Protect the Hearts of Our Neighbourhoods

The Elboya and Britannia neighbourhoods, originally developed in the 1950's, predominantly consist of single-family homes on large lots, with tree-lined streets.  Our neighbourhood character is worth protecting.Elboya and Britannia are at a watershed point regarding how future redevelopment in our neighbourhoods will be directed. As described below, the City is creating the Chinook Communities Local Area Plan which will change the rules on what types of buildings can replace your neighbour’s house. The EBCA is committed to advocate to protect our neighbourhood character.

Changes to the Development Rules

Under the current Land Use Bylaw, Elboya and Britannia are designated R-C1 (Residential – Contextual One Dwelling Districts) and the rules specify that a house can only be replaced by another house.

However, the City of Calgary is committed to increase the residential density in established communities like ours.  Their goal is to have 50% of Calgary’s future population growth to be accommodated in existing established communities.Through the development of a Local Area Plan ("LAP"), traditional RC-1 neighbourhoods will see increased density by allowing houses to be replaced by Duplexes, Rowhouses, Townhouses, Infill Townhouses (narrow lot), and other larger multi unit buildings.  Additional Secondary suites will be allowed in these multi buildings. Only 50% of the dwelling unit will have on site parking.

Why Do We Care?

You likely moved to Elboya Britannia because you wanted a house with a yard in a stable, quiet, family-oriented neighbourhood with mature trees.  Densification will, over time, negatively impact these values:

  • Stable: we will never know what the person who buys our neighbours house will do with respect to redevelopment.
  • Quiet, family oriented: increased cars, parking, traffic, safety issues.
  • Mature trees, greenspace: the new rules allow higher lot coverage (more building, less greenspace) which will reduce greenspace and trees.

We should preserve and protect the existing neighbourhood core of homes against ad hoc higher intensity redevelopment. This would focus the higher intensity to the defined areas where it should be.

Altadore and 33 Avenue SW are examples of what our future could look like.

What Can We do?

The Elboya Britannia Community Association is working hard to protect the character of our neighbourhoods through advocacy at the City, but we will need your help.

The City Administration has started the creation of the Chinook LAP which includes EBCA.  We need your help to ensure that the Mayor and Councillors, the City Administration, and the City Planners writing the LAP know our concerns and ensure our concerns are addressed during the creation and approval of our LAP.

Chinook Communities Local Area Plan

The changes to the development rules will be implemented through the creation of LAPs

We are in LAP 8: Chinook which includes Elboya/Britannia, Parkdale, Windsor Park, Meadowlark Park, Mayfair/Bel Aire, and Manchester.

The City Administration has started the creation of the Chinook LAP.  You can learn more about the LAP process at the City webpage Local Area Planning in Calgary

LAP Policy Precedents

Council-approved and draft LAPs will be of precedential value for the drafting of the Chinook LAP.  The Westbrook LAP (click for relevant excerpts) was approved on January 17, 2023, and the Heritage LAP (click for relevant excerpts) is in final draft and will proceed to a public hearing before Council on June 4, 2023.We anticipate that the Chinook LAP policies will be similar to the policies in these LAPs.  In these LAPs, traditional RC-1 neighbourhoods are no more, with the favoured approach of higher density development on single-family lot, and less required parking.  The following describe the policies in the LAPs regarding the residential areas:

  • All buildings may be up to 3 stories
  • Duplexes will be allowed to be built on all lots
  • All lots will be allowed to be subdivided into narrow lots for infill houses
  • "Building forms that contain three or more residential units should be supported on parcels with rear lanes":
    • On all corner lots
    • On lots adjacent to a school, park or open space
  • On higher-activity streets (such as Elbow Drive, 50th Avenue and near Macleod Trail), higher density buildings will be allowed: multi unit four-storey townhouses, stacked townhouses, apartment buildings as well as small-scale commercial uses.
    • Some streets will allow buildings up to 4 stories; some streets will allow buildings up to 6 stories
    • All of the above may also include secondary suites
    • New parking rules require only 0.5 parking stalls for each dwelling unit: 50% of the new residents will not have a parking stall and therefore must park their vehicles on the street

Tentative Schedule

December 2022: Walking tour: The two City planners who will be writing the LAP + Corran Hockey (EBCA President, Samantha Stokes (Director of Development – Elboya), and Mike Read (Director of Development – Britannia).March 2023: the City will be conducting Chinook LAP Introductory Sessions with Community Association Board members in March.Timeline: Once the City develops the project timeline, they will create a Chinook LAP webpage.  We will post the link here.EBCA ActionThe EBCA will advocate on behalf of the communities to encourage the City to focus densification along transportation corridors and activity centres (e.g. Macleod Trail), and preserve the character of the hearts of our neighbourhood.

  • EBCA will have two representatives on the LAP Advisory Group. We will post updates and feedback on this webpage.
  • The City Will be conducting numerous public engagement virtual session that solicit feedback that will inform them in their creation on the LAP. We will update this webpage with links.
  • The final approval process will include a public review of the final LAP at a meeting of the Infrastructure and Planning Subcommittee and a final approval by the Mayor and Council at a Public Hearing. EBCA will participate in these meetings.

Resident Action

  • Review the City and EBCA information about the LAP.
  • Attend City and ECBA information sessions. Make your concerns known.
  • Participate in the Public Hearings.

We will be updating this webpage regularly. We will provide updates on the LAP creation process and solicit your feedback and input.

Britannia Caveat & Elboya Caveats

A restrictive covenant is a document registered against title to a group of properties.  It sets out certain requirements for development, and in particular, restricts the type of development which can occur.  For example, caveats registered in our neighbourhoods restrict the density of development to one house per lot with large setbacks.  Caveats are enforced through legal action by other property owners in the group.

Caveats are not part of City planning and development rules.

These caveats may offer legal protection against densification, as the caveats have a clause that states "only one single family dwelling house…may be erected on each lot".

The enforcement of the caveats can prohibit any building form other than single-detached and may prohibit the construction of "Back Yard" suites.  We are working with other community associations with similar caveats to determine how effective this legal action strategy will be.  However, legal action is costly, and the Britannia Caveat Fund and the Elboya Caveat Fund will need additional funding from community members.

Reference Documents