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Why are we in such a rush to build 50 houses along Piper Creek? I thought we liked our parks.


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There may be very few of us current Red Deer residents, living in Red Deer, or possibly even alive, when and if they ever build the bridge for the Molly Bannister Drive extension. Why must we have to respond to the city by August 31, 2020? Why is the city rushing to decide on Sept. 14 2020 an issue decided several times over past decades?

The proposed extension would go from 22 St. and 40 Ave. along the power lines to the creek the north along the creek to a proposed bridge to connect to Molly Bannister Drive.

The bridge was planned for the traffic that a population of an 180,000 residents, would have. Our current population is about 101,000 and has increased by only 195 residents in 5 years. Let us say they build the speed train from Calgary to Edmonton with a stop in Red Deer, estimated to be completed in the year 2030. Suppose our population starts to grow at 2% per year in 2030 and hits 180,000 30 years later. 40 years from now.

Traffic patterns may change, and the bridge may not be needed. The current thinking is and has been that it will be needed. Even the spokesperson for the developer of the Bower land, acknowledged at a public meeting in the Bower Community Centre, that if we got rid of the right of way now, “it would be difficult for the city to build it when they needed it”.

The question is not whether we should keep the right of way for possible future requirements but do we need 50 houses built along the creek, now?

Remember our population increased by 195 residents in 5 years, but we built 1290 new homes in the same time span. Also remember that our homes depreciated 2% last year, to compensate for over building.

Our tax base did not increase as the developer would have you believe, only spread out over more deer city hall

Depreciation of our homes facilitates downward pressure on market value for our homes, pushing many first home buyers into negative equity positions. Keeping many, first home buyers, out of the housing market. A strong disincentive, for buying in Red Deer.

We have seen what is happening on 32St. and 19St. with increasing traffic. Millions recently spent on the 32 St. bridge over Piper Creek due to shifting. Many animals are being killed trying to cross 32 St. and 19 St. disrupting their corridor along the creek. An animal prison, with none of the confining walls, associated with a prison.

The developer wants to build 50 houses along the creek. Fenced yards, lawns, non-native plants, fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, insecticides, pets and humans, all encroaching on the very land we are protesting a bridge to protect.

The only winner will be the developer. He will profit and everyone involved, now or in the future, and the wildlife will suffer. Unless our population grows our homes will depreciate. The wildlife will have more barriers and less space. Traffic will increase, noise levels will rise, and more traffic fatalities but the developers will make money.

I was involved in a conversation yesterday that shook me to my boots. It involved extending Spruce Drive south past 32 St. to tie into the new subdivision eliminating tying into Molly Bannister. Taking out all those trees to run a 4 lane road south to 22 St. would be ludicrous to say the least. Someone heard it somewhere.

Everyone would lose except the developers. Speaking of money, a few years ago the developer came to city council and a councillor mentioned that he received donations from this same developer and as such he should remove himself from the vote. The general consensus that many received donations and it was unnecessary to do so. Now if this developer is a prolific donor to municipal politicians, should it not be disclosed by the Mayor and all city councillors, if they had received gifts, meals, donations etc. from this developer, before they vote on removing the Molly Bannister Extension road allowance.

Other issues involve more costs to the lowly taxpayer if this removal is allowed. Widening 19 St., widening 32 St., a possible $20 million dollar traffic circle at 40Th Ave. and 19 St., to name but a few. Increase in traffic only metres away from 292 homes, along 32 St. Increased traffic along 19 St. All affecting living quality and house values.

Another big concern raised is that hikers, bikers and skaters would have to cross the road.  I am sure the city could install a crosswalk.

Commuting is another issue. Anyone living now or in the future along 22 St will have to travel several extra kilometres traveling east or west. They will have to go north to 32 St. or south to 19 St.

The new development if it is 50 hectares at the city requested 17 homes per hectare would see 850 new homes and at an average of 2.5 residents per home would see 2125 new residents. Entrance and exit would be only onto 40 Ave. So they would then have to drive east to 40th. Ave. before heading north to 32 St. or south to 19 St. before heading west.

Thousands of cars driving 4 extra kilometres a day burns a lot of fuel and emits a lot of pollution. Tens of thousands, of cars from all the other neighbourhoods along 22 St. will have to drive around the new subdivision will burn and emit more.

Everyone loses, future residents lose, wildlife loses, drivers lose, home owners lose, taxpayers lose, but the developer wins.

Why the rush? The developers may make less but they will still profit if the right of way remains. They will just make more if you remove the right of way.

Political editor/writer and retired oilfield supervisor

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History of Red Deer’s Second Courthouse

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It has been witness to a great many events and stories in the 90 years it has stood on the corner of Ross Street and 49th Avenue in Red Deer.

The Gaetz Company building as seen in 1912. It was the courthouse for the region from 1916-1931. It is the current site of Mason Martin Homes. Canada’s first female juror served in this courthouse in 1922.  Photo courtesy City of Red Deer Archives photo.

As the solidly constructed anchor for both provincial and the Court of Queens Bench for 52 years, this sturdy structure has also been a sanctuary for artists, the setting for movie productions and most recently home to numerous professional offices. It also was the backdrop for the last murder trial in Alberta which saw the defendant sentenced and hanged under capital punishment in the province.

Construction of the new courthouse well underway. City of Red Deer Archives photo P2610

This readily recognizable icon celebrated the anniversary of its official opening earlier this month and is showing no signs of retiring any time soon.

View of the Lyndall Limestone columns in the Palladian Style entrance. Photo by Duane Rolheiser.

This was the second courthouse for the steadily expanding central Alberta city. The earlier one had opened in 1916 after having been converted from a coverall factory. Talk about being adaptive and creative!

Construction of the “new” courthouse was significant for many reasons. The Great Depression was in full swing so this project provided a much-needed injection of both money and jobs into the community along with a sense of pride that such a fine building would bring to the region.

Brick exterior with Lyndall Limestone detailing. Photo by Duane Rolheiser

This would be the last courthouse built in the province until the 1950s, the final version  of a series of Alberta courthouses built in the classical revival style. Both Wetaskiwin and Medicine Hat received similar structures during this era.

Testament to the quality of the design and materials used in construction of the building is the fact that it remains steadfast after more than 8 decades of use.

Constructed using hot riveted steel beams, brick and mortar, then graced with pillars shaped from the legendary Lyndall Limestone from Manitoba, this grand historical resource will stand for a great many more years to come.

Original 1912 era boiler. Converted from coal to natural gas.
Photo by Duane Rolheiser.

In the spirit of the type of practicality and resourcefulness often seen during the depression, heating for the building would be provided by a boiler built in 1912 and  repurposed from a ship!

It was converted from coal burning to natural gas in 1949 and has since been replaced by modern, efficient boilers yet it still remains in the building as evidence of a different era.

Every building of a certain vintage usually carries a story or two about otherworldly spirits or energies. Why not the old Courthouse? It was thought that the ghost of Robert Raymond Cook inhabited the building.

On one particular evening, the caretaker for the courthouse was heading into the boiler room to grab some tools. When he flicked on the lights, they popped briefly and went dark. Despite this, the caretaker walked alongside the boiler in the direction of his tools when suddenly he was slapped in the face by an unexpected soft force! Was it the apparition of the hanged murderer?

When he had regained his composure a time later, the caretaker investigated the boiler room once more to discover the source of the slap in the dark. A frightened pigeon had flown up in his face when startled in the boiler room!

Judge bench in the original courtroom. Photo by Duane Rolheiser

This magnificent building was the home of the judicial branch of the province for the Red Deer region from 1931 to 1983 when its replacement was constructed just down Ross Street to the east.

A law office has made good use of the original architecture. Photo by Duane Rolheiser.

The courthouse was the venue for a great many legal tales over the years but probably none more famous than the 1959 murder trial for 21 year old Robert Raymond Cook of Stettler, AB who was accused of murdering all 7 members of his family in a most violent manner.

RCMP mugshot of Robert Raymond Cook, 1959. Photo used with permission by Legal Archives Society of Alberta.

His trial began on November 30th, 1959 and Cook was found guilty and sentenced to hang for his crimes. His defense appealed the conviction and a second trial was held in Edmonton but his conviction was upheld on June 20th, 1960.

On November 14, 1960, Robert Raymond Cook was hanged. His death sentence was the last ever carried out in the province of Alberta.

the actual witness bench where Robert Raymond Cook would have sat Photos by Duane Rolheiser.

Numerous books were written about this trial as the murders captivated and horrified the population who followed the course of the investigation and trials.

Even a dramatic play was created, called “The End of the Rope”, reenacting this historic trial which was developed and was even staged in the actual courtroom where the all too real drama actually took place all those years ago.

exterior of the courthouse while it was home to the Community Arts Centre in the 1980s. Photo courtesy Red Deer Archives.

In 1983, the  building was sold to the city of Red Deer for a dollar and turned into the Old Courthouse Community Arts Centre. The grand structure housed painters and potters among numerous artistic pursuits for 18 years

An artist displaying his works during a Christmas arts fair in the courthouse, 1987. Photos courtesy City of Red Deer Archives.

The old courthouse has seen real life dramas and reenactments of legal dramas including being the location for filming  scenes from the TV Movie, “While Justice Sleeps” starring Cybil Shepherd in 1994.

Even a dramatic one-man play was created by Aaron Coates called “The End of the Rope” in 2003, re-enacting this historic trial. It was developed and staged in the actual courtroom where the all too real drama actually took place all those years ago. Cook’s lawyer, David MacNaughton even answered questions from the crowd after the performance.

Promotional ad for the TV movie “While Justice Sleeps” starring Cybil Shepherd. Photo from IMDB

The old courthouse made its most recent transformation in 2001 when it was purchased by Jim Dixon and Dick McDonell.

Interior details.
Photos by Duane Rolheiser.

The new owners invested close to a quarter of a million dollars in upgrading the building including installation of new boilers, restored doors, energy efficient windows and new flooring  throughout. 1930s era lighting was sourced to replace fluorescent fixtures, giving the rejuvenated structure a proper historical feel.

Today this 90-year-old icon of downtown Red Deer proudly carries on as the home to numerous professional organizations from lawyers to architects and with its new owners and numerous upgrades, this beautiful structure should be proudly welcoming people to downtown for a great many more years to come.

Red Deer’s old courthouse sits as the centrepiece of Red Deer’s historic downtown and is celebrating its 90th birthday. Come spend some time downtown. Visit the city’s unique Ghost Collection, many of which are within a few blocks of the Old Courthouse.  For more information on leasing opportunities in this beautiful building, please email Davin Kemshead or phone 403-318-6479.  


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Central Alberta

Evaluation Assistant – Part-time Casual

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Evaluation Assistant – Part-time Casual

The Evaluation Assistant will be part of the Evaluation Team at the Red Deer Primary Care Network (RDPCN) working under the direct supervision of the Evaluator. The main responsibilities include data collection, data entry, as well as supporting both analysis and reporting for a broad spectrum of RDPCN programs and services. The successful candidate should be competent at working both independently and in a team environment; accurately managing data, and contributing to high quality reports and other deliverables.

Key Strengths of Candidates;

  • Bachelor degree in social sciences or health-related area
  • Experience in applied research or evaluation, quantitative and/or qualitative (minimum 2
  • years preferred)
  • Excellent command of Microsoft Excel, Word, Power Point and Outlook
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills
  • Detail orientated and organized
  • Able to work flexible hours with some evenings
  • and/or weekends.
  • This position is part-time casual, with varying hours

Act now. APPLY

Submit your curriculum vitae to [email protected] (with “Evaluation Assistant” in the subject line), or by fax to 403.342.9502. A full job description can be found at

Closing date: April 19, 2021 or until a successful candidate is found. Only candidates selected for an interview will be contacted.

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