Molly Banister extension should be rejected once and for all

Waskasoo Park, with its natural areas, its contiguous, riparian corridors, is Red Deer’s jewel.

The Molly Banister Drive extension would be a four-lane, 50-metre gash right through Waskasoo Park.

Currently, the pedestrian/bike trail extends along Piper Creek from 19th Street to Rotary Park (43rd Street) without crossing over a major arterial roadway (you go under 32nd Street).

Next to the path, adjacent to the Bower natural area, are the nests of boreal owls, downy and black-backed woodpeckers, and many others. Mammals of all sizes are found in the area.

After much public discussion, Red Deer city council voted on Jan. 27, 1997, to remove the Molly Banister Drive extension from the planning maps.

This should have been the end of the matter. After two elections, engineers, planners and bureaucrats worked to put it back in — then held public discussions. Once again, the public was overwhelmingly opposed at two more public hearings.

Melcor Developments Ltd. proposes to develop the cultivated land east of Piper Creek and leave the Bower Woods as natural parkland — as the Bower sisters wish. They are to be commended.

However, if the Molly Banister Drive alignment is protected, that won’t happen. And an unnecessary major road will be built to the detriment of Waskasoo Park.

Red Deer citizens have to decide: a natural area or a road? When a natural area is gone, it is gone for good.

After more than 25 years, let’s end the Molly Banister extension discussion for good. Visit Red Deer.ca before Jan. 13.

Rod Trentham, Red Deer

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