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Opinion

I believe in Red Deer. I don’t want to lose this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Do you?

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I believe in Red Deer, I really do.
My wife and I decided to raise our family in Red Deer nearly 40 years ago.
We originally moved to Oriole Park and our children attended French Immersion at Fairview School at the start. Then French Immersion relocated to Mountview School and we followed and moved south of the river.
For several decades we have lived in Sunnybrook. We, even at our age, can walk easily to 3 high schools, the museum, Red Deer College, Downtown Recreation Centre , Michener Aquatic Centre, Downtown Arena (Servus Arena), Centrium complex, Collicutt Recreation Centre, Pidherney Curling Centre, Kinex Arena, Kinsmen Community Arenas, Red Deer Curling Centre, and the under-construction Gary W. Harris Centre.
When we lived in Oriole Park we could only walk to the Dawe Centre and Bower Ponds.
It was an easy decision, for our family.
Today, not much has changed.
Looking at future plans for Red Deer, it appears not much will change for the north side. Last year 311 more families moved out of the neighbourhoods north of the river than moved in. 280 more families moved into Blackfalds than left during the same period. Some will say it was low housing prices; negating the costs of commuting, the newly built Abbey centre or the prospect of a new high school, in the very near future.
North Red Deer has no current prospect of a high school even though the population is almost 3 times the size of Blackfalds. All 6 of the high schools, 4 current and 2 planned will be south of the river with 5 being along 30 Ave.
North Red Deer has no current prospect of a new indoor pool while the downtown recreation centre will see a 100 million dollar plus renovation. They do have a conditional prospect of a new ice rink added to the Dawe Centre. Conditional that the 40 year old structure is sound enough, if not it will be built at the Collicutt Centre.
The North will get a Recreation Centre, no pool, no ice rink, but a rec. centre. Apparently that is good enough.
The North gets the developments that the south side does not want. Industrial parks, public works yards, social housing to name but a few. The last school that was to be built north of the river, was at Johnstone Park and it was built south of the river. You wonder why 311 families or 777 residents moved out of the north.
But it is not just the North that is declining. 79 more families moved out of the south side of Red Deer than moved in, too. A decline 198 residents south of the river. A total of 975 residents more moved out of Red Deer than moved in.
Our crime rate has garnered national attention ranking sometimes second highest per capita nationally. There was a report talking about intensifying efforts on youth at risk.
One third of our youth lives north of the river, with no high schools, and only the Dawe Centre for indoor swimming and skating. Do they have time to commute from high school on the other side of the city to go home, have dinner and then commute again, across the city for extra-curricular and sports activities then commute a third time, across the city to home, do their homework before bed times? Can the parents afford the time and costs of so many cross-city commutes, possibly, carrying younger siblings to boot? Might be tough.
Living in Sunnybrook, it took very little time to commute. The kids could walk, roller blade, bike, skateboard, but then they very seldom had to cross the river. It was the right decision to move south.
It need not be anymore. We just have to get city council and the school boards to stop treating the north as some type of second-class society.
Tell them, when you vote on October 16, that there is another option. Build the next Aquatic Centre in the North-west corner to compliment the successful south-east Collicutt Centre. Red Deer North has Hazlett Lake, a hundred acre lake, with 2 miles of shoreline and an average depth of 10 feet, highly visible from Hwy 2 and Hwy 11a just waiting to be utilized, by people with vision, courage and strength.
On October 16 I will be looking for candidates with those qualities.
The next high school to be built will be a public high school, slotted in for land by 67Street and 30 Avenue. Let the board candidates know that, this is unacceptable and should be changed. It could be built in Johnstone Park or on the 3,000 acres now up for development north of Hwy 11a.
The next aquatic centre is slated for downtown, replacing the recreation centre. It was supposed to cost 87 million if built in 2013, then that would mean 95.7 million in 2014, 105m in 2015, 116m in 2016, 127m in 2017, 140 million dollars in 2018 not including the costs of demolition, improving transportation routes and services.
Why not invest that approximately 150 million dollars and build the Aquatic Centre on Hazlett Lake to complement each other, highly visible and easily accessed from Hwy 2. I heard tourism is a big industry, highly profitable and a huge draw for new residents. Am I insane to even consider an Aquatic Centre with a lake? People could take transit, bike, walk or drive to the beach, swim in the pool, and not pay 10 dollars for parking. The Collicutt Centre was controversial, but since becoming the most utilized facility, does anyone suggest it was a mistake. It helped kick-start development in the south-east.
What am I thinking? Look at the Riverlands. The city has spent over 230 million dollars moving the public works yard, aligning roads, upgrading services, and burying cables, etc. to create a 23 acre riverfront downtown neighbourhood. Yet it would be insane to consider building an aquatic centre on Hazlett lake? Do not forget, they are also talking about a 21 million dollar footbridge, 100 million dollar plus upgrade to the downtown recreation centre, and a downtown concert hall, and do not forget, added to that is the new skating rink, now being built.
With all this on the books, the city’s population still declined by 975 residents last year. Why not consider other options without shrugging it off?
Anyone?
I believe in Red Deer, I just do not want to lose a golden opportunity. Do you?

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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