Molly Banister extension should remain an option

The Molly Banister Drive extension needs to be protected. As a long time Sunnybrook resident, I once opposed it, but fervently believe it should be built.

Twenty years ago, when the population of Red Deer was approximately 60,000 people, it did not seem important. The trails were nice, families enjoyed the woods.

Ten years ago, when the population of Red Deer was 90,000, it started to mean something. Traffic on 32nd Street was getting busier, louder and faster.

Fortieth Avenue started getting busier and accidents were getting more common at the intersection of 32nd Street and 40th Avenue. The children still enjoyed the woods outside my house and the grandchildren liked the magical forests, the animals and the fellowships of hikers and dog walkers.

A few years ago, the population of Red Deer was almost 100,000 and the grandchildren stopped wanting to go in the woods.

It started with the homeless camps, the needles, the garbage and the dangers that clouded the woods.

Fewer people were walking past our house, but there was an increase of seemingly homeless people scoping out the neighbourhood, more thefts, more garbage, more needles, fewer animals and fewer times of enjoyment.

Now, a developer wants to remove the Molly Banister extension from the neighbourhood plans, so he can build more housing. Don’t we have 3,000 acres north of Highway 11A looking to be developed?

Aren’t the three neighbourhoods sitting with plenty of empty lots up by the 40th Avenue and 67th Street traffic circle, struggling to grow? Hasn’t Capstone neighbourhood been on the books for years, and delayed again?

I have noticed great changes since the city had only 60,000 residents. What will happen when the city hits 180,000 residents and the extension is removed? Increase 32nd Street to eight lanes, because they are already talking about widening it to six lanes?

My apologies from one who once opposed the extension, sat on the environmental board and helped update the city’s environmental master plan. I now wholeheartedly support keeping the land for a future Molly Banister extension.

I think everyone should think about the ramifications and let the city know.

​Garfield Marks​, Red Deer

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