Access for recreational users has trumped concerns of local residents in the City of Red Deer’s bid to build a new parking lot at Fort Normandeau.
With some compromises made to help meet concerns about noise and litter, Red Deer County’s Municipal Planning Commission passed a bylaw on Tuesday approving the city’s request to lease a parcel of land and build a 65-stall parking lot.
Improving access to launch points on the Red Deer River is an integral part of the region’s recreational package, said county Councillor Reimar Poth.
“I really believe (the Red Deer River) is one of the premier resources that we have for recreation here,” said Poth.
“I want people in Central Alberta to continue to enjoy the Red Deer River as recreational pursuit.”
County and city staff had met previously with area residents to discuss their concerns, said community services manager Jo-Ann Symington in presenting a staff report on the bylaw.
From those meetings, the original proposal reduced the number of parking stalls from 135 to 65. A chain link fence will be built around the entire lot, with a gate to be locked after hours, said Symington.
A maintenance plan is being created and there will be a number of trash bins placed inside the parking lot to reduce litter.
The city, county and RCMP are working together to create an enforcement plant and county peace officers will patrol on weekends.
No Parking signs have already been placed on both sides of the road leading into Fort Normandeau.
The city will also create a media plan to advise people about ways to stay safe on the river, signs will be erected advising of operating hours and others will advise that there is to be no liquor on the site.