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Opinion

OPINION: When it comes to pools, we can but we will have to hurry to catch up to Medicine Hat and Lethbridge

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  • The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the writer and should not be interpreted as reflecting the editorial policy of Todayville, Inc.

    There has been a lot of attention given and words written about the proposed aquatic centre with a 50m pool, twinning the Dawe ice rink, developing north of 11a, Hazlett Lake and the time and costs. We should seriously think about doing it as one line item.
    The city wants to build the new ice rink and a new pool while at the same time develop about 3,000 acres north of Hwy 11a, including Hazlett Lake.
    The city acknowledges that it would be easier and possibly less expensive to build stand alone structures. Land costs would differ.
    Let us start with Hazlett Lake.
    Remember, Hazlett Lake is a natural lake that covers a surface area of 0.45 km2 (0.17 mi2), has an average depth of 3 meters (10 feet). Hazlett Lake has a total shore line of 4 kilometers (2 miles). It is 108.8 acres in size. Located in the north-west sector of Red Deer. Highly visible to Hwy 11a and the QE2.
    Adding in that I have written extensively how Lethbridge’ turned a man made slough into Henderson Lake Park. A premier tourist destination.
    Henderson Lake Park is one of Lethbridge’s premier parks featuring a 24 hectare (59.3 acres)man made lake, mature trees and groves, gardens, picnic shelters, playgrounds and over 7 km of trails.
    (Red Deer has a natural lake, not man made and it is 108.8 acres compared to 59.3 acres.)
    Now I would like to talk about Medicine Hat.
    Medicine Hat, population 63,260 has Echo Dale Lake Park.
    Echo Dale, the largest of Medicine Hat’s parks, is located a short distance west of Medicine Hat along the South Saskatchewan River. The park has two man-made lakes: one for swimming and one for paddle boating and fishing. Two beach volleyball courts and many picnic spots with fire pits are available. There are also many kilometers of hiking trails through the coulees.
    Again another city spending money building man made lakes. Red Deer has a large lake with miles of shoreline laying idle. Medicine Hat’s Echo Dale park is a short distance away, not downtown.
    When it comes to 50m pools Lethbridge has the Max Bell Regional Aquatic Centre;
    The Max Bell Regional Aquatic Centre opened in 1985 to serve the needs of Southern Alberta resident
    Max Bell Pool hosts many of the community’s competitive swim clubs and water sport related clubs in Lethbridge including the LA Swim Club, Masters Swim Club, Lethbridge Synchrobelles, Lethbridge Dive Club, Lethbridge Special Olympics and others
    Pool offers: private swim lessons, lifeguard courses & pool rentals for swim groups and birthday parties
    Popular venue for special events, swim meets, school group rentals and other community organization requirements
    Built at a cost of $5.5 million and named to acknowledge the centre’s major benefactor, the Max Bell Foundation
    Facility Features
    50-metre training facility featuring several springboards, a 3-metre and 5-metre dive tower and 12.5 x 21 metre hydraulically-operated, movable floor that can be set from zero depth to six feet.
    Two electrically driven bulkheads allow up to three major activities to take place at once
    Olympic sized Pool has a capacity of 3.5 million litres of water or 760,000 gallons
    Adjacent viewing gallery, located on the second level; seats 350
    Lethbridge built this Aquatic Centre with a 50m pool and built a man made Henderson Lake. Lethbridge is the 5th fastest growing city in Canada.
    Now back to Medicine Hat.
    In 2016, Medicine Hat, population 63,260, finished a 30 million dollar upgrade to their Family Leisure Centre.
    Preview;
    The Family Leisure Center is a place to feel empowered, where one’s social, emotional, mental and physical needs can be met under one roof.
    They offer a wide variety of structured and unstructured health and lifestyle opportunities for individuals, families and entire communities to meet, grow, laugh, explore and more. Learn a new skill, make new friends, spend time with the family or find a ‘whole’ new you – the opportunities to play are endless.
    Completely accessible, the facility sit on 57 acres and boasts the following amenities:
    Kinsmen Aquatic Park, complete with:
    50 meter multi-purpose wave pool, lazy river, tot pool, hot tub, variable depth pool
    Two spring boards and high dive platform
    Steam room; and
    “Rip-n-Rattler” water slide
    Cenovus Arena – 100′ x 200′ Olympic size ice rink
    17,000 square foot Fitness Center, complete with 200 meter indoor running/walking track
    Indoor Fieldhouse containing twin multi-sport indoor boarded fields
    Multi-purpose/dividable gymnasium capable of accommodating 2 basketball, 4 volleyball or 10 badminton/pickleball courts
    Flexible program rooms, team change rooms, meeting rooms, offices, customer service areas, and administration space
    A central food services space which is currently licensed to Booster Juice
    Outside, you will find:
    The Methanex Bowl, a premier (lighted) synthetic turf field for football/soccer/rugby
    Three regulation size soccer pitches
    Four high quality ball diamonds
    A BMX Track
    A rubber floor accessible ‘Viking’ playground
    Accessible outdoor fitness equipment
    The Familiy Leisure Centre is home to the following clubs. Please click on the sites below for more information:
    Alberta Marlin Aquatic Club (AMAC & Master’s Swim Club) Masters
    Water Polo Information: polo@mhwp.ca (e-mail)
    Medicine Hat Skating Club mhskate@telus.net
    Medicine Hat Speed Skating Club www.mhssc.ca
    Panthers Track Club www.medicinehattrackclub.ca
    Sledge Hockey and Wheelchair Basketball.
    Commitment to Inclusion
    The Family Leisure Centre is accessible to all members of our community, including those with disabilities.
    The Lobby, Arena, Gymnasium, Change Rooms, Steam Room and Pool Viewing Area all have level entries.
    The Wave Pool and Lazy River can be accessed from a ramped entrance off the pool deck while a portable seated lift provides access to the 50m Pool and Hot Tub.
    The Fieldhouse change rooms have level entry while a decline ramp takes you down to field level.
    The Fitness Area and Track are just a short elevator ride up to the second level, where you will find specialized equipment that can be adapted to varying levels of ability.

    Red Deer has been until recently the 3rd largest city in Alberta, but from procrastination and I may suggest fear they have fallen behind in offering recreational facilities. While other smaller communities are building Aquatic Centres and building man made lakes, we are sitting idle and let vital assets remain unused and under utilized. Should we not join the crowd?
    Red Deer should be the destination to go to in Central Alberta. But that would take guts and cash. Do we have what it takes?
    I believe so. Just saying.


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    Opinion

    3 wards for the city based on federal and provincial governance models.

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  • An interesting proposal has been suggested for our municipal governance that is modeled after the provincial and federal electoral system.
    Federally we have Members of Parliament (MPs) and one of them is also the Prime Minister. Provincially we have Members of the Legislature (MLAs) and one of them is also the Premier.
    Federally our fine city is divided into 2 electoral districts or ridings both federally and provincially, so we have 2 MLAs and 2 MPs, and anyone could also be our Premier or Prime Minister, or Speaker, Cabinet Member, or Opposition Leader.
    Back to our city’s governance, we elect 9 people currently, 8 councillors and 1 mayor for 1 electoral district. The idea being suggested is 3 wards, 3 councillors each with 1 also being the mayor.
    Population wise and geographically 3 wards would be fairly easy. Using the last municipal census. Approximately 1/3 the population lives east of 30th Avenue so that would make an easy boundary and approximately 1/3 live north of the river, another easy boundary. The other 1/3 would be south of the river and west of 30th Avenue. Easy and already done.
    Now, why would we consider 3 wards over governance of a single entity?
    Look at thhe history of the wards, the services offered, crime rates, return on investments and you can see the reason.
    The east of 30th Avenue ward has, 3 high schools with plans for 2 more, has the Collicutt centre with a recommended site for the next multi-use aquatic centre, 2 emergency services location, and a pickle ball court centre.
    The north of the river ward has no high schools with no plans for any, the Dawe recreation centre, YMCA, and 1 emergency services centre.
    The other ward has 1 high school, 1 college, downtown recreation centre, museum, tennis courts, Michener pool, Westerner, Kinex arenas, curling rinks, a proposed cultural centre, hospital, multiple emergency services to name but a few.
    So it is easy to see the rationale behind and the appeal for a ward system as our city grows in a manner favourable to some and not to others. 3 wards with 3 councillors each and 1 of the 9 would also act as mayor. It works provincially and federally and it would make councillors responsible and accountable for any continued disparities, right?
    It is an option. Just saying.


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    Opinion

    Will Red Deer finally get a seat at the adult table? Do we want a seat at the adult table?

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  • Opinion by Garfield Marks

    “Red Deer needs a Cabinet Minister“, says the Chamber of Commerce. Yes the fact is we need a seat at the table, but do we have a politician worthy enough to sit at the adult table?

    Yes, I believe we do, at least 2. For far too long, Red Deer has been electing invisible politicians, seat warmers, trained seals, caricatures of what we think we want as politicians. People representing in some shallow way what the population wanted, perhaps we want invisible politicians. But that is not what we need.

    The subject came up due to the recent Provincial election but it is the same in all 3 levels of government. Federally, too like Provincially there is a cabinet table that makes the decisions and sets directions and implementation but there is a somewhat cabinet like table municipally, involving a few people including city manager, mayor, downtown reps, developers and others, that kind of set the game plan, at least in my opinion.

    This came up over coffee one day, started when someone asked who decided to spend almost a million dollars of our taxes on a piece of art off 32 Street saying “Welcome to Red Deer”?

    The hypothesis is that there is an inner circle or small group, not city council, that decides what, where and when to do anything in this city. Which subdivisions to build as we seem to be opening up new subdivisions every year while we have trouble filling the ones already on the market, means there must be at least one developer at this table.

    The question remains then about whether the citizens of Red Deer want a seat at the adult table? Do we accept just paying the bills as our only role?
    We spend millions and millions of dollars every year on politicians, for what? Photo ops, ribbon cuttings, welcome speeches and to vote as they are told by the members at the adult tables.

    Will we get a Cabinet Member from Red Deer? I think we might but just 1 at the Provincial Cabinet level, because the table is small and Red Deer is not seen as a major player needing to be heard. As for federal and municipal tables that is not even on the horizon. Just saying.

    The views in the above story are the opinion of the writer’s. 


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