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City of Red Deer

Mayor Veer responds to BMO and RDC Donald School of Business leaving downtown core

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From the City of Red Deer

Mayor Tara Veer responds to downtown economic sustainability on behalf of City Council

Our community is facing unprecedented challenges, navigating the perfect storm of a global health crisis and an already unfavourable economic climate. BMO Bank of Montreal, a significant anchor in downtown Red Deer, has announced their intention to close their downtown and south Red Deer branches. The company will consolidate these local branches to a new branch in Bower Place. Following a briefing from Bank of Montreal officials, it is The City’s understanding that this is part of the planned change for the bank, and all other branches remain open in Red Deer.

This announcement closely follows the news that Red Deer College’s (RDC) Donald School of Business will move some student programming from the downtown campus to the main campus. RDC will continue to offer Continuing Education and English as a Second Language (ESL) courses at their downtown location. I spoke with the RDC Board Chair and we discussed the changing model of RDC and the future of RDC in the downtown. RDC reiterated their commitment to the downtown campus and the fact that ESL and Continuing Education programs will continue to bring students to our downtown.

We know that downtowns are the heart of any city and that they play a vital role as our communities’ business, administrative, and cultural centres. City Council has prioritized work on the strategic goal of ensuring a strong, dynamic local economy and a revitalized downtown and have identified this in our 2019-2022 Strategic Plan. As an example, earlier this year The City launched a new economic incentives program for the downtown and adopted other initiatives to strengthen our local economy. For additional information, please visit The City’s website at www.reddeer.ca and search downtown economic incentives and economic leader.

We remain committed to fostering a strong, diverse local economy, which includes a thriving downtown. We will continue to invest in and support businesses in the downtown and throughout our community, ultimately working to ensure long-term sustainability and viability and to support our community through these unprecedented times.Ct

After 15 years as a TV reporter with Global and CBC and as news director of RDTV in Red Deer, Duane set out on his own 2008 as a visual storyteller. During this period, he became fascinated with a burgeoning online world and how it could better serve local communities. This fascination led to Todayville, launched in 2016.

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City of Red Deer

City forms “emergency shelter working group” to find shelter for dozens of homeless this winter

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City administration and community organizations focus work on October 1 and beyond

On Wednesday, September 8, community organizations, Provincial and City representatives worked together to brainstorm ideas about how anticipated issues arising from the closure of the temporary shelter on September 30 can be mitigated.

With the closure, there will be reduced capacity levels. Since the emergency temporary shelter was established in March 2020, in response to COVID-19, City administration has been tracking overnight shelter usage at Cannery Row. The site has seen between 29 to 81 people seeking overnight shelter and services at Cannery Row, with an average overnight usage by 49 individuals. With the shift back to the original shelter site, there will be a capacity of 26 spaces for overnight shelter, potentially having up to 55 of Red Deer’s most vulnerable citizens turned away heading into the winter.

During the brainstorming session, the group determined a list of potential issues that could arise from the gap in service provision starting October 1. The following are some which that were deemed a high priority:

  • Increased pressure on the capacity of Mustard Seed, other shelters, emergency services, compliance and support services
  • Lack of safe spaces for people experiencing homelessness, leading to increased loitering and rough sleeping
  • Losing significant shelter capacity for people in need, and a lack of daytime supports
  • Increase of urban encampments without direct access to support services.
  • Increased health risks resulting in negative impacts to underserved clients and the healthcare system
  • Increase in litter and debris

“Overwhelmingly, the consensus in the room of more than 30 representatives from social focused agencies agree that Cannery Row, or a comparable site, should be operational until a permanent solution is found,” said Kristin Walsh, Safe & Healthy Communities Manager. “Aside from this, there is not a feasible solution that was determined that would fill the service gap and the anticipated challenges that will come starting October 1.”

Once the community impacts were acknowledged, potential mitigation strategies were brainstormed to address them. Task forces are being created with the participants involved for each mitigation strategy.

“Administration will continue to work with the community to serve vulnerable Red Deerians and keep people healthy and safe, while mitigating the risks as they arise,” said Acting Interim City Manager Sarah Tittemore. “Yesterday was just the first step in planning for October 1 and beyond; we believe that in working with community organizations and Red Deerians, is the only way to help our most vulnerable through this uncertain time.”

An emergency shelter working group will be assessing the feasibility of the ideas brought forward and actioning these as rapidly as possible, engaging funders, service providers, and those with lived and living experience. There will be an opportunity for the broader community to contribute their ideas and to be involved in the near future.

 

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City of Red Deer

City clearing the air about masking at recreation centres

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Masking not required while participating in indoor recreation activities

With the Provincial announcement last Friday implementing mandatory masking in all public indoor spaces, participating in a City of Red Deer recreation activity will continue without any changes. The Province’s restrictions do not require masks while participating in physical fitness activity, performance activity or a worship service at a place of worship. The City’s recreation programs and services fall under this exemption. When participants are using indoor field of play areas such as ice surfaces, soccer fields, fitness areas and pools, masking is not required.

When not participating in a recreation activity, masking is required throughout The City’s facilities, including in lobbies, hallways, change rooms, spectator zones and all common spaces. To ensure all people entering City facilities are masking up when required, disposable masks are available at the entrances of all City facilities.

“We recognize that although the new measures are in place, there may be people who have booked classes or rental spaces in our recreation facilities that are not comfortable attending,” said Barb McKee, Recreation Superintendent. “We respect where everyone is at in the pandemic and have temporarily shifted back to our COVID interim cancellation and refund policy for those people wishing to cancel or suspend services.”

People wanting to cancel or suspend any services or bookings can either contact one of the recreation facilities at 403.309.8411 or contact [email protected] for more information.

Please see attached – FAQ – Masking not required while participating in indoor recreation activities (pdf) for more information and visit www.reddeer.ca/masks for information and resources.

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