On Monday, Red Deer city council unanimously accepted an updated environmental master plan, which if followed, would reverse a serious environmental misstep in their east-end plans.
The city’s current plans and discussions could see maximum traffic noise, commuting and emissions in one small area.
The potential trouble spot is a four-kilometre stretch, or 40 blocks, along 30th Avenue, at the east end of the city.
Currently, the discussion and plans suggest the locating of four shopping centres, four gas stations, four grocery stores, numerous restaurants, bars, liquor stores, five high schools, two fire halls, pickleball courts, the Collicutt Centre and possibly the new multi-use aquatic centre.
Forget the downtown, forget Gaetz Avenue, the new “strip” will be 30th Avenue between 28th Street and 68th Street.
The traffic on 30th Avenue will be heavy, the noise loud and the emissions extreme for the residents along that stretch, but then comes the commuting from the other two-thirds of the city.
To plan five out of six high schools in such a small east-end space, with the sixth high school only 10 blocks away on 40th Avenue, is contradictory to the new updated environmental master plan they unanimously accepted, so there is hope.
The plan suggests building facilities like high schools throughout the city.
If the city continues down the road of focusing on the four-kilometre stretch of 30th Avenue, then everyone could suffer.
The long commutes, the increased traffic, the congestion, the emissions and the noise will affect everyone, especially those living near 30th Avenue.
There is hope. Perhaps the next high school will be built on the other side of town. Perhaps the new aquatic centre will be built on the northwest corner of the city to bookend the highly popular Collicutt Centre.
There is hope. The city spent $150,000 updating the environmental master plan that council unanimously accepted, so there is hope.
Or, it could just sit on a shelf, but I hope not.
Garfield Marks, Red Deer