Nearly half an acre of trees will be pulled down this week to clear the way for expansion of G.H. Dawe Community Centre.
The tree removal is being done by the City of Red Deer on Thursday and Friday, in preparation for work on an expansion to the community centre, including the addition of an NHL-sized hockey rink and enlargement of the existing rink.
About 0.4 of a treed acre on the north side of the centre must be removed to allow for underground utility work to get started, said Shelley Gagnon, the city’s recreation, parks and culture manager.
This means the multi-use trail, which runs along the north side of the property, will be closed between 7 a.m. and noon on Thursday and Friday. Trail users will be detoured to sidewalks on the north side of Taylor Drive.
Gagnon hopes to get the utility construction started this summer, but it will depend on when grants are received. Other construction at the site for 2020 includes a playground installation and removal, and parking lot paving.
In November, city council approved $5 million for the site servicing as part of 2020 capital budget deliberations.
To allow for the centre’s future expansion — which is pegged to happen sometime between 2021 and 2029 — underground utility work is required to realign an existing high-pressure gas line, water and wastewater sewer lines, and cable and telephone lines.
Completing this underground work early will allow more of the construction to take place during warmer weather, said Gagnon, reducing the need for higher winter construction costs to warm the ground and equipment.
The trees are being taken down before nesting season begins, in accordance with the Migratory Birds Act, she added. Tree stumps will be removed once the ground has thawed.
To accommodate for the loss, the City of Red Deer will make a financial contribution to a public reserve trust fund aimed at protecting and enhancing green spaces in other areas of the city.