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Opinion

Election 2017 is but a week away. Will we be missing in action when Opportunity comes calling?

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“Sometimes, we are so attached to our way of life that we turn down wonderful opportunities simply because we don’t know what to do with it.” Paulo Coelho.
What wonderful opportunity am I talking about? Let me give you a clue.
Lethbridge Alberta, population just shy of 100,000, Surrey B.C., population of 500,000, Singapore, population of 5,000,000, London England, population of 8,800,000 and Beijing, population of 21,500,000 all have man made lakes.
These cities, some are land locked, and some on the ocean, all invested in creating a man made lake. Parks, recreation, sports or works of art they were all investments for their residents.
So what do these wonderful resident based investments have to do with Red Deer turning down a wonderful opportunity?
Red Deer does not have to build a man made lake for it’s residents because it has natural lakes. It already has a 100 acre lake with 2 miles of shoreline. It has Hazlett Lake. So?
Hazlett Lake sits besides Hwy 2. So? Gasoline Alley sits besides Hwy 2 and is a huge economic success story, so huge that is pulling businesses out of Red Deer.
Now comes huge plans for Gasoline Alley, new accesses, new traffic circles, 200 assisted living homes and something like 800 new homes. Will Red Deer now see their population decrease more with the migration of residents to Gasoline Alley?
We have seen big box stores like Princess Auto leave the city recently along with Greyhound Bus, add in the accounting firms, businesses, dealers, stores, hotels, restaurants, that could have been within city limits, but are operating in gasoline alley and paying county taxes, and residents could be next.
I read in an article that the Red Deer County gets 3 times as much tax revenue from Gasoline Alley as from all the agricultural land in the county. That is before this major expansion.
Gasoline Alley is along Hwy 2 south of 32 Street and it is siphoning money out of Red Deer. Why not learn from their successes and emulate it on the north side of Red Deer. Why not build a gasoline alley along Hwy 2 north of Hwy 11a?
We have something that Gasoline Alley does not have, Hazlett Lake. The city is talking about building an Aquatic Centre. What could be more appealing than an Aquatic Centre with a lake? Attracting stores, restaurants, hotels, gas stations, tourism industries and residents.
Hwy 2 is one of the busiest highways in the country, and Hazlett Lake is Red Deer’s largest lake and is highly visible from Hwy 2. Hazlett Lake could be a destination more popular than Gasoline Alley.
Aren’t we talking about a lot of money? You are correct and that is why we will miss this once in a generation opportunity.
We are talking about 100 million dollars to build an Aquatic Centre with a much needed 50 metre pool, and that is a big chunk of change. City hall balks at spending that kind of money for the residents of Red Deer, to kick start development, to attract provincial and national competitions. Now we did spend 135 million moving the public works yard to make way for the Riverlands, was it 47 million to re-align Ross St. and Taylor Drive for the Riverlands, they support a 23 million dollar footbridge for the Riverlands parallel to Taylor Bridge.
The Winter Games has a budget of 77 million dollars to accommodate 20,000 visitors over a 2 week span in 2019, but a 100 million dollar swimming pool can wait.
The Collicutt Centre cost the city about 35 million dollars when it opened 16 years ago and it is the most popular recreational centre in Red Deer and look at the development in that corner of the city, now.
Someone down at city hall, retired now, told me in 2014 that it would cost over 100 million dollars if we built it then in 2014.
The budget for the Aquatic Centre in 2013 was 87 million so I rounded it up to 100 million. We hit economic recessionary times and labour costs, material costs, and other costs declined and our interest rates were low. We could have kept people working and kick started our development in the north west sector of the city like Collicutt helped in the south east sector.
The city is still blind to opportunities except notable exceptions like incumbents Frank Wong and Tanya Handley. The plan is to save for later development. Can we save faster than inflation?
Collicutt cost 35 million, now it would be about 135 million. If we had waited we may have saved up 100 million and then took out a 35 million dollar loan.
The economic picture is supposed to be improving and infrastructure inflationary delays are expected to increase costs by 10% per annum. So every year we delay the budget goes up 10% or 10 million in the first year, 11 million in the second year, 12.1 million in the third year. So if we wait 3 years, we would have to save 33.1 million dollars and still borrow 100 million dollars at a possibly higher interest rate. Simplified but it does show another side of the issue. We also do without a 50 metre pool and postpone development, jobs, and residential income for 3 years.
The current plan is to wrap the lake with residential development and a trail. What a wasted opportunity.
Hazlett Lake is our opportunity, will we waste it? Do we know what to do with it? I offered an option but I often really wonder if some folks down at city hall know what to do with it.
If interested call or e-mail the candidates before voting, on Monday October 16, 2017.

Reddeer.ca has on their website an official list of candidates with phone numbers and e-mail addresses for the public. I am listing them;

CANDIDATES FOR THE OFFICE OF MAYOR
Number of Positions to be filled: 1
Name -Phone -E-mail Address
Sean Burke 403-392-2893 amltpro@outlook.com
Tara Veer 403-358-3568 tara@veerforreddeer.ca

CANDIDATES FOR THE OFFICE OF COUNCILLOR
Number of Positions to be filled: 8
Name Phone E-mail Address
Sandra (Sam) Bergeron 403-304-9884 sam.vandergulik@gmail.com
S.H. (Buck) Buchanan 403-348-3240 bucky@xcops.ca
Valdene Callin 403-348-9958 vcallin@shaw.ca
Matt Chapin 403-347-1934 chapin141@hotmail.com
Michael Dawe 403-346-9325 michaeljohndawe@gmail.com
Rob Friss 403-597-1355 rfriss@shaw.ca
Calvin Goulet-Jones 403-872-4253 calvinforcouncil@gmail.com
Jason Habuza 403-597-8712 mrstonecold2002@gmail.com
Tanya Handley 403-596-5848 rthandley@shaw.ca
Vesna Higham 403-505-1172 highamclan@gmail.com
Ted Johnson 403-396-5962 ted.johnson.work@gmail.com
Ken Johnston 403-358-8049 kencjohnston1@gmail.com
Cory Kingsfield 403-352-6450 ck4500@gmail.com
Jim Kristinson 403-318-0330 jkristinson@hotmail.com
Lawrence Lee 403-346-7388 llee@alacapital.ca
Kris Maciborsky 587-679-5747 kmaciborsky@yahoo.ca
Doug Manderville 403-318-0545 dougm4rdcouncil@hotmail.com
Bobbi McCoy 403-346-0171 bobbi-mccoy@shaw.ca
Ian Miller 403-392-4527 Ianmiller_623@hotmail.com
Jeremy Moore 403-357-4187 mm.3@telus.net
Rick More 403-340-9330 rmore@reddeerchamber.com
Lynne P Mulder 403-392-1177 lpmulder@shaw.ca
Bayo Nshombo Bayongwa 403-307-1074 bayongwa@yahoo.com
Matt Slubik 403-848-3762 slubikmatt@gmail.com
Jordy Smith 587-377-4384 jordysmith.reddeer@gmail.com
Brice Unland 403-597-4321 briceunland@me.com
Jonathan Wieler 403-358-8270 jonwieler@icloud.com
Frank Wong 403-872-3238 fwong55@shaw.ca
Dianne Wyntjes 403-505-4256 dwyntjes@shaw.ca

Opinion

We want free trade with everyone but Canadians living in other provinces.

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bc-wine Pipeline
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Free Trade with everyone but ourselves.
Canadians have been hearing a lot of talk about the need for and benefits from free trade with the Americans, the Europeans, the Chinese, and the Americans. Yah, let’s get it done.
What about free trade within our own country with other provinces?
Not so much.
We have been fighting amongst ourselves over healthcare, education, labour certification, lumber, minerals, water and a thousand other things. The latest is Alberta and British Columbia over oil and wine.
British Columbia with it’s fragile government put up barriers to the twinning of a pipeline, citing environmental concerns. Alberta countered with a ban on British Columbia’s wine.
There is a connection between oil and air pollution but there is also a connection between wine and alcohol related deaths. So is one government more righteous than the other? No, they both looking after the economic well being of their respective provinces.
British Columbia has great dealings with other governments over their energy resources, especially in the north, so they are not so pure in their stance. Alberta will continue to drink their wine, most notably from other countries.
The Federal government is the missing player in this game. They have the power to solve this situation. They can push the pipeline, which they previously approved, through British Columbia’s legal challenge. Will they?
Alberta has not been a supporter of this federal government and British Columbia has shown more support. This government needs British Columbia seats in the next election and will not gain any seats in Alberta in any case.
If they push the pipeline agenda they will be seen as anti-environment and lose seats in British Columbia and possibly in other areas that are environmentally sensitive areas.
If they do not push the pipeline agenda, they may retain their seats in British Columbia but may lose seats in the more right-wing economic sensitive ridings in other parts of the country.
We, Albertans, have been consistent in denouncing the Liberals for everything they have done or said, oftentimes without justification, in the past. We are reaping what we have sown in the political arena, as we wait for the next shoe to drop.
Mr. Trudeau, will push the pipeline agenda, and there will be people who will still complain, drive cars, fly airplanes, heat their homes and drink wine, drive under the influence, or know someone who will die due in some part to alcohol.
Then we will find another provincial barrier to argue about while we clamour for free trade with everyone else. Right?

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Opinion

A rural response to Gerald Stanley’s acquittal from a Saskatchewan farmer..

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As a person who lives on a farm in rural sask. I can offer the following insights into rural realities. I only speak for myself and my family. I don’t claim to know what I would or wouldn’t do if I was in the Stanley’s situation, nor if I was in that vehicle with Colton. I hope I never have to find out. I don’t know what life is like on farms in other places, I can’t speak to that.
I can only offer what knowledge I have of rural life…
1. If you live on a farm you are responsible for everything yourself. Snow removal, garbage disposal, water, sewer, security and safety. If your house starts on fire it’s very unlikely that the FD will arrive in time to save it. If you have a heart attack it’s very unlikely that the EMTs will arrive in time to save you. And if your family is attacked it is very unlikely that the RCMP will arrive in time to save you. You are basically on your own. I don’t feel that to say that the Stanleys could have locked themselves in the house and called the police is very reasonable. They weren’t in the house, they were all over the yard. Maybe their door didn’t even lock. Had they been in the house already they may have just hid there like their neighbor did. We can’t know either way. And where I live the earliest RCMP response would be greater than 30 mins. A lot can happen in 30 mins.
2.Anyone who enters a farmer’s property with the intent to steal from or threaten the occupants should be aware of the likely presence of weapons. All of the farmers I know have guns. More than one. Some have many. They aren’t solely or primarily for protection from would be thieves or attackers. some people collect guns, some people enjoy target shooting or hunting. On a farm it is pretty much necessary to have a gun. Where we live there are coyotes, raccoons, cougars, wolves, wild boars etc. An aggressive or rabid animal can attack your family dogs or a beloved animal may be injured or sick and need your mercy. It’s just a rural reality. But a gun can kill people just as easily as animals so everyone should just be aware that on farms there are usually guns.
3. The reasons farmers are easy targets for crime are the very same reasons they are often forced to deal with it on their own. Essentially no effective police response and isolation.
I don’t live in an area with a lot of rural crime. We’ve been robbed before and neighbors have had vehicles stolen and equipment vandalized but I would not say it’s a regular occurrence. Regardless, I have fears. I fear that this far from town someone will get injured or have a heart attack so I have our land location written by the phone and I took CPR. I fear that a snowstorm will take out our power and block our roads so we have a genset and snow moving equipment. I fear that our sewer will back up so we have an alarm and an extra pump. And I fear that if someone came into my yard with the intent or ‘the perceived intent’ to hurt my family the police would be of no help. So we have dogs, and locks on all our doors. And guns. And when guns get involved people can get hurt or killed. My point is we have to take extra precautions for things that urban people are comfortable letting ‘the professionals’ handle. Most farmers, most men actually, will do what they feel is necessary to protect their families and deal with the consequences later. No one wants to be in that position but when you live on a farm you are. You can not depend on anyone else to protect you or save you.
When people are intoxicated their judgement is impaired and they do not act or react in a predictable way. And it is safe to say when people are scared their judgement is impaired and they do not act or react in a predictable way. It’s very unfortunate that this tragedy happened at all and I feel terribly sad for all involved.

Regan from Saskatchewan

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