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City of Red Deer

Molly Banister Drive extension remains a possibility as City Council shelves development plans for creek-side lots

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From the City of Red Deer

Molly Banister Drive extension to remain in plans

On September 10, Council gave first reading to a report regarding the future of Molly Banister Drive extension. The administrative report recommended removal of the protected alignment from the development plans, meaning the roadway would come out of the plans, and development of the area could continue without holding space for this road to be developed at some point in the future.

Tonight, Council heard from 31 people who spoke either for or against the protection of the road alignment at a public hearing. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, residents voiced their opinions either at an offsite location via video to Council, or over the phone.

Following the public hearing, and consideration of the written statements received, Council began deliberations in consideration of second and third reading of the amendment.

Currently, The City’s statutory plans show the protected alignment as a four lane undivided arterial road, similar to 22 Street between 30 Avenue and 40 Avenue, bisecting Piper Creek. Tonight, Council voted against removing the protected alignment, which keeps this potential road as an option to accommodate traffic in the city’s southeast when the population of Red Deer is about 188,000 people.

The Molly Banister Drive alignment was projected to be required when the population of Red Deer reaches 188,000, which is estimated to be in about 34 years, in 2054.

“The discussion of whether or not Molly Banister Drive should be extended has been a recurring topic for many years,” said Deputy Mayor Michael Dawe. “The Molly Banister Drive extension was first shown in City planning and transportation documents in the 1970’s, and after considering input from the many residents who joined us tonight or submitted feedback in advance, Council decided not to proceed with second and third reading, which keeps the protected alignment in development plans.”

In the fall of 2019, The City received an application to amend two development plans in the East Hill area. Melcor, the developer of the area, requested that the Municipal Development Plan (MDP) and the East Hill Major Area Structure Plan (MASP) be amended by removing the Molly Banister Drive protected roadway alignment (extension of Molly Banister Drive to 40 Avenue) from the plans.

More information can be found at www.reddeer.ca/mollybanister.

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City of Red Deer expedites patio process for desperate restaurants

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From the City of Red Deer

City accommodates demand for patios

Summer patios are popping up throughout Red Deer as an extension to seating areas at local restaurants. Following the mandated closure of indoor dining by the Government of Alberta, outdoor patios are one way food and beverage businesses can continue to operate.

“We know local business owners are struggling to adapt to changing restrictions and wanted to find a way to expedite the application process so these businesses see minimal impact to their operations as a result of closure of indoor dining,” said Erin Stuart, Inspections and Licensing Manager. “The health and safety of Red Deerians is of utmost importance, and participating businesses must ensure that public health orders and provincial restrictions continue to be followed.”

Patios installed on private property require a development permit and may require a building permit. In an effort to offer immediate assistance to businesses, The City is modifying these processes to allow for installation of patios prior to permits being issued, following discussions with the Red Deer Chamber of Commerce.

A signed waiver is required by the business owner, allowing for the immediate installation of the patio. The business owner will be responsible for submitting a complete application, including a site plan outlining the location and measurements of the patio and the number of seats, within two weeks of the signed waiver being submitted. The permit will continue to be processed, ensuring safety and legislative requirements are met, and will be valid until September 30, 2021.

For patios within the downtown core, business owners are required to apply for a Seasonal Downtown Patio. Businesses within the downtown core require a boardwalk to be installed around the perimeter of the patio to provide a safe, accessible walkway for pedestrians (this excludes businesses located within Ross Street Patio). The City will build, install, remove and store these boardwalks at no cost to participating businesses.

Interested business owners can visit www.reddeer.ca/seasonalpatios for more information and to begin the application process.

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City of Red Deer

City will identify potential locations for new homeless shelter by early May

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From the City of Red Deer

Council supports interim shelter, directs administration to find alternative location

City Council has resolved to support the continuation of an interim shelter and directed administration to find a new location in collaboration with the Province and service providers.

“We have a responsibility to look after our most vulnerable citizens in a responsible manner, with the interests of the wider community in mind as well,” said Mayor Tara Veer. “Without a permanent integrated homeless shelter in place, infrastructure we have been advocating the Province for years to complete, it is no surprise that the public is frustrated, the service providers are frustrated and the vulnerable themselves are frustrated. There are significant consequences in the community for having temporary and insufficient solutions to very complex social challenges, but I am hopeful the preliminary direction Council gave today will help will bridge the gap for vulnerable citizens, the service providers, and our business community and community in general until a more permanent solution can be put into place.”

Within four weeks, administration will bring back options for a new interim shelter location for Council to consider. To ensure the proper processes take place for the relocation, administration will also bring forward a recommendation to extend the operations at the current temporary shelter site at Cannery Row.

“Although we are proceeding with exploration of potential new interim sites, we will most likely need Council to approve an extension of the Cannery Row site until the new location is up and running. When we come back in four weeks, we will bring timing, costs and procedural requirements to make the move to a new site,” said City Manager Allan Seabrooke.

At this time, the Cannery Row site has guaranteed Provincial funding until March 31, 2022. The City will work with the Province and Safe Harbour to secure proper funding for a new temporary location.

“During discussions, Council was made aware of the funding agreement in place, and recognizes there could be financial requirements from The City to move and operate the interim shelter in its new location,” said Seabrooke. “We will gather as much information as possible to allow Council to make an informed decision, including potential operating and capital costs, which will require Council approval.”

“City Council’s resolutions tonight aim to balance the needs of Red Deer’s vulnerable population, surrounding properties and the community as a whole. However, despite our best efforts, Safe Harbour and the Province of Alberta may still select their own site, as long as it is zoned for public service,” said Seabrooke.

The interim shelter is expected to support the community’s vulnerable population until a permanent shelter is operational. On February 7, 2020, the Province committed to $7 million in its 2020 Capital Plan for a purpose built integrated emergency shelter in Red Deer. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Province of Alberta and The City of Red Deer was finalized in February 2021 to establish a general high-level understanding related to the provincially managed project to meet the current and future needs in Red Deer. Specifics about location, timing and operational details have not yet been determined by the provincial government.

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