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Opinion

A rural response to Gerald Stanley’s acquittal from a Saskatchewan farmer..

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As a person who lives on a farm in rural sask. I can offer the following insights into rural realities. I only speak for myself and my family. I don’t claim to know what I would or wouldn’t do if I was in the Stanley’s situation, nor if I was in that vehicle with Colton. I hope I never have to find out. I don’t know what life is like on farms in other places, I can’t speak to that.
I can only offer what knowledge I have of rural life…
1. If you live on a farm you are responsible for everything yourself. Snow removal, garbage disposal, water, sewer, security and safety. If your house starts on fire it’s very unlikely that the FD will arrive in time to save it. If you have a heart attack it’s very unlikely that the EMTs will arrive in time to save you. And if your family is attacked it is very unlikely that the RCMP will arrive in time to save you. You are basically on your own. I don’t feel that to say that the Stanleys could have locked themselves in the house and called the police is very reasonable. They weren’t in the house, they were all over the yard. Maybe their door didn’t even lock. Had they been in the house already they may have just hid there like their neighbor did. We can’t know either way. And where I live the earliest RCMP response would be greater than 30 mins. A lot can happen in 30 mins.
2.Anyone who enters a farmer’s property with the intent to steal from or threaten the occupants should be aware of the likely presence of weapons. All of the farmers I know have guns. More than one. Some have many. They aren’t solely or primarily for protection from would be thieves or attackers. some people collect guns, some people enjoy target shooting or hunting. On a farm it is pretty much necessary to have a gun. Where we live there are coyotes, raccoons, cougars, wolves, wild boars etc. An aggressive or rabid animal can attack your family dogs or a beloved animal may be injured or sick and need your mercy. It’s just a rural reality. But a gun can kill people just as easily as animals so everyone should just be aware that on farms there are usually guns.
3. The reasons farmers are easy targets for crime are the very same reasons they are often forced to deal with it on their own. Essentially no effective police response and isolation.
I don’t live in an area with a lot of rural crime. We’ve been robbed before and neighbors have had vehicles stolen and equipment vandalized but I would not say it’s a regular occurrence. Regardless, I have fears. I fear that this far from town someone will get injured or have a heart attack so I have our land location written by the phone and I took CPR. I fear that a snowstorm will take out our power and block our roads so we have a genset and snow moving equipment. I fear that our sewer will back up so we have an alarm and an extra pump. And I fear that if someone came into my yard with the intent or ‘the perceived intent’ to hurt my family the police would be of no help. So we have dogs, and locks on all our doors. And guns. And when guns get involved people can get hurt or killed. My point is we have to take extra precautions for things that urban people are comfortable letting ‘the professionals’ handle. Most farmers, most men actually, will do what they feel is necessary to protect their families and deal with the consequences later. No one wants to be in that position but when you live on a farm you are. You can not depend on anyone else to protect you or save you.
When people are intoxicated their judgement is impaired and they do not act or react in a predictable way. And it is safe to say when people are scared their judgement is impaired and they do not act or react in a predictable way. It’s very unfortunate that this tragedy happened at all and I feel terribly sad for all involved.

Regan from Saskatchewan

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City of Red Deer

Hazlett Lake may be the greatest opportunity lost for the city of Red Deer

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Hazlett Lake

This opinion piece was submitted by Garfield Marks.

In cities around the world, man made lakes have been an economic diversification, city saviour, a tourist destination, and/or heat issue solution. Let us look at examples I found on google.

In 2000, when Jasmin Imamović became mayor of Tuzla, it was a dilapidated, swampy mining settlement short on prospects. Bosnia-Herzegovina’s third-largest city had suffered badly in the Bosnian war, and from recessions, low wages and exodus of people since. Solution was a man made lake.
Tuzla’s economy has also changed massively. The tourism and service industries are now its biggest sectors – a sharp change of direction for a city previously known for its coal plants and smoke-filled skies.
Other cities are also trying to boost their profile by artificially creating “natural” tourist attractions. The UAE’s Palm Jumeirah and The World, some of the world’s largest artificial islands, are an extreme example; a rather more considered effort is Barcelona’s beach at Barceloneta, created as part of the city’s facelift for the 1992 Olympic Games.
The beach, the Catalan capital’s largest, is credited with catapulting Barcelona into the top ranks of European travel destinations: the yearly number of visitors staying in hotels in the city rose from 1.7 million in 1990 to 8.9 million in 2017.
Amsterdam has also tried the fake beach approach, incorporating housing.
The Serpentine (also known as the Serpentine River) is a 40-acre (16 ha) recreational lake in Hyde Park, London, England was a venue for the men’s and women’s triathlon and marathon swimming events in the London 2012 Olympics
In Alberta; Echo Dale, the largest of Medicine Hat’s parks, is located a short distance west of .Medicine Hat… The park has two man-made lakes:
Henderson Lake Park is one of Lethbridge’s premier parks featuring a 24 hectare man made lake, mature trees and groves, gardens, picnic shelters, and recreational properties.

Red Deer has Hazlett Lake in a prime spot by Hwy 2, great for tourism, 100 acres for recreational activities, 2 miles of shoreline for beaches, locate the Aquatic Centre there and you would have a premier tourist destination and residents could have a staycation..
We would not have to spend millions building a man made lake, we have the real thing.

 

SO:

Why did the city after discussing with a few members of the Red Deer Naturalists think that leaving such an opportunity  dormant, was a good economical idea?  Why not make some beaches? Why not develop this tourist attraction possibility? Incorporate the new Aquatic Centre.Why just build housing?
While other cities are investing millions in building artificial lakes, we are building homes to hide our very own natural lake.
A lot of words have been written about our state of affairs in Red Deer. The fall-out from a depressed economy, being in a bust portion of a boom-bust cycle. Talk of diversifying our economy away from our continued reliance on the energy sector.  Words are not actions, and it is worrisome. Is it fear or lack of vision that impedes us from following up on the words?
No matter how we dress it up, Red Deer is stagnant with growth at about 1% over 3 years, after population loss. Blame the economy, the stars or any number of reasons but it could have been different. Lethbridge is now more populated than Red Deer and Lethbridge is growing in this economy. Lethbridge invested and is still investing in areas appealing to young families including recreational facilities. Lethbridge has a history of investing in facilities to encourage growth, education and tourism. They turned a man made slough into Henderson Lake Park and has never looked back.
Red Deer has a greater opportunity in having a real natural lake. Will Red Deer build a park? NO, they will  plan on houses, and apartment buildings that may never get built, unless we go into a boom portion of the boom-bust cycle. This is the simplistic, easiest and safest plan with a low return on investment. It ignores the high-profile location and possibilities of the lake, but it has less risk. A wall of residences will be built to hide the lake from Hwy 2.
Remember, Hazlett Lake is a natural lake that covers a surface area of 0.45 km2 (0.17 mi2), has an average depth of 3 meters (10 feet). Hazlett Lake has a total shore line of 4 kilometers (2 miles).  It is 108.8 acres in size. Located in the north-west sector of Red Deer.

Red Deer has seen mass exodus of population over the years before seeing a very modest growth of about 1% over 3 years. The handling of Hazlett Lake or lack of vision for Hazlett Lake may be an example. How many Red Deer residents drive to Sylvan Lake and pay $10 parking to sit and swim in a lake? We have a lake but we wouldn’t think of building a beach anywhere along the 2 mile coastline. Let Red Deer residents drive to Sylvan Lake and spend their money there.
Lethbridge took a man-made slough and created Henderson Lake Park, a highly regarded tourist attraction. We will put a trail around our lake. Red Deer residents can go to Sylvan Lake to go to a beach.
We have several planned neighbourhoods that are sitting undeveloped or unfilled so this residential development they are proposing for Hazlett Lake, may never get built. What is the draw? We are creating new neighbourhoods, faster than we are growing, why?
Why not look at how we can invite growth to fill the empty lots we have now? Every town and city has lots for sale but how many have a lake, a natural lake with 4 kms. of shoreline?
We have an opportunity here with Hazlett Lake to create something, a destination, an attraction, will we let it slip through our fingers? Apparently it may be too late. Thanks city hall.

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City of Red Deer

Goulet-Jones says City’s new Environmental Master Plan means higher taxes and an assault on energy sector

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This opinion piece was submitted by Calvin Goblet-Jones

City Council Unanimously Rejects reason by approving a severely flawed Environmental Master Plan.

I honestly can not believe every councillor voted in favour of this document, I am severely disappointed in our Council Today.
Make no mistake, this document deserves to be put through the shredder.  There are a few good elements of the $150,000 document such as strengthening our inner city forests however the document is nothing more than a glimpse into a future of higher taxes, bans and a continued assault on our energy sector by a council who says they support energy.
Of course the document is full of buzzwords and flowery language but this document rejects the benefits of our local energy sector.  Instead of looking towards cheap natural gas as an energy source they look to failed renewable energy projects that you and I will pay heavily for.  The Document wants to limit Red Deers energy consumption, wants to limit your personal fuel consumption, and wants to ban ban ban.  The document wants to ban wood fires, wants to heavily regulate vehicles, and wants to shift all the vehicles the city owns to be electric which will cost taxpayers heavily.
Quickly, take a look at Action 20, they don’t mention a ban outright but they mention open air burning, wood burning and vehicles as part of their “action plan” it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to interpret what they mean.

Look at Focus Area 1.2.2.3 where they want to limit consumer energy consumption and how they reject our local cheap, economy supporting fossil fuels.

Shame on Council for Unanimously approving this document.
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july, 2019

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