News / Calgary

Affordable housing, daycare and meeting space under one roof? Ramsay sees new community hall

Bingo nights and Saturday shindigs were all the rage when the newer half of the Ramsay community hall was built some four decades ago.

But the daubers and dancers have dwindled — and the bills are piling up at the inner-city facility for repairs to a leaky roof, plumbing problems and asbestos.

“It’s a daily battle trying to maintain the building to the point it’s rentable,” said Kevin Cunningham, president of the Ramsay Community Association.

Conversations over the building’s future recently “escalated” when part of the hall was condemned, he added.

The community is now bringing in a third-party consultant to find out what residents want to do with the space. Some of the early, high-level ideas involve a mix of affordable housing, services such as daycare, and office space.

“We want a space that people want to go to,” Cunningham said. "This is the centre of Ramsay… we want to be able to have life here"

The report is expected back sometime in the fall with the development going ahead in three to five years, according to Cunningham.

Leslie Evans, head of the Federation of Calgary Communities, suggested it's a “ground-breaking” idea, given the potential to ease the city’s housing crunch.

Evans and Coun. Druh Farrell agreed on the need to create more “community hubs,” however, both highlighted some stickiness around land-use rules.

Farrell, who represents other inner-city communities, called the existing model “outdated,” adding there’s been discussion with provincial authorities on loosening up regulations.

“The general feeling is that we need to look at more contemporary rules around community association land,” she said. “We’ve been talking about the need to be more flexible.”

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