 1976, the City reduced the size of the proposed Nose Hill Park by deleting the western parcel of 1500 acres. The Municipal Plan in 1979 said there will be a plan for Nose Hill Park. Then the City passed an area structure plan called Crowchild III which refers to the “proposed Nose Hill Park”.

The City adopted the Nose Hill Master Plan by Parks and Recreation to outline the types of recreational activity desirable in the park. This plan put forward 3 alternative park concepts which were evaluated and with recommendations. As a policy document, it was incorporated in the Municipal Plan in June 1980. (There was a Master Plan Review in 1993). With approval of its plan for Nose Hill Park, the City authorized the purchase of land in the park.

The Court determined that: when a municipality makes a firm decision to create a park and demonstrates this in a land-use bylaw, this does not mean that the municipality must create the park immediately.

Under the 1963 law, land could not be zoned as parkland unless the municipality owned the land at the time. Once the decision was made, it had to acquire the land within 6 months. Otherwise, the bylaw was no longer in force.

In 1984, the Court observed that the law has gradually moved away from the rights of the property owner as paramount to planning flexibility and public interest as more important. Alberta decided that, if the rights of individuals and the public conflict, then to the extent necessary, the “greater public interest” must prevail. Ottawa agreed. In other words, there is nothing inherently wrong with a development freeze. The Appeal was dismissed with costs.

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