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Opinion

Red Deer gets $49.2 million to design and expand wastewater treatment plant for 2026. Could we look at options?

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The province of Alberta is giving the city of Red Deer $49.2 million to upgrade their wastewater treatment plant. To handle the wastewater created throughout the region.
This is a multi-year multi-faceted project that will culminate in treating 72,000 cubic metres of waste daily in 2026. That is a lot of water being pumped into the river in one spot.
There will be years in the planning and designing stage before construction begins. Is there any room in that schedule to contemplate a small turbine or two to produce electricity? Is it at all possible to ask experts if it is possible to divert some of that water to run a hydro-electric turbine to produce electricity to some extent, possibly enough to run a pump or a few lights?
Turbines are about 8 times more efficient now than they were a few years ago, how efficient could they be in 7 years?
Portland installed turbines in their water pipes to produce electricity, so I am sure they asked the experts, got a feasibility study, studied the cost/benefit analysis before proceeding.
Will Red Deer even consider asking the experts? No, they asked once, years ago, it wasn’t feasible then so it is not feasible now, no matter how far they have come in efficiencies and costs. End of story. How sad.
I just thought the city could look at future cost savings, perhaps reduce their reliance on non-renewable resources, and look at possible options to get the greatest return on this generous gift from the province. That may be too much to ask.
But I am asking. What do you say?

Opinion

Red Deer’s population grew by 195 since 2015

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2019 RED DEER MUNICIPAL CENSUS = 101,002

2016 RED DEER MUNICIPAL CENSUS= 99,832

2015 RED DEER MUNICIPAL CENSUS= 100,807

In the four years since 2015 Red Deer has grown by 195 residents or less than 0.2% in 4 years.

Timberlands grew from 1834 residents in 2015 to 3038 residents in 2019 or 1204 residents, for a growth of about 66% so where did we lose all our residents? Let us look at the neighbourhoods north of the river.

Residents living north of the river in 2015=32,005, 2016=31,228 and finally 2019= 30,576 for a total decline of 1,429 residents.

Let us break it down;

……YEAR………..2019.…………….2016.……………..2015

Kentwood-………….4235.……………4267.……………..4299

Glendale………..….4284.……………4288.……………..4430

Normandeau……….3275.……………3530.……………..3603

Pines……………..…1725.……………..1718.……………..1851

Highland Green……3896.…………….3920.……………4065

Oriole Park…………5200.…………..…5244.…………….5300

Riverside Meadows..3423.…………….3686.…………….3810

Fairview…………….733.………………710.……………..761

Johnstone…………..3805.……………..3865.…………….3886

Total……………….30,576.…………31,228.……………32,005

So it looks like we just relocated residents from north of the river to new subdivisions like Timberlands. In an age where we are trying to limit our footprint Red Deer expanded our footprint faster than our population growth demanded. New neighbourhoods require infrastructure ($), schools ($), sewers ($), water ($), roads ($), transit ($) etc.

30,000 plus people live north of the river down from 32,000 plus 4 years ago, but still a large community. I wrote about this very topic in 2016 and was given the brush off by many in city hall. One city councillor suggested that I have more children to populate the north side.

The issue was not taken seriously in 2016 and again in 2019.

I wrote that Lethbridge would overtake us and become the 3rd largest city in Alberta, and they did.

I dove deeper to see what was happening in local neighbourhoods and found that the north side of the river is being decimated and annexing or new neighbourhoods are fuelling our growth.

People keep telling me it is the provincial economy that is preventing growth. Lacombe grew by 7% last year, Blackfalds has seen record growth, Penhold, Sylvan Lake and the county grew in the same province, so I discount that theory.

My thinking is perhaps more closer to home. The other communities invested in their residents. New recreation complexes that required per capita investments that dwarf Red Deer’s by huge margins, up to 100s of percents.

Red Deer has neglected the residents north of the river. For every dollar they spend north of the river they spend 20 south of the river. No high school north of the river with 4 current and 2 planned, south of the river.

If the city could just bring their culture from 1980 to 2020 then maybe we will not lose so many residents from north of the river. It is time to stop neglecting the residents living north of the river.

Start investing in substantial recreational facilities north of the river after years of building so many south of the river. Build the next aquatic centre north of the river, build the next school, especially high school north of the river.

For the whole city the powers that be need to wake up, and invest in it’s residents. It has been said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. It is time to wake up, what the powers that be have been doing has not worked, the census proves it, it is time to do things differently.

No I am not having more children, councillor.

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Opinion

Politicians focus too much on the wallets of the few.

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We welcome opinions from our readers like this one from Garfield Marks of Red Deer, AB.

According to the Ethics Commissioner, Trudeau broke ethical guidelines on behalf of a big corporate entity, SNC-Lavalin, and as expected, it appears, everyone is calling for his resignation. I am confused, but hasn’t almost every politician of a major political party, for the last few decades, been advocating breaks for big corporations and the top 1%.

Didn’t Alberta elect a Premier who had to pay an ethics violation fine when he was a federal cabinet minister? Does he not lead a party who had issues with electoral fraud, kamikaze candidate and members issued $75,000 in fines by the ethics commissioner, due to actions during their leadership race?

Was it not a conservative government that supposedly just gave a $4.5 billion tax break to businesses? Was it not a conservative government that was supposedly lowering taxes for the top 1%? Was it not a conservative government(s) that was cutting services to everyone else to pay for these tax breaks?

Here in Alberta was there not lots of promises of jobs to rationalize billions in tax breaks for corporations only to find out that Alberta then subsequently lost 14,000 jobs in July alone?

I am not saying that Trudeau’s actions pressuring the Attorney General to give a deal to a big company is okay, but don’t they all do special deals for big corporations? Don’t we as tax payers subsidize the oil industry, cow tail to unions, pay homage to gun manufacturers, serve the auto industry, and placate the wealthy? The average voter just pays for them.

My wallet sure feels those political fingers. My costs keep going up, while my income hasn’t kept pace.

My mind has tuned out the politicians, and their desire to woo the rich and big corporations, and my heart is focused on the future, and my family.

Scientists and engineers have made great discoveries and given me some great things like cars, computers, cell phones and medical break-throughs but these same non-partisan intellectuals have also made huge unsettling discoveries, and given me causes for concern.

Issues like climate change, reminiscent of second hand smoke, are concerns to our health and our lives but are not given the same level of regard as tax breaks for the big corporations.

Second hand smoke was a major health care cost but tax breaks for cigarette companies and tobacco growers were the demands.

There is an election this fall and here in my riding there is no contest, as the conservatives will win, then become a seat warmer no one hears about, till the next election. My concerns will be ignored, my wallet will get thinner to placate the more well to do.

I do think it is about time to move on from focusing on the wallets of the few and focus on the health of the whole community. The person or party that can convince me that their focus is on the whole, for the future and not on big corporations and the wealthiest in a realistic manner, will get my support and vote.

Will my wallet survive the next election? I hope so, but I cannot be certain. I am worried we might get a Trump-like Prime Minister out of protest and the climate crisis will be pushed back and my wallet will be front and centre for political fingers for another few decades.

Is there another option?

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