Extension of Molly Bannister Drive is unwanted

Re: “Survey seeks public input on contentious plan,” Dec. 11.

Congratulations to Melcor Developments for valuing the protection of a significant portion of Bower Woods over an extension of Molly Bannister Drive.

No doubt they are respecting the wishes of the Bower family, who owned the property, but also recognizing how valuable an intact natural area is to a neighbourhood.

There have been three Molly Bannister Drive open houses connected to transportation studies, starting in 1997, again in 2003, and the last in 2007.

I attended them all and summarized the results of the first two, where there was overwhelming opposition to the proposed extension from those of us favouring natural area protection over traffic movement.

It has been 13 years since the last study, where we were promised traffic gridlock along 32nd and 19th streets. Since 2007, there has been significant residential growth in the southeast sector, but with some major improvement in traffic flow on 32nd and 19th streets, with more to be done. The roads are busy at specific times, but no gridlock, and I drive them regularly.

Bower Woods is a significant part of our beloved natural area inventory. It is a refuge for wildlife, a carbon sequester, filtration system for water entering Piper Creek, and most importantly, a valuable wildlife corridor from the river to Red Deer’s southern boundary.

Over, but not above these considerations, is the impact on an uninterrupted multi-use trail from 32nd to 19th streets and a network of secondary nature trails. It is a quiet place for walking or cycling, and for the benefits we all receive from just being present in a natural area.

We are told by the city planners that the future is now, and that if we don’t allow for expansion, the opportunity will be lost. By the same token, if we don’t plan now to protect a significant portion of Bower Woods, it will be lost to us now, to future generations, and that is forever.

If you were a part of the overwhelming opposition to the Molly Bannister expansion at the previous three open houses, now is the time to once again respond to the city by Jan. 13 and kill this plan forever.

Don Wales, Red Deer

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