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Ring road saga leaves some sour

posted Sep 12, 2010, 9:24 PM by Geoffrey Vanderburg   [ updated Sep 12, 2010, 9:28 PM ]

By NADIA MOHARIB, CALGARY SUN
September 11, 2010

Frustration is in the driver’s seat for many still awaiting the stalled southwest ring road.

About 300 people showed up to a panel discussion Saturday looking for new developments to the ongoing ring road saga, but many, clearly frustrated at the seemingly never-ending process, said they left with little more information than they arrived with.

Longtime Lakeview resident Bill Snowdon said “rhetoric” surrounding plans, proposals and last year’s kiboshed deal, has been much the same for years.

And while there will be community open houses in late November, the 81-year-old, scoffed he’s not optimistic a plan will be acted on any time soon.

“I’m not going to live that long,” he said.

Last year, the Tsuu T’ina First Nation backed out of a plan inked with the province that would have seen the ring road cut through reserve land after a community referendum didn’t back it.

Since then, a joint planning study looked at other options, which could include a route along 37 St. S.W. through Lakeview from Glenmore Tr. to 37 St. S.W. to accommodate the potential eight-lane freeway.

While it is to be complete next fall, area MLA Alison Redford said open houses set to garner community input will allow citizens to look at engineers’ ideas and start a discussion towards viable solutions.

“I want to fix the problem,” she told the crowd at the Lakeview Baptist Church.

“This is not intended to hurt the community, to destroy this community — if the community doesn’t agree with it we won’t do it.”

She said she is optimistic open houses, where citizens will be able to see engineers’ proposed plans, will be a beginning of constructive discussions.

“I fully expect some will be ridiculous — until we see those designs it will be difficult to take the discussion any further,” Redford said.

Residents of Lakeview have raised concerns hundreds of homes could be levelled to make way for a ring-road down 37 St. S.W. across the Weaselhead, although the province’s transportation minister has said that’s unlikely.

Community Association president, Duncan Kent said people want answers and fears allayed.

“People want to know what the province is planning,” he said.

“There is a lot of uncertainty, and fear and doubt.”

Redford said the idea of working with Tsuu T’inna to make the plan happen has not been ruled out but the nation will have to make the first move.

The province is aiming to have the full ring road completed by 2015.

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