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Opinion

Blackfalds is spending $1,210 per resident on their MultiPlex, Red Deer can’t afford $1,000

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  • Red Deer is afraid and covers it up by saying they cannot afford to spend $1,000 per resident on a new multi-use aquatic centre 20 years after the last time. Blackfalds will be spending $1,210 per resident on twinning their multi-plex only 4 years after building their last one.
    Perhaps we need to study why Blackfalds is investing in itself and growing in population and Red Deer is hoarding and declining in population.
    If Red Deer does just renovate the downtown swimming pool after 25 years, since Collicutt, then Red Deer will not have a 5th pool till 2050. Projected population of 150,000 people.
    The town of Blackfalds is moving forward on twinning their Multi-Plex to the tune of $12 million. This is 4 years after opening their $15 million Abbey Centre.
    The city of Red Deer is delaying discussing building an Aquatic Centre, to 25 years after opening the Collicutt Centre.
    Blackfalds, population of 9,916 will spend $1,210 per person twinning their multi-plex just 4 years after spending $2,000 per person on the Abbey Centre. 2013 population of Blackfalds was around 7,500.
    In just a few years Blackfalds is committing about $3,000 per resident on recreational facilities.
    Red Deer, population 99,832 is looking at spending less than $1,000 per resident on recreational facilities in nearly 3 decades.
    Blackfalds has the fastest growing population in Canada.
    Red Deer is declining in population.
    Red Deer needs to build an Aquatic Centre with a 50m pool. Red Deer is in need of a new multi-plex. Red Deer has a shortage of recreational facilities north of the river. Red Deer is in need of an identity.
    Red Deer is afraid of investing on itself. The price of $100 million is high and can be lowered, but if the price was lowered to $99,832,000 it would be only $1,000 per resident. Blackfalds had a population of 6,500 when it started building the Abbey Centre, or $2300 per resident. Now 4 years after opening they are investing another $1200 per resident in twinning their multi-plex.
    Red Deer is abdicating it’s leadership role in Central Alberta. Penhold, Sylvan Lake and Blackfalds have all invested in their recreational facilities in recent years and have maintained population growth while Red Deer has ceased investing in new facilities, and seen a decline in population.
    I would suggest that we bite the bullet, proceed with an Aquatic Centre that can hold provincial and national competitions and attract tourist and investment dollars. Build it north of the river by Hazlett Lake and offset the costs with sponsorships, like we did with the Collicutt Centre.
    Or we can just welcome mediocrity and obscurity.
    Just saying.


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    Opinion

    3 wards for the city based on federal and provincial governance models.

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  • An interesting proposal has been suggested for our municipal governance that is modeled after the provincial and federal electoral system.
    Federally we have Members of Parliament (MPs) and one of them is also the Prime Minister. Provincially we have Members of the Legislature (MLAs) and one of them is also the Premier.
    Federally our fine city is divided into 2 electoral districts or ridings both federally and provincially, so we have 2 MLAs and 2 MPs, and anyone could also be our Premier or Prime Minister, or Speaker, Cabinet Member, or Opposition Leader.
    Back to our city’s governance, we elect 9 people currently, 8 councillors and 1 mayor for 1 electoral district. The idea being suggested is 3 wards, 3 councillors each with 1 also being the mayor.
    Population wise and geographically 3 wards would be fairly easy. Using the last municipal census. Approximately 1/3 the population lives east of 30th Avenue so that would make an easy boundary and approximately 1/3 live north of the river, another easy boundary. The other 1/3 would be south of the river and west of 30th Avenue. Easy and already done.
    Now, why would we consider 3 wards over governance of a single entity?
    Look at thhe history of the wards, the services offered, crime rates, return on investments and you can see the reason.
    The east of 30th Avenue ward has, 3 high schools with plans for 2 more, has the Collicutt centre with a recommended site for the next multi-use aquatic centre, 2 emergency services location, and a pickle ball court centre.
    The north of the river ward has no high schools with no plans for any, the Dawe recreation centre, YMCA, and 1 emergency services centre.
    The other ward has 1 high school, 1 college, downtown recreation centre, museum, tennis courts, Michener pool, Westerner, Kinex arenas, curling rinks, a proposed cultural centre, hospital, multiple emergency services to name but a few.
    So it is easy to see the rationale behind and the appeal for a ward system as our city grows in a manner favourable to some and not to others. 3 wards with 3 councillors each and 1 of the 9 would also act as mayor. It works provincially and federally and it would make councillors responsible and accountable for any continued disparities, right?
    It is an option. Just saying.


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    Opinion

    Will Red Deer finally get a seat at the adult table? Do we want a seat at the adult table?

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  • Opinion by Garfield Marks

    “Red Deer needs a Cabinet Minister“, says the Chamber of Commerce. Yes the fact is we need a seat at the table, but do we have a politician worthy enough to sit at the adult table?

    Yes, I believe we do, at least 2. For far too long, Red Deer has been electing invisible politicians, seat warmers, trained seals, caricatures of what we think we want as politicians. People representing in some shallow way what the population wanted, perhaps we want invisible politicians. But that is not what we need.

    The subject came up due to the recent Provincial election but it is the same in all 3 levels of government. Federally, too like Provincially there is a cabinet table that makes the decisions and sets directions and implementation but there is a somewhat cabinet like table municipally, involving a few people including city manager, mayor, downtown reps, developers and others, that kind of set the game plan, at least in my opinion.

    This came up over coffee one day, started when someone asked who decided to spend almost a million dollars of our taxes on a piece of art off 32 Street saying “Welcome to Red Deer”?

    The hypothesis is that there is an inner circle or small group, not city council, that decides what, where and when to do anything in this city. Which subdivisions to build as we seem to be opening up new subdivisions every year while we have trouble filling the ones already on the market, means there must be at least one developer at this table.

    The question remains then about whether the citizens of Red Deer want a seat at the adult table? Do we accept just paying the bills as our only role?
    We spend millions and millions of dollars every year on politicians, for what? Photo ops, ribbon cuttings, welcome speeches and to vote as they are told by the members at the adult tables.

    Will we get a Cabinet Member from Red Deer? I think we might but just 1 at the Provincial Cabinet level, because the table is small and Red Deer is not seen as a major player needing to be heard. As for federal and municipal tables that is not even on the horizon. Just saying.

    The views in the above story are the opinion of the writer’s. 


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