Hazlett Lake’s potential can’t be ignored by city

The next time you drive north on Hwy 2, as you pass the Hwy 11A turnoff, look out the passenger window and check out our very own Hazlett Lake.

The next time you drive north on Hwy 2, as you pass the Hwy 11A turnoff, look out the passenger window and check out our very own Hazlett Lake.

That lake is part of the City of Red Deer, and is a portion of a Major Area Structure Plan north of Hwy 11A being created by city planners as we speak. They will be holding their third and final open house sometime this spring, possibly in June. So as you drive by, think of what you would like to see done with your lake.

One scenario that could compliment the lake and address the desire for a regional aquatic centre and a 50-metre pool is turning the proposed community centre on the northeast corner of the lake into Collicutt Centre type of complex.

What is more natural than having an aquatic centre on the lake? You could have your 50-metre pool inside, a lake for scuba diving, kayaking, canoeing, paddle boating, swimming, under-water photography, fishing, sun tanning, races, to name but a few.

The winter could see skating, hockey, to complement the indoor ice rink, as well as ice-fishing and ice sculptures and sleigh rides, again, to name but a few.

This Major Area Structure Plan takes in much more than a lake. It takes in about 3,000 acres of land for residential, commercial and industrial development. The potential for residential growth if maintained at 17.7 units per hectare and 2.33 residents per unit could see 20,000 new residents if the area split equally between residential, commercial and industrial users.

Collicutt Centre is the top used community venue in Red Deer. It is used by almost 60 per cent of the population. It is in the southeast corner of Red Deer and was a major impetus in the development of the southeast corner of Red Deer. Blackfalds used their new Abbey Centre as an impetus for very strong residential developments that have recently outshone Red Deer’s residential developments.

Would a regional aquatic centre built on Hazlett Lake kick-start development in Red Deer’s north at a time of a slowdown in the energy sector? Would a Hazlett Lake regional aquatic centre, visible from Hwy 2, create a tourism trade that would bolster Red Deer’s hospitality industry? Would a Hazlett Lake regional aquatic centre enhance our position as a sports destination? Would a Hazlett Lake regional aquatic centre ensure that everyone would have an opportunity to enjoy the lake? I hope so.

Then another option would be to close it off to the public, develop around it, build a private boathouse for the home owners holding passes, and build expensive homes to hide the lake from the citizens and allow developers to make huge profits.

We could always use the lake as a water source for fracking oil wells — I hope this never happens.

It is up to the citizens to let the city know what they would like to see, but time is running out.

For more information, you can log onto reddeer.ca or you can contact:

Angus Schaffenburg

Major Projects Planner

The City of Red Deer

angus.schaffenburg@reddeer.ca

Schaffenburg is more than willing to take your concerns and desires into account before making any final recommendations.

I think the Hazlett Lake is worth preserving, and I hope that when my grandchildren drive north on Hwy 2 just past the Hwy 11A turnoff, that they will be able to look out the passenger side window and see Hazlett Lake.

Perhaps they will be able to tan on a beach, watch a naturescape in action, paddle a canoe, swim, skate, maybe have a bonfire on a beach and roast a marshmallow. We do need to act now, before the plans get too entrenched in the least desired direction.

Please contact the city before it is too late.

Garfield Marks

Red Deer

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