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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.

City of Red Deer

Red Deer RCMP and City of Red Deer introduce Integrated Downtown Policing Unit

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News release from Red Deer RCMP

Today the Red Deer RCMP’s Downtown Patrol Unit officially welcomed their two newest policing partners to the unit; two Community Peace Officers (CPO) with enhanced duties.

“The addition of these two new CPO resources will enhance our policing presence, improve safety, and have a positive impact on the downtown overall,” says Supt. Holly Glassford.

The pilot project is a joint initiative between the Red Deer RCMP, City of Red Deer Municipal Policing Services, and the Government of Alberta. The Province enhanced CPOs’ authorities to allow them to investigate certain criminal code files including Theft under $5000 and Mischief under $5000.

“In some respects, they will have comparable duties to their RCMP counterparts. They will investigate incidents, collect evidence, and provide proactive and responsive enforcement of City bylaws, provincial statutes and some criminal codes,” says Peter Puszka, Municipal Policing Superintendent. The two CPOs will also have access to policing tools and databases not typically available to Peace Officers.

Since 2018, Red Deer’s downtown has had a dedicated Downtown Patrol Unit (DPU), focused on improving safety through increased police visibility, proactive enforcement, decreasing property crime and criminal activity, and developing relationships with the residents, businesses and social agencies downtown.

“Our downtown unit has been doing a tremendous job with such a substantial mandate, and they’re really making an impact in our downtown core,” says Supt. Holly Glassford.

In 2021, the DPU conducted 2,219 investigations of which 64% were self-generated files identified during proactive patrols, and the other 36% were in response to calls from the community. This led to 784 arrests, 493 Criminal Code charges, 470 weapon seizures, 37 ounces of illegal drugs seized and 1,061 tickets issued.

During the RCMP’s latest community consultations and survey, participants indicated that there were still issues about the perception of safety in the downtown, and that safety was a barrier to visiting the downtown.

“Council and I are committed to working towards the enhancement and revitalization of our downtown,” says Mayor Ken Johnston. “This innovative, one-of-a-kind initiative will increase feelings of safety and security amongst those working, living and enjoying our downtown.”

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City of Red Deer

City reaching out to tax payers about location for permanent homeless shelter

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Public participation about permanent shelter site criteria approved

Within the next month, the community will have an opportunity to share their input on the site criteria for a future permanent shelter site. Council approved this direction during their Council meeting last night, following extensive conversations around formal roles and responsibilities and opportunity for collaboration outside a formal Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the province.

“While site selection is not part of the formal agreement between The City and the Province, we believe that the Province will support a recommendation in good spirit as part of a shared responsibility to providing shelter services in our community,” said Mayor Ken Johnston. “When citizens come to the table to discuss criteria, we ask that they come with an open mind. Consider all the factors in selecting a location, not just proximity to your home, your business, your property. The permanent shelter will not be what we currently have, it will be an integrated shelter for our vulnerable population to access services that will support them on their journey to permanent housing.”

Administration will begin a public participation strategy and begin implementation within the coming weeks. The resolution approved by Council outlined the following deadlines:

  • June 20, 2022: conduct timely, strategic, solution-focused community engagement about site criteria prior to this date. Inclusive of in-person and online opportunities to provide input to be promoted.
  • July 18, 2022: Council to agree to a location to recommend to the Province on or before this date.

“We are beginning public participation based on the understanding our community wants to help us to address shelter needs.  We are starting with a clean slate when it comes to actual location,” said Interim City Manager Tara Lodewyk. “We recognize that some citizens will want to propose specific locations but we want to dig deeper to understand why.  We will be asking further questions – why do they think that site is a good option, what does it have that would make it the right place and see how that aligns or builds upon the criteria we already have in place.”

In the coming weeks, The City will share public participation opportunities with the community through social media, local advertising, website updates and email notifications. If residents would like to be added to the email list for updates on the public participation and general permanent shelter information, please email [email protected]. More information about the permanent shelter process can be found at www.reddeer.ca/shelter.

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