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City of Red Deer

Buildings to be demolished. City will take over Michener Centre North lands

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From The City of Red Deer

City and Province work together to determine the future of Michener Lands

The City of Red Deer has been working closely with the Provincial Government regarding the future of the Michener north lands. In August, The City entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Government of Alberta to provide for shared planning and consultation on the future land uses, including existing buildings and infrastructure on the Michener North lands.

After reviewing options and extensive studies on the land, the profound history of the area, the current state of the buildings on site, and the sensitive ecology of the escarpment and wetlands, the Government of Alberta will proceed with the demolition of the remaining Michener North buildings later this year and finalizing The City’s purchase to protect these public lands as a community asset.

“Alberta’s Government is committed to managing the Province’s buildings and facilities in a cost-effective way that best serves Albertans. The demolition of the buildings and reclamation of this provincial surplus site will put The City of Red Deer in the best position to make use of the area,” said Infrastructure Minister Prasad Panda. “Alberta Infrastructure and The City of Red Deer have proven that we can find a solution to benefit all Albertans by working together towards a sale agreement of the Michener North lands.”

The City intends to move forward with the acquisition of the Michener North lands, following demolition and reclamation by the Province, to ensure that these public lands remain public. There is 132.2 acres of land in the area, which would serve as a future Red Deer destination legacy.

“As the Province decides on the future of the existing buildings and site, opportunity exists for The City to mark a significant piece of Red Deer’s history and protect these impeccable public lands for Red Deerians for generations to come,” said Mayor Tara Veer. “The land provides opportunity to commemorate the past, while providing for future public use opportunities our citizens. The Michener lands are public, and should remain a public asset.”

The Michener North lands have deep roots in Red Deer’s history, economy, park space, and natural areas. The centralized location provides a place to reflect history, access the Waskasoo trail system, experience wildlife and enjoy open outdoor space year round.

“After significant heritage assessment and thorough cost analysis, it is evident that it is cost prohibitive to preserve or repurpose any of the buildings. We will, however, find ways to ensure meaningful site commemoration to honour the history of the people who lived there,” said Mayor Tara Veer.

The City also recently purchased the J.J. Gaetz House and the escarpment. Originally a private residence, the house became part of the Michener Centre in 1939 and was renovated for Michener Centre use. The J.J. Gaetz House is currently a Municipal Designated Heritage Site under the Historic Resources Act. This site could potentially offer a future home for an interpretive visual history of the lands.

 

 

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City of Red Deer expedites patio process for desperate restaurants

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From the City of Red Deer

City accommodates demand for patios

Summer patios are popping up throughout Red Deer as an extension to seating areas at local restaurants. Following the mandated closure of indoor dining by the Government of Alberta, outdoor patios are one way food and beverage businesses can continue to operate.

“We know local business owners are struggling to adapt to changing restrictions and wanted to find a way to expedite the application process so these businesses see minimal impact to their operations as a result of closure of indoor dining,” said Erin Stuart, Inspections and Licensing Manager. “The health and safety of Red Deerians is of utmost importance, and participating businesses must ensure that public health orders and provincial restrictions continue to be followed.”

Patios installed on private property require a development permit and may require a building permit. In an effort to offer immediate assistance to businesses, The City is modifying these processes to allow for installation of patios prior to permits being issued, following discussions with the Red Deer Chamber of Commerce.

A signed waiver is required by the business owner, allowing for the immediate installation of the patio. The business owner will be responsible for submitting a complete application, including a site plan outlining the location and measurements of the patio and the number of seats, within two weeks of the signed waiver being submitted. The permit will continue to be processed, ensuring safety and legislative requirements are met, and will be valid until September 30, 2021.

For patios within the downtown core, business owners are required to apply for a Seasonal Downtown Patio. Businesses within the downtown core require a boardwalk to be installed around the perimeter of the patio to provide a safe, accessible walkway for pedestrians (this excludes businesses located within Ross Street Patio). The City will build, install, remove and store these boardwalks at no cost to participating businesses.

Interested business owners can visit www.reddeer.ca/seasonalpatios for more information and to begin the application process.

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City of Red Deer

City will identify potential locations for new homeless shelter by early May

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From the City of Red Deer

Council supports interim shelter, directs administration to find alternative location

City Council has resolved to support the continuation of an interim shelter and directed administration to find a new location in collaboration with the Province and service providers.

“We have a responsibility to look after our most vulnerable citizens in a responsible manner, with the interests of the wider community in mind as well,” said Mayor Tara Veer. “Without a permanent integrated homeless shelter in place, infrastructure we have been advocating the Province for years to complete, it is no surprise that the public is frustrated, the service providers are frustrated and the vulnerable themselves are frustrated. There are significant consequences in the community for having temporary and insufficient solutions to very complex social challenges, but I am hopeful the preliminary direction Council gave today will help will bridge the gap for vulnerable citizens, the service providers, and our business community and community in general until a more permanent solution can be put into place.”

Within four weeks, administration will bring back options for a new interim shelter location for Council to consider. To ensure the proper processes take place for the relocation, administration will also bring forward a recommendation to extend the operations at the current temporary shelter site at Cannery Row.

“Although we are proceeding with exploration of potential new interim sites, we will most likely need Council to approve an extension of the Cannery Row site until the new location is up and running. When we come back in four weeks, we will bring timing, costs and procedural requirements to make the move to a new site,” said City Manager Allan Seabrooke.

At this time, the Cannery Row site has guaranteed Provincial funding until March 31, 2022. The City will work with the Province and Safe Harbour to secure proper funding for a new temporary location.

“During discussions, Council was made aware of the funding agreement in place, and recognizes there could be financial requirements from The City to move and operate the interim shelter in its new location,” said Seabrooke. “We will gather as much information as possible to allow Council to make an informed decision, including potential operating and capital costs, which will require Council approval.”

“City Council’s resolutions tonight aim to balance the needs of Red Deer’s vulnerable population, surrounding properties and the community as a whole. However, despite our best efforts, Safe Harbour and the Province of Alberta may still select their own site, as long as it is zoned for public service,” said Seabrooke.

The interim shelter is expected to support the community’s vulnerable population until a permanent shelter is operational. On February 7, 2020, the Province committed to $7 million in its 2020 Capital Plan for a purpose built integrated emergency shelter in Red Deer. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Province of Alberta and The City of Red Deer was finalized in February 2021 to establish a general high-level understanding related to the provincially managed project to meet the current and future needs in Red Deer. Specifics about location, timing and operational details have not yet been determined by the provincial government.

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