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Red Deer Organizers looking for a few last minute volunteers for Canada’s first ever national cyclist count

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Article submitted by the Red Deer Association for Bicycle Commuting

RED DEER PEDAL POLL

Over 30 Red Deer citizens have volunteered to participate in Canadas first-ever national count of cyclists, being held on Tuesday June 1 and Saturday June 5.

The count is being co-ordinated by the Red Deer Association for Bicycle Commuting in conjunction with Vélo Canada Bikes and university researchers.

See https://www.bikereddeer.com and https://www.canadabikes.org/pedalpoll/getinvolved/.

The Pedal Poll and the Community Better Challenge are supported by the Red Deer Wellness Network (see https://www.todayville.com/100000-to-the-winning-community-come-on-red-deer-we-can-do-this/).

Tuesday June 1 is the big day for Pedal Poll counting, with one additional shift on Saturday June 5.

Heres the locations:

CPR Bridge: North Side (58 St. at 52 Ave.);

Piper Creek Bridge at Southbrook (Bench near playground);

Bottom of Spruce Drive hill: 48 Ave. at 43 St.

Eastside Multi-use trail: 39 St. & future 20 Ave.;

Kerry Wood Nature Centre parking lot;

Taylor Drive Multi-use trail: east side Taylor Drive between Howarth St. & Horn St.;

67 St. Multi-use trail at Garden Gate;

Lindsay Thurber: Between 55 St. & 42A Ave.

Tuesdays time slots are 7:00 – 9:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., 2:00 – 4:00 p.m., 4:00 – 6:00 p.m.

Saturdays time slot is 12:00 – 2:00 p.m.

participACTIONs Community Better Challenge runs from June 1 to June 30. We can do this, Red Deer!

RDABC

[email protected]

bikereddeer.com

 

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Alberta

The Canadian Northern Railway’s legacy at Big Valley, Alberta.

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By Shawn I. Smith, Canadian Northern Society

“The newly constructed train station circa 1913, Big Valley. Photo- Canadian Northern Society Archives

 

It’s a Saturday afternoon in June in the quiet Village of Big Valley. Visitors admire the splendid heritage railway depot and gardens at the end of main street. Two blocks south is a historic grain elevator – a classic Canadian symbol standing tall above the prairie landscape. To the east across the tracks are large stark concrete walls, visibly reminiscent of Stonehenge. “What are those curious walls?” is often asked. Then the sound of a locomotive whistle breaks the silence, creating a scene out of the 1950’s when a vintage passenger train pulls into town, and the train crew scurries about on the platform unloading its cheerful patrons.

“Visitors explore the Big Valley Roundhouse Ruins” Photo- Canadian Northern Society Archives

While not obvious to the guests who have enjoyed the 21-mile excursion train ride from Stettler aboard the Alberta Prairie Railway, the scene that unfolds on summer days in Big Valley is part of a legacy left by two dynamic railroaders who over a century earlier had an ambitious and grand vision for Western Canada. Today, both active and abandoned rail lines in central Alberta, related historic structures and sites, and indeed the communities that owe their existence to the Canadian Northern Railway (CNoR) share this common heritage.

Since the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1885, railways have been inextricably linked with the development of western Canada. After Confederation the new Dominion Government quickly recognized that without railways real settlement would not take place in the sparsely populated North West.

Energy, Enterprise, and Ability

“The Canadian Northern Railway lines map, 1916” Map- Atlas of Alberta Railways

The CNoR (Canadian Northern Railway) was a product of two Canadian-born railroaders with CPR roots. William Mackenzie and Donald Mann met during the 1880’s while the senior road was under construction in the Selkirk Mountains. Their “Energy, Enterprise, and Ability” – which would become the railway’s motto would lead to a partnership in contracting, steamship lines, and a 9,500-mile transcontinental railway empire that served seven provinces and included the Duluth Winnipeg and Pacific Railway in the U.S. The two were knighted for their achievements in 1911.
Branch lines were the key to the CNoR strategy.The Vegreville to Calgary branch – chartered in February 1909 by CNoR subsidiary Alberta Midland Railway – was the company’s key north-south spine through Alberta. The portion between Vegreville and Drumheller was opened for service in 1911. While it had the appearance of a typical prairie branch line, its primary purpose was to carry steam and domestic heating coal from mines at Brazeau and Drumheller to growing prairie markets.
The fact that the line traversed a region of great agricultural potential for both grain and cattle farming was an added benefit. In typical fashion, grain elevators were located every five to ten miles – the distance being established around the practical ability for a livestock team to haul a load of grain and return in one day’s time from the growing number of homesteads clustered around each delivery point.
The Battle River Subdivision along with further line completions in 1914 to Calgary and Strathcona respectively provided the CNoR with an effective intercity freight route, albeit longer than those of its competitors.
The Brazeau Branch, extending 176 miles west from the junction at Warden to the Nordegg Collieries was extremely important to the CNoR which depended largely on this supply of steam coal for terminals across the West. The subsequent extension of the Goose Lake line at Munson became an important link from Calgary to Saskatoon. All of these CNoR lines were financed using provincial bond guarantees.

“Bustling Big Valley railroad yard, roundhouse, 1920’s” Photo- Canadian Northern Society Archives

By May of 1912 mixed trains crewed by Big Valley men were running north to Vegreville and south to Drumheller. Another run to Rocky Mountain House was added in June. A Second Class depot was erected that year and a five-stall roundhouse and turntable were complete by April of 1913.
By late 1913 a Railway Post Office Car service had been established on the line, and Big Valley was home to 14 locomotives and an equal amount of engine service and train crews. Assistant Superintendent Thomas Rourke oversaw terminal operations that included a train dispatching office.
By September 1917 fourteen mines were operating in the Drumheller Valley producing 250 carloads of coal every 24 hours. Drumheller was without question the “Powerhouse of the West.” Big Valley’s railroaders were kept busy 24 hours a day operating the trains that pulled the coal out of the valley.

“Train time at Big Valley. A Southbound train at Big Valley, 1920’s.” Photo- Canadian Northern Society Archives

After being selected as the CNoR terminal, Big Valley boomed. By 1919, its population had increased to over 1025, with some 325 souls working for the CNoR. At its peak, the company’s payroll included 26 train and engine crews, a shop staff of 40, and a Bridge and Building crew averaging 45 employees, managed by Frank Dewar. There were 8 sectionmen, and at the station an Agent, operators round the clock, yard clerks, and the train dispatcher. Four to five carman conducted car repairs and inspections.
Coal from Brazeau was piled in a huge stockpile almost a block long on the east side of the yard. A gravel pit operation north of town at Caprona was established to provide aggregate for line ballasting on all of the CNoR area lines. Steam shovels kept this operation steady, mining volumes often equating to 100 carloads per day.
Big Valley’s early railroaders were a colourful lot. Many came and went, and with the Big Valley collieries in production by 1914 shipping coal as far east as Ontario – night life in town could be wild. Assistant Superintendent Rourke, a former baseball player in the Detroit Tigers minor league system, was responsible for putting together the “Big Valley Bugs” – made up almost entirely of railroaders – who in 1918 put together a resounding victory over the high-flying Edmonton Red Sox.

The National

During the First World War, financial problems caught up with Mackenzie and Mann and their rapidly expanding enterprise. Despite profitable western lines such as the Vegreville and Brazeau branches, lack of traffic on the transcontinental lines, burdensome debt, and the negative impacts of the War would result in the company being “nationalized” by the Dominion Government in 1918. The rival Grand Trunk Pacific (GTP) Railway would fare even worse, having been placed into receivership in 1919. These events led to the creation of today’s Canadian National (CN).
The new CN was confronted with the task of rationalizing the CNoR and GTP lines throughout western Canada. Consolidation was affected by the elimination of duplicate facilities and improving services by combining portions of the former competing lines. Construction of track connections joining the Brazeau branch with he former GTP Tofield to Calgary line at Alix were opened for service in 1922.
Connections were also made between the Battle River Subdivision and the former GTP mainline at Ryley. Geographically the GTP divisional point at Mirror was seen as central to the operations of the Brazeau branch vs. Big Valley. Coal that had originally moved over the Brazeau line to Warden then northward was now diverted over the new connection at Alix via Mirror which became the new home terminal for crews running west.
The new routing via Alix saved a distance of over 50 miles between Brazeau and Saskatoon. The former GTP south of Camrose also became the CN’s north-south main line through Alberta.

“The end of daily passenger train service between Edmonton – Drumheller. VIA Rail’s Dayliner at Big Valley, 1981” Photo-Charles Bohi

This consolidation led to the significant decline of Big Valley as a railway town. While the company kept a small number of train crews assigned to both freight and passenger service, by 1925 the exodus to Mirror, Edmonton, Drumheller, and Hanna began. It was reported that over 100 railroaders’ homes were moved out of the village, some of which continue to exist in Mirror today. In what was known as the “Battle of Big Valley” – the unions fought the company’s decision hard but were left with little compensation for their relocation expenses after the issue went to arbitration in the late-1920’s with the decision going with the company. By the onset of the depression, Big Valley’s population had dropped by some 500 souls to 445.
It is without question that the old Canadian Northern Railway’s reason for existence in central Alberta has changed dramatically since its arrival in 1910. Coal is no longer used to heat our homes – and in fact its use is considered sinful by some!
Packages ride on trucks, and people drive their own cars and trucks instead of riding mixed trains and Nos. 25 and 26 to get to Calgary or Edmonton.
While huge volumes of grain still move on trains – these are now loaded in modern high capacity elevators capable of loading 100 cars or more in 12 hours or less. The original steel rails that remain in service between Stettler and Big Valley are therefore of historic testament to Mackenzie and Mann and their great accomplishment. In fact, this section of track is the sole operating survivor of many similar “60-pound” branch lines that have now been re-laid or abandoned across the prairies. And almost incredibly one can still experience a passenger train ride over these vintage rails, pulling into Big Valley just as travellers did one hundred years ago.

Canadian Northern Society
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Alberta

Location for Red Deer Recovery Centre revealed. First clients will be accepted late this year.

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News Releases from the Province of Alberta and the City of Red Deer

Red Deer recovery community moving ahead

A 10-acre parcel of land in north Red Deer will be the new home of the 75-bed recovery community.

Alberta’s government and the City of Red Deer worked together to pick the location within the Chiles Industrial Park, directly adjacent to Highway 2A. Construction of the recovery community is anticipated to start this fall.

“Supporting people to find their path to long-term recovery remains a commitment of our government – but we can’t reach this goal alone. Thank you to the City of Red Deer for their dedication to working together to find a site that considers the needs of those seeking support, businesses, local residents and the community as a whole.”

Jason Luan, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions

“Thanks to the work of officials at Alberta Infrastructure, in partnership with the City of Red Deer, we are another step closer to having a new home to better support Albertans suffering from addictions on their path to recovery.”

Prasad Panda, Minister of Infrastructure

Recovery communities, also known as therapeutic communities, are a form of long-term residential treatment for addiction and used in more than 65 countries around the world.

“The identification of the location of the future therapeutic community marks an important next step towards a solution to many of the health and social challenges our community has contended with for years due to lack of comprehensive health and social infrastructure and programming in our city and region. This project will help respond to the long-standing need for local residential addictions treatment to help address community impacts of the national drug crisis.”

Tara Veer, mayor, City of Red Deer

“This announcement means we are one step closer to adding this life-saving support to our community. While new to Alberta, recovery communities have proven to be effective in helping individuals reach long-term addiction recovery. I look forward to the positive difference this new support will have.”

Adriana LaGrange, Minister of Education and MLA for Red Deer-North

“Addictions have the capacity to disconnect our wills and rob us of the power to decide, inflicting suffering on ourselves, our families and communities. I’m proud to be part of a government focused on supporting Albertans seeking to become free from addictions. Recovery communities are special places, where individuals love and serve each other in their individual journeys to recovery. These are places of miracles, blessing and healing our neighbours, families and communities. This is very exciting news!”

Jason Stephan, MLA for Red Deer-South

Alberta’s government is committed to a recovery-oriented system of care that provides easy access to a full continuum of services. A $140-million investment over four years is supporting the addition of new publicly funded treatment spaces; the elimination of daily user fees for publicly funded residential addiction treatment; and services to reduce harm, such as the Digital Overdose Prevention System app, the introduction of nasal naloxone kits and the expansion of opioid agonist therapy.

This $140-million commitment is in addition to the more than $800 million Alberta Health Services spends annually to provide mental health and addiction services in communities across the province.

Quick facts

  • Alberta’s government is investing in mental health and addictions:
    • $140 million over four years to enhance the mental health and addiction care system and create more publicly funded treatment spaces. This funding includes $40 million specifically to support the opioid response.
    • More than $53 million to implement more online, phone and in-person mental health and addiction recovery supports to make it easier for Albertans to access services from anywhere in Alberta during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • For anyone using opioids, naloxone kits are available free of charge at pharmacies across the province. Call 911 in an emergency.
  • The Addiction Helpline, a 24-7 confidential toll-free service, at 1-866-332-2322, can provide support, information and referral to services. Treatment can also start right away by calling the Virtual Opioid Dependency Program (VODP) seven days per week at 1-844-383-7688.

From the City of Red Deer

Province finalizes site for future therapeutic community

The future location for a therapeutic community in Red Deer was announced today, with the Provincial Government identifying 10 acres of land within the Chiles Industrial Park as the future site in Red Deer. The facility, announced on June 18, 2020, will be home to 75 treatment beds and will provide long-term residential treatment to individuals struggling with addiction.

  1. Where will the future therapeutic community be located?The 10 acres of land identified for development of the Provincial residential treatment community is located approximately one kilometre north of Highway 11A and Gaetz Avenue, in the Chiles Industrial Park, directly adjacent to Highway 2A in north Red Deer.
  2. How was the location chosen?The Province of Alberta and City of Red Deer worked collaboratively to select a location that responds to the long-standing need for residential treatment in Red Deer. The site was selected as there is enough available land for the self-contained facility, it is away from the urban core but still accessible to community services such as health care, and is vacant and able to be temporarily developed within the timeframe needed.

    Ten acres of land located in the Chiles Industrial Park in north Red Deer was identified as the future site for the facility. This site respects the needs of future clients, businesses, residents and the entire community in mind.

  3. Who owns the land, which is designated for the future therapeutic community?Formerly owned by The City of Red Deer, the Province of Alberta signed an agreement to purchase the land from The City of Red Deer with the intent to build a therapeutic community. The agreement is in place for five to ten years, and if the Government of Alberta chooses to move the facility to another site, the land will return to The City of Red Deer.
  4. When will the land be developed?The transfer of the land will occur on or before fall of 2021, with the Province currently indicating it plans to start accepting clients by the end of the year. Development is expected to begin this summer.
  5. What zoning and approval processes are needed before development can proceed?The Province of Alberta has indicated they intend to get the facility up and running as quickly as possible, and will be responsible for zoning and policy considerations. Citizens with questions or concerns about approvals and development processes can reach out to the Ministry of Infrastructure, or to our local MLAs (Mr. Jason Stephan, MLA for Red Deer South or the Honourable Adriana LaGrange, MLA for Red Deer North: www.assembly.ab.ca/members/members-of-the-legislative-assembly).
  6. Who will operate the future therapeutic community?The site will be owned by the Province, and operated by an accredited agency. The Provincial Government will be launching a formal request for proposal (RFP) process to select an agency to operate the facility.
  7. How much will the future therapeutic community cost?The estimated cost for the future facility is still to be determined, with all funding coming from The Province of Alberta as part of its economic recovery plan. There is no City of Red Deer operating investment into this facility. The City, however is contributing in-kind capital contributions through a utility connection to bring water and sewer servicing to the development as well as providing some additional landscaping for the area.

 

From The Mayor of Red Deer

Mayor Veer responds to Provincial therapeutic community announcement on behalf of City Council

“The future location for a new therapeutic community in Red Deer was announced today, with the Provincial Government identifying 10 acres of land located in north Red Deer as the future site for the facility.Formerly owned by The City of Red Deer, the Province of Alberta has signed an agreement to purchase land from The City with the intent to build the new therapeutic community. The agreement is in place for five to ten years, and if the Government of Alberta chooses to move the facility to another site, the land will return to The City of Red Deer. Once built, the new facility will be home to 75 treatment beds and will provide long-term residential treatment to individuals struggling with addiction. As this is a Provincial project, there is no operating investment from The City, however The City is contributing in-kind capital contributions through a utility connection to bring water and sewer servicing to the development as well as providing some additional landscaping for the area.

The identification of this land marks the next step towards a solution to many of the health and social challenges our community has contended with for years due to lack of comprehensive health and social infrastructure and programming in our city and region. This project will help respond to the long-standing need for local residential addictions treatment to help address community impacts of the national drug crisis.

Located approximately one kilometer north of Highway 11A and Gaetz Avenue in the Chiles Industrial Park, directly adjacent to Highway 2A and outside the urban core, this site respects the anticipated needs of future clients who are being treated for their addictions, while considering the needs of businesses and the entire community in mind. This location also repurposes underutilized public lands.

Development is expected to occur this summer, with all further development processes and approvals now under the jurisdiction of the Province of Alberta.

On behalf of my fellow members of Council, I would like to extend our thanks to the Government of Alberta for hearing us and fulfilling this long-standing imperative for our community, and for supporting us in our call for securing a residential treatment site in Red Deer.

Citizens with questions or concerns about approvals and development processes can reach out to the Ministry of Infrastructure, or to our local MLAs (Mr. Jason Stephan, MLA for Red Deer South or the Honourable Adriana LaGrange, MLA for Red Deer North: www.assembly.ab.ca/members/members-of-the-legislative-assembly).”

 

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june, 2021

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