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Election 2017 is 2 days old and money for downtown has come up. $27.66 million for a footbridge, yay or nay?


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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?

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The Grand Opening is TODAY!

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A Day Filled With Hope – Years in the Making!
For years the CACAC has been walking hand-in-hand with many different partners, community members, donors, policy makers, and leaders in research and advocacy towards this moment.The Sheldon Kennedy Centre of Excellence now stands in the heart of Central Alberta, the first Centre of its kind in North America, creating space for different strategic partners to operate alongside one another in the best interest of children, youths, and families who have experienced any form of abuse.

Now, during this momentous chapter in our history, we invite you to join us for the Grand Opening of the Sheldon Kennedy Centre of Excellence. 

We’re excited to welcome you and your family to the Grand Opening of the Sheldon Kennedy Centre of Excellence today!

Today’s events are family friendly, and there’s something for everyone!

From Noon to 5:00PM the public is welcome to come and see everything the building has to offer at the SKCOE Open House! Staff from every organization from within the SKCOE will be there to answer questions. This is a great opportunity to learn about why this Centre is so important for Central Alberta.

Beginning at 7:00PM, the public is also invited to the formal program at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre, which is the building immediately North West of us across the parking lot. The formal program will have many messages and presentations from dignitaries, and you can pick up our Champions of Courage pin, which was minted for the Grand Opening only! Following the program there is a ribbon cutting ceremony.

There is a lot to celebrate, so come out and say hi!

When: Thursday, May 16

Where: Sheldon Kennedy Centre of Excellence, and Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre, Main Campus of Red Deer Polytechnic, Red Deer, AB.

12:00 PM – 5:00 PM – Open House

7:00 PM – Formal Program at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre. Ribbon Cutting Ceremony to follow.

How to get to the Sheldon Kennedy Centre of Excellence

Please note that there will also be parking available at the lot directly North of the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre.

Detailed RDP Parking Map

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Last Day: What would you do with $20,000 Early Bird Prize?

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$20,000 could go a long way!  Want to find out what it would be like to win that much cash? Your chance to win is waiting, but only until 11:59pm TODAY.


You might be the lucky person to win $20,000 CASH! 
Your ticket will also be entered for many more prizes, including our Sorento Custom Dream Home package and Tree Hugger Tiny Home Package! 

$25 EACH | 5 FOR $100

10 FOR $125 | 25 FOR $250

There’s over $1.29 Million in prizing to be won.




Thank you so much for your support, and best of luck in the draws. 
403.340.1878      1.877.808.9005
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