City suspends staff COVID-19 immunization policy
The internal immunization policy that applies to all City of Red Deer staff is suspended starting today. The policy was originally implemented on October 5, 2021, as an added layer of protection to reduce transmission and minimize symptom severity to protect the healthcare system and maintain service levels.
“There has been a shift in the provincial pandemic response over the past several weeks to learning to live with the virus. The decision to suspend our internal policy is reflective of this shift,” said Interim City Manager Tara Lodewyk. “The policy contributed to the safety of our workplaces and lessened the impact of COVID-19 for staff, which resulted in minimal impacts to service delivery over the past five months. The decision to suspend rather than eliminate the
policy speaks to our inability to foresee what COVID-19 may hand us in the future; it reserves the ability to re-implement the policy if the hazard level and situation warrants it.”
Since implementing the policy, 92.5 per cent of City staff provided proof of full immunization, the remaining 7.5 per cent chose to provide ongoing proof of negative rapid antigen testing. With the suspension of the policy, the ongoing rapid antigen testing is not required; however, The City will continue to encourage immunization recommendations made by the provincial and federal governments, including booster shots.
As of Monday, March 21, internal masking requirements for staff are also lifted unless required for specific jobs or worksites, or those who make the personal choice to continue to wear one. Staff who have worked from home since the beginning of the pandemic will also begin to move back into the traditional workspace. These adjustments to internal measures come three weeks following the province’s removal of mandatory masks in public places and lifting the
work from home order. “Safety and providing continuous services to our community is job one. That is why we are taking a cautious approach in easing of internal measures and shifting back into our offices,” said Lodewyk. “Each person experienced this pandemic differently, and this next phase that we’re moving into is no different. We will support our staff as we move into what we hope to be the post-pandemic phase.”
Other measures that will remain in place for staff include physical barriers and distancing, limited in-person gatherings for training and meetings, and the requirement to stay home when sick.
City staff were notified today of the suspension of the internal COVID-19 immunization policy. The City will also continue to follow all health measures in place from the Province. Currently masks are still required on municipal and intra-provincial public transit for Albertans 13 years and older, and at AHS-operated and contracted facilities and all continuing care settings. For Transit services in Red Deer, this means that all riders over 13 years and Transit operators must continue to mask when on our buses.
The staff COVID-19 immunization policy is approved by the City Manager. Council has their own immunization policy and any changes to that policy would need to be discussed and decided upon at a Council meeting.
Residential plowing continues in North Red Deer Monday and Tuesday. Check here for your neighbourhood.
|A||Kentwood, Johnstone||Snow Zone A – Residential Routes Map (pdf)|
|B||Glendale, Normandeau, Pines||Snow Zone B – Residential Routes Map (pdf)|
|C||Fairview, Highland Green, Oriole Park, Riverside Meadows||Snow Zone C – Residential Routes Map (pdf)|
|E||Clearview, Garden Heights, Michener Hill, Parkvale, Waskasoo, Woodlea||Snow Zone E – Residential Routes Map (pdf)|
|F||Deer Park (north of 39 St), Rosedale, Timberlands||Snow Zone F – Residential Routes Map (pdf)|
|G||Bower, South Hill, West Park||Snow Zone G – Residential Routes Map (pdf)|
|H||Eastview, Grandview, Morrisroe, Mountview||Snow Zone H – Residential Routes Map (pdf)|
|I||Anders, Sunnybrook (north)||Snow Zone I – Residential Routes Map (pdf)|
|J||Deer Park (south of 39 St), Lancaster||Snow Zone J – Residential Routes Map (pdf)|
|K||Inglewood, Sunnybrook (south)/Southbrook, Vanier||Snow Zone K – Residential Routes Map (pdf)|
|O||Evergreen||Snow Zone O – Residential Routes Map (pdf)|
The current schedule for residential snow clearing is as follows:
Residents are encouraged to watch for no-parking signs on Green Routes and at the entrance to their neighbourhoods for Grey Routes and to sign up for Snow Zone notices at www.reddeer.ca/notifyreddeer to get text, email or phone call reminders before they need to move their vehicles off the street.
“We ask that citizens move their vehicles to make way for plows and equipment as this enables crews to move through neighbourhoods quickly,” said Halldorson.
Parking restrictions are in effect from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., daily while plowing is scheduled, and vehicles left on the street will be ticketed and towed at the owner’s expense.
The City of Red Deer has a priority-based snow and ice control program with specific triggers to indicate when, where and how plowing and sanding should take place across the city. There are many different types of roads, sidewalks and paths throughout the city that serve different purposes. The overall goal is to plow sooner, quicker and more often, within the budget provided.
Residents are encouraged to contact Parks & Public Works at 403-342-8238 to report streets in need of attention.
The rich and sobering history of Red Deer’s “Unknown Soldier”
The origins of Red Deer’s beautiful Cenotaph date back to the end of WWI. The statue of the Unknown Soldier is a provincial historic site. In this article, historian and author Michael Dawe helps us understand the rich history of this monument and reminds us all of the sacrifices of our forebearers. Enjoy the photo gallery showing the changes to the Cenotaph and its surroundings over the years.
The Cenotaph by Michael Dawe (originally published Nov. 9, 2019)
There are many memorials around the City of Red Deer to honour those who served and those who lost their lives during a time of war. The main community memorial is the Cenotaph, the statue of the Unknown Soldier that stands in the centre of Ross Street in the heart of downtown Red Deer.
The origins of the Cenotaph go back to the end of the First World War. That conflict had been a searing experience for Red Deer. 850 young men and women from the City and surrounding districts had enlisted. Of these, 118 lost their lives. Of those who returned, many had suffered terrible wounds and faced a lifetime of ill health and suffering. Hence, it was extremely important to the community that a fitting and very special memorial be created.
On December 18, 1918, five weeks after the end of the War, the Central Alberta local of the Great War Veterans Association (forerunner of the Royal Canadian Legion) organized a large public meeting to discuss the creation of such a memorial. Three proposals were initially made. The first was to construct a pyramidal monument of river cobblestones in the centre of the City. The second was to construct a community hall and recreation facility next to City Hall. The third was to purchase the old Alexandra (Park) Hotel and turn it into a community centre.
After considerable discussion, a fourth proposal was adopted. It was decided to build a monument rather than a community centre. However, at the suggestion of Lochlan MacLean, it was also decided that this monument be in the form of a statue of a soldier, mounted on a pedestal, rather than a cobblestone pyramid or obelisk.
Major Frank Norbury, an architectural sculptor at the University of Alberta and a veteran of the War, was commissioned to carve the statue. He came up with the concept of carving the Unknown Soldier as he was coming off active duty on the front line. He was to face west, toward home and peace. He was also to be positioned towards the C.P.R. station from which most of the soldiers had left Red Deer for the War.
This latter point was one of the greatest controversies about the Cenotaph. City Council and a few others wanted it in the centre of the City Square (now City Hall Park). However, the majority wanted it facing directly towards the station and in the middle of Ross Street, Red Deer’s busiest thoroughfare, so that it would be a constant reminder of the sacrifices of the War.
Meanwhile, fundraising for the project commenced, but proved quite a challenge. Post-war Red Deer faced one of the worst economic depressions in its history. However, despite the general shortage of money, by the following summer more than half of the $6200 needed had been raised. Unfortunately, Red Deer City Council decided that given its financial situation, it could not contribute any money to the project. This decision reinforced the opinion of the Memorial Committee that Council’s wish to have the Cenotaph in the middle of the City Square should be ignored.
There were still a lot of hard feelings about that lack of official City participation. Eventually, City Council agreed to build a boulevard in the middle of Ross Street, west of 49 Avenue, as a site for the Cenotaph. A decision was also made to place street lights at either end of that boulevard to provide nighttime illumination of the spot.
There was another debate regarding the proper means of recording the names of those killed in the War. Some wanted tablets placed on the pedestal. However, the Memorial Committee was worried about having a complete and accurate list. Finally, it was agreed to have two scrolls prepared, one with the names of those who had served and one with the names of those who had lost their lives. Both scrolls were put into a copper tube and placed in a cavity in the pedestal.
On September 15, 1922, the Cenotaph was officially unveiled. To the delight of the community, Governor General Lord Byng of Vimy agreed to come and do the honours. Lord Byng was a hero of one of Canada’s most significant military victories, the Battle of Vimy Ridge. Vimy was also a victory that had also come with very heavy loss of life, both locally and nationally.
At the time of the official unveiling, it was reported that the Cenotaph was the first sculpture war memorial in Alberta. Once the official dedication was completed, the monument was placed into trust with the City on behalf of those who had contributed to its creation.
The Cenotaph was rededicated in 1949 to include remembrance of those who served and lost their lives in the Second World War. A plaque signifying that designation was added to the pedestal. After the completion of the new City Hall Park and the Memorial Centre in the early 1950’s. there was a push to relocate the Cenotaph from its location on Ross Street to either the centre of City Hall Park or a new site in front of the Memorial Centre. However, a plebiscite was held in 1953 in which the citizens of Red Deer voted to keep the Cenotaph were it was.
Another plaque was added in 1988 in memory of those who served and died in the Korean Conflict. At the same time, through the efforts of some dedicated members of the public, special lighting was added to ensure that the Cenotaph was highly visible at night.
There were new proposals in the 1990’s to relocate the Cenotaph to City Hall Park. However, Charlie Mac Lean, son of Lochlan MacLean and one of the last surviving people to have actually built the Cenotaph, offered the opinion that he did not think that the monument could be safely relocated.
In 2006, the Cenotaph was extensively cleaned and repaired. City Council then successfully applied to have the Cenotaph designated as a Provincial Historic Site. In 2010-2011, a beautiful Veterans’ Park was created around the Cenotaph, to enhance it and to make it more accessible to the public. Moreover, eight interpretive panels were created to let people know the full significance of Red Deer’s official war memorial. They give the stories of those who served in the Boer War, First World War, Second World War, Korean Conflict, the Afghanistan War and all the peace-keeping and peace-making missions in which Canadians have been involved.
Lest We Forget.
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