A massive project that would see more than 60-hectares of currently undeveloped land bordering Shaganappi Trail transformed into a “complete, vibrant and sustainable” community has taken another step forward.

Sitting on the western side of the University of Calgary Campus, the West Campus Development recently saw its first round of public engagement panels, designed to gauge public opinion of the mixed-use project.

While the project has been in the works for a number of years, recent meetings represent a significant step forward for the development. The Province of Alberta transferred the West Campus lands to the University of Calgary in 1995. Having completed a new master plan in 2011, the University confirmed the lands referred to as West Campus are not required for core academic facilities.

“These lands can play that role by providing an integrated neighbourhood that helps attract key faculty, researchers and students. Within this primary objective the University looks to be a leader in environmental sustainability and social responsibility while being financially prudent,” said a release from The West Campus Development Trust, the project’s overseers.

According to the Trust, all net income from the land will be used to support University initiatives. Under the updated master plan, the project would have four “emerging distinct” neighbourhoods, with integration of the University into the surrounding community. Retail for the development would take the form of an east to west “high street”, to provide more locally-focused retail rather than the sort of power centre shopping seen elsewhere in the city.

While the Trust won’t sell the land to developers, it will allow them to operate with 99-year leases.

Input from the March public engagement will be shared with the Stakeholder Working Group and will form part of the key considerations.The public will see the emerging plan on the Trust’s website and an updated Master Plan will be shared with the community and public in early summer 2013, with an objective of submit a land use application to The City of Calgary in June 2013.