Proposed Red Deer County trail dropped
A proposal to build a trail near Red Deer County’s Poplar Ridge subdivision has reached a dead end.
County council unanimously voted to drop a plan to use land set aside as an environmental reserve to build a 1.6-km link near the subdivision just west of Red Deer.
The county approved spending up to $300,000 on four new trail projects at its July 20 meeting. Among the proposed trails was a two-phase trail project near Poplar Ridge that would include a connection to school and residential areas.
However, not all residents were happy with the trail and the lack of consultation. Concerns included increased crime and foot traffic, the impact on wildlife and residents’ privacy and fears the route would attrack ATVs.
Coun. Christine Moore, who represents the division that includes Poplar Ridge, got plenty of feedback from residents and agreed that more consultation should have been done before the planned trail came before council. At an August meeting, council unanimously passed a motion to defer any Poplar Ridge trails until residents were consulted.
A survey sent out to more than 220 residents in the area drew 130 responses. Among residents living adjacent to the planned trail route, nine out of 10 were opposed. Of those not living next to the proposed trail route, 52 per cent of respondents supported the trail and 48 per cent were opposed.
“In my mind, the numbers show that the community has spoken,” said Moore.
Moore, a member of the county’s Trails Task Force, said the opposition around the trail was a good learning experience and reinforced the need for public consultation before proceeding with projects.
“I believe in trails but I think we have learned something along the way here,” she said. “I think we’re going to do better in the future. We learn as we go along.”
There are other places in the division where a trail could be created, she added.