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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

    What is next for transporting crude oil? Sea, rail, truck, pipes and now air? Fact or fiction?

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  • Investing in crude oil transportation is an expensive, a controversial and a political game, especially when it comes to shipping to tide water.
    Private corporations around the globe are investing in bulk tankers to ship crude oil across the oceans, we just need to get it to tide water.
    Federal Liberal government has spent $4.5 billion on a current pipeline. With a population of 36.71 million people, means that every Canadian has spent by proxy $122.60 on a pipeline. We could spend another $9 billion twinning the pipeline to triple the flow of crude for a total $13.5 billion or $367.75 per Canadian.
    Provincial NDP government of Alberta is investing $3.7 billion on rail cars to ship oil to tide water. Alberta’s population is 3.7 million people which means every Albertan will be spending $863.28 on rail cars to ship oil.
    With tongue firmly in cheek I must ask if the Conservatives either provincially or federally will out do the competition and invest in the last option; air. They could invent or invest in bulk tanker aircraft. They have planes that fuel airplanes mid-flight so why not fly crude oil to tidewater?
    Every Albertan is committed to $1231.00 in shipping more oil so what’s another $1269.00 to make it $2500. It’s only money, and I am sure the politicians can find a way to subsidize the top 1%, so they won’t suffer too badly. They could cut funding to seniors, health, education and other programs the average Albertan uses. It would cover all the bases, so what will the Conservatives bring to the game? We’re waiting.


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    Opinion

    Portland is installing turbines in water pipes to produce electricity, will Red Deer consider following suit?

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  • Portland is installing turbines in their water pipes to generate electricity. Available for 24 inch or 42 inch pipes, excellent for gravity fed water supply.
    This got me thinking about our city applications. Would it be worthwhile for someone at city hall to look into possible applications for Red Deer?
    If Red Deer had a guaranteed year round source of flowing water, should we harness it for Hydroelectricity? What if we had a flow rate that was only strong enough to power city buildings? Should we investigate it? If we knew parts of the equation could we not ask?
    City Councillor Buck Buchanan thinks it should be looked into. Why?
    The city has a guaranteed source that has been recently upgraded to 72,500 cubic meters per day. The source is our Wastewater Treatment Plant. It pumps treated water into the Red Deer River year round and it is not going to stop anytime soon.
    The raw wastewater goes through different cycles and/or processes before it is released as clean water. Treated wastewater leaves the plant area through a channel before being released into the Red Deer River.
    The upgraded capacity of Red Deer’s wastewater treatment plant is 72,500 cubic meters of water per day or 2.6 million cubic feet per day.
    The energy in these moving waters is being wasted. Why not harness it as Hydroelectricity.
    Hydroelectricity is electricity produced by movement of water. It is usually made with dams that block a river to make a reservoir or collect water that is pumped there. When the water is released, the pressure behind the dam forces the water down pipes that lead to a turbine. Our wastewater treatment plant acts like a dam as it holds back water for treatment.
    So just how do we get electricity from water? Actually, hydroelectric and coal-fired power plants produce electricity in a similar way. In both cases a power source is used to turn a propeller-like piece called a turbine, which then turns a metal shaft in an electric generator, which is the motor that produces electricity. A coal-fired power plant uses steam to turn the turbine blades; whereas a hydroelectric plant uses moving water to turn the turbine. The results are the same.
    People have been using the power of moving water to run water wheels and mills for more than 2,000 years. Modern power plants today convert that mechanical energy into electricity.
    Tides, ocean currents, waterfalls, rivers… Moving water is a constant source of energy ready to be harnessed. Hydroelectric energy is obtained by using a turbine to convert the kinetic energy of a river or waterfall into mechanical energy, and then an alternator to transform it into electrical energy.
    There are two main kinds of hydroelectric generating stations: reservoir, and
    run-of-river (ROR).
    A generating station with reservoir uses a dam to create an artificial lake. A run-of-river generating station has no reservoir but offers the advantage of producing electricity without having to store the water.
    Hydro power plants produce minimal greenhouse gases and are a source of clean, non-polluting energy. The evaporation/condensation cycle also makes hydro energy renewable. The above qualities pertain particularly to ROR plants, which produce energy from the natural water flow, which means that the impact on the landscape, ecosystem and neighbouring communities is considerably reduced. It also costs much less to produce electricity at an ROR plant.
    Such properties make ROR hydroelectricity a sensible choice, for economic, social and environmental reasons.
    Run-of-river generating stations are not very complicated. Flowing water is channelled through the intake and enters a penstock, which causes it to flow with greater speed and force to the turbine. The turbine is activated by the force of the water, and it, in turn, runs the alternator to produce electricity. The water then flows down the tailrace and returns to the river.
    The viability of a site and the electricity it can produce are determined by two factors: drop height and water flow volume.
    Hydroelectric energy has been in use for thousands of years. Ancient Romans built turbines, which are wheels turned by flowing water. Roman turbines were not used for electricity, but for grinding grains to make flour and breads.
    Water mills provide another source of hydroelectric energy. Water mills, which were common until the Industrial Revolution, are large wheels usually located on the banks of moderately flowing rivers. Water mills generate energy that powers such diverse activities as grinding grain, cutting lumber, or creating hot fires to create steel.
    Hydroelectric power is also very efficient and inexpensive. “Modern hydro turbines can convert as much as 90% of the available energy into electricity. The best fossil fuel plants are only about 50% efficient. In the US , hydropower is produced for an average of 0.7 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh).
    Since we know we have a flow rate of 72,500 cubic meters per day, could we not ask an expert if we could harness it for hydroelectricity? If so how much could we produce and how much would it cost?
    Just asking.


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