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John Short on Edmonton’s baseball debate


5 minute read

Once again, Edmonton’s city council, the Edmonton Prospects and a 20-member group identified only as an organization headed by Randy Gregg are locked in a debate over the future of Re/Max Field. Will it be a baseball stadium for much longer or will it become a clearing house for any number of civic events – enough of them, ultimately, to force the stadium and baseball out of the Saskatchewan River Valley?

It is well known that Prospects leader Pat Cassidy was not popular with many on council. He said many times that the city did not live up to its agreements. There were counter-charges that Cassidy could be irregular in his payment schedule.

It is equally well known that Gregg’s status as a former member of the Stanley Cup-winning Edmonton Oilers provides some level of automatic approval from  politicians and common citizens, especially those who understand the social and economic values of a successful sports organization.

Gregg elected to conduct all or most of his negotiations outside of the public view, as is his right. Council often evaded questions from media members and the public, using the aged logic that business arrangements are designed for privacy, although in this case public funds and the ultimate use of a well-known public facility were (and are) at issue.

Superficially at least, the differences between the competing platforms are obvious. Cassidy applied last year for a five-year agreement which he said would allow more time to develop the Prospects and the Western Canadian Baseball League as a big step up from the status once described by a prominent local reporter as “insignificant.”

Much of the newcomers’ bid, apparently, was tied to opening Re/Max Field numerous times in addition to baseball. His point, a valid one, is that using such a facility for only 40 games or so each season is wasteful. Cassidy responded that his group does quite a bit to occupy Re/Max and has continued to fill as many dates as possible.

There is reason to believe Gregg’s group might have been granted control of Re/Max Field last year. But they didn’t have a baseball team, and they still don’t have one that exists in a recognized interprovincial league. WCBL president Kevin Kvame has stayed up to date on the negotiations. He said this week that there has been no formal conversation with the Gregg group about possibly entering the WCBL.

During the last few years, virtually every serious public debate about Edmonton baseball has been tied to the forlorn hope that the Pacific Coast League, a Triple-A organization where the Edmonton Trappers were once a welcome member, would welcome this community back under the Organized Baseball umbrella.

Lawyer Sol Rolinger engaged about two years ago in meetings with PCL president Branch Rickey Junior and some league officials. He told a meeting that a franchise (probably Fresno, California) would be available for a few million dollars and the PCL would only require a 35,000- to 45,000-seat baseball facility to reopen the doors to Good Old Ourtown.

Those days, obviously, are in the past.

What made the proposal most attractive for a lot of Edmontonians was the possibility that the new park would be placed on the site of the now-avoided Northlands Coliseum, which became valueless as soon as Darryl Katz completed his deal to house the Oilers in the palatial Rogers Centre downtown.

Speculation grew that such a move would leave several acres available for development in the river valley almost immediately.

It is well known that land developers, year after year, are among the major contributors to election campaigns.

Could our sports history be … history?



Youth HQ Acquires Professional Building – Establishing the Centre For Social Impact

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Youth HQ is pleased to announce that the Professional Building located at 4808 50th Street downtown will soon become the Centre for Social Impact. Supporters of the building share in the vision of providing charities and non-profit organizations access to a centrally located unique building that offers affordable office, program, and meeting space. The building has had substantial upgrades and enhancements that will serve tenants well into the future.

Red Deer has long identified a need for a unique building dedicated exclusively to charitable activities. An inspiring place where charities and non-profit organizations collaborate. “Charities and non-profits are often subject to locations throughout the city based on affordability. With continuing rising operational and facility costs such as rent, utilities, and available space, charities and non-profits face challenges. The Centre for Social Impact will respond to these challenges so organizations can focus on what they do best –create impact in our community.” states Rob Lewis, Executive Director, YouthHQ.

The property was donated by Maclab Properties Group, a private real estate group founded in Edmonton in the 1950’s. Maclab has a long history of strong support for the non-profit community across Alberta and was excited to contribute to this project. Youth HQ took possession of the building March 6, 2023. Tenants can look forward to affordable office space, shared meeting space and common areas, available reserved parking, affordable IT support on site, and exceptional ongoing building maintenance.

Interested tenants are encouraged to contact Rob Lewis, Youth HQ for more information.

Youth HQ is also looking for a donor who shares in this vision of creating a place that will benefit the community for years to come. This donor (individual or corporate) would have title name to the building – ___________________ Centre for Social Impact.

This is an exciting time for charities and non-profit organizations in Red Deer. The need for a location dedicated to social impact is finally a reality. Thank you to all our supporters for sharing in our vision and making the Centre for Social Impact a reality that will benefit Red Deer well into the future.


Red Deer has long identified a need for a unique building dedicated exclusively to charitable activities and maximizing social impact. The proposed Centre for Social Impact (CSI) would be an inspiring place where charities and non-profit organizations can collaborate; a place centrally located where families can readily access a variety of supports and services; a place where organizations can share resources and minimize rising operating costs; and a place with in-house maintenance and operational supports.

Charities and non-profits are facing numerous challenges that threaten their ability to fulfill their respective missions. Rising operational costs (rent, utilities, service supports, insurance, etc.) directly influence the impact of the public donated dollar. Combining these rising costs with an increased demand for services limits the capacity for these organizations to respond to those needs. The ever-increasing competition for a declining public dollar has never been greater than it is today. The post-pandemic reality for charities and non-profits that were able to weather the storm the past three years, combined with the present economy, has compounded these challenges. The need for a building dedicated to social impact has never been greater.

Youth HQ has recently acquired a building that will not only benefit the services within Youth HQ but will also directly benefit many charities and non-profits in Red Deer and Central Alberta. The Professional Building, located on Ross Street, will become the Centre for Social Impact for the purpose of supporting charities and non-profits.

The property was donated by Maclab Properties Group, a private real estate group founded in Edmonton in the 1950’s. Maclab has a long history of strong support for the non-profit community across Alberta and was excited to contribute to this project.


Youth HQ has been serving Red Deer and Central Alberta since 1976. Youth HQ is the administrative structure that presently oversees Big Brothers Big Sisters of Red Deer and District, BGC (Boys and Girls Club) of Red Deer & District, the 49th Street Youth Emergency Shelter, and Camp Alexo. This organizational structure with one Board of Directors, one Executive Director, and one administrative team supports all the entities described. Consequently, the publicly donated dollar goes much further in directly impacting the children and families we serve. Youth HQ was the first organization in Canada to bring two nationally affiliated charities under one roof.

Several similar organizations across Canada (particularly in Alberta) have since established similar operational structures. Youth HQ supports more than 2,200 children and families annually.

Youth HQ has a well-established track record of success and has proven its ability to embrace ambitious ventures for the purpose of enhancing social impact. Examples include the tremendous expansions of BGC programs and services into 13 surrounding locations within Central Alberta and the 3-million-dollar Camp Alexo Facility Master Plan that now serves numerous groups and organizations throughout the year.

Our agency tagline with BGC is “Opportunity Changes Everything”. This incredible opportunity will create positive change not only for Youth HQ but also for many charities and non-profits in Red Deer and Central Alberta.


• Centrally located with easy transportation access
• Readily accessible to numerous services and supports under one roof
• Low and affordable sq ft rental rates
• Small office space or large office spaces available
• Meeting rooms readily available
• Large workshop/training or meeting space in lower level
• Low cost on-site IT tech support
• Ample parking in the downtown core
• Building maintenance and security
• A building that has significant improvements and upgrades
• Shared common areas.
• Opportunities for organizations to collaborate readily as needed.
• Less dollars dedicated to operational expenses.
• More dollars dedicated to programs and direct services.


A Single parent mother with 3 children visits the Centre for Social Impact for services and supports. After receiving some counselling and being connected to a support group she discovers that there are other services which can offer support for her children. The 8-year-old girl is matched to a mentor in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. Her two boys are put on a waiting list for a mentor, but are connected to BGC, and become registered in the community-based after school program in Fairview. The impact of this story is that the mother was able to walk into one door and get connected to four organizations offering supports for herself and her children. Agencies will also be able to collaborate more effectively with one another in support of the families and community we all serve.

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Recovering addicts from Red Deer Dream Centre brewing up a very unique fundraiser

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From the facebook page of the Red Deer Dream Centre addictions treatment facility.

Red Deer’s newest #socialenterprise straight from the #rddc, #dcbrew! Amazing coffee all the while, Helping support men in recovery, one bean at a time.

Order yours today at #recoveryispossible

Visit RDDC.CA to find out more!

The Red Deer Dream Centre is a 40-bed addictions treatment facility where, in an atmosphere of hope and love, people can find life, restore their dignity, and find purpose in living a life in freedom from addictions.


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