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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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    Alberta

    Pray for better days – a 3rd generation oil worker laments the end of an industry

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  • by Sheldon Gron (published with permission)

    I’ve been debating on whether or even how to write this over the last few weeks. I’m a third generation oilfield worker, a large portion of my family being involved with the oilfield in some way. Its sad to say, but I really truly honestly feel that the oilfield in Canada is officially dead. Sure there will be a little here and there, some guys will get a little work and even less will get consistent work, but all in all, to be an oilfield worker as a career is over. Nothing pains me more than to be saying this as I myself have over 20 years in the industry, an industry which I used to love and was proud to be apart of.

    The industry has always worked in cycles, most of us know this. It was feast or famine. Best you could do was get the money while the gettin’ was good and save the best you could to prepare for the next slow down. Some were smart, most were not. Debt would ring up, slow down would hit and more debt would add up until bankruptcy loomed. Most slow downs lasted at most a year but usually turned around and guys would get 3 or 4 years of good times to recover and prepare for the next one. Take this most recent slow down in 2014. Writing was on the wall BUT no one expected it to hit as hard as it did. The world shook as oil prices fell to near 1998 prices. Within a few years though prices started to climb, enough so that work started to return. Not a ton, but enough that the guys left in the patch were finding work.

    2018 there was finally some hope, there seemed to be some sort of light at the end of the tunnel but this whole pipe line mess loomed over us. You see Canadian Crude has always had its own value, lately a value significantly lower that everyone else due to our lack of infrastructure to get oil to market. With our current government and their apparently efforts to stop the much needed pipe line, Western Crude prices fell, investments pulled and companies lost faith… Canada is now suffering another oilfield crash, on top of the previous one. Heres the problem.

    Anyone that has survived thus far is at the end of their rope. Toys are sold, saving have been spent to survive these last 4 years and now that another slow down is here, there is nothing to fall back on. Faith in the patch is gone as the hands and small businesses are in real trouble this time.

    We are 8-10 year away from any of this ever turning around at the earliest, save some major event happening that sends oil to 200 a barrel. Lets face it, without a means to get our oil to market, no one wants it and who can blame them. Our government has severely let us down and 2019 is going to mean some serious trouble for Canada. I have done every thing I can to stick it out in the only career I know and don’t know how much longer I can go living pay check to pay check meanwhile being away from my family 25 days a month just to get by, and thats when I’m busy. If I was young and new to the oilfield I wouldn’t come anywhere near the oilfield as its apparent there is no future. You used to come here to make money, now, when you can actually get work, the money isn’t that great anymore.

    I know some of you have very little sympathy for oilfield workers because you have always seen the money they have made but let me explain the repercussions of no oilfield in Alberta, Sask or Northern BC. Before the crash, entry level oilfield workers made over 100K a year. In order to do this they usually spent about 230-250 days a year away from their friends and families in all weather conditions working all sorts of hours. At times these conditions could be some of the most gruelling with sometimes not the nicest people. But it was a job and it paid well. That’s from their perspective. These same people that do this job pay 30% or more in taxes to our government. They pay more in taxes that many people make in an entire year, thats entry level, now take the people that are pulling in 200-250K. All that tax money is gone, no longer paying for schools and hospitals and roads and such. Now consider those lifted trucks and toys they buy with the money they earned with their oilfield money. All that money went to local businesses and local people that didn’t work in the oilfield. Salaries were paid, cloths were bought with that money those people earned from selling that truck or quad or what ever they buy.

    Also consider the money they spent in the places they worked, supporting locally. Hotels, gas stations and grocery stores, restaurants and bars and so on. Alberta was successful and one of the richest provinces for one reason, OIL MONEY and now it is gone. Go to another have not province and ask them what its like to not have jobs and see what they think. Ask the number of people born across Canada that have come to Alberta for the Alberta Advantage why they came. Our Federal government had one mission regarding Alberta, and that was to bring it to its knees and we have let them do it. The oil field is dead and we let it happen. They panic cause 2500 of Ontarios people lost their jobs because GM shut down a plant yet 150K Albertans have lost their jobs and more are coming.


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    Opinion

    OPINION: Some Councillors made passionate pleas for raises. Did they make their case? You tell me.

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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.

    The city of Red Deer just went through a sad episode in municipal politics. March 2017 the federal government announced the end of a subsidy for politicians, for January 1 2019. Til now politicians did not have to pay taxes on 1/3 of their earnings. Which could add up over time.
    Rather than discuss it in advance, determine a proper way to deal with the end of a subsidy or determine a proper compensation package for the mayor and city councillors, they waited til the 11th hour, after they have been elected or re-elected, as in the majority of cases.
    One councillor talked about working 10 hours a day everyday of the year, so he deserves a raise to $68,618.16 /yr. giving him an earning of $18.80 /hr for his 10 hours a day everyday. Kind of unbelievable that our councillors work 10 hours a day, everyday, with no days off, no holidays, etc.
    Another councillor, said we should be grateful to have such great people on council, so grateful that we should give them raises to cover the end of their tax subsidy. Why this council brought us such events as the CFR and the Winter Games but he failed to mention other issues that became famous under his watch.
    Red Deer never recovered from the last recession and is experiencing a continued downturn, while neighbouring communities continue to grow following the provincial growth rate of 4% annually.
    Remember these stories:
    Alberta on track to have worst air quality in Canada
    Red Deer has worst pollution in province, while 4 other regions close to exceeding national standards

    Alberta Environment Minister Shannon Phillips says the province is on track to have the worst air quality in Canada, and vows the government will put measures in place to reduce emissions from industry and vehicles.
    “The time to act is long overdue,” Phillips said.
    “We have a responsibility to do everything we can to protect the health of Albertans.”
    Phillips made the remarks after seeing the results of the Canadian Ambient Air Quality Standards report, which show the Red Deer region has exceeded national standards. Four other regions — Lower Athabasca, Upper Athabasca, North Saskatchewan and South Saskatchewan — are close to exceeding national standards.
    Phillips said there is no immediate health risk for people living in central Alberta.
    “These results are concerning,” Phillips said in a news release. “We can’t keep going down the same path and expecting a different result. Our government has a responsibility to protect the health of Albertans by ensuring air pollution from all sources is addressed.”
    The province will initiate an “action plan” to deal with poor air quality in the Red Deer area, a move she said is required under the Canadian Ambient Air Quality Standards.

    Red Deer has one of the highest crime rate in the country
    According to the local newspaper, The Red Deer Advocate, our fine city has some serious crime issues, compared to other major cities in Alberta. Following are sections of the story:
    “Red Deer’s Crime Severity Index (CSI) is higher than Alberta’s other four major cities, recently released Statistics Canada information reveals.”
    “The Crime Severity Index measures the volume and severity of crimes reported to police and is standardized, using the number 100 as the base, for the year 2006. It is calculated using all Criminal Code violations including offences like stolen vehicles, traffic and drug violations, and federal statutes”
    “According to Statistics Canada, the overall CSI for 2015 for Red Deer is 182 (numbers have been rounded off).”
    “This compares with Edmonton at 112, Lethbridge at 109, and Calgary and Medicine Hat both at 77. Alberta’s CSI is 102 and Canada overall is 70.”
    “When looking specifically at violent crime, Statistics Canada shows that index for Red Deer up by almost 24 per cent (146 in 2015 from 118 in 2014). It had actually declined each year from 2012 to 2014, before increasing. There were no homicides in 2014. There were two in 2015.”

    Red Deer’s population peaked in 2015 and declined in 2016

    City council will be talking about growth and managing it. Let us look at the growth during the last mandate 2013-2017. The last census was done in 2016 and showed a decrease since 2015. (99,832 from 100,807) The decision was made to cancel the 2017 census since there was no sign of growth and you needed growth to justify the cost of the census.
    Population of Red Deer in 2016 was 99,832 a increase of 2,723 or 2.8%over 97,109 in 2013. Not that great on the face of things, but looking deeper and you realize some neighbourhoods did not even fare that well.
    For example;
    Kentwood 2016=4,267 2013=4,280
    Glendale 2016=4,288 2013=4,393
    Normandeau 2016=3,530 2013=3,565
    Pines 2016=1,718 2013=1,823
    Highland Green 2016=3,920 2013=3,979
    Oriole Park 2016=5,244 2013=5,308
    Riverside Meadows 2016=3,686 2013=3,665
    Fairview 2016=710 2013=770
    Johnstone Park 2016=3,865 2013=3760
    Total 2016=31,228 2013=31,543
    Percentage of population 2016=31.3% 2013= 32.5%
    Red Deer City Population 2016=99,832 2013=97,109

    In case you did not know these are the neighbourhoods north of the river. So while the city grew for 3 of 4 years in the end it still grew over 4 years ago. The city shrank in total from 100,807 in 2015 to 99,832 in 2016. These neighbourhoods, except for Johnstone Park which grew by 105 and Riverside Meadows which grew by 21, shrank in size over the four years.

    So I ask the incumbents to offer measures to stem the outward migration and encourage growth. Anyone? Perhaps build a north side Collicutt Centre? A high school?
    The facts are there on reddeer.ca for anyone to study.
    Did they make their case. Are they the saviours of Red Deer or not?


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    december, 2018

    wed21nov - 21decAll DayAlberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum - Deck the Hall 31 Days of Giving-31 Days of giving(All Day) Event Organized By: Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum

    sat15dec10:00 am- 4:00 pmParkland Garden Centre Craft and Market Sale10:00 am - 4:00 pm

    sat15dec12:00 pm- 6:00 pmArtisan Market Sale for Nuit Blanche Winter CarnivalArtisan Market12:00 pm - 6:00 pm

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    mon31dec - 1jandec 317:00 pmjan 1- 2:00 amBlack & White ballRed Deer\'s Party of the Year!7:00 pm - (january 1) 2:00 am

    mon31dec - 1jandec 317:00 pmjan 1- 1:00 amOne Eleven Grill New Year's Eve with Claude Godin and his Groove EnsembleCall 403.347-2111 to reserve for New Year7:00 pm - (january 1) 1:00 am

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