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.
“So this is a bustling little ecosystem.”
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.”
Girardo says he has talked with several neighbours who share his concerns about the removal of trees in the area.
“(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.”
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.
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.
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.