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City of Red Deer

City will identify potential locations for new homeless shelter by early May

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From the City of Red Deer

Council supports interim shelter, directs administration to find alternative location

City Council has resolved to support the continuation of an interim shelter and directed administration to find a new location in collaboration with the Province and service providers.

“We have a responsibility to look after our most vulnerable citizens in a responsible manner, with the interests of the wider community in mind as well,” said Mayor Tara Veer. “Without a permanent integrated homeless shelter in place, infrastructure we have been advocating the Province for years to complete, it is no surprise that the public is frustrated, the service providers are frustrated and the vulnerable themselves are frustrated. There are significant consequences in the community for having temporary and insufficient solutions to very complex social challenges, but I am hopeful the preliminary direction Council gave today will help will bridge the gap for vulnerable citizens, the service providers, and our business community and community in general until a more permanent solution can be put into place.”

Within four weeks, administration will bring back options for a new interim shelter location for Council to consider. To ensure the proper processes take place for the relocation, administration will also bring forward a recommendation to extend the operations at the current temporary shelter site at Cannery Row.

“Although we are proceeding with exploration of potential new interim sites, we will most likely need Council to approve an extension of the Cannery Row site until the new location is up and running. When we come back in four weeks, we will bring timing, costs and procedural requirements to make the move to a new site,” said City Manager Allan Seabrooke.

At this time, the Cannery Row site has guaranteed Provincial funding until March 31, 2022. The City will work with the Province and Safe Harbour to secure proper funding for a new temporary location.

“During discussions, Council was made aware of the funding agreement in place, and recognizes there could be financial requirements from The City to move and operate the interim shelter in its new location,” said Seabrooke. “We will gather as much information as possible to allow Council to make an informed decision, including potential operating and capital costs, which will require Council approval.”

“City Council’s resolutions tonight aim to balance the needs of Red Deer’s vulnerable population, surrounding properties and the community as a whole. However, despite our best efforts, Safe Harbour and the Province of Alberta may still select their own site, as long as it is zoned for public service,” said Seabrooke.

The interim shelter is expected to support the community’s vulnerable population until a permanent shelter is operational. On February 7, 2020, the Province committed to $7 million in its 2020 Capital Plan for a purpose built integrated emergency shelter in Red Deer. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Province of Alberta and The City of Red Deer was finalized in February 2021 to establish a general high-level understanding related to the provincially managed project to meet the current and future needs in Red Deer. Specifics about location, timing and operational details have not yet been determined by the provincial government.

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University status “one of, if not the most singular, strategic economic development” initiative – Council on RDC Polytechnic announcement

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Mayor Veer statement on Red Deer College announcement on behalf of Council

Today, Advanced Education Minister Demertios Nicolaides announced Red Deer College will become a polytechnic institution, as a result of a recent post-secondary review process. The people of Central Alberta have waited 25 years for an answer regarding the future of Red Deer College, with the goal of ensuring the people of Red Deer and Central Alberta have equitable access to options in advanced education.

Red Deer College was expected to receive final approval for university status last spring, but the Provincial Government held back on the final decision until the Province’s system review of post-secondary institutions was complete. According to the Government of Alberta, the study was intended to assess how the post-secondary system was meeting current and future needs, review the governance structure, provide comparisons to other post-secondary systems and develop a vision for the future.

While there are some expressed concerns within our community about the change in direction from RDC becoming a university to RDC as a polytechnic institution, including Council’s own questions on behalf of Red Deerians expressed to the Government, ultimately I support a path forward that will protect RDC’s ability to stay true to its roots in trades, technology and the arts, with the ability to confer degrees for other academic pursuits and fields of study. RDC assures City Council that the polytechnic accomplishes these objectives.

Degree conferring status for RDC is one of, if not the most singular, strategic economic development and community building initiatives we can undertake. For our city and region to fulfill our potential, we need to not only retain our existing population, we need to become a competitive contender in keeping and attracting new population to our city. One of the most promising means of doing so is through the development of a skilled labour force, offering a broader spectrum of career options locally, and attracting population who will stay and strengthen our local economy through their future contributions in various sectors.

Most importantly, building advanced education capacity at RDC ensures students in Red Deer and the region have more equitable access to advanced education services closer to home instead of being forced to relocate to other communities at great financial expense, or even more concerning, not pursue post-secondary education at all as a result of financial or geographic barriers.

I’d like to thank the generations of RDC leadership, faculty, staff, students, Students’ Association representatives and our community for your steadfast resolve and your insistence that the people of Red Deer and Central Alberta have equitable access to options in advanced education.

On behalf of Council and community, congratulations to this year’s graduates – we are proud of your accomplishments and look forward to supporting you in your future endeavors. Today, we welcome the fact that Red Deer College can finally take a significant step towards its future, and we remain committed to supporting the College, and the interests of the students who will always be RDC’s most compelling imperative, during this transition and in the years to come.”

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City of Red Deer

New ice surface, spray park and other amenities for North Red Deer as G.H. Dawe expansion about to begin

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G.H. Dawe Community Centre project kicks off this spring

During budget deliberations earlier this year, Council approved the 2021 Capital Budget for the G.H. Dawe Community Centre project. The enhancements will improve access, increase opportunity to modernize fitness and programming, provide additional outdoor amenities including a spray park and washroom facilities, and modernize the current ice surface and add a second surface.

The modernization/improvement of the G.H. Dawe Community Centre focuses on the following areas/aspects of the facility, which were not upgraded as part of the G.H. Dawe Community Centre Revitalization Project in 2008.

  • To meet ice user needs with the decommissioning of the Kinex Arena:
    • modernization of the existing ice surface to NHL standard size
    • twinning of existing arena
    • relocate underground services to facilitate the twin
  • To meet parking, site servicing and egress requirements:
    • Introduce right in and right out site access off of 67 Street for improved traffic flow and parking
    • create facility access on the north side of the facility
  • To align with Phase 2 of the 2007 G.H. Dawe Master Plan:
    • review fitness/programming and barrier-free access opportunities
    • outdoor spray park and outdoor washroom facility

East Side

North East view

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“Proceeding with the G.H. Dawe Community Centre project right now enables us to benefit from cost advantages, while stimulating our local economy at a time when our community needs it most,” said Sarah Tittemore, Community Services General Manager. “The project will work to provide as many opportunities as possible to engage qualified local contractors at a time when it is needed the most.”

Starting later this week, contractors will begin to mobilize on the site, with office trailers moved into place, and safety fencing set-up. Full site preparation will begin near the end of May.

Pending approvals, the contractor will begin underground service work that will extend between June and July. At the same time as this work is taking place on the site, inside the facility demolition will begin in preparation for the project tie-ins. Any disruptions to programs and activities on the site will be communicated, and it is anticipated that programing like summer camps and fitness activities to be transitioned to another facility for the duration of interruptions.

The G.H. Dawe Community Centre is a community hub for citizens living in north Red Deer and across the city. The facility is shared by the G.H. Dawe Community School, the G.H. Dawe Branch of the Red Deer Public Library, and St. Patrick’s Community School.

For more information about the G.H. Dawe Community Centre project, visit www.reddeer.ca/daweproject.

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