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Opinion

City Council voted to remove Molly Bannister Extension because 58%-42% was too close.

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THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS of people have made their positions clear. 58% said keep the Molly Bannister Extension and 42% said remove it.

Several councillors said it was too close to call. Quebec would have separated from Canada with 50%+1 vote. Councillor Lee asked for a plebiscite to get a clear number.  The Red Deer Advocate did a poll and got the same ratio, again.

The City’s Mayor recused herself because she has a pecuniary interest, good for her. I think there should have been others follow suit after receiving a gift or donation from the developer in the past.

The end of the day, council voted to remove the road allowance and let it go to a public hearing. After thirty years, many votes, hearings, public meetings and thousands of responses even from the college asking that the connection remain it is going to another hearing on October 28.

This appears to be a desperation move to keep the game going until they get the score they need.

They know Sunnybrook is getting hammered by the traffic on 40Ave and by 32 St. which will be expanded to 6 lanes by 2026. Now they are talking about giving the new subdivision of approximately 2,000 residents another exit through Sunnybrook to 32 St. Councillor Handley mentioned it.

Bower subdivision doesn’t want the Molly Bannister Extension because of traffic for a couple of dozen homes on Molly Bannister. The rest of Bower will be on the other side of Bower Mall. The residents on the south side will be hammered by the increased traffic on 19 Street.

Hundreds and hundreds of homes will be getting hit by traffic increases all along 32 St. 19 St. and 40 Ave.

The traffic is bad now and the city has only increased in population by 195 people in five years. We are talking about in the future when our population hits 188,000 then more.

Red Deer College will be a University with a much larger student population traveling to the University on 32 St.

2 more high schools are planned for the east end, a new aquatic centre, twinning the Collicutt in the future. The traffic problems will be enormous.

It has been mentioned that hikers, bikers and skaters would have to use a crosswalk if the bridge is built, and it would only increase driving time by a couple of minutes.

We are talking about thousands upon thousands of drivers driving for a couple of extra minutes, every day. The emissions, from all that extra fuel, burned every day.

Neighbourhoods all along 19 Street, Neighbourhoods all 22 Street, Neighbourhoods all along 32 Street, Neighbourhoods all along 40 Ave and Neighbourhoods all along 30 Ave will be negatively affected.

So a developer can build 50 houses along Piper Creek in addition to the 700+ houses he planned if the extension remained. Admittedly they will be big fancy million dollar homes on Piper Creek.

50 families will enjoy nice fenced yards backing onto Piper Creek. While thousands of other people, have to deal with increased traffic noise.

This council knows that the bridge needs to be built but there are some who actually believe that removing it is the best option.

Ten years I would have agreed but today I have seen the results of a city being led by a few including developers and land speculators and I changed my mind. I live in Sunnybrook along the woods of Piper Creek. I have seen the changes, lost value in my house, lost use of the backyard to traffic noise. Been victimized by the homeless people living in those woods, Seen the tents, the garbage, the needles and the human waste.

I watched animals get killed trying to cross 32 St. at 10,000 cars per day, today’s 23,500 cars per day makes it almost impossible how about when traffic hits 45,000? 32 Street and 19 Streets will become insurmountable barriers.

The city is repairing 32 St near 47 Ave. today at a cost of 3 million because a foundation shifted. 32 St wasn’t meant for today’s traffic.

They talking of spending millions, widening 32 St to 6 lanes, spending millions widening 19 St to 6 lanes. They have mentioned a traffic circle at 40 Ave. and 19 St which could cost maybe 10s of millions. There is a question of a pedestrian bridge over 19 St. to get to Westerner at what 17 million?

All this so a developer can build 50 houses on Piper Creek. 50, onemillion dollar houses is a lot of money, but everyone else will be paying for it for along time.

I mentioned our population grew by only 195 people in 5 years, but in the same time we built 1290 homes. We have 800 kms of sidewalks many that have yet to see a home, and yet we cannot afford to maintain. So why do we want to build another 700-750 houses, add another km or 2 of sidewalk that we cannot maintain.

All this so a few rich people can become richer?

I am really beginning to think this council does not represent me or anyone I know. How about you?

 

 

Political editor/writer and retired oilfield supervisor

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Opinion

Thoughts from Tom Chapman on keeping the Molly Banister Extension

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The Molly Banister extension should not be removed from the City plan for the following reasons:

  1. This street extension was included in the original development plan at the time of the Bower Centre Mall and the Bower subdivision, recognising the need to provide proper future access to the shopping centre and commercial developments both north of the Mall and on Gaetz Avenue, as well as the projected population growth in future eastern residential subdivisions.
  1. The City has continued to grow in those areas, with planning currently as far as 20th Avenue, and the need for increased access to the Bower Mall and neighboring businesses will continue.
  2. The current left turn access for westbound traffic to the Mall from 32 Street via 47th Avenue was opposed by many, and hotly debated by Council at the time. Clearly access via Molly Banister would take a traffic load off 32st., and 47th Avenue which was never designed to provide access to the Mall.
  3. If the extension is removed from the plan and the lands are converted to residential use the ability to provide proper access to businesses in Bower and on Gaetz Avenue will be forever lost, unless the City is prepared to go to the huge costs of a future expropriation.
  4. Unless there has been some changes to planning legislation, City development bylaws, or required standards, the developer is required to dedicate lands for all roads required for it’s development, as well as a percentage for park and playground areas.
  5. The Developer, with decades of experience in the City, would be well aware of this requirement in determining what it was prepared to pay for the land.
  6. Clearly, If the Developer can persuade Council to remove the extension this will result in housing development on the extension area, increased profit for the developer, and long term detriment of the City. A huge benefit for the developer!
  7. Currently 19th Street provides direct convenient access to Gasoline Alley to the detriment of City businesses and particularly the downtown. By eliminating the ability to develop the extension and push more traffic on to  19th Street the City will increase the attractiveness of Gasoline Alley for more businesses to develop there or relocate from within the City downtown and other areas, and will not take any pressure off 32 street. I would think that the Downtown Business Association should be concerned, as well as businesses along south Gaetz Ave.
  8. The next concern is 32 street. The City proposal to expand 32 street  would require six lanes over Piper Creek. Otherwise keeping it at 4 lanes creates a bottleneck that would restrict traffic flow and increase traffic on 47 Avenue. The impact of this expansion upon the value of adjacent homes cannot be underestimated.  Currently hundreds of thousand dollars are being spent to stabilize the current structure over Piper Creek. I prefer to an early start on construction of the extension and spending the money on a proper overpass of Piper creek on the extension route rather than expansion of the current overpass on 32  Street.

Removal of the Extension is a mistake!

Respectfully submitted

Thomas Chapman

I think it will be really important for your group to get strong representation from Bower Mall

which I think would be most adversely affected if the eastern access from 22 street to Molly Banister is eliminated.

I think they have always relied on the promised Molly Banister extension being built, and

I can’t imagine that they proceeded with the recent upgrades to the Mall without this in mind.

They may have had some discussions or assurances from City planners?

Also there are other businesses in the area such as Sim’s Furniture, new businesses in the

former Legion building and on Geatz Avenue which may have concerns.

One point I did miss is that the westerly end of Molly Banister leads to direct access to Taylor Drive

and this could take pressure off 32 Street.

Tom

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