Use your voice to help save a critical habitat and wetland in Calgary
May 8, 2023
On May 16, our city council will hear submissions on the first development in the area formerly known as Ricardo Ranch. The development is called Logan Landing and is set to be located in one of the most ecologically valuable places along the Bow River.
This is a public hearing and all Calgarians have an opportunity to tell city council how they feel about this proposal. If you care about sprawl, climate change and biodiversity this is a crucial moment to make your voice heard.
Ricardo Ranch is the last undeveloped, intact wetland on the Bow River. It is home to unique ecosystems along the escarpment and the river valley below. This includes wetlands, grasslands and old growth riparian forest.
The only heron rookery left in Calgary is within the development radius and is at risk of being lost if this moves forward. Critically endangered bank swallows also have nesting colonies throughout the wetland area in the river valley.
Our council signed onto the Climate Strategy to address the climate emergency we will all be facing. This development is contrary to the ideals and goals within the strategy and should not be approved if we want to be a climate-resilient city.
Photo by Nathaniel Schmidt
There are three things you can do to help and you can choose to do as many or as few as your like:
- Email the mayor and city councillors — this development will affect places far outside of Ward 12 so the mayor and every councillor should hear what you think. The general contact form can be found here.
- Submit your comments on the project — comments received on or before May 9 will be part of the public record but don’t let that stop you from submitting whenever you’re able. The submission form can be found here.
- Sign up to speak — all Calgarians can speak for up to five minutes during public submissions. This can be done in person or over the phone here.
You will be able to sign up to speak and/or submit comments beginning now. The agenda will also become accessible one week before the meeting. When asked “What meeting do you wish to attend or submit to” select “Council.”
- For agenda item enter Logan Landing Development.
- You have the option to speak in person or on the phone.
- If you choose to speak on the phone you will receive an email with a phone number and dial-in code. Because of the large number of people who will likely submit, each speaker will be assigned a group number with five other speakers. Updates on which group is speaking are reflected through the live agenda which you can view as you are watching.
- If you choose to make written submissions you do not need to make any formal submissions on the public hearing date.
Once you are signed up, it’s as easy as submitting your written submissions via the web form or waiting your turn to speak on budget day.
Those choosing to speak in person must go to city hall and through security to council chambers. From there, you will be directed where to sit and when to speak.
You can co-present with others — this has an advantage if there are several people making identical points. Council will appreciate the efficiency and all co-presenters can answer questions.
Photo by Nathaniel Schmidt
Advice for addressing council on the phone or in person:
- Register to speak in advance (via address above).
- When you phone in, make sure to mute your phone until your name is called.
- When it is your time to speak and your name is called, unmute your phone to confirm you are present.
- When you are called upon to speak, introduce yourself.
- You’re limited to 5 minutes max to make your address. Write a draft of what you want to say and try it out loud a few times to see how long it takes.
- Make your main points succinctly, and leave opportunities for follow up questions from members of Council — you’ll then have an opportunity to expand upon key points without the time limit.
- Speak slowly and clearly.
- If you are calling in by telephone, stay on the line once you are finished (and mute yourself again) in case any councillors have follow-up questions.
- Powerpoint presentations, or printed documents (shown via a document camera) can be part of your presentation (the A/V technician will assist with this), but it may take some time to set up. Doc. camera is much faster to use.
Concerned citizens gather at Ricardo Ranch in fall 2022.
Key Points About Ricardo Ranch
- Habitat loss through continued sprawl represented by the five new business cases for developments being approved in the budget.
- The budget plan states that 79% of Calgarians value biodiversity and natural-based solutions. How do new developments align with those priorities?
- The development plan shows that 44% of Environmentally Significant Area will be permanently destroyed with this development. Why are we continuing to disturb Environmentally Significant areas like Ricardo Ranch?
- Ricardo Ranch is one of the last remaining intact wetlands on the Bow River. We have lost 90% of wetland ecosystems along the Bow River within Calgary which is much higher than the provincial average or approximately 65% wetland loss.
- Cottonwood forests are one of the most endangered ecosystems in Southern Alberta and vital to the health of rivers and wildlife, especially bats and birds. Old growth cottonwoods can be found around Ricardo Ranch and must be protected.
- The valley escarpment north of the wetland area in Ricardo Ranch features endangered native prairie that supports a diverse range of native plants and species. It risks being almost completely lost or disturbed as part of the development.
- The combination of these ecosystem features is unique within Calgary and Alberta. Our city has a responsibility to protect and preserve the valuable mix of wetlands, grasslands and forests.
- Other developments such as the Glacier Ridge ASP contain additional grasslands and waterways like West Nose Creek. Why are we choosing to develop remaining climate assets like these?
- Sensitive Species
- Bank swallows — there is evidence of an active bank swallow colony in close proximity to the new developments. Bank swallows are listed as a threatened species under the federal Species at Risk Act. Construction of the new development and increased population in the river both put the continued health of the colony at risk. The Recovery Strategy lists development as a serious threat to colonies because of disturbance to important foraging habitat required by nesting bank swallows.
- Great blue herons — the last known heron rookery in Calgary is located within the radius of the new development. Policy recommends leaving a 1000-metre radius of undisturbed land around a rookery
- Bats — old growth trees in the river valley support various populations.
- Calgarians are likely to live with biodiversity all around them. How will this budget reflect the goals in the biodiversity strategy?
These are all just suggestions for what you may include in your submissions, whether that be to the council meeting or to city councillors and the mayor individually.
You are encouraged to make these submissions your own as this makes them more impactful. You are not expected to be an expert. Your voice matters and is an important part of this discussion.
For more information about why Ricardo Ranch is so important please see the following:
For documents that will form part of the public hearing and other important information please click here.
For further information about making your submissions please forward questions to Nathan Schmidt at firstname.lastname@example.org.