Town centre concept to get revisions

After a delay of several months, the City of Red Deer will retool its plans for pedestrian-friendly town centre areas in new neighbourhoods.

After a delay of several months, the City of Red Deer will retool its plans for pedestrian-friendly town centre areas in new neighbourhoods.

Earlier this year, the city brought forward design guidelines for the East Hill Town Centre and Main Street/Town Square Land Use districts within the East Hill Major Area Structure Plan on the east side. These districts focused on high housing density, a variety of shops and businesses, plus pedestrian-friendly streets.

Plans are to have these town centres within the city’s development of Timberlands, south of 67th Street and east of 30th Avenue. A town centre is also planned for Melcor Development’s Clearview North, west of 30th Avenue and south of 67th Street.

But when Melcor brought forward its town centre plans with lots of parking in front of stores, several councillors felt the intent was missed.

On Tuesday, city council decided to withdraw further consideration of a bylaw amendment concerning the new land use districts. A new land use bylaw amendment will be created.

Councillor Lorna Watkinson-Zimmer said she’s been to communities where the main street is walkable and no cars are allowed, so she knows this kind of design can work.

“The parking is kind of hidden, the streets are small,” she said. “It’s not this huge piece of asphalt.”

Addressing the town centre proposal again may mean going back to a “clean sheet.”

“We have to be diligent to get it done and watch the timeline because it is developing around there (on the city’s east end),” Watkinson-Zimmer said.

Mayor Morris Flewwelling said he expects to see a report come back with a “lot better design guidelines.”

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