Some residents and businesses in newly annexed areas will see their addresses change to help ambulances and other emergency crews find them more easily.
On Monday, city council approved a new Civic Address and Street Naming Bylaw that would address an increasing need to name streets more appropriately within Red Deer. Recent annexations have included a higher density of subdivisions and multiple properties within a subdivision, so the City of Red Deer sees the need to have site specific addresses.
That would ensure the adequate delivery of municipal services such as police, fire and ambulance, said Tony Woods, supervisor of Geographical Information Systems for the city.
In order to update its current Civic Address Bylaw, the city looked at what Red Deer County had been using for addresses just prior to recent annexation of 7,500 acres west, north and east of Red Deer.
The county’s format was similar to a city standard, using unit, address number and road name. Emergency Services are also familiar with this type of addressing in other municipalities.
The county’s address system follows provincial standards, so it works with 911 dispatch systems.
“So adopting a rural address system seems to make a lot of sense,” said Woods.
The bylaw states that annexed properties will keep their existing municipal address until it’s necessary to assign a new civic address. Among those areas that will see changes are Chiles Industrial Park on Red Deer’s north end, Riverview Park residential area along Cronquist Drive, and College Park east of 30th Avenue and north of 55th Street.
Because of the way the addresses work there, they could create confusion for emergency crews, council was told.
For instance, addresses do not reference Cronquist Drive but instead the subdivision Riverview Park.
Council resolved on Monday to reimburse readdressing expenses for properties that require a new civic address to a maximum of $3,000 for commercial properties and $500 for residential properties. These costs would come out of the tax stabilization reserve. Total cost to the city is estimated at $367,000, based on 98 commercial properties and 146 residential properties based on 2011 changes and annexations recently completed.
Woods said the city must further develop policies, including one for street naming, before residents and businesses would see any address changes. He’s not sure when these policies would be finished.
“It’s a process where we’re going to work with the neighbours,” he said.
Last year, Councillor Frank Wong advocated for street naming that would give priority to historically significant names.
Wong said he’s seen some examples of names in new neighbourhoods that don’t have meaning to Red Deer or the region. One street in Southbrook is called Soprano while another is named Silkwood, which he figured sound a lot like names in the film industry — The Sopranos was a TV show and Silkwood was a movie starring Cher.