Overwhelming community interest in the Molly Banister Drive extension decision has prompted a change of time for city council’s public hearing.
A special meeting will now be held at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 27, instead of a previously announced public hearing following the city council meeting on Oct. 26.
An off-site gathering place will be announced for Red Deerians who prefer to air their views on the future of Molly Banister Drive in person, instead of by phone.
A video camera will be set up at this site so that city councillors, who will be seated in council chambers at City Hall, will be able to view members of the public while they are at the microphone.
The off-site location is needed to prevent the spread of COVID-19, since there’s limited gathering space in council chambers, says the city.
City council wants to hear from the public about whether a right-of-way should be kept in city plans to allow for a future extension of Molly Banister Drive. Present plans show the road eventually being extended over Piper Creek and connecting with 40th Avenue and 22nd Street.
Many Red Deerians want to preserve this east-west traffic corridor, which planners have said will be needed in about 15 years, as the city’s population grows.
Other Red Deerians want to preserve the green space along Piper Creek, which is a wildlife route, and features an uninterrupted trail between 32nd Street and 19th Avenue.
City administration has most recently recommended that this green space be preserved, and the corridor for a road extension be removed from city plans, as a widening of 19th Street is believed to be inevitable at some point in the future to handle additional traffic.