A lot has been said about the proposed extension of Molly Banister Drive from Bower to Anders.
It has been called an environmentally sensitive area. It’s not. It is an abandoned cow pasture, complete with derelict barbed wire fences.
The creek that runs through the area in question is already polluted and choked with invasive weeds and has very unstable, high, steep-cut banks. The creek runs through farmland and two landfills.
This is not some mystical enchanted forest. It has a lot of dead fall and blow down. The spruce trees are in their last years, no longer capturing carbon, just waiting for a lightning strike to start a fire.
It has been called a wildlife corridor, and it’s said that building a road would cause issues with animal movement. The city could, with good design, build bridges over or under the new road (like in the Banff/Canmore corridor).
Also, how can it be a natural wildlife corridor, when a six-foot-high, barbed-wire-topped, game-proof fence runs from 40th Avenue to Barrett Drive? That same fence runs along the entire west side of this so-called wildlife corridor.
If the developer is to realize its vision to build the subdivision, the habitat along the entire east side of the ravine will be gone. Just take a look at Southbrook.
I do not want to see habitat, or the park disappear. Red Deer’s songbird population has declined dramatically. Building a well-designed architecturally pleasing bridge will have less impact on wildlife habitat than 50 houses along the edge of the creek.
It would not impede the flow of the creek, and Red Deer could use some architecture.
Instead of building the proposed extension, the idea of widening 32nd Street has been brought up. How would you widen a main thoroughfare like that?
There is no room. Imagine the huge disruptions to traffic, and the costs associated with such an undertaking.
Wouldn’t it be far easier to build a new road that would have very little impact on traffic during the build itself?
If you build the new subdivision without the extension, there will only be one way in and out (via 40th Avenue). Tying into Selkirk Boulevard and Springfield Avenue is not a viable option.
An argument for not building the extension is the increased traffic and road noise in the area as a result of the road. What about the people in the existing subdivisions of Sunnybrook, Southbrook, Mountview, Morrisroe, Inglewood, Vanier Woods, Deer Park, West Park and the new subdivision itself?
Council has announced a public hearing for Oct. 26, to give all Red Deerians a chance to air their opinions. There was a public information meeting held last winter, on one of the coldest days of the year.
It was held at the Bower Community Hall, and signage was only posted in Bower.
Andy Miller is a Red Deer resident.