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City council considers Entertainment District status for the Ross Street Patio

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6 minute read

By Mark Weber

Downtown Business Association officials are thrilled that City council passed first reading this past week on a new bylaw that would see the Ross Street Patio receive ‘Entertainment District’ designation.

The move follows a request from the DBA made several weeks ago, explained Amanda Gould, executive director. According to the City, Entertainment Districts are new to the province, having been created last December through an amendment to the Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Act. The designation would allow certain public areas – in this cast the Ross Street Patio – to be a place where adults could consume alcohol outside of a licensed premises while taking in various forms of live entertainment. “It’s really the natural next step for the Ross Street Patio,” said Gould. “The Patio is already becoming the home for live music, and we are getting more and more people coming downtown to enjoy it. As a result, a lot of people are using the restaurants along the Patio there.

“Because of that, a lot of times their patios are full. And so they often have people asking if they can buy a drink and take it out onto the actual Patio. Unfortunately, they have to say no.” But with Entertainment District designation, that could all change.

Gould noted that it would help to further revitalize the downtown core by drawing more folks down to not only check out the entertainment that is running on the Patio all summer, but to also see all that downtown ultimately has to offer.

“It will help to make the Ross Street Patio even more popular than it already is,” she said, adding that she approached Council about the designation about eight weeks ago.

“It has all moved really fast – the City has been wonderful with this. They talked about it in council, and everyone was really supportive of it. It went to first reading, and it was unanimously supported,” she said. Second and third reading are expected to take place later in June.

“In the meantime, we’ve met with businesses and found out what their preferred operating times are. We’ve also tried to discover any issues that they can think of and how we could mitigate any challenges, and things like that,” she added. “But the businesses are so keen to do this – they are absolutely pumped.”

According to Erin Stuart, the City’s inspection and licensing manager, “Research into the topic has shown that, while relatively new in Canada, there are numerous international jurisdictions where open consumption is allowed in public areas.

“Learnings from those areas show that Entertainment Districts provide opportunities for municipalities to revitalize key neighbourhoods, drive tourism, and support local businesses,” she said in a release. “Working with the Downtown Business Association is an opportunity for a unique partnership and provides the option of working together on any issues that arise.” Prior to the May 24th meeting, City administration determined a new bylaw was needed to support the DBA’s request and sought direction from Council before proceeding.

A short timeline for implementing the designation would also of course maximize the use of the summer season. The release also noted that an Entertainment District in Red Deer would not allow public intoxication, underage drinking, use of cannabis, or the bringing in/taking away of alcohol to/from the district. The release also pointed out that the bylaw would be the first of its kind in Canada.

“It’s awesome,” said Gould in reflecting on the level of support shown for the Entertainment District concept here in Red Deer. “I’m delighted. I just came out of a meeting with the businesses and the City, and it’s just great. I’m just so excited for it.” In the meantime, she said this past week has marked the first official week of summer programming on the Ross Street Patio.

The Wednesday market is also in full swing. Visitors are invited to come down and purchase all their fresh fruits and veggies between 3:30 and 6:30 p.m. each Wednesday. Live music on the Ross Street Patio is a key feature on Wednesdays as well. And with the official kick-off to summer on the Patio having taken place, part of the celebration included the introduction of a limited-edition Ross Street Patio beer developed in partnership with Sawback Brewing.

The special beer will be available through the summer and will also be featured at several downtown restaurants. As for entertainment plans, performances on the Patio will run on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. For more about the Downtown Business Association and all that is planned for the Ross Street Patio, find them on Facebook or visit www.downtownreddeer.com.

Born and raised in Red Deer, Mark Weber is an award-winning freelance writer who is committed to the community. He worked as a reporter for the Red Deer Express for 18 years including six years as co-editor. During that time, he mainly covered arts and entertainment plus a spectrum of areas from city news and health stories to business profiles and human interest features. Mark also spent a year working for the regional publication Town and Country in northern Alberta, along with stints at the Ponoka News and the Stettler Independent. He’s thrilled to be a Todayville contributor, as it allows him many more opportunities to continue to focus on the city and community he not only has a passion for, but calls home as well.

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Business

Trudeau’s environment department admits carbon tax has only reduced emissions by 1%

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From LifeSiteNews

By Clare Marie Merkowsky

The Trudeau Liberals had first seemed to claim that the unpopular carbon tax had cut emissions by 33%, only to explain that the figure is merely a projection for 2030 and the actual reduction thus far stands at 1%.

The Liberal government has admitted that the carbon tax has only reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 1 percent following claims that the unpopular surcharge had cut emissions by 33 percent.   

During a May 21 House of Commons environment committee meeting, Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault testified that the carbon tax cut greenhouse gas emissions by 33 percent, before his department backtracked to explain that the figure is a projection for the year 2030, and that the true figure sits at a mere 1 percent.

“I will be the first one to recognize it is complex,” said Guilbeault, according to information obtained by Blacklock’s Reporter 

“If you want simple answers, I am sorry. There is no simple answer when it comes to climate change or modeling,” he said, adding, “Carbon pricing works. This has never been clearer.”  

“Carbon pricing alone accounts for around a third of emission reductions expected in Canada,” said Guilbeault, explaining this number was based on “complex statistical calculations.”  

However, Conservative Members of Parliament (MPs) pointed out that the numbers provided by Guilbeault’s department do not add up to a 33 percent decrease in emissions, as the department had characterized.  

“How many megatonnes of emissions have been directly reduced from your carbon tax since it was introduced?” Conservative MP Dan Mazier questioned.  

According to Guilbeault, after the introduction of the carbon tax, emissions reduced by five megatonnes in 2018, fourteen megatonnes in 2019, seventeen megatonnes in 2020, eighteen megatonnes in 2021, and nineteen megatonnes in 2022.  

According to Blacklock’s, Guilbeault failed to explain how the environment department calculated a 33 percent benefit.

Conservative MP Michael Kram pressed Guilbeault, saying, “I want to make sure I have the math correct.” 

“In 2022 emissions were at 708 megatonnes and the carbon tax was responsible for reducing 19 megatonnes,” he continued. “By my math that works out to a three percent reduction.” 

Associate deputy environment minister Lawrence Hanson explained that the department’s 33 percent emissions cut is a projection of the emissions cut by 2030, not a current statistic.   

“It’s the distinction between how much the carbon price might have affected emissions in one year versus how much in 2030,” said Hanson. “So when you heard us talking about its responsible for one third of reductions we were talking about the 2030 number.” 

This explanation was echoed by Derek Hermanutz, director general of the department’s economic analysis directorate, who said, “When we talk about one third, it’s one third of our expected reductions. That’s getting to 2030.” 

“Yes, but three percent of the total emissions have been reduced as a result of carbon pricing?” Kram pressed.   

“No, emissions have declined three percent in total,” assistant deputy minister John Moffet responded.  

“And so only one percent of that three percent is from the carbon tax?” Kram asked.  

“To date,” Moffet replied. 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s carbon tax, framed as a way to reduce carbon emissions, has cost Canadian households hundreds of dollars annually despite rebates. 

The increased costs are only expected to rise. A recent report revealed that a carbon tax of more than $350 per tonne is needed to reach Trudeau’s net-zero goals by 2050. 

Currently, Canadians living in provinces under the federal carbon pricing scheme pay $80 per tonne, but the Trudeau government has a goal of $170 per tonne by 2030. 

On April 1, Trudeau increased the carbon tax by 23 percent despite seven out of 10 provincial premiers and 70 percent of Canadians pleading with him to halt his plan. 

Despite appeals from politicians and Canadians alike, Trudeau remains determined to increase the carbon tax regardless of its effects on citizens’ lives. 

The Trudeau government’s current environmental goals – which are in lockstep with the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – include phasing out coal-fired power plants, reducing fertilizer usage, and curbing natural gas use over the coming decades. 

The reduction and eventual elimination of so-called “fossil fuels” and a transition to unreliable “green” energy has also been pushed by the World Economic Forum, the globalist group behind the socialist “Great Reset” agenda in which Trudeau and some of his cabinet are involved. 

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Automotive

The EV battery ‘catch-22’

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From The Center Square

While setting aggressive goals for electric vehicle market share, the Biden administration also wants tariffs and or restrictions on the importation of vehicles and the minerals needed for their batteries – creating heightened concerns over supply chains in what can be described as a “Catch-22” situation.

Solutions to some of the problems include battery recycling and increased domestic mining, however, the U.S. is currently limited in its capacity for both. Federal funds are spurring new recycling plant projects, but questions remain on whether there will be enough used material to meet projected needs.

In his e-book, “The EV Transition Explained,” Robert Charette, longtime systems engineer, and contributing editor for IEEE Spectrum, says making the transition is harder than anyone thinks. He recently told The Center Square it is truer now than it ever was.

“None of this is simple,” he said.

His argument centers on the lack of planning and systems engineering on initiatives that are politically, not engineering, driven. While change is possible, he suggested it would require trillions more in government spending and enforcing those changes through law.

Charette identified many serious issues in setting up the EV battery infrastructure – and even if those challenges are met, he said, there may be tradeoffs between affordability, security and environmental concerns.

Profitability. Battery recycling is a still-developing process which is time consuming and expensive. The cost of purchasing recycled materials may be more costly than buying them new.

Manufacturing demand and potential backlog. The U.S. will require eight million batteries annually by 2030 to meet the government’s EV target, with increases each year after that.

Standardization. Batteries vary in configuration, size, and chemistry.

Domestic mining. While decreasing our dependency on outside sources, what are the environmental impacts? It can also take years to acquire permits and get a lithium mine up and running.

Mineral shortfalls. Secure and sustainable access to critical minerals like copper, lithium, cobalt, and nickel is essential for a smooth and affordable transition to clean energy. An analysis by the International Energy Agency indicates a “significant gap” between the world’s supply and demand for copper and lithium. Projected supplies will only meet 70% of the copper and 50% of the lithium needed to achieve 2035 climate targets.

The report said that “without the strong uptake of recycling and reuse, “mining capital requirements would need to be one-third higher. The agency also emphasizes China’s dominance in the refining and processing sector.

Transportation of discharged batteries classified as hazardous waste is one of the costliest steps of the recycling process. Experts suggest updates to federal EPA and DOT regulations for how battery-related waste is classified. In addition to health and safety, they say clearer definitions of what constitutes hazardous waste would help reduce transportation costs. Many recycling plants are being built in regions where production sites are located to address this.

Supply chain and skills gap shortages. The timetable set by the government is not aligned with the capabilities of the current supply chain. Software plays a key role in the management and operation of an EV battery, and automakers are competing for a limited supply of software and systems engineers.

Competing interests. The goal is to create a circular battery economy, reducing the need for raw materials. However, an EV battery that is no longer useful for propelling a car still has enough life left for other purposes such as residential energy storage. Experts propose a battery material hierarchy where repurposing and reusing retired EV batteries are more favorable to immediately recycling them, detouring them out of the cycle.

Charette says the biggest problem with recycling projections is that they are built on assumptions that have not been tested.

“We won’t know whether these assumptions hold until we reach a point where we are recycling millions of EV batteries,” he said.

Because most EV lithium-ion batteries produced through 2023 are still on the road, the International Council on Clean Transportation reports that the majority of materials being used as feedstock by recycling plants currently come from scrap materials created during battery production.

According to Charette, manufacturers also claim future generations of batteries will last 15 to 20 years, which he says would put a bigger kink in the used-battery supply chain.

Another issue contributing to consumers’ reluctance to buy an EV is the inability to determine the overall health of your battery. Current testing methods are inefficient and costly.

EV adoption has so far not met projections and with all the competing interests, Charette said the market will ultimately tell us what direction the situation is headed. He is also intrigued over the impact government pressure will have on the eventual outcome.

He said many individual components have yet to be worked out, adding that although there is a vision, “we’re a heck of a long way from that vision to getting where we need to go.”

In his opinion, battery recycling issues are even further behind than transitioning the electric grid to renewable energy sources.

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