From the City of Red Deer
City to open some outdoor amenities
“We know Red Deerians are anxious to resume their daily lives, including the use of outdoor and indoor recreation in our community,” said Mayor Tara Veer. “We have developed a local phased approach that is in line with the provincial government’s strategy, and ensures we remain unwavering in our diligence and vigilance to preventing the spread of COVID-19 in our community.”
Following advice and recommendations in the provincial Relaunch Strategy, as well as guidelines from Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, the following amenities will open in the coming weeks:
- Skate parks and disc golf will open May 8.
- Neighbourhood asphalt pads (tennis, basketball, neighbourhood pickleball) will open in phases starting May 15. They will be available for spontaneous, non-contact, unorganized sport only.
- Community sport fields remain open for spontaneous use, as long as users comply with the restrictions on mass gatherings and requirement to maintain physical distancing. Sport fields remain closed for organized use and bookings.
- The track near Lindsay Thurber High School remains open for spontaneous use.
- Great Chief Park (including Setters Place) and Edgar Athletic Park remain closed, with the exception the Pitch ‘n Putt at Great Chief Park which is open for use.
- In alignment with Phase 1 of AB Relaunch strategy The City is working with community groups that operate some city amenities to re-open in the near future including: Red Deer Tennis Club, Red Deer Pickleball Club, Red Deer Remote Car Club and Red Deer BMX Club.
- The Waskasoo Environmental Education Society will begin opening aspects of their operations, including a modified Green Deer program, as soon as May 15, more details can be found at https://www.waskasoopark.ca/.
- The City is working with the OPC Chiropractic clinic at the Collicutt Centre to provide modified access.
- Red Deer Museum and Art Gallery is exploring options for their reopening.
The ability to keep facilities open will depend on the public’s compliance with provincial public health orders. Users are reminded of the following restrictions and guidelines when using these amenities:
- Maintain physical distance of 2 metres/6 feet between participants (unless from the same household).
- Only non-contact, unorganized sport is permitted.
- Limit participants to 15 people or less.
- Bring your own equipment and avoid activities that require shared equipment.
- Wash/sanitize your hands often.
In the coming weeks, staff will perform inspections and maintenance on playgrounds in preparation for a phased re-opening. The exact timing for the opening of playgrounds is still under review, and will depend on provincial guidelines.
We continue to plan for the phased opening of other outdoor and indoor amenities, and will share information and updates as timelines are confirmed. The opening of amenities will be based on guidelines and recommendations from the Chief Medical Officer of Health, as well as our own risk analysis. We thank residents for their ongoing support and cooperation in following all public health orders while we evaluate and open amenities when it is safe to do so.
“We are working very closely with the provincial government to understand how to re-open the amenities that we know citizens are eager to return to,” said Allan Seabrooke, City Manager. “We know playgrounds are top of mind for many citizens, and we are working hard to develop a plan to allow for the opening of playgrounds; however, with frequent touch points, limited access to hand hygiene options, and cleaning/sanitizing requirements, a careful, methodical plan is needed.”
More detailed information about the overall municipal strategy for reactivating recreation amenities in Red Deer will be available in the coming weeks. As always, the strategy is entirely dependent on the evolving situation, which can change quickly.
For more information, visit reddeer.ca.
Alberta Ombudsman can’t do anything about City of Red Deer complaint about 9-11 Dispatch
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.”
14% of City Employees still unvaccinated as mandate comes into effect Monday
Employee immunization policy comes into full effect Monday
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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