Everything you need to know about municipal and environmental reserves
December 14, 2018 | by QualicoCommunities
Calgary is filled with parks, green spaces, winding trails and acres of woodlands and urban forests. The city’s parks and natural landscapes allow its residents to enjoy their favourite outdoor pastimes. Calgary’s distinctive landscape is one of its biggest assets and attractions. Thanks to municipal and environmental reserves, and the vision presented in the city’s Open Space Plan, Calgarians will be able to enjoy breathtaking views and natural amenities for a long time.
What is the Open Space Plan?
Calgary’s Open Space Plan was adopted by the city in 2002. It is a policy which identifies the strategies and principles surrounding the acquisition and development of natural and park lands within Calgary. The city’s primary mission with the Open Space Plan is to ensure that all Calgarians have access to parks and recreational services. The plan also aims to ensure that Calgarians live in healthy, vibrant well-planned communities where residents have the freedom to participate in community-based sports, arts and cultural recreational programs in quality and safe open spaces.
The Open Space Plan serves as a foundation for other more specific policies such as the Natural Area Management Plan, which aims to preserve natural lands and use them to better our communities. The implementation of this plan is a great example of an ongoing partnership between the City and the development industry. As land is subdivided for new development, 10% of the land is donated back to the City as Municipal Reserve. As a condition of development, developers will landscape and donate amenities such as pathways, playgrounds and trees for the newly formed parks. After a developer warranty period, the City will assume ownership of these parks and take on the responsibility for its maintenance and care.
What is a municipal reserve (MR)?
A municipal reserve is donated for use as public parks and public recreational areas. The vast majority of neighbourhood and regional parks within the City are municipal reserves. Some of the common amenities you would find in municipal reserves are playgrounds, pathways, picnic areas, skate parks, outdoor rinks, basketball and tennis courts and toboggan hills. Calgary is also home to a number of naturalized municipal reserves. These areas would focus more on passive recreation, like walking trails through trees. A sub-category of Municipal Reserve is called Municipal School Reserve (MSR). These lands are donated to the City for use by school boards. Decision making regarding the use of these lands is typically a joint effort between the City and the school boards.
What is an environmental reserve (ER)?
An environmental reserve is a parcel of land that the City has identified, through its land use planning process, to be environmentally significant and worth preserving. The province provides guidance as to what lands are eligible for preservation as Environmental Reserve. Rivers, creeks, high value wetlands, swamps, gullies, ravines, coulees and animal migration corridors are examples of landscapes that would be preserved as ER’s. These lands are identified prior to the subdivision process and as a result are protected from development. As the lands next to an ER are subdivided, the City will condition that the ER lands are donated to the City for preservation.
Advantages of buying close to municipal and environmental reserves
Municipal and environmental reserves maintain Calgary’s beauty and allow Calgarians to have access to parks, trails and other amenities – there are many advantages to buying or building a home with a reserve close by. Here are a few perks of living close to a reserve:
1. Access to amenities
Living close to a municipal reserve could be ideal for a growing family. Municipal reserves are pieces of land dedicated for use as parks and playgrounds, families who live close by enjoyingunmatched access to family-friendly amenities. Living close to public parks provide a lot of opportunity for play and exploration and enriches the experience of being part of a community.
2. Increased property value
When you live next door to breathtaking natural views and highly desired amenities, results in increased property value. A nice view and access to desirable conveniences are great selling points forresale.
3. Enjoy your favourite past times
From biking trails and winding pathways to designated recreational areas, the opportunities to enjoy your favouriteoutdoor activities are endless when you live close to a municipal reserve. When you have access to open space, it’s easy to enjoy a friendly game of baseball or a leisurely bike ride through your community.
4. Alternate transportation options
Municipal reserves give Calgarians access to quality open spaces. These spaces allow people to safely use alternate forms of transportation to get to their destinations. You can safely walk or bike to work, school!
Calgary is a gorgeous city, and municipal and environmental reserves play a big role in maintaining its beauty. They allow us to maintain the unique outdoorsy lifestyle Calgarians are known for. When you live near a reserve, you get unprecedented access to all of Calgary’s beauty and unique amenities!