Local briefs – March 23

The NDP has a full slate of Alberta candidates in place for the next federal election.

NDP has full slate

The NDP has a full slate of Alberta candidates in place for the next federal election.

Alberta campaign manager Lou Arab announced on Tuesday that the party has nominated or identified candidates in all 28 Alberta federal constituencies, include two in Central Alberta.

Stuart Somerville will be the NDP candidate for the Red Deer riding while Jeff Horvath will be the party candidate for the Wild Rose riding.

“We’re more prepared than ever before,” said Arab.

“We are planning a bigger campaign in this province than we’ve ever managed before, and it’s going to make the results a lot more interesting on election night.

“The NDP campaign will work hard to take advantage of the disappointment Albertans feel towards Stephen Harper,” he said, adding that people are frustrated with Harper’s failed attempts to fix health care and clean up corruption.

Secondary suite talks go on

Red Deer city council is continuing to talk on how to make secondary suite rules better for the entire city.

They agreed to pass first reading on Monday to a land-use bylaw change to increase the West Park East secondary suite density limit up to 23 per cent from 15 per cent, which would allow for the processing of 12 pending applications.

Last month, civic leaders wrestled with what to do about West Park East, the only area in Red Deer where the 15 per cent cap of these self-contained suites have been reached.

The issue centres on 12 illegal secondary suite applications. With the 15 per cent cap, they wouldn’t be considered at all, even though they met the Sept. 1, 2010, application deadline.

Council further supported Councillor Paul Harris’s amendment to this land-use bylaw.

He suggested that any neighbourhood in Red Deer, if it goes above the 15 per cent cap, would not have any new applications approved. Formerly, the bylaw only recommended the West Park East neighbourhood.

A public hearing will be held on May 2 at 6 p.m. concerning this bylaw change.

Signs earn city award

The City of Red Deer has received a provincial award for its overhead street signs.

The Alberta Public Works Association has given its Project of the Year Award for 2010 to the city, as well as Alberta Traffic Supply Ltd., the sign supplier.

The city did a full-scale street sign replacement program that was launched in 2009.

It used the latest innovation in retroreflective sheeting, which helps make the signs more visible and legible. The signs help drivers identify cross street names earlier and increase road safety.

Alberta Traffic Supply of Calgary won the bid to install more than 470 signs on the arms of traffic signal. The cost was about $200,000.

The judging panel reported these signs have had a positive impact on the community so it would be great to congratulate public works staff and service providers.

Darwin Durnie, president of the Canadian Public Works Association and presenter on behalf of the Alberta chapter, gave the award to Mayor Morris Flewwelling on behalf of the city during Monday’s council meeting.

Health body cancels meeting

For the second time in a row, David Thompson Health Advisory Council has cancelled its public meeting due to snowy weather and road conditions.

The Tuesday scheduled from 5 to 8:30 p.m. at Red Deer Regional Hospital was cancelled.

The meeting was arranged after the Feb. 28 meeting was cancelled.

The next regularly scheduled meeting is April 27 at the Red Deer hospital, Room SC 3209, from 5 to 8:30 p.m.

Regional volunteer councils, like David Thompson, were developed when Alberta Health Services became the single health authority for the province to give the public an opportunity to provide input on health care in Alberta.

David Thompson members live throughout the Central Zone of AHS, including Red Deer, Sundre, Hobbema Wetaskiwin, Lacombe, Rocky Mountain House and Drumheller.

For more information about David Thompson Health Advisory Council, visit www.albertahealthservices.ca and click on the health advisory councils link.

Robbery suspect remanded

An 18-year-old man charged with robbing a Red Deer service station in late February was remanded in custody on Tuesday in Red Deer provincial court.

Geoffry Allan Godden of Red Deer reserved his plea on robbery and several other charges until March 30.

RCMP said earlier that the Michener Hill Fas Gas was robbed on Feb. 27.

Police said a man went into the gas station shortly after 9 p.m. and demanded cash.

The clerk complied and the man fled the scene.

An RCMP dog was used to help search for the alleged robber but no suspect was found.

Security videos from the store aided police in identifying a suspect later, police said.

Godden is charged with robbery and failing to comply with a probation order.

He also reserved his plea until March 30 on charges of failing to stop or evading police, drunk driving, refusing to provide a breath sample, two counts of driving while disqualified, breaching probation, taking a motor vehicle without the owner’s consent, obstructing a police officer, dangerous operation of a motor vehicle and two counts of failing to comply with previous court orders.

Red Deer Lodge opens more rooms

More doors have opened at the Red Deer Lodge Hotel, which was damaged when the roof over its ballrooms caved in on the evening of Feb. 12.

The entire hotel was closed for cleanup and demolition after the collapse and resulting flooding caused when water lines for the fire suppression system were broken. Guest rooms in the tower area and meeting rooms at the north side of the hotel were reopened last week. The swimming pool and guest rooms in the atrium around it were put back in service during the weekend and the courtyard rooms have now been reopened as well, hotel manager John Mytz announced in a news release issued on Tuesday.

Sharks Garage, the kitchen and ballrooms remain closed pending further restoration. Hotel guests receive a continental breakfast until kitchen services can be fully restored, said Mytz.

Details on the progress of restoration work will be released as they become available, said Mytz.