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City of Red Deer

Council boosting budget for Downtown Business Association

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Council approves 2024 DBA budget, increased investment in events

The Downtown Business Association is investing more time, money and energy into downtown events following City Council approving its 2024 budget. During the presentation today, DBA Executive Director, Amanda Gould and Board Chair, Brandon Bouchard outlined the organization’s plans for the upcoming year to continue to work towards creating a busier downtown that intends to result to increased support for businesses within the Business Improvement Area (BIA).

“The DBA remains steadfast in its objective to build on the growth seen in 2023.  The collaboration between The City of Red and the DBA is at all time high and with the pending actions set to be delivered through the Downtown Activation Playbook, I know there are many great things to come that will support our business community and create the thriving downtown we all want to experience,” said Amanda Gould, DBA Executive Director.

“Today Council demonstrated their commitment to their strategic priorities with the support shown to the DBA through unanimous support of the 2024 budget. This mighty Association continues to do great work on a shoestring budget and the 2024 Board of Directors are keen to lend their expertise and entrepreneurial skills to benefit the downtown in its entirety.”
Brandon Bouchard, DBA Board Chair

The DBA’s budget is partially funded through the BIA tax levy, which is collected by The City of Red Deer. Each year, the DBA presents its proposed budget to Council for their consideration. When reviewing the budget, Council considers alignment between the DBA’s downtown priorities and City’s community priorities.

“DBA has constantly hit far above its weight in our downtown, I can’t think of a more supportive messenger of promotion than the team at the DBA, it’s so encouraging to see this strong support for our downtown,” said Mayor Ken Johnston. “I’m encouraged by the leadership and direction of the DBA and look forward to what they have in store for 2024. They continually bring positive initiatives to the downtown even with the constraint on finances.”

The DBA’s total approved budget for 2024 is $775,160, with $277,725 funded through the BIA with the remaining amount funded through items such as grants and contracts. The BIA portion for 2024 is an increase of five per cent from 2023.

The Downtown Business Association has been operating in Red Deer for more than 30 years, serving approximately 350 business owners in the Downtown area. Through partnerships and leadership in advocacy and promotion, the DBA is the catalyst for a vibrant and prosperous downtown that is the place to live, work, play and do business.

Addictions

City Council decides to close Red Deer’s Overdose Prevention Site

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City Council requests the Province of Alberta make changes to OPS in Red Deer

City Council made decisions (Friday) related to Red Deer’s Overdose Prevention Site (OPS), requesting the Government of Alberta (GOA):

  • formalize an orderly transition of the existing OPS out of Red Deer by the end of 2025;
  • provide in its place greater harm reducing options within our community that focus on health, wellness, and recovery, including more detox capacity, medication-assisted treatment (MAT), recovery coaches, counsellors, and culturally appropriate health and wellness supports, etc.;
  • provide dedicated grant funding to provide a continuous police presence/enforcement in the immediate vicinity of the OPS and temporary shelter, until the crime and social disorder impacts associated with these provincial services are better mitigated for the safety and security of our public;
  • substantially increase front-line supports for mental health and addictions within our community/region to better address the root causes leading to drug and alcohol addictions.

These decisions stem from a Notice of Motion put forward by Councillor Higham on December 18, 2023. After being read into the record on January 22, 2024, a non-statutory public hearing was scheduled for yesterday, February 15, 2024. Approximately 40 members of the public attended the non-statutory public hearing, with approximately 30 individuals speaking to the Notice of Motion, sharing their thoughts on the issue.

After hearing from the public yesterday, City Council debated the motion today, with Mayor Ken Johnston now having City Council direction to take the issue forward to the province and proceed with advocacy efforts.

“The public hearing and the debate of this motion were harrowing and emotional experiences for everyone. Each of us have been touched in some way by addiction; we heard that very clearly, and I am no exception. We heard heartfelt testimony from many members of our community, citizens, some who use the OPS, some who are service providers in the community, business owners, doctors, family members that have lost loves ones, and more,” said Mayor Johnston. “Council approached this most sensitive of issues with open minds, open ears, and open hearts. We are trying to improve lives for those suffering from addiction. This is a complex challenge, as these are areas where municipalities do not have jurisdiction. What we know is that Red Deer needs robust support from the provincial government for people with addictions; we need support for our community that is grappling with the fallout of addictions; and we need that support in the most immediate way.”

Mayor Johnston added, “Following this meeting, I will reach out to the Ministry of Addictions and Mental Health to book meetings where we can discuss how to move forward in the best interest of our city.”

Currently the OPS is located 5246 53 Avenue in downtown Red Deer.

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City of Red Deer

City Council approves E-scooters permanently after 3 year pilot

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E-Scooter Pilot Program update

  • Council approved E-scooters as a permanent transportation option in Red Deer, following a three-season pilot program that ended in October. No changes to the program were proposed, as bylaw amendments to the Business Licence Bylaw and Traffic Bylaw were completed as part of the pilot program.
  • Benefits to allowing E-scooter companies to operate in Red Deer include alignment with City of Red Deer strategies such as the Multimodal Transportation Plan and all three focus areas of City Council’s current Strategic Plan – Thriving City, Community Health and Wellbeing, and Engaged and Connected City.
  • In 2023, 100,909 rides were taken on E-scooters. The average distance traveled per ride was 3.35 km and the average ride time was 18.2 minutes. Riders are required to be a minimum of 16 years old and are advised to wear a helmet.
  • The 2024 E-scooter season begins March 15. Learn more: reddeer.ca/escooters

How does it work?

Similar to car and bike sharing technology, shared e-scooters will be GPS-enabled and can be rented using each company’s smartphone app. A shared e-scooter can be parked in a designated drop zone that is not impeding pedestrian traffic. It is then available for the next customer, who will be able to locate it and begin the rental using an application on their phone.​​​​

How old do I need to be to ride an e-scooter?

To ride an e-scooter in Red Deer you must be 16 years of age or older. A child or any other person cannot be a passenger on a shared e-scooter. They are intended for one rider.

Do I need to wear a helmet while riding an e-scooter?

Helmets are not required, but are strongly encouraged.

What is the speed limit for e-scooters?

The max speed limit is 20 km per hour with some higher traffic areas reduced to 5-10 km per hour.

How will I be able to park an e-scooter?

E-Scooters can be parked on city sidewalks, in City parks and adjacent pathways, subject to all Federal, Provincial and City Legislation. All parked e-scooters must remain in an upright position with all wheels in contact with the ground.

E-Scooters will be parked in a Furniture Zone and must not be parked in a way that does not obstruct or interfere with the Sidewalk Zone or Edge Zone at any time.

In the absence of a Furniture Zone, e-scooters must not be parked in a way that impedes pedestrians moving through the Sidewalk Zone to access any buildings. E-scooters must be parked next to the edge zone leaving at least 2.0 metres of sidewalk zone unobstructed for pedestrian movements. E-scooters must not be parked where these minimum distance requirements cannot be met, and parked in the upright, standing position, with all wheels in contact with the ground.

Tips for rider safety

  • Pedestrians first– Always yield to, and be mindful of people walking on sidewalks.
  • Be considerate– Use the bell to alert others when passing on the sidewalk or pathway.
  • Rider safety rules – Shared e-scooters are available to riders aged 16+. Helmets are encouraged but not required. Maximum speed limit is 20 km / hr. Only one rider per e-scooter is allowed.
  • Park responsibly– Park in a secure, upright position in designated areas, such as furniture zones of sidewalks, public bike racks and other marked parking zones. On sidewalks without furniture zones, give at least two meters of clearance for accessibility.
  • Right and report– If you see a shared e-scooter toppled over or parked improperly, help out by righting the shared e-scooter or reporting the issue. Contact info for each company is provided on each shared e-scooter.
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