(Advocate file photo).

Old cemetery, pipelines must be considered when Red Deer grows to the northeast

Dawe: ‘If there are graves of people, you have to treat them with respect’

An old Metis burial ground and an abandoned oil well are part of city council discussions about a new Red Deer neighbourhood that could be developed in 10 to 20 years.

Red Deer city council gave initial approval on Monday for plans for the northeast corner of the city: The Coventry Neighbourhood could eventually be built within the Clover Valley multi-neighbourhood district.

Whenever these primarily residential areas are developed directly east of River Bend Golf Course (it will depend on the pace of city growth), Coun. Michael Dawe asked if an old cemetery will be taken into consideration.

As a local historian, Dawe knows an old Metis burial ground, dating to the 1880s, exists in this vicinity.

Exactly where is a mystery since a long-time resident passed away before he could identify the sport, said Dawe.

But he sought assurance from a city planner that efforts will be taken to locate this burial ground before machinery starts to dig. Otherwise, Dawe said it could be like what happened in the Innisfail area a couple decades ago when human remains were discovered during a road project.

City senior planner David Girardin responded that the city usually depends on the province to identify these sites.

Outside council chambers, Dawe said he intends to stay on top of the issue, saying “If there are graves of people, you have to treat them with respect. You have to properly identify them… if your have to move them, you move them respectfully.”

Another factor in these plans will be dealing with an oil well and some pipelines.

Girardin told council that the oil well is expected to be abandoned and the surrounding area cleaned up: It will be “integrated into the community once the land has been remediated.”

Some pipelines right-of-ways are also anticipated to be abandoned and the pipes removed before streets are developed, said Girardin. He added the concept plans take the pipelines that will remain in use into consideration.

The Coventry Neighbourhood Area Structure Plan includes concepts for mixed densities and housing types, and a trail system that would connect with the River Bend Recreation Area. The Clover Valley Multi-Neighbourhood Plan would retain the natural ravine to the south and connect to the Red Deer River Corridor.

A public hearing on these plans will be held on Aug. 20.

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