Opinion

Is Red Deer on the road to insignificance as hinted at by Alberta Health Services?

Is Red Deer on the road to insignificance?
There have been many signals that Red Deer is not a player in this millennium.
Population decline while the county and neighbouring communities are growing. Alberta Health Services has once again taken Red Deer off the priority list. The next high school will be built in Blackfalds. Stars Lottery has a 2018 dream home prize in Calgary, Edmonton and Lethbridge but not in Red Deer like they had in other years.
Federally Red Deer has been broken up into 2 different electoral districts based out of rural centers. The city had been slow to react to federal plans to split the city and was unconvincing at the 11th hour to prevent it.
Last year we found out our city’s population declined by 975, while Blackfald,s population grew by 700. Did we stop to think or did we just blame the province? The province took the blame, even though the province grew during this period as did Penhold, Sylvan Lake and the county.
Blackfalds, 4 years ago, invested in the Abbey Recreation Centre and the town saw rapid growth. Something like 26% growth while Red Deer has only grown around 1.5% in that time frame. Blackfalds is moving forward on twinning their Multi-Plex to the tune of $12 million. Remember this is 4 years after opening their $15 million Abbey Centre.
The city of Red Deer is delaying discussing building an Aquatic Centre, 16 years after opening the Collicutt Centre.
Blackfalds, population of 9,916 will spend $1,210 per person twinning their multi-plex just 4 years after spending $2,000 per person on the Abbey Centre. 2013 population of Blackfalds was around 7,500.
In just a few years Blackfalds has committed about $3,000 per resident on recreational facilities.
Red Deer, population 99,832 is looking at spending less than $1,000 per resident on recreational facilities in decades.
Blackfalds has the fastest growing population in Canada.
Red Deer is abdicating it’s leadership role in Central Alberta. Penhold, Sylvan Lake and Blackfalds have all invested in their recreational facilities in recent years and have maintained population growth while Red Deer has ceased investing in new facilities, and seen a decline in population.
Red Deer Taxpayers Association have repeatedly acknowledged that Red Deer needs an Aquatic Centre with a 50 metre pool. During next year’s Canada Games which Red Deer is hosting, swimming events requiring a 50m pool will be held in Calgary. We should have built the pool years ago, as it has been almost 17 years since we built the Collicutt Centre’s pools.
We are known nationally for poor air, and high crime but we are nowhere on the lists of health care priorities, or best place to retire, so are we on the road to insignificance? Some one needs to ask.

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