From the Town of Blackfalds
Blackfalds Adopts Exchange Zone
Exchange zones provide a safe way for the public to exchange goods without the need to provide personal information or have strangers come to your home address.
“The need for a public location for exchanges to occur between people is something which has been brought forward in many communities as they grow,” explains Ken Morrison, Emergency Management and Protective Services Manager. “It provides [buyers or sellers] a place to arrange an exchange without having people attending their home.”
Morrison elaborated that the City of Edmonton implemented exchange zones in March of 2020 as there was an increase in online purchases, and consequently, crime in relation to those purchases. “The previous year, Edmonton Protective Services had made 77 arrests and laid 218 charges relating to the face-to-face buying and selling of online items. Internet communities all over [Alberta] have adopted these initiatives in the hopes of keeping people reasonably safe when making in-person exchanges.”
The Blackfalds exchange zone consists of two designated parking stalls and is located in the parking lot in front of the Protective Services building at 4405 South Street.
RCMP Sergeant Brent Dueck said that the location was chosen because of its already established security measures in and around the building and is manned 24 hours a day. “The Protective Services building was chosen as there are security cameras in place and outside lighting along with police officers and Fire Department personnel coming and going all hours of the day and night.”
How the Railroads Shaped Red Deer
Rivers, creeks and streams have shaped the land for eons, slowly carving away earth to reveal the terrain we know today. Much of the same can be said for the impact and influence that railways had in shaping the size and shape and even the very location of what is now the City of Red Deer.
Prior to the construction of the Calgary and Edmonton railway, which started heading north from Calgary in 1890, what we now recognize as the bustling city of Red Deer was unbroken and forested land. The nearest significant settlement was the crossing for the C&E Trail of the Red Deer River, very close to where the historic Fort Normandeau replica stands today.
Navigating how to handle crossing the Red Deer River would be a significant challenge for construction of the railway route. Initially, the route was planned to take the tried-and-true path that had served animals, first nations people and fur traders for centuries, past the Red Deer River settlement. Yet just as the mighty river powerfully shaped the contours and dimensions of the land, the future site of Red Deer would be singlehandedly determined by Reverend Leonard Gaetz.
Rev. Gaetz offered James Ross, President of the Calgary and Edmonton Railway company, land from his personal farmlands for the river crossing and the townsite for Red Deer. Ross accepted and history was forever shaped by the decision, as what is now home to more than 100,000 people grew steadily outward starting at the C&E Railway train station.
The rails finally reached the Red Deer area in November of 1890 and trains soon began running south to Calgary. By 1891, the Calgary and Edmonton railway was completed north to Strathcona. Alberta gained one of its most vital transportation corridors and the province would thrive from this ribbon of steel rails.
Over time, the C&E railyards grew and expanded to accommodate the demand for moving more and more commodities like grain, coal, lumber and business and household items along with passengers. Those passengers were the pioneer settlers who would make Red Deer the commercial hub that it remains to this day.
For nearly 100 years, the downtown was intimately connected with the railway in the form of hotels built to welcome travelers, grain elevators, warehouses, factories and the facilities required to service the locomotives and equipment that operated the trains. Tracks and spurs dominated the downtown area, especially after the advent of the Alberta Central Railway and the arrival of the Canadian Northern Western Railway (later absorbed into Canadian National railways).
By the 1980s, the ever-present tracks and downtown railyard were seen as an industrial blight in the heart of the city that the railway created so funding was sought and plans were made to relocate the now Canadian Pacific rails from their historical home to a new modern yard northwest of the city.
This was actually the second relocation of tracks from downtown as the Canadian National railway tracks were removed in 1960 which permitted the development along 47th Avenue south of the Red Deer River.
This massive project opened up the Riverlands district downtown to new developments which included condominiums, grocery stores, restaurants and professional buildings. Taylor Drive was built following the old rail line corridor and removal of the tracks in Lower Fairview meant residents wouldn’t hear the rumble of trains in their community anymore.
Just as the waters gradually shaped the places we know now, the railways definitely forged Red Deer into the vibrant economic hub of central Alberta that it remains today.
We hope you enjoyed this story about our local history. Click here to read more history stories on Todayville.
Visit the City of Red Deer Archives to browse through the written, photographic and audio history of Red Deer. Read about the city and surrounding community and learn about the people who make Red Deer special.
RCMP crack firearms trafficking operation based in Blackfalds
From the Blackfalds RCMP
Blackfalds RCMP – Multi agency attack on firearms trafficking
A comprehensive investigation was initiated in January, and saw at least 11 different partnering detachments, units and agencies collaborating to stop an organized firearms straw buying/trafficking operation.
The investigation was launched by Blackfalds RCMP after receiving intelligence about the possibility of the trafficking. Extensive evidence had to be gathered which included the engagement of firearms partners; the Chief Firearms Officer, NWEST, Red Deer ALERT and Edmonton Police Service’s Firearms Investigation Unit. These units were able to provide expertise related to the dynamics of straw purchasing and trafficking.
Three suspects were identified and targeted in the ongoing investigation. On Feb. 12, search warrants were conducted at residences in both Red Deer and Blackfalds. Because there were two different locations, and given the nature of the searches, Blackfalds, Red Deer, Sylvan Lake, Innisfail, Ponoka General Investigation Section Units and Red Deer Crime Reduction Team all provided assistance. The RCMP Police Dog Services and Emergency Response Team were also on hand to ensure police and public safety.
Three adults were taken into custody. During the execution of the search warrant, a loaded Glock .22 pistol was located with the three adults. 10 firearms and ammunition were seized from the residences. Some of the firearms were loaded, and had serial numbers tampered with. Continuing investigation led the RCMP to determine other firearms were purchased. The Blackfalds RCMP anticipate seizing two more pistols from a Calgary business.
David Jason Masyk (39), Jason Paul Lafferty (48) and Jennifer Lynn McCagherty (29) were all charged criminally on Feb. 13 related to firearms / firearms trafficking offences.
Lafferty is facing 25 charges, including four counts of firearms possession contrary to prohibition order. Masyk is facing 10 charges, including three counts of Weapons Trafficking and four counts of Weapons possession for the purpose of trafficking and McCagherty is facing 19 charges, including 10 counts of unauthorized possession of a firearm.
Judicial Interim Release hearings were held. Lafferty did not speak to bail and was remanded into custody until Feb. 17, 2021. Masyk and McCagherty were both released and are set to appear in Red Deer Provincial court on March 17, 2021.
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