Councillor sees exciting future for Mount Royal area
An interview with Ward 11 Councillor Brian Pincott
“It’s just incredible,” enthuses Brian Pincott as he looks over a map of Calgary’s Ward 11.
The councillor, elected to his third term in last year’s election, was discussing the wave of developments happening in the communities around Mount Royal University, from development at the Currie Barracks and ATCO Lands to the introduction of what Pincott calls Calgary’s first “real” bus rapid transit line.
The Currie Barracks northeast of MRU is poised to be redeveloped into a community much as Garrison Woods across Crowchild Trail. While the ATCO lands to the southeast of the university are set to be transformed into a corporate campus.
“I envision people getting off work at the ATCO Lands, travelling to a concert or performance at the Bella [Concert Hall], before heading back their homes in the Currie Barracks,” says Pincott, describing what he calls to be a modern, walkable and liveable community with MRU at its heart.
Pincott says current development projects sees the redeveloped Currie Barracks having 12,000 residents and jobs, while the ATCO Lands will have another 8,000 jobs, including the headquarters of the ATCO group.
“All of these changes are within a 10-minute walk of Mount Royal.”
One of Pincott’s top priorities for the area has been improving transit. Though still disappointed that he lost the battle to run the West LRT down Crowchild to Marda Loop, the Military Museums and MRU, he is now looking for other ways to connect the campus.
“For years, Calgary Transit had said ‘no, [Mount Royal University] is incredibly well served. We have eight routes that go there.’”
So Pincott pushed for the Southwest Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) route, which would head from downtown to MRU and then south to Rockyview General Hospital and the community of Woodlands. The route, which is expected by 2021, will have dedicated bus-only lanes, unlike the other BRT routes which typically run in the same lanes as other vehicles.
Pincott calls these routes “Baby BRTs, or BRT lites,” because in his opinion, real BRTs have to be separated out. “So the first real BRT we’re going to do in Calgary will be going through MRU.”
Along with the new transit hub being built at MRU’s East Gate to coincide with the development of the new Conservatory and the Riddell Library and Learning Centre, Pincott sees a chance to create a community where transit is integrated “at the beginning, from day one.”
“In other communities, we go through years of planning and angst about density, well at Mount Royal area, with the ATCO Lands and Currie Barracks, we’re just doing it, and it’s going to be astounding,” says Pincott. “You’re not going to be able to recognize it.”