Developments and Masterplans

The motivations of the Provincial government in building the Southwest Calgary Ring Road (like the City before it) are clear; to provide a transportation corridor for better access to and from the Southwest quadrant of the city, and to allow for transportation of goods around the city and avoiding busier inner-city roads.

The southwest has a number of natural and political obstacles that restrict the kind of transportation infrastructure found elsewhere in the City. These include the Reservoir and the Elbow river, the Weaselhead, the Fish Creek and the Fish Creek Provincial park, and the Tsuut’ina reserve. The negotiations with the Tsuut’ina, and the 2013 agreement,  navigated all of those obstacles to provide only the second fully north-south corridor in the Southwest quadrant, the other being Macleod Trail.

But what’s in it for the Nation?

At different points in the relationship between the Tsuut’ina and the City and Province, there has been differing attitudes to negotiate and sell land. While in the past there had been an apparent willingness by the Tsuut’ina Nation to sell reserve land providing there was a clear benefit (the Weaselhead in 1931, the Highway 22 corridor in the 1930s and again in the 1950s, though even these sales are contentious) by the time the first road plans were drawn up that identified the reserve as a potential route, the Nation was cool to the idea of providing land for a road. In 1978, Tsuut’ina Chief Clifford Big Plume stated “We are not going to benefit from a highway through our reserve” (See below)

Continue reading “Developments and Masterplans”

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The 940

‘The 940’ plays a very important role in the history of the Southwest Ring Road. It is the centre of ring road planning from the very beginning, and in many ways remains the key to an alignment on Tsuu T’ina lands. But what is the 940?

The 940 is a 940 acre parcel of land that makes up the north-east corner of the Tsuu T’ina reserve. It is bordered by the City of Calgary on two sides, 37th street SW and Lakeview to the east, Glenmore Trail and Glamorgan to the north, and the Elbow river and Weaselhead defines its south and west borders. Every official alignment of a major road in this area has the road cutting directly though the heart of this land. Continue reading “The 940”

The 2009 Agreement

(For information about the 2013 ring road agreement including maps, click here)

In my last post, I talked about the road design that was part of the 2009 proposal, which was eventually defeated in a referendum of Tsuu T’ina members. While this design formed a large part of the 2009 agreement, the details of that agreement are equally as important when it comes to understanding the history of the road. By all public accounts, the reasons why many members of the Tsuu T’ina voted against the 2009 deal were contained in the details of this agreement.

Soon after the deal was rejected by a vote of about 60.5% against, Tsuu T’ina Chief Sanford Big Plume made comments that the Tsuu T’ina were interested continuing negotiations. While stating categorically that they were not asking for more money, more land or a different route, he did identify a few details of the agreement as being part of the reason the vote failed. Rather than rejecting the entire agreement, he implied that the Nation had voted against certain clauses that were unacceptable. While the Nation were on record as wanting to continue the negotiation process (the deal was only ever put to a vote that one time), after the rejection the deal was declared dead by the Province.

Before we look at the details later identified as needing revision, lets look at what the agreement actually contained: Continue reading “The 2009 Agreement”

2009 Southwest Calgary Ring Road Design: Opening Day Stage

(For information about the 2013 ring road agreement including maps, click here)

In my previous article (found here) I wrote about the design of the Southwest Calgary Ring Road, and included the road diagrams. Those diagrams showed the ‘Ultimate Stage’ of the road, which showed the road as it would be once fully built out, something that would happen only once Calgary’s population reached the 2.1 million mark. However, they do not represent what would initially be built in the short term if this road becomes reality. This article covers the ‘Stage 1’ or ‘Opening Day’ design for the road that would be built if (or when) a deal is reached.

THE FUNCTIONAL PLANNING STUDY

Focus Engineering designed the road from about 2005 to about 2008, and did so with on behalf of the Province, with input from the City of Calgary, the Tsuu T’ina and stakeholder groups. The final road design is contained in the final Functional Planning Study (FPS) document.

‘OPENING DAY’ ROAD DIAGRAMS

The following diagrams are of the ‘Opening Day’ stage of the Southwest Calgary Ring Road, taken from the Functional Planning Study. The number in the circles on the road indicate lane count. Please click on the images to see a much larger version. (Note the direction of North, as the orientation changes from diagram to diagram).

101st Street SW and Highway 8 to 69th Street SW. Continue reading “2009 Southwest Calgary Ring Road Design: Opening Day Stage”

2009 Southwest Calgary Ring Road Design: Ultimate Stage

(For information about the 2013 ring road agreement including maps, click here)

The 2009 Southwest Calgary Ring Road plan was the culmination of not just 5 years of study and negotiation, but of decades of transportation plans. While the negotiations were rejected by the Tsuu T’ina in June of 2009, that agreement will form the basis of the current negotiations. Both parties have stated that while the terms of the agreement need work, the road and alignment would not change in the renewed negotiations. But what exactly did the plan entail?

The 2009 Plan was initiated in 2004, with the signing of an ‘Agreement in Principle’ by Premiere Ralph Klein and Chief Sanford Big Plume, followed in 2005 by the signing of a ‘Final Framework for Infrastructure’. This Framework agreement set the stage for the Province to begin the work of determining a route, planning the road and negotiating for the land required.

While the design plans for most of the Stoney Trail (the Calgary Ring Road) calls for a road of 2-4 lanes in each direction (4-8 lanes total) the Southwest portion was designed to accomodate 16 lanes. The Tsuu T’ina agreed that if they were to sell land for a road, it would be done only once. Since the Province have long term plans for a second ‘Outer’ Ring Road around Calgary, and with no further opportunity to purchase more land from the Tsuu T’ina, the Southwest portion was to be designed to accomodate not only the 8 lanes from the current Stoney Trail Ring Road, but an additional 8 lanes for a future, ‘Outer’ Ring Road. The ‘Opening Day’ scenario details a road of 4-6 lanes, while the ‘Ultimate’ stage, not expected to be built for 50+ years, details a road of up to 16 lanes. Continue reading “2009 Southwest Calgary Ring Road Design: Ultimate Stage”

1959, 1963 and 1967 Transportation Plans

In 1959, Calgary produced it’s first ever transportation plan, called the Calgary Metropolitan Area Transportation Study. This was the first time the City produced a comprehensive, forward-looking plan that laid out the basic road network for a growing city.

Part of this document, plus the revision in 1963 and the Calgary Transportation Study (CALTS) in 1967, showed for the first time (*see edit below) a plan for a major north-south road connecting Glenmore Trail to the areas south of the reservoir, called the ‘West By-Pass’. The City planned this section of the road to be a continuation of what would eventually be called Sarcee Trail, from Glenmore Trail, heading south through the Harvey Barracks (Sarcee Camp), through the Weaselhead area, and then south along the 37th street SW corridor from about 90th avenue SW. Because the Harvey Barracks was at that time owned by the Canadian Military, and both it and the Weaselhead area were within Calgary city limits, this original routing was contained entirely within the City of Calgary, and required no land from the adjoining Tsuu T’ina reserve.

Continue reading “1959, 1963 and 1967 Transportation Plans”

The Weaselhead and the City

While the Weaselhead cannot possibly be summarised in a single blog post, some of the key points in it’s history can be traced.

What we know as the Weaselhead was originally part of the First Nations reserve which was granted to the Tsuut’ina (then Sarcee) in 1883, though of course it existed long before that as part of the Tsuut’ina traditional lands. Before its sale to the City, and for a time after, the area had been used by the Canadian Military for training and maneuvers. It was also the location of a public road called the Priddis Trail. The road was built in 1900 and originated at what would later become 37th street SW and 66th avenue SW. (A survey from 1934 including the Weaselhead road is shown below, and I cover the story of the Priddis Trail here). Continue reading “The Weaselhead and the City”