Guidebook for Great Communities

What is the Guidebook for Great Communities (GGC)?

The Guidebook for Great Communities is a project that the City of Calgary has been working on for about 2 years. Once approved and adopted by council, it will be a statutory document which directs how Calgary will evolve and change. It will change the existing zoning bylaws and replace existing Area Redevelopment Plans and Local Area Plans.

Why is the GGC introduced?

The GGC influences the way that The City of Calgary approaches Local Area Planning. This approach will establish Multi-Community Local Area Plans that includes policies for a group of communities rather than for individual communities as is the current practice.

The City Planners say that the current bylaws are too restrictive. Redevelopment is too difficult when trying to introduce infills and density into developed communities.

What does this mean for our community?

The proposed Guidebook will permit more diversification and density than the current R-1 and R-C1 designation allows, without the need for land use re-designation.

There will still be Low-Density Residential Areas, although at this time there is still a lot of uncertainty as to what these areas will look like, what will be allowed and what they intend to do with Single Family Residential districts.

What is the West Elbow Local Area Plan?

Elbow Park will become part of a Multi-Community District of 16 communities named: West Elbow Local Area Plan. The City will be divided in 42 such districts over the next 5 years or so. For more information and to see which other communities are in the West Elbow Local Area Plan, please go to:

There will be a working group for each of these local area plans, which will include representatives of each community as well as City planners and industry representatives such as builders and developers. This working group will develop a Local Area Plan for our community.

As there are still many questions unanswered and many people are unaware of these changes, several communities, including Elbow Park, have worked together over the winter and spring and asked to delay the approval of the GGC. It went to Council in April and the proposed document was sent back to Administration for more work.

In response, the City has put together an Engagement Group to work on the revisions We will follow these discussions closely and keep you up to date.

The final Information Session to this Engagement Group will be on November 12. After this (date TBD) the proposed amended Guidebook will be posted online for the public. It will go to PUD (Planning and Urban Development) sometime in January 2021 and a public hearing in February 2021.

The West Elbow Workgroup was also put on hold before it even started. We have recently been assigned a Local Area Planner, with whom we will have an introductory meeting on November 12.

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