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Environmentalists say building the ring road through the Weaselhead Flats natural area could cause ecological damage. ((CBC))

People living in the Calgary community of Lakeview are worried that hundreds of houses in the area will be demolished to make room for the southwest ring road.

The Alberta government's plan to buy 400 hectares from the Tsuu T'ina First Nation to build the road from Glenmore Trail to Highway 22X on the western edge of the city was scuttled last fall. Band members voted against the $240-million deal.

The province is now studying other options and expects to have some proposals ready by late fall.

But with 37th Street S.W. a likely choice, as many as 500 houses could be standing in the way, said Duncan Kent, president of the Lakeview Community Association.

"So it would be about 20 per cent or one-fifth of the community that would be lost," he said.

The uncertainty is forcing homeowners in the southwest neighbourhood to put their lives on hold, according to Kent.

"So people don't know whether it is appropriate to go ahead and further invest in their properties, whether they'll be able to get good value for them today if they sell them," he said.

"And that's just the homes that would be expropriated and destroyed. In addition to that there's a number of homes that would find themselves suddenly facing a sound barrier where in the past they had neighbors or a backyard of some kind," Kent added.

Public will be consulted

Alberta Transportation will consult people living in the area once the various options have been fully mapped-out, said department spokesman Trent Bancarz.

"It's going to take a while to get the information together before we can start even thinking about any kind of firm decisions on potential routes," he said.

The province will host open houses in the fall to discuss the options, Bancarz said.

Since the Tsuu T'ina First Nation's rejection of the ring road deal, the province and the city have been moving forward with other plans.

Construction of an interchange at 37th Street and Glenmore Trail S.W. has begun, and the city and the province are working together on a new study — expected to be ready within two years — of the remaining options.

One of the most contentious possibilities — building over or through the Weaselhead Flats natural area — is likely to be revisited by the new study.

Environmentalists have been opposed to building the road through the ecologically sensitive area.

The northern section of the ring road opened last November, leaving the highway about 45 per cent finished.

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People in the Calgary community of Lakeview are worried that eventual construction of the southwest section of the ring road will require the removal of hundreds of houses. (City of Calgary)