Gasoline Alley leaps while the city of Red Deer sleeps.

The City of Red Deer lost about 1,000 residents last year. Some will suggest the greatest beneficiary of our outward migration was Blackfalds which increased by 700, then Penhold and Sylvan Lake.
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. Red Deer could get the tax revenue.
A little birdie suggests that our city is on a downward trend and is in survival mode. Hazlett Lake will be hidden behind industrial buildings, and forgotten except by a few hikers walking around in the area. It is too big a project for the city, it would require planning, some thought, perhaps a vision, but most of all it would detract from downtown.
So it is suggested that I forget about the potential commerce, the tourist dollars, the elevation of Red Deer from a shrinking town to a growing city. We should not learn how Lethbridge turned a man made slough into Henderson Park and became the 5th fastest growing city in Canada, but what do they know? Gasoline Alley is growing by leaps and bounds, but what do they know?
Blackfalds, Penhold, Sylvan Lake, Gasoline Alley, and Lethbridge are all growing while Red Deer shrank but again, what do they know? They all saw opportunities when they knocked and they were rewarded with growth, while Red Deer looked inward, ignoring the potential in Hazlett Lake, and said good bye to 975 more residents last year than they welcomed.
Perhaps it is time that the city woke up, stop blaming the province, the economy, the energy sector and looked for the opportunity sitting at their feet. Wake up, ok?

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