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City of Red Deer

Red Deer Lights the Night to return in modified format for 2021

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This year, Red Deer Lights the Night means not just lighting up one night, but many. Starting November 19, Red Deerians are invited to explore the greater downtown to discover festive lights, beautiful holiday decorations and activities to enjoy throughout the Christmas season.

Highlights include:

 Light displays at City Hall Park, Ross Street Patio, Capstone – starting November 19
 Winter Market, hosted by the Downtown Business Association – November 18 – 20
 Best in Snow pet photo contest, hosted by Capstone – November 20 – 27
 Christmas in Capstone – starting December 1
 Christmas Craft Drive-Thru, hosted by Family Services of Central Alberta – Saturday, December 4
 Late Night Shopping, hosted by the Downtown Business Association – Thursday, December 9
 “Shinny” rink and “milk jug curling” at Central Middle School – Ice rink to be installed as weather permits
 Trivia contests
 Santa’s Bus Tour and photo contest (see below) – December 10, 11, 17, 18
 World Junior skate day at Bower Ponds – Saturday, December 18, 3 to 5 p.m. There will be a learn to skate area, hot chocolate and other fun surprises. Proudly supported by Hockey Canada, Central Alberta Refugee Effort (CARE), Red Deer RCMP, The City of Red Deer, and Red Deer Emergency Services.

A video showcasing the beloved lights and decorations in City Hall Park will be shared on The City’s social media channels so Red Deerians can enjoy the view safely and from the warmth and comfort of home.

The annual festivities would not be complete without an appearance from Santa, and The City is pleased to announce the return of Santa’s Bus Tour. On four different December evenings (December 10, 11, 17 and 18), Santa and his crew will tour city neighbourhoods while riding a Red Deer Transit bus. Route maps are available on The City’s website and the MyBus app. Red Deerians can share photos of Santa’s Bus Tour on social media with #rdlights for a chance to win a prize. Please note:Residents are reminded to follow physical distancing guidelines and asked to remain in front of their own homes, if possible, while watching for Santa’s Bus Tour.

“After great success last year, we’re excited to once again bring Christmas spirit directly to neighbourhoods with Santa’s Bus Tour,” said Bobby-Jo Stannard, Community Development Superintendent. “And, we’re pleased to invited Red Deerians to enjoy an expanded holiday light display throughout greater downtown.”

For more information and updates on Red Deer Lights the Night festivities, presented by Red Deer Downtown Business Association and The City of Red Deer, visit www.reddeer.ca/rdlights and follow The City on social media.

Alberta

Alberta Ombudsman can’t do anything about City of Red Deer complaint about 9-11 Dispatch

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Ombudsman Responds to Municipalities’ Complaint About Ambulance Dispatch

Marianne Ryan, Alberta’s Ombudsman took the unusual step of publicly commenting on a complaint received involving Alberta Health Services.

The City of Red Deer, along with the municipalities of Calgary, Lethbridge and the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo filed a complaint to the Ombudsman regarding Alberta Health Services’ consolidation of ambulance emergency dispatch services.

The Ombudsman Act authorizes the Ombudsman to investigate administrative decisions of government ministries and many related bodies, but the Act specifically prohibits her from investigating decisions of Alberta Health Services (AHS).

“My office thoroughly analyzed the complaint and confirmed that the decision to consolidate ambulance dispatch services was indeed made by AHS. While many government-related bodies fall under my jurisdiction, AHS is not one of them,” stated Marianne Ryan, Alberta’s Ombudsman. “In fact, the Ombudsman Act specifically states that my powers of investigation do not apply to health authorities. My ability to investigate AHS decisions would require a change in legislation. While the issue being complained about clearly affects many Albertans, I am bound by my governing legislation to only investigate matters that are clearly within my jurisdiction.”

Investigations by the Ombudsman are conducted in confidence, and it is the Ombudsman’s general practice not to comment publicly on complaints, especially ones that are not being investigated.

“Given the substance of the complaint has been widely reported in the media and that it relates to an issue affecting a great many Albertans, I advised the mayors that I would be making a public statement.”

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City of Red Deer

14% of City Employees still unvaccinated as mandate comes into effect Monday

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City Hall

Employee immunization policy comes into full effect Monday

On Monday, The City’s employee immunization policy takes full effect with proof of vaccination or proof of negative rapid antigen testing required, per the timelines outlined in The City’s Covid-19 Employee Immunization Policy implemented on October 5, 2021.

Starting Monday, City staff who have not submitted their immunization records must provide proof of ongoing valid negative rapid antigen testing, tests are valid for 72 hours.

As of today, 1,256 (86%) staff have submitted their vaccination records; however, this number may change as more staff continue to complete vaccination and send in records. The City has set up a process for those who opt for negative rapid antigen testing in lieu of being vaccinated.

“We are pleased with the number of employees who have provided their immunization records, and we anticipate the majority who have not, will choose to provide proof of negative rapid antigen testing come Monday,” said Tara Lodewyk, Interim City Manager. “Many thanks to the staff who have worked together to bring this to implementation. The policy respects the preferences of individuals without compromising the health and safety of our employees and our community. In creating good policy, we need to do what is best for the overall organization.”

The City will do its best to work with all employees to navigate the complexities of the policy; however, the small number of staff who choose not to submit immunization records or provide proof of negative test will not be able to work and unpaid for that time.

The COVID-19 Immunization Policy implemented on October 5 applies to all City of Red Deer staff. The City Manager is delegated the authority under the Municipal Government Act to make decisions and create policies, which includes safety and business operations for the City of Red Deer. The current Employee Immunization Policy falls within this authority.

City Council will receive a report in January about what a potential policy for members of Council may look like, as well as potential timelines for implementation.

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