The 2017 election is barely 2 days old and the thorny subject of more money for downtown has arisen. In this case it started with the footbridge at the Riverlands… the latest panacea for our downtown.
Definition of panacea. : a remedy for all ills or difficulties : cure-all.
The Riverlands is often being touted as the cure-all for our city’s ills. It will bring businesses to Red Deer. It will stem the exodus of our residents, reversing the decline in population. It will put Red Deer on the map. It will bring people downtown.
23 acres will save Red Deer from it’s current decline, it may help, but only if seen as a portion of the solution.
The city council passed first reading on September 26 2016 of the redevelopment plan for the Riverlands. This took decades, a vision and hundreds of millions of dollars.
Let me start with: 23 acres at 10 million dollars per acre was quite the vision.
Yes, I am talking about the Riverlands at the corner of Ross Street and Taylor Drive. Now the city officials will talk about the costs being less, different budgets and necessitated upgrades and maintenance but anyway you look at it, it has been and will continue to be an expensive proposition.
Riverlands was once our civic yards and people came up with a vision for the riverlands that enjoyed support among successive councils.
The original Civic Yards Relocation budget was $106 million or $4.6 million per acre. Add in changes, cost over runs and it hit $118 million or $5 million dollars per acre, add in transportation, infrastructure and ignoring the fact that the city already owned the land and could have sold as prime riverfront property for future revenue and we are gaining on $138 million or $6 million per acre. We recently added 10 million dollars to expand, upgrade and replace facilities to accommodate outgrowing and replacing already obsolete equipment.
Back to the actual Riverland property, throw in environmental studies, planning, reclamation, demolition, relocating and burying transmission lines, upgrading water and sewer, Taylor Drive/Ross Street realignment, Alexander Way extension, Riverwalk phases 1&2 to name but a few and we are hitting the $10 million per acre mark before we talk about the new water feature and before we discuss Bower Ponds Riverlands Bridge with a budget $ 27.66 million dollars.
$27.66 million dollars so people can save a few hundred metres of walking, the distance walked, if they walked across the already built Taylor Bridge. The footbridge itself adds over $1 million per acre. So maybe I am under estimating the true costs when I say $10 million per acre?
One city councillor suggested that the city needs to build the Aquatic Centre downtown to accommodate the needs of the residents of the Riverlands. Planned for 2020 with a 3 year (2013) budget of $94 million not including demolition. You could add it to costs of the Riverlands but I won’t. You could also add in the proposed performing Arts Centre, and the list could go on, either as a benefit to residents or for promotional purposes.
A vision, prime riverfront property, $100s of millions and many years and we have an empty lot. We have potential, we have vision, we have a plan, but it is an empty 23 acre lot on the river.
One councillor said this going to be the cornerstone and future of our community. This 23 acre lot that has cost the taxpayers 100s of millions of dollars is the future of our community.
We are also starting to develop 2000 acres north of 11a, with a lake, there will be 20,000 plus new residents. Will we spend $1 on a swimming pool, or $I on an indoor skating rink, or even $1 for a high school on 2000 acres, a lake and 20,000 plus new residents? No.
On 23 acres, we will spend millions on fancy sidewalks, water features, $27.66 millions on a walking bridge to bower ponds and the golf club.
It is great to see such enthusiasm, but is it fair to concentrate so much on so little.
Let us ask the candidates. Well, Yes or No?
The Food Bank Wins
News release from 100 Women Who Care
The room was buzzing with energy and connection on Monday night – what a great way to kick off the fall with a full-house!
Thanks to everyone who joined us, with a special thank you to the 14 new members and their friends who encouraged them to join. There were also a few ladies simply checking out the vibe and we hope to see them again.
We had three excellent, engaging presentations from:
- Judy-Ann Wybenga – Red Deer Food Bank Society
- Jean Stinson – Red Deer Action Group Society
- Lisa Smith – Central Alberta Pregnancy Care Centre
Congratulations to Judy-Ann! Our donations are going to the Red Deer Food Bank Society for their Community Kitchen initiative. We sure hope we get two big cans on the donor board. (Inside joke, ya had to be there! )
There are two ways to make your donations to the Red Deer Food Bank through the Red Deer and District Community Foundation:
- Mail a cheque to the Red Deer & District Community Foundation at 4901 48 St #503, Red Deer, AB T4N 6M4. Please write “100+ Women RD” along with “Red Deer Food Bank” in the memo line.
- Use this link or QR code to donate – just be sure to note Red Deer Food Bank on the online form. If you can, please consider adding $4 to your online donation to cover the Foundation’s processing fees. Simply click on the link to do so – no need to add it to your donation.
The Red Deer and District Community Foundation manages our donations and ensures that they arrive all present and accounted for to the recipient charities. Erin Peden, Executive Director of the RDDCF (and 100+ Women member) gave us an enlightening date on the amazing work happening at the Foundation. It sure had both of us thinking about ways we can support it more.
Thank you Jody Wianko for the update from CMHA. Our donation helped more that 340 people since April.
Kim Mortimer, The SnapHappy Photographer, was everywhere in the room getting great action shots. The sample above from April’s meeting shows what a fun, yet serious, group we are. It’s so great having you at the meetings, Kim. And for bringing friends!
There is so much happening in Central Alberta! Here are a few of the community announcements:
We asked and these gals delivered! Jillian donated a beautiful autumn arrangement and two tickets to the Mustard Seed’s Bowls for Bellies event. Shelley donated a $100 gift certificate from her family business, Twisted Steel Blacksmithing. Annamarie donated a gorgeous fresh bouquet on behalf of Hucal and Edwards Orthodontics.
We asked and you delivered! The Central Alberta Women’s Emergency Shelter and Safe Harbour Society are very grateful for the generous donations of toiletries and personal care items.
It was great to see so many people arrive early to socialize and a number that stuck around after the meeting to keep the evening’s energy going. Thank you to Mary Warrener, Samantha Sheridan and Gail Bellanger for all their help at the registration desk, collecting and counting ballots, and generally keeping us organized. Thanks also to everyone who assisted with the post-meeting clean up. We hardly had to lift a finger and it gave us a chance to visit a few of you.
And lastly – aargh – EMAIL ISSUES! We have heard from many of you that you’re not getting our emails, so we took some time before sending this out to restructure our email list. Fingers crossed that it worked! Please respond to the read request. This will help us gauge who is and who isn’t getting the emails. Please compare notes with your 100+ Women friends, too, by asking if they received this email and letting us know if there are still gaps. Our apologies to everyone who hasn’t been in the loop and we that this is rectified “toot sweet” .
NEXT MEETING: MONDAY, NOVEMBER 27.
With so much gratitude to all of you,
Cindy and Susan
Turning the Tide on Cyberbullying: How Social Media Can Be a Protective Force
14 year old Adriana Kuch from New Jersey took her life because of bullying.
This article submitted by Cheryl Lynn Mark of DownloadAstro
In a digital age where the lines between reality and the virtual world blur, cyberbullying has emerged as a dark cloud on the horizon. But what if, instead of being a part of the problem, social media platforms could be channeled as a part of the solution?
This article will delve into the potential of social media as a protective force against cyberbullying. Here’s a roadmap of the discussion.
The rise of cyberbullying: current standing
Despite numerous expert-backed articles and the efforts of concerned organizations, cyberbullying remains a pervasive issue.
Earlier this year, we learned that 14-year-old Adriana Kuch from New Jersey took her life because of bullying. Apparently, another girl assaulted her at school, and the video of the said incident was posted on TikTok.
Before she did the unthinkable, Adriana said to her father, “I don’t want to be that girl who gets beat up on video and made fun of.” It was a sad thing for such a young girl to end up that way. And we hope that no one else will ever be in that situation again. Her story serves as a harrowing reminder of the devastating impact of cyberbullying.
The sad reality is that cyberbullying is difficult to fight as it comes in many different shapes and forms and is prevalent on all the major social media platforms.
But the truth is that social media is just a tool… Sometimes it’s not just about apps/websites — it’s the bad people on them.
This is why today, we’re going to dig deeper into how to use social media to our advantage. For parents, it’s essential to guide their children through navigating the platform. Time is always changing, and so is how we protect our children from harm like cyberbullying.
Social Media Tools for Protection
In the dynamic realm of social media, user safety is paramount. As cyberbullying continues to pose challenges, platforms are arming users with tools designed to enhance their online protection.
Consider the following essential features:
Privacy Settings: Controlling who sees posts and personal information
Privacy settings act as the first line of defense against unwanted intrusions. Most platforms allow users to decide who can view their content, be it the public, friends, or specific groups.
By limiting the visibility of posts and personal details, users can minimize exposure to potential threats. Regularly reviewing and updating privacy settings ensures that one’s online profile remains secure from prying eyes. It’s also advisable to restrict location sharing to prevent unsolicited real-world confrontations.
Reporting and Blocking: Quick actions against bullies
When faced with online harassment, a swift response can deter the perpetrators. Social media platforms have streamlined their reporting processes, making it easier for users to flag inappropriate content or behavior.
The blocking feature serves as an immediate barrier, ensuring that the bully can no longer contact or view the victim’s profile. This empowers the victim to reclaim their digital space without fear of further victimization.
Safety Centers: Resources offered by platforms for users in distress
Recognizing the profound impact of cyberbullying, many platforms have established safety centers. These are dedicated hubs containing articles, tutorials, and resources about online safety.
These centers often collaborate with mental health professionals and NGOs to provide guidance, helplines, and support for those affected by cyberbullying. They serve as a testament to the platform’s commitment to fostering a safer and more inclusive online environment.
While cyberbullying remains a concerning issue, armed with the right tools and knowledge, users can better protect themselves. Regularly updating oneself with the latest safety features and practices is essential to navigating social media’s vast and often tumultuous waters.
Positive Online Communities
If you’re not joining any communities right now, you’re missing out. Positive online communities stand out as beacons of hope. These communities are a testament to the fact that the internet, when harnessed correctly, can be a space for unity, support, and upliftment.
Here are some of the best benefits of joining a positive and uplifting community:
1. Emotional Support
Being part of a positive community provides a safety net, offering members a place to share their feelings, challenges, and experiences, knowing they’ll be met with understanding and empathy.
2. Personal Growth and Learning
Uplifting communities often foster an environment of continuous learning, where members share resources, advice, and experiences, contributing to personal development and growth.
3. Networking Opportunities
Beyond emotional support, these communities provide opportunities to connect with like-minded individuals, potentially leading to collaborations, partnerships, or new friendships.
4. Increased Positivity and Well-being
Regular interaction within a positive community can boost one’s mood, decrease feelings of loneliness, and contribute to overall mental well-being.
5. Resilience During Difficult Times
During challenging phases of life, having a supportive community can provide the strength and resilience needed to navigate and overcome adversity.
6. Shared Resources and Opportunities
Uplifting communities often pool together resources, information, or opportunities that can be beneficial for members, be it in the form of job leads, workshops, or educational content.
7. Sense of Belonging
Perhaps one of the most profound benefits is the innate human desire for connection and belonging. Being part of a positive community fulfills this need, reminding members that they are part of something bigger than themselves.
To find a positive and uplifting community, start by researching forums, groups, or platforms related to one’s interests or needs, paying attention to reviews or feedback from current members. Attend virtual or in-person events to get a feel for the community’s vibe.
For guiding children, emphasize the importance of online safety, encourage them to share their online experiences, and advise them to seek out communities that promote kindness, mutual respect, and constructive communication, steering clear of negative or toxic spaces.
The Influencer Effect
In the age of social media, influencers hold considerable sway over their vast audiences, making them invaluable allies in the fight against cyberbullying. Influencers have taken up the mantle of being digital role models. Many leverage their platforms to advocate for kindness, inclusion, and mutual respect in the online realm. To have a positive online environment, populate your social media platforms with influencers promoting such acts.
Remember to follow positive people in your life to strengthen your mind when fighting off negative forces.
Parental involvement in navigating the digital realm
Navigating the digital realm can be a daunting task for children, making parental involvement and guidance essential to ensuring a safe and wholesome online experience.
Open dialogue between parents and children about their online experiences is fundamental. Such conversations allow children to share their online triumphs and challenges and feel supported.
Regular discussions educate kids about potential online hazards, from cyberbullying to privacy concerns. When children know they can turn to their parents without fear of judgment or punishment, they are more likely to seek advice during troubling times.
Simple strategies for parents to stay involved:
1. Set Boundaries
Establish designated tech-free times, such as during meals, encouraging face-to-face communication and ensuring devices don't overshadow real-world interactions.
2. Co-View and Co-Play
Occasionally, join your child in their favorite online game or watch their beloved YouTube channel together. This shared experience provides insights into their online world.
3. Educate Through Discussion
Instead of merely setting rules, explain the reasons behind them, fostering understanding and cooperation.
4. Tech in Common Areas
Keep computers and other devices in shared spaces, like the living room, to casually oversee your child’s online activities.
5. Stay Updated
Familiarize yourself with the latest social media platforms, games, and online trends popular among kids. This knowledge aids in understanding their digital experiences better.
By actively participating and showing genuine interest in their child’s online life, parents can build trust, promote safety, and foster responsible digital habits.
Suggested read: What is the Most Likely Way Your Child can be Bullied Online?
The Bottom Line
As the fabric of our digital interactions evolves, social media’s role shifts from being merely a platform for connection to a force that can either uplift or harm. While challenges like cyberbullying persist, the collective effort of users, platforms, influencers, and parents can transform these virtual spaces into nurturing environments.
The onus isn’t just on the individual or the platform, but on the entire online community. Just recently, Georgia’s Republican leadership identified combating cyberbullying as a primary legislative focus. Lt. Gov. Burt Jones, who’s going to collaborate with educational institutions and social media firms to formulate the bill, said, “That’s not going to be limited to school districts, it’s going to have teeth in it where the people perpetrating these things, we’re going to try to hold them accountable.”
By promoting empathy, understanding, and proactive protection, we all can play a part in ensuring that the internet remains a space of positivity, growth, and safety for everyone, especially our younger generation.
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