Plans for what could possibly be another east-west route in southeast Red Deer have been set by city council — for now.
As Coun. Lawrence Lee said during the public hearing on Monday, the Molly Banister Drive matter has hopefully been put to rest, “for at least the next 10 to 15 years” when it’s almost certain to be revisited.
If Molly Banister Drive is ever to be connected to 22nd Street — as was envisioned in the city’s master plan — then this likely won’t be needed for 25 to 30 years, until the city’s population is pushing 188,000.
Whether this extension will ever be built remains unknowable, depending on future car usage and local traffic routes.
But Red Deer city council attempted to create a little bit more certainty as how that road would look — if it is constructed in a few decades.
After long discussions at another public hearing on Monday and at Tuesday’s council meeting, city council passed third reading on an amendment to reduce the potential roadway crossing Piper Creek between Molly Banister Drive and 22 Street from an arterial roadway to a collector roadway.
Council also reduced two possible options for a creek crossing down to one — reaffirmed the possible future extension Molly Banister Drive while taking the Bennett Street option off the list.
If constructed, the extended Molly Banister Drive would be built as a four-lane collector roadway that would connect with 22nd Street.
Five members of the public spoke at Tuesday’s hearing, in addition to written statements that were received in advance.
“This has been a repeated topic of discussion in our community and for council over the past year, but it is important to ensure we consider public input in planning the future of our community,” said Christi Fidek, senior planner, development and protective services.
“We are confident that the potential extension of Molly Banister Drive as a collector roadway will not only support the developer in creating a great community in a sought-after area, but we are also in a great position to support Red Deer’s future transportation and growth needs.”
The next stage, a Neighbourhood Area Structure Plan (NASP) is anticipated to be developed in the next few years and those potentially impacted will be asked for feedback on the plan once drafts are developed.
Deputy Mayor Vesna Higham, who chaired the discussion (Mayor Tara Veer owns property in the area and therefore did not take part in talks to avoid a conflict of interest) admitted the proceedings appeared very convoluted.
She said this was due to wording of the bylaw, and the need to separate items out into different parts.
Council did get bogged down in language at the public hearing, but in the end, passed three motions on Tuesday. (Coun. Buck Buchanan was absent due to illness).
On making Molly Banister Drive the starting point for the future road extension and creek crossing, council was unanimous, said Higham.
On the matter of connecting this extended roadway with 22nd Street, Coun, Frank Wong was the only dissenter because he wanted a straight arterial connection and not a more winding collector roadway, said Higham.
On making the future road a four-lane collector instead of an arterial roadway, Wong and Coun. Lawrence Lee were against this, but it was passed by the majority of council, who saw design and environmental advantages to this less impactful choice of road, she added.