Council explores Gaetz Avenue vision

  • Jul. 10, 2013 8:12 p.m.

To some, including some members of City council, Gaetz Avenue, Red Deer’s main north-south corridor, is unattractive.

But on Monday council approved the final report of the Gaetz Avenue Vision.

It lays out a plan that would improve the corridor’s appearance over the next 25–30 years. The roadway could get new walkways, trees, seating nodes, lighting, transit shelters, a centre median, feature nodes at major intersections and gateway entrances into downtown.

However, at this stage, no money is budgeted for any of it and one councillor voted against the vision as excessive.

Councillor Chris Stephan says parts of the plan are really good, “But some of the features represent unnecessary excess that I don’t think lot of people in our community would support. An example of that is the keynote intersections, putting 12 pieces of massive public art at each. I think that represents unnecessary excess. Even though it’s just a planning document, if we have excess in our planning document it’s going to represent excess in the implementation.

“I think we need to show more fiscal restraint.”

The rest of council voted for the plan, although councillors Dianne Wyntjes and Buck Buchanan were absent.

Councillor Tara Veer said, “Generally speaking, it’s a strong report. It’s important that we look at Gaetz Avenue as belonging to our public as a whole, looking at it from the perspective of all users and also bringing some identity to it as both a transportation corridor and as a business district. Gaetz, right now, is a key entry point on the north and south for our community and it (the vision) will elevate the aesthetic standard for guests to our City and, hopefully, become a source of civic pride.”

The report was prepared by ISL Engineering of Edmonton.

ISL consultant Terry Myles, who presented the plan to council, described it as, “An excellent first step,” even though no costs are yet attached, with development in flexible stages. “It’s good to see council shown the vision. It’s a long-range document and it’s good to get these planning tools in place to guide future development.

“(Council) has valid concerns based on today. But it’s a vision plan, it’s a 20- or 30-year plan. It has to be broad enough to address future issues that may come up. There’s more on the plate than needs to be there but it can answer questions in the future.”

acryderman@reddeerexpress.com

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