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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?

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Opinion

The cost of the Canada Winter Games?

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The following Opinion piece comes from local writer/editorialist Garfield Marks.

The Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre is a beautiful building but a very costly one. In more than money.

Construction costs of $22 million is an expensive undertaking. Operating and maintenance and interest on debt compounds the expense. The city is paying $11 million over a 10 year period or $1.15 million per year. (2017-2026) The college and the province are covering the rest, right?

Employees at Red Deer College are paying, too, and some are paying dearly. With their jobs. Red Deer College has to maintain a balanced budget, and with the huge cost of building, operating and maintaining this facility, they had to make cuts.

Early retirement, lay offs, and hours cut are an unintended consequence of the Canada Games.  The Gary W. Harris Wellness Centre was only about 25% of the cost of the winter games and will cost some residents their paycheques, their livelihoods with no one available to top-up their incomes.  Every resident will be paying for this centre for another 7 years, how much are we paying for the other 75%? Will we ever know?

The CFR cost the city last year $151,000 and $50,000 so far this year. Last fall when council voted themselves huge pay increases, one councillor stated they were worth the increases because they brought these events to the city. 

Thank you for lightening our wallets and for some their jobs. Will we ever know the real costs of the Canada games, would we do it again if we knew the real costs? I don’t think so but I doubt we will ever know the real costs, will we?

​Garfield Marks​

Background Information:

Budget Requirements, Council Decision Points and Funding Sources: click reddeer.ca

“…Through a tri-party agreement with The City of Red Deer, the Canada Winter Games Host Society and Red Deer College, a contribution will be made to the College over a 10 year period totalling $11,501,000. This contribution represents about 50 per cent of the expected costs of the Olympic sized ice surface and squash courts to be housed within this facility. Payments of $1.15 million will be paid annually from 2017 to 2026 inclusive. The grants being given to RDC for this project are funded from debt and the Canada Winter Games grant...”

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Local opinion writer: Is Scheer in charge?

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Contributed as an opinion piece by Garfield Marks: Who is the de facto conservative leader?

Andrew Scheer is on record as being the leader of the Conservative Party of Canada. But who is the de facto leader? Is it Doug Ford, Jason Kenney or Stephen Harper? Who is really running the show or calling the shots?
Premier Doug Ford has shut down the Ontario legislature till after the federal election. Premier Jason Kenney, newly elected of Alberta has set up a $30 million war room, and spends more time talking about Prime Minister Trudeau, than about Alberta wildfires’ 10,000 displaced Albertans. Stephen Harper was key in getting Jason Kenney elected and keeps giving advice and direction to conservatives.
Here in Alberta the Conservatives will win handily but silently. Here in my region, the federal Conservatives could run a sock puppet and win. Our Premier can focus his attention on provincial issues, because I believe, (as I was once told), that the candidates send much of their brochures and donations to candidates in other provinces.
Premier Doug Ford of Ontario is according to recent public opinion polls sinking to levels much lower than former Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne. I do not think Ontario residents want to be pushed by the Premier in any direction at this time.
Premier Jason Kenney is still carrying the baggage from his leadership race. Workers, staff, and members being fined, $75,000 last I heard, kamikaze candidate and election fraud investigations and being from Alberta are not positive attributes to encourage voters to support Andrew Scheer.
Stephen Harper is a political creature who cannot let go. He is like a hockey player, past his prime but still hungry for the game. Intelligent, political but polarizing and not a good shadow obscuring Andrew Scheer’s leadership.
So who is the real conservative leader? Depends on who you ask, I guess. Just don’t ask me, because I don’t know anymore.

​Garfield Marks​

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june, 2019

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