I listened to another conversation about the continued decline of the neighbourhoods north of the river. It was the sense of acceptance that these neighbourhoods were so inferior and undesirable that worried me.
These are educated people, accepting something that should be abhorrent.
Remember 1985. Parkland Mall was a vibrant shopping destination, for Central Alberta. 40 percent of the residents lived north of the river. The last school north of the river was built. The Dawe Centre was open and then the clock stopped.
Now, in 2017, Parkland Mall is but a shadow of it’s former south and only 30 percent of the residents live north of the river, the population actually declined by 777 residents last year.
The school that was to be built in Johnstone Park, was when it came to be built was built south of the river, and the school site was turned into a park. The superintendent e-mailed me and explained that the growth was in the south. I asked if their policies was actually assisting in the mass relocating of the north side residents and I was brushed off with the standard; “Something to think about” response. I noted that in the planning of 5 square miles of land north of 11a there are only 2 sites for schools but in the plans around the 67 Street and 30 Avenue traffic circle there are 9 sites with 3 high schools. Again; “Something to think about”.
With 30,000 residents with plans for 55,000 residents north of the river is there no plans for a high school? Blackfalds and Penhold will have a high school. The residents south of the river will have 6 high schools with 5 high schools along 30 Avenue between 29 Street and 69 Street. Somebody should do something so people will not move out from the north side because the school that was promised will not be built and there are no high schools planned. Wait 777 residents did move out last year, is there a connection? Do families want to move into neighbourhoods near their children’s schools?
Perhaps families would rather live near recreation centres? On the north side of the river we have the Dawe Centre, built in the 70s, and there are no plans to build a new recreation centre, including a swimming pool.
On the south side we only have; the Downtown Recreation Centre, Michener Aquatic Centre, Downtown Arena, Centrium complex, Collicutt Recreation Centre, Pidherney Curling Centre, Kinex Arena, Kinsmen Community Arenas, Red Deer Curling Centre, and the under-construction Gary W. Harris Centre. The city is also talking about replacing the downtown recreation centre with an expanded 50m pool.
A little lop-sided would you not say. Somebody should do something.
Back to this conversation. If it is accepted that the neighbourhoods north of the river, are lower income, less educated and have higher crime and poorer air, are we creating these scenarios with our policies. Why do we build high schools easily accessible to the higher income families and make the lower income families drive across the city? Same with the recreational complexes. Are we pushing the young people out to the streets because they do not have the time to travel across the city to participate in extra curricular activities let alone the funds for travel? Somebody should do something.
Perhaps the citizens north of the river should create a block of candidates for the municipal election this October. A block of trustee candidates for each school board and a block of candidates for city council. Perhaps individuals could run on that platform if not demand answers as to why we continue with this discrimination of the north side of the river. Again; Somebody should do something.
Before it gets any worse.