People want more green space in Riverlands

Gathering spaces missing in redevelopment plan

A lack of green space in the Riverlands redevelopment plan remains an outstanding issue for some Red Deerians.

On Monday city council tabled the proposed Riverlands Area Redevelopment Plan for up to three months to allow administration to meet with property owners about issues of concern identified by about 10 people at Monday’s public hearing.

Gordon Bailey, with West Park Riverlands Association, said residents were pleased the building height at the former EL&P site was reduced to what was originally planned.

But he said the city would ruin the last opportunity to create a really special park-like space if it allows the area closest to West Park to be “chockablock” with five-storey structures.

“We are hoping they would be more innovative and attract restaurants and other things that would be attractive to that setting and still allow people to have some park-like area to relax and enjoy that wonderful section of the river valley that attracts so many people along that bike path,” said Bailey who spoke at the public hearing on Thursday.

Other issues raised at the public hearing included clarifying future uses within commercial areas and adequacy of green space, reviewing the pedestrian link as it pertains to existing businesses, parking availability on the Riverwalk and Alexander Way, and clarifying processes and timing of Riverlands development.

Bailey said proposed Riverlands Area Redevelopment maps give a distorted view of green space because it’s not all usable green space.

Green space closest to West Park is mostly forest with either steep slopes or hills on either side of the walking trail. It’s not a gathering place, he said.

Ribbons of green space elsewhere in the plan are just pathways, and the riverbank is also not usable park space, he added.

“They were showing the green space along the river, but most of it is a 45-degree bank, or more. There’s no way people can take advantage of that green space so you’re ending up with a narrow strip which is just a wider boardwalk that would replace the current bike path,” Bailey said.

Jeff McDonald, owner of Purearth Organics in Riverlands, said over the years the plan for Riverlands has lost a lot of green space and that’s not the way to attract people.

“High density housing is not what’s going to do that,” McDonald said.

He said there are huge benefits to Riverlands redevelopment, but Red Deer doesn’t yet have the population to support high density apartments.

West Park resident Steve Jervis said nearby residents are not opposed to development, but he was concerned the EL&P site could end up with a high-density, low-income housing project.

He was impressed that council listened to residents’ concerns about the building height.

“At the end of the day, you’ve got to be happy. It could have been a lot worse,” Jervis said.

Amendments were passed on Monday to reduce the height for any building developed at the former Electric, Light and Power site from eight storeys to five. Space created by the realignment of Alexander Way would also be available for parking, public amenities, and determining future roadway access for a minimum of 10 years instead of five before options for the space is re-evaluated.

McDonald was glad the space created by the realignment of Alexander Way could provide parking for a longer period of time, and that the space won’t necessarily be home to a building in the future.

Once parking is in place, it might be difficult to take it away, he said.

“I think parking is going to be a big issue here. It’s already becoming an issue. We’re got more and more businesses and it’s just going to get more and more crowded.”

Council will consider the administration’s Riverlands report in the coming months.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(File photo by Black Press News Services)
QEII closed between 67 Street, 32 Street at Red Deer

Drivers are being asked to use alternate routes as southbound and northbound… Continue reading

Innisfail RCMP are investigating a single-vehicle crash that happened west of Bowden on March 21, 2021. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Bashaw RCMP investigate fatal collision in central Alberta

Bashaw RCMP are investigating after a fatal collision Saturday afternoon. Police were… Continue reading

A damaged unicorn statue is shown in a field outside of Delia, Alta. in this undated handout photo. It's not often police can report that a unicorn has been found, but it was the truth Saturday when RCMP said a stolen, stainless-steel statue of the mythical beast had been located in a field not far from where he'd been taken. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Mounties get their unicorn; stolen statue of mythical beast found in Alberta field

DELIA, Alta. — It’s not often police can report that a unicorn… Continue reading

Red Deer Rebels forward Ethan Rowland battles with Medicine Hat Tigers forward Brett Kemp during WHL action at the Centrium Saturday night. (Photo by ROB WALLATOR/Red Deer Rebels)
Tigers claw back, hand Rebels 11th straight loss

Tigers 5 Rebels 2 The same old issues continue to plague the… Continue reading

There were six additional deaths across Alberta reported over the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 1,926 since the beginning of the pandemic. (File photo)
Red Deer Public Schools will not pilot the new draft curriculum at its elementary schools. (File photo contributed by Red Deer Public Schools)
UPDATED: Red Deer Public Schools says no to piloting new curriculum

Alberta Teachers’ Association support school boards

People cross a busy street in the shopping district of Flushing on Tuesday, March 30, 2021, in the Queens borough of New York. Access to the COVID-19 vaccine in the United States is growing by the day. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kathy Willens
Despite COVID-19 vaccines, Americans in D.C. not feeling celebratory — or charitable

WASHINGTON — This might make Canadians jealous of their American cousins for… Continue reading

A man pays his respects at a roadside memorial in Portapique, N.S. on Thursday, April 23, 2021. RCMP say at least 22 people are dead after a man who at one point wore a police uniform and drove a mock-up cruiser, went on a murder rampage in Portapique and several other Nova Scotia communities. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Memorial service in Nova Scotia marks one year since mass shooting started

TRURO, N.S. — A memorial service is planned for today in central… Continue reading

In this April 23, 2016, photo, David Goethel sorts cod and haddock while fishing off the coast of New Hampshire. To Goethel, cod represents his identity, his ticket to middle class life, and his link to one the country's most historic industries, a fisherman who has caught New England's most recognized fish for more than 30 years. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
‘It’s more than just a fish:’ Scientists worry cod will never come back in N.L.

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — The latest assessment of Atlantic cod stocks, whose… Continue reading

FILE - In this Friday Aug. 21, 2020 file photo, Leonid Volkov, a top strategist for Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, addresses the media in Berlin, Germany. Activists for imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny are calling for massive protests in the heart of Moscow and St. Petersburg as Navalny's health reportedly is deteriorating severely while on hunger strike. Leonid Volkov, a top strategist for Navalny, said the demonstrations are called on short notice for Wednesday April 21, 2021, because "his life hangs in the balance. ... We don't know how long he can hold on." (AP Photo/Michael Sohn, File)
Navalny’s team calls protests amid reports of failing health

MOSCOW — Associates of imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny called Sunday… Continue reading

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis gestures during a news conference Sunday, April 4, 2021, at the Manatee County Emergency Management office in Palmetto, Fla. DeSantis has received a single-dose coronavirus vaccine. His office confirmed Wednesday, April 7, 2021 that the Republican governor got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which requires only a single dose. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara, file)
GOP White House hopefuls move forward as Trump considers run

WASHINGTON — Less than three months after former President Donald Trump left… Continue reading

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

Ontario Premier Doug Ford points on a COVID-19 caseload projection model graph during a press conference at Queen's Park, in Toronto, Friday, April 16, 2021. Ontario was set to backtrack on controversial new police powers to enforce stay-at-home orders implemented in the battle against COVID-19.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Ford backtracks on new police COVID-19 powers amid intense backlash

TORONTO — Furious criticism of new anti-pandemic powers that allow police in… Continue reading

The official program for the National Commemorative Ceremony in honour of Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, sits on an empty pew prior to the ceremony at Christ Church Cathedral in Ottawa on Saturday, April 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Prince Philip remembered as ‘a man of great service’ during Canada’s memorial service

Canada’s commemorative ceremony in honour of the late Prince Philip offered a… Continue reading

Most Read