Local briefs – December 16

A round of complaints about Red Deer’s handling of the recent major snowfall has the City of Red Deer asking for patience.

Crews still at work on city streets

A round of complaints about Red Deer’s handling of the recent major snowfall has the City of Red Deer asking for patience.

The city issued a news release on Tuesday to say its crews are still actively removing snow from city streets, but there have been a few delays because of the extreme cold temperatures. Crews have been plowing non-stop since the heavy snowfalls on Dec. 4 and 5.

“Our crews are doing what they can, but our equipment can’t work effectively when temperatures are this severe,” said city roads superintendent Jim Chase. “Due to the degree of the storm, residents did not experience the usual service level due to the unexpected weather conditions and heavy demand on equipment and crews.”

The city reports snow clearing may be halted due to unforeseen disruptions, which could include mechanical issues, weather below -30C, or not being able to finish the entire area in one day. No-parking signs may remain in place for two to three days under these circumstances.

Residents are urged to abide by the no-parking times indicated on the signs, otherwise their vehicles could be ticketed and towed.

A snow and ice control map showing the five priority levels and the corresponding streets is available online at www.reddeer.ca (go to the Public Works page).

To report any unsafe roads, call 403-342-8238.

ltester@bprda.wpengine.com


Energy consumption record falls again

Cranking the thermostat at home, plugging in vehicles to protect against the wicked cold and extended shopping mall hours for Christmas combined to set a new energy consumption record on Monday in Red Deer.

“Sure enough, we had a new record,” said Ligong Gan, manager of Red Deer’s Electric Light and Power Department on Tuesday.

The city reached a new peak demand of 138.8 megawatts at late afternoon.

He predicted Monday the city would see a new record after the morning temperature plummeted to -40.5C, eclipsing the old record for Dec. 14 of -35.6 set in 1926.

The temperature continued to hover in the -30 range for the entire day.

Just one week ago, the city reached a new peak demand of 137 megawatts during the supper hour.

Ccity staff were on standby in case of any electricity emergencies, but there were no major problems with the system, he said.

“Before the cold snap, we switched on all the equipment that we have on the system to provide ample capacity.”

szielinski@bprda.wpengine.com

Gan expected electric usage to drop Tuesday as Red Deer warmed up to a more seasonal temperature.


Watch the Olympic Games at Galaxy Theatre

Red Deer sports fans who can’t attend the Olympic Games in Vancouver next February can see it on the big screen.

The Galaxy Theatre on Gasoline Alley will be screening the CTV Olympic Games Broadcast in high definition and digital surround sound from Feb. 12 to 28.

All 17 days of the Olympic Games will be showcased live at 64 Cineplex Entertainment Centres across Canada.

“Not everyone can get to Vancouver, but experiencing the Olympic Games, via the broadcast on our giant screens, will make you feel as if you are there,” said Pat Marshall, Cineplex’s vice-president of communications and investor relations.

Theatre Passports go on sale on Friday at participating theatres (not online) for $29.95. The passport that can be shared between family and friends guarantees fans a seat every day for every event, including the opening ceremony and the men’s and women’s gold medal hockey games.

Individual one-day passes are also available starting Jan. 15 for $9.95. Again they can be purchased from the theatre and not online.


Grant will benefit local charities

Thirty community projects in the Red Deer region will get a financial lift thanks to a one-time Family and Community Support Services grant.

The board will dish out nearly $186,000, 80 per cent of which comes from the provincial government, to a wide range of projects.

The lowest amount of $700 will benefit the Friends for Life program at Bowden’s Grandview School. The program teaches Grade 5 students self-esteem and other positive social skills.

The highest amount of nearly $30,000 will fund a software program at Red Deer’s Community Information and Referral Society, and the staff training needed for it.

The Red Deer and District FCSS board decided to offer a one-time grant in 2009 and received 50 applications.

The money must go to projects or programs that address prevention.

Besides provincial funding, FCSS is supported by the city and the villages of Delburne and Elnora, the towns of Bowden and Penhold, and Red Deer County.

The City of Red Deer’s portion is just over $30,000.


Gas bar/store gets zoning approval

Husky Oil wants to build a sleeker and safer gas bar and convenience store in downtown Red Deer.

On Monday, city council gave rezoning approval to the company so it could revamp its property at 4505 49th Ave., near Eventide Funeral Chapel.

Calgary consultant David Jacobs said Husky wants to demolish its gas station, which has been in place for more than 40 years.

In its place would be a “market station” that includes a coffee eating area in the convenience store.

Part of its new look will be large windows the length of the store.

No signs will go into the windows so that customers can see in and the employees can see out.

Initially, six neighbours, most of whom came from a nearby condominium development, were concerned about potential noise, increased traffic, lower property values and unsightly conditions.

After speaking with a Husky representative, concerns were eased.

Jacobs anticipates once a development permit is granted, plus a demolition permit, then demolition of the old building can be done.

Construction can then get underway sometime in 2010.


Legion renting out facilities to nail studio and spa

Red Deer city council has approved another business locating at the Royal Canadian Legion building.

Divine Nails and Spa will be allowed to locate in a portion of the building. A south-facing part of the Legion is already being leased to a toy and costume business.

As well, council supported first reading on Monday to amend the West QE2 Major Area Structure Plan and the related Queens Business Park Industrial Area Structure Plan. Changes are being made in part to allow vehicle dealerships to front Hwy 2. A public hearing will be held on Jan. 25 at 6 p.m.


Olympic torch preparations move ahead

Red Deer Mayor Morris Flewwelling made a special proclamation on Tuesday in honour of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic torch coming to town in one month’s time.

Flewwelling has proclaimed Jan. 15 as Olympic Torch Run Relay Day. Sponsor representatives Doug McLean of RBC Royal Bank and Chris Kisinger of Red Deer Bottling, plus Olympic Torch Relay Task Force chairwoman Lyn Radford and Recreation, Parks and Culture Department manager Greg Scott joined Flewwelling in wearing Olympic logo red mittens for the occasion.

“We’ve been planning for a year and everything is coming together very well,” said Radford in a news release.

The free celebrations will include various activities and performers, including Albertan country singer Corb Lund. It runs on Jan. 15 from 5 to 9 p.m. at Westerner Park.

Flewwelling said the celebration will be remembered for years to come, thanks to the efforts of community volunteers.

The Olympic torch will arrive on Day 78 of the relay. Fifteen torchbearers, selected by the Vancouver Olympic committee, will each carry the torch for 300 metres. The final torchbearer, a local community leader chosen by the Red Deer organizing crew, will carry the torch onto the grounds where spectators will witness the lighting of Red Deer’s cauldron.

The ceremony is designed to mimic the eventual torch lighting in Vancouver on Feb. 12.

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