Slack Slough is a refuge for migratory birds. It is located at the south end of Gasoline Alley on the east side of Hwy 2.

Slack Slough is a refuge for migratory birds. It is located at the south end of Gasoline Alley on the east side of Hwy 2.

Red Deer County adopts area structure plan for Gasoline Alley East

A new area structure plan could one day see the City of Red Deer’s Oxbows dog park connect with a greenway trail to Slack Slough, a protected marshland in Red Deer County.

A new area structure plan could one day see the City of Red Deer’s Oxbows dog park connect with a greenway trail to Slack Slough, a protected marshland in Red Deer County.

Red Deer County council adopted the Gasoline Alley East Major Area Structure Plan earlier this week.

The plan will provide clear guidance for future development in the area located directly south of the city between Hwy 2 and Range Road 272, including about 2,170 acres of developed and undeveloped lands, county manager Curtis Herzberg said Wednesday.

“There’s no concept or plan in place that’s going to see any reduction of the value of (Slack Slough) as a wetland and as a natural environment area,” he said. Slack Slough is inhabited by many marsh birds and waterfowl, and is a popular place for people to view them.

The trail connection between the city and the wetland would happen as development occurs, Herzberg said.

It’s important to see that it’s being contemplated so that they don’t end up having subdivisions, roads and other development take place without having made sure of the linear park capability, he said.

“It is a great connection out of the city’s dog park area … to a pretty cool spot just south of town.”

The nature of development on the east side of Gasoline Alley has been quite a bit different than the west side, he said.

Herzberg said there will always be a strip of services on the east side of Hwy 2 for highway traffic but the east side of Gasoline Alley is less about retail and the travelling public and more about commercial, light industrial.”

There is lots of room for development on the east side of Gasoline Alley but there already are several industrial areas including the McKenzie Industrial Business Park. Schlumberger is as big a development as anything that’s happened in Gasoline Alley West, Herzberg said.

The new plan ensures it’s well understood what the plans are as the area fills in.

“At some point it will all be developed. We want to make sure it is developed as orderly as possible.”

barr@bprda.wpengine.com

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