Seniors say Red Deer has transportation and parking problems and they looked to mayoral and council candidates for solutions at the Golden Circle on Thursday.
Seniors feared that congestion at the parking lot shared by the Golden Circle, Red Deer Museum and the Recreation Centre, and on nearby streets, will only get worse when Red Deer College’s business school expands into the downtown.
“We’ll have to work with students and the college to ensure they don’t necessarily bring cars with them downtown,” said council incumbent Lynn Mulder at an election forum that attracted about 120 people.
She said parking continues to be in short supply even with the opening of the new downtown Sorensen Station Parkade and the 600 business students the school will attract, as well as the general public, need to look at alternative forms of transportation like cycling and walking.
Senior Margaret Malcolmson is sure that students will end up parking at or near the Golden Circle, as many other people do. “We have people who work downtown and park here every day from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and use up the parking,” Malcolmson said.
Council incumbent Buck Buchanan agreed with seniors that parking regulations should be enforced in the area.
Incumbent Gail Parks, who received a question about expanding the city’s Transit Action Bus, said the city must expand the service as the population grows.
“What happens when we don’t? It means that you’re home and you’re isolated and you’re not out and active in the community,” Parks said.
Council candidate TerryLee Ropchan was asked why Red Deer doesn’t focus on developing a bigger airport for easier air travel. She said every time she drives to Edmonton or Calgary to catch a plane she asks herself the same question.
She said Red Deerians should think carefully about supporting a high-speed railway to Edmonton and Calgary because it would negatively impact the airport’s growth. “If we do that, then I think we’ll kind of shoot ourselves in the foot.”
Seniors also quizzed candidates on their ideas for senior services, like continuing care.
Council candidate Clarence Torgerson was asked whether he would work to keep the Red Deer Nursing Home and Valley Park open.
He said fixing those old buildings would cost a lot of money.
Candidates at the forum included mayoral candidate Hilary Penko and incumbent Morris Flewwelling. Other candidates running for council are: Matt Chapin, Jason Chilibeck, Jeffrey Dawson, Paul Harris, Cindy Jefferies, Chris Stephan, Tara Veer, Frank Wong, Jim Watters, Dianne Wyntjes, and Calvin Yzerman.