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City of Red Deer

Residential snow plowing accelerated by moving to 24/7 schedule


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City of Red Deer announces pilot snow and ice control program

This winter, The City of Red Deer is piloting changes to the snow and ice control program that emphasizes restoring mobility sooner and providing safe, accessible and well-maintained transportation infrastructure for all.To improve mobility and responsiveness, residential streets will now be included in The City’s 24-hour snow and ice control operations. Previously, residential plowing was completed weekdays from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.“We have heard from the community that they want residential streets completed sooner,” said Greg Sikora, Manager of Parks and Public Works. “By expanding our operations to 24/7, we will be able to clear Green and Grey Routes within seven days individually, which is an improvement from the previous average of 24 plus days to complete.”

Once residential plowing is triggered, short-term, 24-hour per day parking restrictions will be implemented along residential routes. These restrictions will be enforced through ticketing and towing on both Green and Grey routes. Red Deerians will be notified of parking restrictions in a number of ways:

• Crews will place No Parking signs on every impacted street a minimum of 12 hours in advance of plowing,
• Residents can search their address via the mapping tool on The City’s website at, 
• Residents will be alerted through Notify Red Deer, and
• Updates will be shared on The City’s social media channels.

Other improvements include increased service levels to the current trail clearing program, including an additional 25 km of the Waskasoo asphalt trail network, 10 new locations of shale trail and staircase clearing, and 68 more kilometres of neighbourhood asphalt trail clearing. 

These networks will be cleared within three to six days, improving pedestrian and cyclist experience. Similarly, transit stops will also be cleared more quickly.

Changes to the overall program will focus on increasing the presence and effectiveness of pre-treating, plowing and sanding equipment on major arterials, hills and bridges before, during and after snowfall.

“To address icy driving conditions and provide greater traction control, we will be more aggressively sanding and salting our major roadways and high-risk spots,” said Sikora.

In June 2023, Council adopted the revised Integrated and Accessible Transportation Policy (IAATP), which focuses on providing the community with mobility services based on four guiding principles: safe, accessible, well-maintained and accountable.

The City is also launching a public consultation process on residential snow clearing operations. Residents are invited to provide input on the residential program, and how we can better meet the needs of the community throughout the winter. At the end of the program, all responses will be analyzed and summarized in a report. City Council will then review the findings to inform future snow clearing policies and operations. Visit to learn more.

For more information about the new snow and ice program, visit

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What’s changing this winter?

We are focused on restoring mobility and ensuring accessibility this winter. To improve our residential snow control program, we will be expanding our 24-hour operations to include residential routes. This means when a residential plow campaign is triggered, we will be working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week until all residential streets are cleared. This shift will reduce the amount of time it takes to complete residential plowing from approximately 20 calendar days in the past, to just 7 days per route.

2. What is changing related to transit clearing?

This winter, transit stops are being cleared sooner to restore mobility quicker. Priority 1 stops will be cleared within 1 day, Priority 2 by day 3, and Priority 3 by day 7.

3. What is changing related to sidewalk, staircase, neighbourhood & Waskasoo Park trails clearing by The City?

This winter, we are enhancing our trail and sidewalk clearing to restore integrated mobility sooner for pedestrians. Within three days of each snow event, we currently clear nearly 130 kilometres of public sidewalks throughout the city. Additionally, we are expanding to clear an additional 16km of Grey Route sidewalks (also known as second-side sidewalks), 68km of neighbourhood asphalt trails, 35km of Waskasoo Park Trails including several staircases.

To see a full map of where will be clearing, visit: Snow and Ice Control Sidewalk and Trail Clearing Map on

4. How much is this pilot going to cost The City?

Our annual winter maintenance operating budget is$6.7 million. Through this pilot program, we are looking at our entire operations to fit in the newly adopted Safety Maintenance and Mobility Hierarchies and are analyzing our operations and reporting on our costs this winter to determine our ongoing service commitments.

5. Why is this only a pilot, what’s the plan going forward?

We are making these changes in an effort to be responsive to the community’s mobility needs and feedback we’ve received in previous winters. However, we recognize it will be necessary to make adjustments. Throughout the winter, we will be asking for resident input on how the changes are working, and where additional changes might need to be considered. Following this winter, a revised recommendation and ongoing budget ask will go to City Council for consideration.

6. When will residential plowing begin?

We are focused on restoring mobility and ensuring accessibility this winter. A residential plowing campaign will be triggered when mobility is negatively impacted, with triggering factors including, but not limited to: snowfall, forecast, freeze/thaw cycles and snowpack. In previous years, snowpack was our only trigger, but this year we will be more responsive and flexible so we can restore mobility and improve accessibility sooner. This year, all Green Routes will be completed in advance of a Grey Route plowing campaign.

7. Will there be parking bans?

Yes. When a residential plow campaign is triggered, a parking ban will first happen on all Green Routes, and then on all Grey Routes. The parking ban will be in effect at all hours (including overnight) until a street is completed.

8. How will I know if there’s a parking ban?

When a parking ban is declared, there will be numerous ways to find out. Red a-frame ‘NO PARKING ANYTIME’ signs will be placed on every residential street (both Green and Grey Routes) in advance of plows coming through. These signs will be placed a minimum of 12 hours in advance of plowing, and residents cannot park until the signs have been removed. In addition to watching for signs, we encourage everyone to sign up for Notify Red Deer to get a text reminding you to move your vehicle. Other ways to find out include checking, following The City on Facebook/Twitter and staying in the know with local media.

9. What if I don’t move my car?

Vehicles left on the street when a parking ban is in effect will be ticketed and towed, including on Grey Routes (previously only Green Routes were signed). Avoid a ticket by moving your vehicle when a parking ban is in effect. Watch for signs on your street.

10. Where can I park during a parking ban?

Parking bans will first happen on all Green Routes, and then, when necessary Grey Routes. During a ban, vehicles must be parked off-street (such as in a driveway, garage, or parking lot) or on an alternately-coloured route until plowing has been completed on your street. Parking bans will be enforced 24 hours a day until the signs have been removed, signaling to residents they can return to on-street parking.

11. I don’t have off-street parking, what do I do then?

As per City Bylaw, every residence is required to have two off-street parking stalls. We encourage you to utilize these spaces. If you have more than two vehicles, you can park on the nearest street that is not signed with NO PARKING ANYTIME. Remembering, that Green or Grey Routes will not be cleared at the same time, and therefore will not have parking bans enforced at the same time.

To find the nearest route, visit Alternatively, check with a neighbour to find out if they have an extra space they would be willing to share with you. If you have additional space, be a Snow Buddy and offer your neighbour space to park!

12. How do I know if I live on a Green or Grey Route?

Green and Grey Routes are how we distinguish the two types of residential streets we have in our city.

a. Green Routes are the busier roads in each neighbourhood and consist of collector roads and City Transit routes (streets, drives, etc). They typically have higher traffic volumes and provide access to residential streets. Often Green Routes have a yellow line painted down the centre.

b. Grey Routes are quieter residential streets (closes, crescents, etc) and typically have a lower traffic volume.

c. An address search and route finder is available on

13. Why do Green Routes have snow removed and Grey Routes are left with windrows?

Restoring mobility and ensuring accessibility are our first priorities. Green Routes have higher traffic volumes and additional uses including Transit, and are plowed with snow removed. On Grey Routes, we plow to a snowpack and place windrows on both sides of the street, with windrows openings to provide access to driveways, alleys, and at pedestrian crossings.

This winter, we will also be removing windrows from portions of Grey Routes in front of higher density (R3 Zone development) where off-street parking maybe limited. Previously Green Routes were always plowed to bare pavement and with this pilot program that may not always be the situation.

14. I have input on how you can do things differently!

Great! We encourage our citizens to get involved and share their perspectives, ideas and input throughout the winter at


City of Red Deer

City introduces new phone number to report non-emergency mental health, addiction, or homeless issues

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New streamlined way to reach Red Deer’s Social Diversion Team

Since launching in 2021, the Social Diversion Team (SDT) has been responding to calls throughout Red Deer for individuals in need of non-emergency support, whether experiencing mental health struggles, addictions issues, or homelessness.

Beginning March 1, 2024, the community will need to call the non-emergency police line at 403-406-2200 to connect with the Social Diversion Team. This move from the previous 2-1-1 call line will improve the caller’s ability to quickly connect with a Police Communications Operator who can quickly determine the nature of the call and dispatch the appropriate resources in a timely and efficient manner.

“This change simplifies calling and dispatching the Social Diversion Team,” said Peter Puszka, Municipal Policing Services Superintendent. “Red Deerians now need to remember only one contact number for all non-emergency community safety concerns and our experienced, well-trained Police Communications Operators can assess the circumstances of the call, determine which resource is appropriate and dispatch accordingly.”

Though the Alberta 2-1-1 has been the dispatching service since the onset of the program, the move to internal dispatching will simplify the call-in process, removing barriers like pre-recorded messaging and on-hold wait times, improve internal communication between the dispatchers and the responding Social Diversion Team, and allow for operators with local community knowledge to provide enhanced response.

While the phone number has changed, all other elements of the program remain the same. The two-person Social Diversion Team consists of a Licensed Practical Nurse and a Social Diversion Specialist, who respond to reports of individuals in distress. The team connects clients with the social services they need, such as housing supports, mental health supports, detox programs and harm reduction resources.

“We are excited to continue providing individuals with the right response at the right time,” says Ryan Veldkamp, Social Wellness & Integration Supports Superintendent. “We know that not every call is an emergency call, and that’s why the Social Diversion Team is the right choice for these situations where individuals are in crisis. The team continues to allow our first responders to concentrate on responding to critical medical emergencies and criminal matters.”

In its three years of operation, the SDT has averaged a response rate of 185 events per month or approximately 6 calls a day. The teams use their specialized training to provide assessment, intervention and support to those in need.

Stephanie MacDonald, Outreach and Housing Services Manager for Safe Harbour Society said, “The Social Diversion Team is very excited for this change over and believes that this will allow for a more effective and timely response.”

While the SDT continues to operate from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., 7 days a week, the 24/7 non-

emergency line will dispatch the SDT based on their availability, or utilize other policing and medical services when they are not.

To learn more about the Social Diversion Team, visit

When Should I call the Social Diversion Team?

If you see someone who is:

  • Experiencing a mental health or medical (non-emergency) crisis
  • Intoxicated or otherwise impaired
  • Requiring transport to appropriate services (i.e. a shelter)
  • Sleeping in an unsafe space and/or inappropriately dressed for the weather
  • Requiring social services (i.e. housing, nutrition, health or community supports)
  • Likely to come to harm without intervention

And the individual is not posing an immediate harm to themselves or others, call 403-406-2200

The team’s hours of operation are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. However, the non-emergency (403-406-2200) line is operated 24/7. Outside of the Social Diversion team operating hours, callers will be provided with either a community referral, crisis intervention support, connected to 911, or offered a follow-up.

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City Council decides to close Red Deer’s Overdose Prevention Site

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City Council requests the Province of Alberta make changes to OPS in Red Deer

City Council made decisions (Friday) related to Red Deer’s Overdose Prevention Site (OPS), requesting the Government of Alberta (GOA):

  • formalize an orderly transition of the existing OPS out of Red Deer by the end of 2025;
  • provide in its place greater harm reducing options within our community that focus on health, wellness, and recovery, including more detox capacity, medication-assisted treatment (MAT), recovery coaches, counsellors, and culturally appropriate health and wellness supports, etc.;
  • provide dedicated grant funding to provide a continuous police presence/enforcement in the immediate vicinity of the OPS and temporary shelter, until the crime and social disorder impacts associated with these provincial services are better mitigated for the safety and security of our public;
  • substantially increase front-line supports for mental health and addictions within our community/region to better address the root causes leading to drug and alcohol addictions.

These decisions stem from a Notice of Motion put forward by Councillor Higham on December 18, 2023. After being read into the record on January 22, 2024, a non-statutory public hearing was scheduled for yesterday, February 15, 2024. Approximately 40 members of the public attended the non-statutory public hearing, with approximately 30 individuals speaking to the Notice of Motion, sharing their thoughts on the issue.

After hearing from the public yesterday, City Council debated the motion today, with Mayor Ken Johnston now having City Council direction to take the issue forward to the province and proceed with advocacy efforts.

“The public hearing and the debate of this motion were harrowing and emotional experiences for everyone. Each of us have been touched in some way by addiction; we heard that very clearly, and I am no exception. We heard heartfelt testimony from many members of our community, citizens, some who use the OPS, some who are service providers in the community, business owners, doctors, family members that have lost loves ones, and more,” said Mayor Johnston. “Council approached this most sensitive of issues with open minds, open ears, and open hearts. We are trying to improve lives for those suffering from addiction. This is a complex challenge, as these are areas where municipalities do not have jurisdiction. What we know is that Red Deer needs robust support from the provincial government for people with addictions; we need support for our community that is grappling with the fallout of addictions; and we need that support in the most immediate way.”

Mayor Johnston added, “Following this meeting, I will reach out to the Ministry of Addictions and Mental Health to book meetings where we can discuss how to move forward in the best interest of our city.”

Currently the OPS is located 5246 53 Avenue in downtown Red Deer.

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