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City of Red Deer

City of Red Deer will give you a free ride to ensure you vote!

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From the City of Red Deer

Free transit on federal election day

To help improve accessibility for voters in the upcoming federal election, The City of Red Deer is offering free transit service on election day, Monday, October 21, 2019. The free ridership will be in effect for the conventional Red Deer Transit system for the entire service day, not just during polling hours.

“We want to help as many people get to the polls as possible,” said Red Deer Transit Manager George Penny. “Thousands of people rely on Red Deer Transit every day to help them get around the city, and if we can eliminate one of the barriers that might keep someone from being able to vote, we want to do that.”

The free transit program will be in effect on all fixed routes between 6:15 a.m. and 11:15 p.m on October 21. It does not apply to Bolt Regional Transit, 2A Regional Transit or Action Bus.

Red Deer Transit routes and schedules are available online at www.reddeer.ca/transit.

For information on polling locations and candidates, visit the Elections Canada website at www.elections.ca.

Ag Politics

The rich and sobering history of Red Deer’s “Unknown Soldier”

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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 sacrifice of our forebearers.  Enjoy the photo gallery showing the changes to the Cenotaph and its surroundings over the years. 

The Cenotaph by Michael Dawe

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.

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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.

Michael Dawe

Here are some other local history stories you might enjoy

The Battle of Vimy Ridge Described by Michael Dawe

Armistice Day 11/11/1918 from a Red Deer perspective in pictures and story

 

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Alberta

City of Red Deer responds to the Provincial Budget

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From The City of Red Deer

As was expected with the release of the Provincial Budget yesterday, The City of Red Deer will work to maintain the programs and services citizens expect with reduced Provincial funding.

Given Alberta’s continued economic challenges, The City anticipated a drop in Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI) funding and has budgeted appropriately. Administration built The City’s proposed capital plan with a reduction in MSI funding.

“This is the austerity budget we were expecting and planned for as a municipality. We are, however, encouraged to see that municipal capital funding will be legislated as The City’s capital plan relies heavily on this source,” Mayor Veer said. “Our budgets are built with community and province building in mind, and this predictable funding source will provide stability in long-term infrastructure planning.”

Municipalities will also see a province-wide reduction of $30 million in grants in place of property taxes paid by the Provincial Government by 2023 compared to the amounts received in 2018. The amount will be reduced by 25 per cent in 2019-2020 with a further reduction of 25 per cent the following year.

In terms of community safety and crime, one of Council’s priorities in their 2019-2022 Strategic Plan, the Government will continue its investment in the Justice Centre and there will be an additional $50 million investment over the next four years in the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team (ALERT).

“Safety is the top priority for The City of Red Deer and our citizens. The continued development of the new Provincial Justice Centre reinforces our ongoing efforts to enhance safety in our community by strengthening the court’s ability to uphold charges and obtain justice for victims of crime,” said Mayor Tara Veer. “The additional funding for ALERT is a welcome enhanced investment in combating organized and serious crime with the result of creating safer communities for all Albertans.”

To further our commitment to safety and crime reduction, Red Deer is advocating for several new Crown Prosecutors with the previous announcement of 50 Crown Prosecutors across the province. It is also hoped that Red Deer and region will get a number of the 4,000 addictions treatment spaces announced as part of our response to local social issues.

“As a community, we are disappointed in the lack of funding for the expansion of the Red Deer Regional Hospital in this budget,” said Mayor Tara Veer. “However, the opportunity exists for our community to advocate jointly for this expansion and to work with The Province to develop a pragmatic phasing plan for its development.”

Like many other communities, Red Deer continues to experience gaps in social services for mental health and addictions. The City will work with the Provincial Government on these initiatives including the implementation of mental health and addiction services and opioid response strategies. These initiatives align with Council’s priorities in the current Strategic Plan.

“There is still a need for Provincial infrastructure investment in the form of a 24/7 shelter in Red Deer,” said Mayor Veer. “We’ve discussed this need with the Minister of Seniors and Housing and we will be working alongside her in the coming months to convey the scope and needs in Red Deer to ensure it is included in future budgets.”

While it is still critical that Alberta gets its energy to market, the announcement of the reduction in the corporate tax rate has the potential to stimulate private investment and spur economic development in Red Deer in the meantime.

Administration will continue to review the Provincial budget and watch for more details in the coming weeks. The impact on property tax notices will be calculated in April when the approved municipal operating budget is combined with the Provincial Education Requisition and tax rates are set by Red Deer City Council.

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november, 2019

thu21novAll Daysun24Festival of Trees(All Day)

thu21nov6:00 pm11:00 pmFestival of Trees - Preview Dinner6:00 pm - 11:00 pm MST Westerner Park, 4847A-19 Street

fri22nov8:00 pm11:00 pmFestival of Wines8:00 pm - 11:00 pm MST Westerner Park, 4847A-19 Street

sat23nov9:00 am12:00 pmFestival Family Bingo - 1st time ever!9:00 am - 12:00 pm MST Westerner Park, 4847A-19 Street

sat23nov6:00 pm11:00 pmMistletoe Magic !6:00 pm - 11:00 pm MST Westerner Park, 4847A-19 Street

sat23nov8:00 pmRed Deer Nov 23 - Calgary's THIRD CHAMBER - EP release show "Harvesting Our Decay"8:00 pm

sun24nov9:00 am12:00 pmBreakfast with Santa9:00 am - 12:00 pm MST Westerner Park, 4847A-19 Street

mon25nov6:30 pm8:30 pmRustic Succulent Box WorkshopUnique Workshop to create Succulent Box6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

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