Local briefs – December 14

Dwindling memberships have forced the Red Deer Legion to consider leasing more of its building as commercial space.

Legion looks for tenant options

Dwindling memberships have forced the Red Deer Legion to consider leasing more of its building as commercial space.

City council will consider on Monday whether to allow Divine Nails and Spa Inc. to locate in a portion of the Royal Canadian Legion building facing Molly Banister Drive and the Bower Place Shopping Centre.

Legion president Tim McCoy wrote to council, explaining that old age and death have claimed many Legion members and the building’s operating costs are climbing. “Keeping the doors open has risen considerably over the past five years,” said McCoy, who is compelled to rent out some of the building to keep up with financial commitments.

A south-facing part of the Legion is already being leased to a toy and costume business — but a nail salon is considered a personal service.

City administrators are still favourable to allowing the nail salon to move in, as it also has a merchandise sales component that’s already present in the area. The site is also deemed to have adequate parking and access.

Administrators are asking city council to review the land uses allowed in this district, since many commercial services are now operating there, including an insurance office and registry service.

Blackfalds raises taxes 1%

Blackfalds town council passed a $9.7-million operating budget for 2010 that will raise property taxes an average of one per cent.

The average homeowner with property assessed at $260,980 will see an increase of $17.59.

In 2009, the town had a $10.2-million operating budget and homeowners faced a 2.75 per cent increase.

The 2010 budget means town services will remain status quo.

Mayor Melodie Stol said with the current economy, some hard decisions had to be made.

“We had to balance community growth, fiscal responsibility and operational requirements with the household financial challenges that the individual ratepayer faces,” Stol said.

But the town is moving to create a greener community. Money set in a reserve will be used to provide ratepayers with an opportunity to purchase composters and rain barrels.

Town council also passed a $531,300 capital budget to primarily deal with equipment replacement, repair and annual transfers to reserves for future expansion.

Capital projects carried forward from 2009 include the new RCMP station, South Street road improvements and servicing for the protective services site that will cost $7.8 million.

Work will also continue on the $3.6-million new fire hall, $5 million in road improvements for Vista Trail, and $5.4 million in upgrades to the sewer treatment lagoon, lift station and trunk main.

Outreach society seeking cash for transitional housing complex

More than $1 million is being sought to help open a 10-unit transitional housing complex for abused women and their children once they leave Red Deer’s emergency shelter.

The Central Alberta Women’s Outreach Society is looking for provincial and federal dollars through Red Deer’s Community Housing Advisory Board to open Julietta’s Place, the first of its kind in Red Deer.

Red Deer city council will be asked on Monday to support a grant of $1.05 million for Julietta’s Place as part of $3.5 million recommended requests for affordable housing.

The outreach society would like to open Julietta’s Place so that women have another chance to thrive before they head out on their own again. They would be allowed to stay there for six months to two years.

Rents would be 25 per cent below market level rates.

The outreach society doesn’t run Red Deer’s emergency shelter, but works with it closely in providing follow-up support.

The community housing board has also recommended $1.8 million for Potter’s Hands Developments to build The River Valley. This project would redevelop 26 affordable bachelor units on the second floor of the former Rancher’s Valley Inn at 5017 49th St. These units would be over and above the 45 units of new affordable housing previously approved for the project.