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Share your vision for Downtown Red Deer through survey and online workshops

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Citizens invited to share their vision for downtown Red Deer

A public survey is now open for Red Deerians to share what they love about downtown Red Deer and their vision for future of downtown.  

The survey is part of the Downtown Identity Project, which aims to create a refreshed identity for downtown Red Deer – one that resonates with Red Deerians, businesses, visitors and investors, and inspires them to visit, shop, work, live and invest in its commercial core.“Hearing directly from citizens is a critical element in the success of this project,” said Sarah Tittemore, Community Services General Manager. “Our goal is to develop a collective, shared vision for the future of our downtown, so we want to look closely at what people enjoy about downtown, what could be improved, and ways that we can encourage more visitors to our core.”Launched this summer, this project will result in a downtown identity and strategy plan that outlines a shared vision, guiding principles and opportunities for both the community and The City to implement. The goal is to have an identifiable, well-invested downtown where residents and visitors repeatedly participate in unique, engaging, diverse and positive activities and experiences. Key areas that may be considered by the engagement process and the final plan include heritage, transportation, tourism, the economy, environment, social factors and more.In addition to community engagement, a Community Collaborative Committee is also playing an important role in shaping the plan. Made up of citizens representing a broad range of interests, experiences and ideas, the group’s role is to ensure the community’s voice is represented at all phases of the project.

“Our aim is to ensure the final downtown identity and strategy plan truly reflects a ‘made in Red Deer’ approach and considers all the factors that make our community unique,” said Tittemore. “We couldn’t achieve this without the work the Community Collaborative Committee is doing to ensure all residents have a voice in the creation of a final strategy that will help reimagine our downtown.”

Following the engagement phase of the project, community insights will be used to inform initial stages of the plan. A report back to the community will also be shared to highlight what was heard and how that information was used.

In addition to the survey, two online workshops are being held November 10 and 17. More information about the survey, workshops and the project is available at reddeer.ca/surveys. The survey is open until November 21.

Business

Taxpayers Federation calls for transparency on World Cup costs

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From the Canadian Taxpayers Federation

Author: Carson Binda 

“Toronto taxpayers can’t afford to pay for soccer games that are almost a hundred million dollars over budget already”

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is calling on Vancouver Mayor Ken Sim to release updated cost estimates for the FIFA World Cup games scheduled for 2026. The CTF is also warning Toronto taxpayers that FIFA bills are spiralling in that city.

“Vancouver taxpayers deserve accountability when hundreds of millions are on the line,” said Carson Binda, British Columbia Director for the CTF. “Costs have ballooned in Toronto and Vancouver needs to be honest with its taxpayers about how much the soccer games are going to cost.”

Recent financial estimates have blown past the initial budget in Toronto. In 2022, Toronto expected the total cost of hosting world cup games would be $290 million. That number has now ballooned by 31 per cent to $380 million.

“Toronto taxpayers can’t afford to pay for soccer games that are almost a hundred million dollars over budget already,” Binda said. “That’s unacceptable when taxpayers are getting clobbered with higher taxes.”

Currently, the cost to host seven games in Vancouver is up to $260 million, however the provincial and municipal governments have consistently failed to produce updated cost estimates.

“What are Premier David Eby and Mayor Ken Sim hiding?” Binda said. “They need to stop hiding the numbers and tell taxpayers how much these soccer games are going to cost us.”

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Economy

Canada’s struggling private sector—a tale of two cities

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From the Fraser Institute

By Jason Clemens and Joel Emes

” the private sector must generate the income used to pay for government bureaucrats and government programs. When commercial centres have lower median employment incomes than capital cities, the private sector may be in real distress. “

According to almost every indicator including economic growth, business investment, entrepreneurship, and the employment and unemployment rates, Canada’s private sector is struggling.

A novel way to think about the sorry state of the private sector is to compare income levels in “commercial” cities (basically, cities with little to no provincial or federal government activity and largely characterized by private business activity) with income levels in capital cities, which are dominated by government.

Since the beginning of COVID (February 2020) to June 2023, government-sector job growth in Canada was 11.8 per cent compared to just 3.3 per cent for the private sector (including the self-employed). Put differently, the government sector is booming while the private sector is anemic.

The marked growth in employment in the government sector compared to the private sector is also important because of the wage premiums paid in the government. A 2023 study using data from Statistics Canada for 2021 (the latest year of available data at the time), found that—after controlling for factors such as sex, age, marital status, education, tenure, industry, occupation and location—government workers (federal, provincial and local) enjoyed an 8.5 per cent wage premium over their private-sector counterparts. And this wage gap does not include the more generous pensions typically enjoyed by government workers, their earlier retirement, and lower rates of job loss (i.e. greater job security).

According to a separate recent study, five of the 10 provinces (British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Quebec and New Brunswick) have a distinct commercial centre other than the capital city, and in all five provinces in 2019 (pre-pandemic) the median employment income in the capital city exceeded that of the commercial centre, sometimes by a wide margin. For example, the median employment income in Quebec City was $41,290 compared to $36,660 in Montreal. (The study used median income instead of average income to control for the effect of a small percentage of very high-income earners that can influence the average income for a city.)

Remember, the private sector must generate the income used to pay for government bureaucrats and government programs. When commercial centres have lower median employment incomes than capital cities, the private sector may be in real distress.

Equally as telling is the comparison with the United States. Twenty-three U.S. states have a capital that’s distinct from their main commercial centre, but among that group, only five (North Dakota, Louisiana, Wisconsin, Ohio and Kentucky) had capital cities that clearly had higher levels of median employment income compared to the main commercial centre in the state. This is not to say the U.S. doesn’t have similar problems in its private sector, but its commercial centres generate higher median employment incomes than the capital cities in their states, indicating a potentially better functioning private sector within the state.

Many indicators in Canada are flashing red alerts regarding the health of the economy. The comparative strength of our capital cities compared to commercial centres in generating employment income is yet another sign that more attention and policy reforms are needed to reinvigorate our private sector, which ultimately pays for the government sector.

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