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Calgary man concerned that ring road construction will damage ‘bustling little ecosystem’

An area near Aspen Woods where trees are slated to be cut down to make way for construction on the West Calgary Ring Road project. Gil Tucker/ Global News

A Calgary man is concerned that the removal of trees to make way for the West Calgary Ring Road will hurt wildlife in his neighbourhood.

Lee Girardo lives in Aspen Woods near the site of a planned interchange that will connect Bow Trail to the ring road.

He believes too many trees will be taken out as part of preparations for construction on the interchange.

“It’s a very busy little patch of forest. We’ve got an owl that nests there, an eagle that nests there, deer and moose travelling through there on a regular basis, you hear coyotes all the time, jackrabbits, all kinds of little critters,” Girardo said.

READ MORE: Valley Ridge owners concerned over Calgary ring road tree removal

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An official with Alberta Transportation, the provincial government department in charge of the project, says construction managers will be taking steps to limit any potential damage to the environment.

“We are going to be removing trees in the near future,” project director Shane De Lorey said. “The trees that we are removing are the trees that would be required to be removed to progress the project.

“We are leaving a buffer of trees in every location that we can. We are only removing the trees that are required to be removed for the project.”

Click to play video: 'Valley Ridge owners concerned over Calgary ring road tree removal' Valley Ridge owners concerned over Calgary ring road tree removal
Valley Ridge owners concerned over Calgary ring road tree removal – Sep 3, 2019

READ MORE: Calgarians cry foul after birdhouses removed near ring road

Girardo says he has talked with several neighbours who share his concerns about the removal of trees in the area.

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“(I) fully respect that some of it needs to be taken down, so I would just like to appeal to the province: pause, rethink this, plan out a little better with the proper balance between preserving some natural environment and putting in the road that we all want.”

Click to play video: 'Calgary ring road blasting to resume despite residents’ concerns' Calgary ring road blasting to resume despite residents’ concerns
Calgary ring road blasting to resume despite residents’ concerns – Jan 11, 2020

Managers with the ring road project held a public information session on construction-related blasting Wednesday night.

The meeting was held at Canada Olympic Park, near the Cougar Ridge neighbourhood.

READ MORE: ‘It feels like an earthquake’: Calgary ring road blasting to resume despite residents’ concerns

Some residents of that area had expressed concerns in December 2019 that the blasting might damage their homes. The blasting was halted while engineers reviewed what was going on.

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After they concluded that the blasting wasn’t causing any damage to nearby homes, blasting resumed in January 2020. It’s scheduled to continue for the next six to eight months.

There will be another public information meeting on ring road construction blasting at Canada Olympic Park in March.

The West Calgary Ring Road project is scheduled to be finished by the fall of 2022.

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