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Westerner Park Announces Departure of CEO Ben Antifaiff

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  • It’s been a tough week in the city for CEO’s.  Yesterday’s news of Chamber President and CEO Robin Bobicel took everyone by surprise, and now today’s news of the President and CEO of Westerner Park leaving effective immediately.  With major events like CFR and Agri-trade just around the corner, and both of these organizations highly involved, it makes everyone wonder if there’s a connection, but we’ve been assured that no, there’s no connection.

    Here’s a release that Westerner Park just put out.

    On behalf of Westerner Park, the Board of Directors wishes to announce that Ben Antifaiff has left the employ of Westerner Park, effective immediately.

    “We want to acknowledge Ben’s contribution to Westerner Park, and the role he played in building our strategic plan and in helping to bring the Canadian Finals Rodeo to Red Deer. We wish him well in his future endeavours,” said Damian Zapisocky, President and Board Chair of the Westerner Exposition Association.

    Westerner Park Board of Directors Vice-President Bradley Williams has agreed to take a leave of absence from the Board, to assume the role of CEO on an interim basis.

    “The Board is confident William’s business experience will ensure the stability of our organization as we prepare for both the Canadian Finals Rodeo and Agri-Trade,” added Zapisocky.

    Westerner Park’s Board of Directors will be undertaking the steps necessary to appoint a new CEO in the near future.

    Westerner Park will continue with a busy fall agenda of events, as well as working alongside the Red Deer Chamber of Commerce to prepare and host the Canadian Finals Rodeo and Agri-Trade. Canadian Finals Rodeo will be held at the Westerner Park from Oct. 30 to Nov. 4.


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    President Todayville Inc., Former VP/GM CTV Edmonton, Honorary Lieutenant Colonel 41 Signal Regiment, Board Member Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Arts Award Foundation, Past Board Member United Way of Alberta Capital Region, Musician, Photographer.

    Alberta

    It’s Open!

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  • The Gaetz Avenue interchange is now open to traffic.

    From the Province of Alberta

    Gaetz Avenue interchange open in Red Deer

    As the 2018 construction season comes to a close, the Highway 2/Gaetz Avenue interchange in Red Deer is fully open to traffic.

    The new interchange will improve traffic flow and safety for highway travellers, local residents and commuters and businesses in the Red Deer area.

    “This section of the QEII has always been a pinch-point for motorists. Alberta Transportation, the City and County of Red Deer, along with the contractor, worked diligently to make sure we could safely open the interchange in time for the Canada Winter Games this February. This new interchange improves the flow of traffic and increases safety on a heavily travelled stretch of highway.”

    Brian Mason, Minister of Transportation

    “Our community appreciates the modernized QEII interchange with Gaetz Avenue that is now open to traffic. The new interchange will greatly enhance safety and improve access for citizens in Red Deer and region, as well as for the thousands of our fellow Canadians who will be joining us from across our country for the Canada Winter Games.”

    Tara Veer, mayor of Red Deer

    “Red Deer County is thrilled to see the Gaetz Avenue interchange project come to a conclusion. This was a massive project, and, in only two years, we have completely changed the way that motorists access Gasoline Alley and the City of Red Deer. This project has improved vehicle safety and efficiency – which creates even greater demand for local businesses. We are also excited to see the beginning of a new business area adjacent to the highway, at the Junction of Highways 2 and 42.”

    Jim Wood, mayor, Red Deer County

    Construction of the $80 million Highway 2/Gaetz Avenue interchange began in 2016. The project includes five new bridges, new on and off ramps for northbound and southbound traffic, the widening and realignment of Highway 2 and the integration of the Taylor Drive and Gaetz Avenue interchanges. Minor finishing work, such as final paving, signage, guardrail installation and landscaping, will be completed in 2019.

    The project was one of more than 195 projects included in the 2018 Construction Program. Of those projects, 139 will be completed by the end of the fiscal year and 56, which are multi-year projects, will continue in the 2019 construction season.

    2018 construction season highlights:

    • Five year budget for highways and bridges – $5.6 billion
    • 2018-19 fiscal year – $1.1 billion
    • 2018-19 fiscal year to the end of September, 2018 – $719 million
    • 1,100 kilometres of roads were maintained with pavement rehabilitation work in 2018, which is equivalent to the driving distance between Edmonton and Brandon, Man.

    Southwest Calgary Ring Road

    • Construction of the Southwest Ring Road is now more than 40 per cent complete with full completion scheduled for October 2021.
    • River channel alignment works are complete at all three locations.
    • More than 90 per cent of utility realignment is complete.

    Highway 43X bypass (Grande Prairie)

    • The roundabout at Highway 43X and Range Road 63 opened in mid-September.

    Peace River Bridge

    • Work continues on the west side at the Shaftesbury Interchange and the CN Rail overpass.
    • All project components (except the main bridge) are expected to open during fall 2019.
    • Completion of the 98 Street overpass is expected during summer 2019.
    • The main bridge is on schedule to open during fall 2020.

    Highway 19

    • Work on the east section of the project is expected to be complete in 2019.
    • During the winter of 2018-19, two lanes per direction are expected to open to traffic.
    • Construction of a roundabout at Highway 39 and 60 is expected begin in 2019.

    Highway 15 twinning and related work

    • Design is underway for the overall Highway 15 twinning project.
    • Construction is anticipated to begin in 2019, and is estimated to take about three years.
    • Repaving of four kilometres of highway between Edmonton and Fort Saskatchewan was completed in 2017.
    • Upgrades to the existing bridge substructures, concrete piers, guardrails and drainage system was completed in 2017.


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    Turks and Caicos – The Road Less Travelled

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  • Turks and Caicos – The Road Less Travelled

    I once had political aspirations. It was the early 1980s. A federal election was brewing. At the same time a tiny chain of British islands in the Caribbean – the Turks and Caicos – had expressed interest in forming an association with Canada.

    What a great idea: Canada’s own warm, winter destination. No more currency exchange swindles or fighting with hefty American tourists in a Cancun buffet line-up; just a happy bunch of Canucks soaking up the sun in our own polite corner of tropical paradise.

    I would make political hay by running for office on this simple, single platform: promoting a union between Canada and the Turks and Caicos. It seemed a worthwhile diversion from Alberta’s traditional campaign issues: complaining about Quebec and letting the eastern bastards freeze in the dark.

    Alas, I didn’t run and my nascent political ambitions, like the election, came and went. The Turks and Caicos dream faded into the blue yonder; our Prime Minister went back to exclaiming “fuddle duddle” in Parliament and the West returned to detesting the East over trivial issues such as who was going to get Alberta’s gazillion petro dollars. And instead of milking the federal treasury I ended up in law school and eventually Red Deer where I practiced law for a quarter century before concluding that life was too short to spend behind a desk – even if it were in the corner office.

    Coral reef surrounds Providenciales

    But some people follow through on that early opportunity to chart a different course. Bruce Twa, a law school buddy, had lawyered through a few cold Alberta winters when a chance phone call offered him the prospect of practicing warm-winter law – in the Turks and Caicos. Bruce jumped at the offer. He has now been resident in the “TCIs” for over twenty-five years, transacting real estate deals on behalf of wealthy, sophisticated, discreet clients – when he’s not boating in the azure-coloured waters or snorkeling amongst parrotfish and turtles in the coral reef surrounding the islands.

    Conch Vendor

    I had promised (threatened?) to visit Bruce on numerous occasions over the years. Finally, arrangements were made. We’d see the tropical paradise Canada had snubbed and find out how my naïve 1980s political ambitions may have panned out.

    My wife Florence and I learned even before clearing customs at Providenciales airport that the TCIs still maintain a quaint “small-island” feel. Bruce and his wife Darlene had graciously offered to host us during our stay but the border guard wouldn’t allow us entry. We didn’t have Bruce’s home address. The officer shook his head many times, threatening us with expulsion, before calling in his superior.

    She looked at our paperwork, “Oh, you staying with Bruce? I just give him a call and get his house number.” She dialled and five minutes later we were standing on the curb, throwing our stuff into Bruce’s pickup.

    We had only four days in the TCIs; a wise use of time was paramount. I wanted to evaluate whether Canada had blundered or done right in spurning the wishes of this British Protectorate. A quick but thorough analysis of the culture, economy and history was in order. I’d keep a tally of the positives and negatives. We began our research in a calculated, scientific fashion: so we went for beer and seafood, stuffing ourselves with fresh conch and island brew. The conch fritters were fantastic but the local beer (Turk’s Head) was awful. Score: one/one.

    Darlene, nice. Turk’s Head, not so nice.

    In the morning Bruce offered us the use of his beater truck so we could explore the island. I was a bit nervous about driving a standard stick shift in a strange country. “Don’t worry,” said Bruce, “Provo (that’s what the locals call Providenciales) is small, you really can’t get lost”. I felt better until I turned out of his driveway onto the main highway and realized everyone was driving on the wrong side of the road. I geared down and careened into the steamy Caribbean chaos.

    Our methodical investigation continued… with lunch by the sea at Grace Bay – named by Condé Nast as one of the top beaches in the world. The fish was delectable and the beer (Presidente, imported from the Dominican Republic) palatable. The score was starting to favour the unionists.

    That afternoon Bruce abandoned his clients to take us on an insider’s tour of his small island. The TCIs are a string of Cays (“Keys”) located at the eastern end of the Bahamas chain. The capital is Grand Turk, an island 100 kilometers from Providenciales. There are numerous small Cays – mostly uninhabited – between these two major islands. Due largely to the influence of Canadian ex-pats, Provo has evolved to become both the commercial and tourism center of the TCIs.

    Bruce drove us through the high-rent district. If you are in the market for a multi-million dollar beachside home, Provo has plenty to offer. And if you change your mind and decide to sell, there is no tax payable on any gain in value. In fact there’s no tax of any kind in the TCIs: no tax on income or capital gains and no annual property tax on your house. But import duties and the cost of living are painfully high. Duty can be as much as 45% of a car’s value. And when you buy your dream home in paradise there is a one-time stamp fee payable equal to 9.75% of the purchase price. On a $1,000,000 property the fee is almost $100,000! Ouch, that’s a lot of postage.

    These punishing import duties have led to some clever avoidance strategies. For example, the Turks and Caicos has many, many churches… all exempt from duty. Thus, even the humblest pastor usually drives a shiny new SUV.

    We also toured the low-rent district, a stone’s throw from where the millionaire’s reside. The poor area, dubbed Five Cays, is where the immigrant workers – primarily Haitian – live.

    The unmaintained road into Five Cays is almost impassable. This explains the abandoned vehicles we encountered – some converted into makeshift shelters; and many of the shanty houses here are a work-in-progress.

    Home sweet home

    “We build piece-piece,” the locals explain. Bruce often does free legal work for the poor of Five Cays. He should be careful. This kind of attitude could bring an end to lawyer jokes.

    There are a number of different, confusing categories of residency in the TCIs. We arrived on a temporary (30 day) permit. Bruce and his wife are permanent residents. The Haitians rely on work permit residency.

    Then there are the “Belongers”. Only those persons born on the islands (with island ancestry) are true citizens, entitled to vote and hold office. Bruce and Darlene have been permanent residents of the TCIs for over two decades but can’t vote. They’ll never be Belongers.

    This bizarre restriction on citizenship has led indirectly to a major challenge facing the Turks and Caicos: a legacy of nepotism and corruption. One afternoon Bruce took us snorkeling. We boated past the palatial home of ex-premier Michael Misick in the Leeward neighbourhood of Provo.

    Michael Misick’s mansion

    After building his mansion Mr. Misick leased it to the government. Then he moved in – as tenant – and collected $10,000 a month in rent from government coffers. The same day we cruised by the house, Interpol apprehended Mr. Misick in Rio de Janeiro on an international arrest warrant on charges of corruption and maladministration. Michael Misick apparently lacks neither cash nor gumption.

    The tally was thickening. Would it really benefit Canada to get into bed with these types – even if the bed was a hammock swaying in a tropical breeze?

    Bonefish put up a helluva fight!

    Time was running short. To judge matters objectively I needed more first-hand data… so I went bonefishing with “Bar”, a local guide. Wow! The fight presented by these fish is absurd. If you are a fly-fisherman put this adventure on your bucket-list. One moment I was admiring a juvenile nurse shark hovering in the shallow waters beneath Bar’s flat-bottomed boat and the next the line was spinning uncontrollably outward. It was ten minutes before I had that slippery little devil in my hands.

    Motoring back to Provo we trolled past Bruce Willis’ house on Parrot Cay but the place looked deserted. Perhaps he was over at Demi Moore’s place having an ex-spouse, ex-pat spat.

     

    I owed Bar $500 for the morning’s fishing (I told you the TCIs are expensive). We agreed to meet at a bank up the road – but as we pulled in it was being robbed. “What happened?” I asked the security guard next door. “Sketchy… it happen piece-piece,” he answered cryptically. Crime is not really an issue in the TCIs but, embarrassingly, the Provo Police Station had also recently been burgled. Thieves made off with guns, ammo and drugs held for pending court cases; adding insult to injury the police force’s new uniforms ended up at a local pawnshop.

    Then there’s the “Potcakes” – Provo’s stray dogs. Packs of barking Potcakes roam the streets of this little island at night, stealing sleep from rich and poor alike. Unfortunately, the government funding for a much-needed sterilization program came unleashed amid allegations of… corruption.

    Bruce retrieves an AWOL Biana.

    Bruce’s dog Biana is a former Potcake, now fully civilized. During our boating afternoon Biana grew seasick but jumped overboard rather than vomit in her master’s vessel. Bruce cut the motor, dove in and brought his AWOL canine back aboard; then she threw up.

    The final tally? It’s difficult to say. On our last night any negative karma evaporated when I stepped onto Bruce’s deck, into the sultry Provo darkness, and smelled the air. Have you ever encountered night-blooming jasmine? The fragrance is difficult to describe but should I ever again detect its beauty floating on a tropical evening breeze, the recollection will return like scented déjà vu.

    Perhaps it’s best to let the Turks and Caicos dream drift away, unfulfilled. Like most things in life – politics included – things aren’t so simple as may first appear. Still, it sure would be nice to see the Maple Leaf fluttering over a tropical sunset.

    About the author:

    Gerry Feehan QC practised law in Red Deer for 27 years before starting his second life as a freelance travel writer and photographer. He says that, while being a lawyer is more remunerative than travel writing, it isn’t nearly as much fun. When not on the road, Gerry and his wife Florence live in Red Deer and Kimberley, BC. Todayville is proud to work with Gerry to re-publish some of his most compelling stories from his vast catalogue developed over more than a decade of travel.

    THANKS to these great partners for making this series possible.

     

     


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    november, 2018

    thu11oct - 29novoct 115:45 pmnov 29Wellness Recovery Action Planning (WRAP) - CMHA(october 11) 5:45 pm - (november 29) 8:15 pm

    wed21nov5:30 pm- 11:00 pmFestival of Trees Preview Dinner5:30 pm - 11:00 pm

    thu22nov11:30 am- 1:30 pmFestival of Trees Business LunchFestival of Trees11:30 am - 1:30 pm

    thu22nov6:00 pm- 9:00 pmFestival of Trees Taste of Red DeerFestival of Trees6:00 pm - 9:00 pm

    fri23nov10:30 am- 1:30 pmFestival of Trees Fashion BrunchFashion Brunch10:30 am - 1:30 pm

    sat24nov10:00 am- 4:00 pmParkland Garden Centre Craft and Market Sale10:00 am - 4:00 pm

    sat24nov6:00 pm- 11:00 pmMistletoe MagicFestival of Trees6:00 pm - 11:00 pm

    sun25nov9:00 am- 12:00 pmBreakfast with SantaFestival of Trees9:00 am - 12:00 pm

    fri30nov - 1decnov 303:00 pmdec 1- 4:00 pmWesterner Park Christmas Artisan Market3:00 pm - (december 1) 4:00 pm

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