Red Deer is moving north of Hwy 11A.
Council gave first readings to three high-level documents that will eventually pave the way for development in the area that was annexed from the County of Red Deer in 2009.
It contains about 22 quarter sections bounded by Hwy 2, Hwy 11A, the Red Deer River and the County of Red Deer.
The long-term vision is one that includes a mix of land uses including residential, commercial, light industrial, parks and mixed residential/commercial.
Mayor Tara Veer said development will be phased in over time.
“We need to prepare for the future,” she said. “It’s positive in that we are positioning Red Deer for comparative advantage when we return to growth-driven years.”
But Veer had some concerns about the amount of proposed industrial. She said there currently some challenges between the existing residential areas and the industrial in the vicinity.
“It does concern me that by adding more industrial to what will be a predominantly residential area in the west will further exacerbate those existing challenges,” said Veer.
Some of the features in the area include former landfill sites, Hazlett Lake, the Chilies Industrial Park, agricultural land and a residential area in Central Park.
Veer said while the area has lots of opportunities, there are development challenges particularly because of the landfill once operated by the county.
The city will face transportation pressures particularly during peak flow when people are going to and from work in the industrial area to the south. There will be limited access into the area as motorists will have to turn off the major highways into the area. Veer said any planning has to bare the limited access in mind.
“As we develop north of Hwy 11A, we need to work very proactively with Alberta Transportation and Red Deer County to address those transportation pressures that exist now,” said Veer. “They have to be well ahead for when additional development occurs in the area because it will become so much more substantial.
Coun. Frank Wong said the long-term plan is not perfect but he does not want the plan dragged out any more. He is pleased that administration has recommended reviewing the plan in five years.
Wong said it will truly be a place where people can work, live and play.
Three public hearings have been held on the proposed plans in 2012, 2014 and 2015. Recent concerns were about the lack of a high school in the plans, well servicing, noise levels and protection of wetlands.
A public hearing is slated for Jan. 18 in council chambers.