Some Sunnybrook residents were surprised to learn part of the forest south of Kin Kanyon and 32nd Street isn’t in the Red Deer park system, but is slated for future development.
Garfield Marks said he became interested in what’s in store for the woodland at the end of Stanley Crescent, along the northwest side of Sunnybrook, after city council held a close-door discussion about it earlier this month.
Details of the in camera meeting can not be released as land matters qualify for non-public discussions under the Municipal Government Act, said the city’s general manager of planning and protective services Tara Lodewyk.
Marks and a neighbour scrutinized a city map after this meeting. They discovered that the large tract of treed land at the end of Stanley Crescent and east of Piper Creek, was mostly outlined for future urban development.
Only a strip of trees would be left to border the trail and creek directly south side of 32nd Street.
Marks said this came as a shock, and will no doubt surprise many other city residents, who assumed these woods were part of the park system and would stay undeveloped.
“I wonder how many other parts of the (what the public thinks is the) park system could be up for future development?” he said on Thursday.
Marks had talked to a City of Red Deer lawyer before moving to Stanley Crescent about 20 years ago. He recalled being told the treed land would remain part of a forested strip that stretches south from Kin Kanyon, following Piper Creek.
But Lodewyk said on Thursday that the property in question is not owned by the city, but by the Bower family. She added it’s been zoned for future urban development for about a decade, or since before she started working for the city nine years ago.
But Marks said neither he nor his neighbour knew about any rezoning.
Lodewyk said it would have had to be discussed publicly by council and then put out for public input before being approved, under municipal law.
Although Marks lives at the eastern end of Stanley Crescent, he said he’s spotted deer and other wildlife in these woods, south of Spruce Drive, and feels it would be a shame to turn this land into more housing.
He noted much was made of the importance of preserving this wildlife corridor during the discussion about the Molly Banister Drive extension.
Marks intends to watch for this matter to come before city council and bring his concerns forward at a future public hearing. Based on the size of other Sunnybrook lots, Marks estimates about 10 homes could fit onto this land.