City Hall reopening for payments and in-person customer service
“We are excited to be reopening City Hall for in-person payments and customer service. This long awaited reopening will enable us to reconnect with our customers in person and still support doing business with us online, where possible,” said Acting City Manager Tara Lodewyk.
Starting Monday, June 21, 2021, key customer service employees will return to City Hall with a phased reopening taking place in the coming weeks and months. With renovations that took place while the building was closed, all customer and public interactions are now provided on the main floor of City Hall.
Some additional changes include new windows and doors, improved customer service kiosks, new security controls and numerous health and safety measures that serve to protect employees and customers accessing City Hall. All renovations were focused on making necessary changes that facilitate improved customer interactions while considering the safety, health and wellness of all employees and citizens.
“As we reopen City Hall for in-person customer service, the health and safety of our citizens and employees is still top of mind. Masks are required inside the building and there will be capacity limits for the number of customers permitted inside at one time,” said Lodewyk. “We kindly ask that anybody coming to City Hall, or accessing any of our recreation or public facilities, uphold all public health restrictions as we work to keep everyone safe throughout the phased reopening.”
A full reopening and return to work for all City employees is expected to take place between June 21 and September 7, 2021. In many cases, City employees have continued to report to their workplace, in-person, based on the requirements of their position; however, with the lifting of the provincial work from home order, The City will welcome its remaining employees back into the workspace with the intention to have everybody back between now and September. This includes City Hall, the Professional Building, Civic Yards and all City owned and operated recreation and culture places and spaces.
“Covid-19 has limited us in many ways. It has taught The City to innovate, work differently and find efficiencies. As we transition back to in-person service, we ask our customers to be patient with us as we navigate the new challenges of our ever changed in-person business offerings. Our business looks different than it did when we closed City Hall more than 15 months ago, and while we are excited to be once again serving you in person, we do expect some bumps along the way,” said Lodewyk.
With changing and modified provincial restrictions continuing to be announced, The City of Red Deer will adapt and update its programs, services and offerings on an ongoing basis. This will include everything from the number of people permitted within a facility at one time, to masking requirements.
“We will continue to take our direction from the provincial government as they ease restrictions and introduce their phased relaunch strategy,” said Lodewyk. “We share the community excitement around the easing of restrictions and continue to work together with our community to uphold public health orders and preventing the spread of Covid-19.”
Starting June 21, the following payments can be made in person at City Hall:
- Utility bill payment
- Property tax payment
- Parking ticket payment
- Re-loading parking cards
- Accounts Receivable invoice payment
- Licence payment
- Special event permit payment
- Other miscellaneous fee payments
Starting July 12, the following payments and customer service will be available in-person at City Hall:
- Parking inquiries
- Licence and permit applications
For updates on The City’s municipal response to Covid-19, visit www.reddeer.ca/covid-19.
For more information, please contact:
The City of Red Deer
The return of Zellers: Hudson’s Bay to resurrect Canadian discount retail chain
Canadian department store Zellers hopes to make a comeback next year, a decade after the discount chain shuttered most of its locations.
Hudson’s Bay Co. said Zellers will debut a new e-commerce website and expand its brick-and-mortar footprint within select Hudson’s Bay department stores across the country in early 2023.
The company said the relaunched Zellers will offer “a digital-first shopping journey that taps into the nostalgia of the brand.”
The return of Zellers comes as soaring inflation drives consumers to discount retailers in search of lower prices and fierce competition from existing stores like Walmart and Dollarama.
It also comes amid an ongoing lawsuit over a Quebec family’s use of the Zellers brand.
The Moniz family is behind various recent trademark applications and corporate registries, including Zellers Inc., Zellers Convenience Store Inc. and Zellers Restaurant Inc.
In a statement of claim filed last fall, HBC accused the Moniz family of trademark infringement, depreciation of goodwill and so-called passing off — the deceptive marketing or misrepresentation of goods.
The Zellers department store was founded in 1931 and acquired by HBC in 1978.
It operated as the discount division of its flagship Hudson’s Bay department stores, with the slogan “Where the lowest price is the law.”
The store hit its peak of about 350 locations in the late 1990s before losing ground to big box competitors such as Walmart.
In 2011, HBC announced plans to sell the majority of its remaining Zellers leases to Target Corp., closing most stores by 2013.
The retailer kept a handful of Zellers locations open as liquidation outlets until 2020.
The company recently launched pop-up Zellers shops inside Hudson’s Bay department stores in Burlington, Ont., and in Anjou, Que.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 17, 2022.
Brett Bundale, The Canadian Press
Inflation “slows” to 7.6 per cent in July, Statistics Canada says
Ottawa – Canada’s year-over-year inflation rate slowed to 7.6 per cent in July, with the deceleration largely driven by a decline in gas prices.
The inflation rate hit a nearly 40-year-high of 8.1 per cent in June, but economists were widely expecting inflation to have since slowed.
In its latest consumer price index report, Statistics Canada said the rise in prices in July was the smallest monthly gains since December 2021.
It also marks the first decline in year-over-year inflation since June 2020.
The federal agency said gas prices rose 35.6 per cent year-over-year in July, compared with 54.6 per cent in June.
“Ongoing concerns related to a slowing global economy, as well as increased COVID-19 pandemic public health restrictions in China and slowing demand for gasoline in the United States led to lower worldwide demand for crude oil, putting downward pressure on prices at the pump,” the report said.
But while gas prices declined, food prices at grocery stores rose at the fastest pace since August 1981, with prices up by 9.9 per cent on a year-over-year basis compared with 9.4 per cent the previous month.
Bakery goods are up 13.6 per cent since last year amid higher input costs as the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues to put upward pressure on wheat prices. The prices of other food products also rose faster, including eggs, which are up 15.8 per cent, and fresh fruit, up 11.7 per cent since last year.
As mortgage costs increase with higher interest rates, the report notes rent prices are accelerating, rising faster in July than the previous month.
With more Canadians travelling during the busy summer season, airfares rose by around 25 per cent in July compared with the previous month. Traveller accommodation prices rose by nearly 50 per cent since a year ago, with the largest price increases in Ontario.
As countries around the world struggle with skyrocketing prices, there are some signs inflation is beginning to ease, with the U.S. seeing its inflation rate decline in July as well.
Still, inflation is well above the Bank of Canada’s two per cent target.
The central bank is watching the latest reading of inflation as it gears up to make its next key interest rate on Sept. 7, when it’s expected to raise borrowing rates again.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 16, 2022.
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