Red Deerians had the opportunity to learn more about the possible future extension of Molly Banister Drive.
The Bower Place Community Association hosted an information session at Bower Community Hall Tuesday evening.
Representatives from Melcor Developments Ltd., which is planning a new subdivision on land east of Piper Creek, Barrett Drive and the Bower Place mall, answered questions regarding the controversial issue of whether to eventually extend Molly Banister Drive through a green space to connect it with 40 Avenue.
City of Red Deer representatives were also at the session to answer questions. The city is seeking input in a public survey on the city’s website — residents can access the survey until Jan. 13.
“The purpose of the meeting was to provide the community with information, make sure everyone understood what we were filling out in the survey, what was asked of us, and to see Melcor’s position,” said Rebecca Nielson, Bower Place Community Association president.
There are no immediate plans to extend the road, as planners figure the city hitting the 115,000 to 180,000 population benchmark should trigger discussions about the road extension.
But Melcor needs to know whether a four-lane roadway will someday intersect the yet undeveloped land off 40 Avenue, between the Sunnybrook and Southbrook neighbourhoods.
While the extension of Molly Banister Drive is not in the City of Red Deer’s 10-year capital plan, a protected alignment for a potential future roadway expansion is marked on development and structural plans for the area.
Guy Pelletier, vice-president of the Red Deer region for Melcor, said he has three concerns with a potential extension: it would be difficult to work with from a development standpoint, it would create a significant impact to a natural area and it would likely be a costly project for taxpayers.
At the information session, many residents also expressed concerns.
One attendee said the natural area needs to be protected.
“This is absolutely land worth keeping. Cities would cry for this type of area,” the attendee said.
Another attendee suggested the extension isn’t needed because 32 Street and 19 Street are nearby alternatives.
“We aren’t talking about a great deal of travel there,” the attendee said.
Others at the meeting said they believe the extension would help alleviate existing traffic problems on those to streets.
For more information on the city’s survey, visit www.reddeer.ca.