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City of Red Deer loosens voting restrictions for October municipal election due to covid

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News release from the City of Red Deer

Vote Anywhere in the 2021 Election

Red Deer voters will be able to vote at any station across the City, both during Advanced Vote days and on Election Day in the 2021 Election.

The City of Red Deer is making changes to its election format in 2021 to increase accessibility and convenience for voters, and to ensure voting stations are safe for voters, staff and the general public, regardless of the state of the pandemic.

At the election, Red Deer voters will vote for one Mayor, eight Councillors, and either Public or Catholic School Trustees. Rather than dedicated neighbourhood voting stations, voters will be able to vote at any one of eight voting stations on Election Day, or one of three voting stations on any one of thirteen Advanced Vote days.

“Our Election planning typically starts about 18 months ahead of the Election, and at that time we were in the midst of the pandemic,” said Returning Officer Samantha Rodwell. “Recognizing the changing public health restrictions and the need to ensure space for physical distancing, we knew our traditional voting stations in smaller centres would not be feasible.”

Advanced Voting will be open for 13 days from October 4 to 16. On those days, voters can attend any one of three voting stations from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.:

  • Parkland Mall: 6359 50 Avenue
  • Baymont by Wyndham Red Deer: 4311 49 Avenue
  • Westerner Park: 4847A 19 Street

In addition, voters can choose to attend any one of eight voting stations open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day, October 18:

  • Northside Community Centre (YMCA): 6391 76 Street
  • Radisson Hotel Red Deer: 6500 67 Street
  • Parkland Mall: 6359 50 Avenue
  • Joseph High School: 110, 2700 67 Street
  • Baymont by Wyndham Red Deer: 4311 49 Avenue
  • Cambridge Red Deer Hotel & Conference Centre: 3310 50 Avenue
  • Collicutt Centre: 3031 30 Avenue
  • Westerner Park: 4847A 19 Street

“Voters will have 39 opportunities to participate in the Advanced Vote and eight opportunities to vote on Election Day,” said Rodwell. “With voting stations being held at larger centres, and the increased number of opportunities, we are not only confident voters and staff will feel safe and secure, but we are also hopeful we will see an increase in voter turnout.”

Enhanced public safety measures will be in place to ensure safety of voters and staff: voting stations will have dedicated entrances and exits, enhanced cleaning and sanitization procedures will be in place, and stations will be laid out to allow for proper physical distancing. Any potential masking requirements will be determined based upon public health guidelines and local bylaws in place at the time of the Election.

“In addition to allowing voters to vote at any station, we’re also providing more information to voters so they can make an informed decision,” said Rodwell. “Enhanced candidate profiles are already available on our website, offering more information about candidates, their priorities, and links to their personal platforms. Come Advanced Vote and Election days, we will also have a map with real-time updates about wait times at voting stations so voters can decide which station will work best for them.”

Nominations opened on January 1 and, as of June 15, 23 candidates have submitted their nomination papers for positions of Mayor, Councillor or School Board Trustee. The City will continue to accept nomination forms until September 20, 2021 at 12:00 noon.

Both the City of Red Deer and the City of Lethbridge are amending their election operations in 2021 to allow eligible voters to select their voting station and allow for enhanced safety measures during the pandemic.

Information about Red Deer’s 2021 Election, including a voting station map, a list of current candidates and their submitted profiles, is available online at elections.reddeer.ca.

For more information, please contact:

Corporate Communications
The City of Red Deer

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City of Red Deer

Red Deer RCMP and City of Red Deer introduce Integrated Downtown Policing Unit

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News release from Red Deer RCMP

Today the Red Deer RCMP’s Downtown Patrol Unit officially welcomed their two newest policing partners to the unit; two Community Peace Officers (CPO) with enhanced duties.

“The addition of these two new CPO resources will enhance our policing presence, improve safety, and have a positive impact on the downtown overall,” says Supt. Holly Glassford.

The pilot project is a joint initiative between the Red Deer RCMP, City of Red Deer Municipal Policing Services, and the Government of Alberta. The Province enhanced CPOs’ authorities to allow them to investigate certain criminal code files including Theft under $5000 and Mischief under $5000.

“In some respects, they will have comparable duties to their RCMP counterparts. They will investigate incidents, collect evidence, and provide proactive and responsive enforcement of City bylaws, provincial statutes and some criminal codes,” says Peter Puszka, Municipal Policing Superintendent. The two CPOs will also have access to policing tools and databases not typically available to Peace Officers.

Since 2018, Red Deer’s downtown has had a dedicated Downtown Patrol Unit (DPU), focused on improving safety through increased police visibility, proactive enforcement, decreasing property crime and criminal activity, and developing relationships with the residents, businesses and social agencies downtown.

“Our downtown unit has been doing a tremendous job with such a substantial mandate, and they’re really making an impact in our downtown core,” says Supt. Holly Glassford.

In 2021, the DPU conducted 2,219 investigations of which 64% were self-generated files identified during proactive patrols, and the other 36% were in response to calls from the community. This led to 784 arrests, 493 Criminal Code charges, 470 weapon seizures, 37 ounces of illegal drugs seized and 1,061 tickets issued.

During the RCMP’s latest community consultations and survey, participants indicated that there were still issues about the perception of safety in the downtown, and that safety was a barrier to visiting the downtown.

“Council and I are committed to working towards the enhancement and revitalization of our downtown,” says Mayor Ken Johnston. “This innovative, one-of-a-kind initiative will increase feelings of safety and security amongst those working, living and enjoying our downtown.”

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City of Red Deer

City reaching out to tax payers about location for permanent homeless shelter

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Public participation about permanent shelter site criteria approved

Within the next month, the community will have an opportunity to share their input on the site criteria for a future permanent shelter site. Council approved this direction during their Council meeting last night, following extensive conversations around formal roles and responsibilities and opportunity for collaboration outside a formal Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the province.

“While site selection is not part of the formal agreement between The City and the Province, we believe that the Province will support a recommendation in good spirit as part of a shared responsibility to providing shelter services in our community,” said Mayor Ken Johnston. “When citizens come to the table to discuss criteria, we ask that they come with an open mind. Consider all the factors in selecting a location, not just proximity to your home, your business, your property. The permanent shelter will not be what we currently have, it will be an integrated shelter for our vulnerable population to access services that will support them on their journey to permanent housing.”

Administration will begin a public participation strategy and begin implementation within the coming weeks. The resolution approved by Council outlined the following deadlines:

  • June 20, 2022: conduct timely, strategic, solution-focused community engagement about site criteria prior to this date. Inclusive of in-person and online opportunities to provide input to be promoted.
  • July 18, 2022: Council to agree to a location to recommend to the Province on or before this date.

“We are beginning public participation based on the understanding our community wants to help us to address shelter needs.  We are starting with a clean slate when it comes to actual location,” said Interim City Manager Tara Lodewyk. “We recognize that some citizens will want to propose specific locations but we want to dig deeper to understand why.  We will be asking further questions – why do they think that site is a good option, what does it have that would make it the right place and see how that aligns or builds upon the criteria we already have in place.”

In the coming weeks, The City will share public participation opportunities with the community through social media, local advertising, website updates and email notifications. If residents would like to be added to the email list for updates on the public participation and general permanent shelter information, please email [email protected]. More information about the permanent shelter process can be found at www.reddeer.ca/shelter.

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