Red Deer County climbs aboard parade float plan

Red Deer County has climbed aboard a plan to roll out a new parade float to promote the region.

Red Deer County has climbed aboard a plan to roll out a new parade float to promote the region.

While councillors were in favour of paying a share of the cost of the float, they balked on Tuesday at the $90,000 contribution over six years requested by the Westerner Float Replacement Committee.

Councillor Dave Hoar said that the City of Red Deer, with a much larger budget and population, had agreed to pay $180,000 over six years. Westerner Park is putting in the same amount. On a per capita basis, the $90,000 county investment was overly generous considering the municipality’s population of around 20,000, he suggested.

Hoar said he wasn’t sure what the right number should be but he had a “gnawing concern” with the amount requested.

Councillor Penny Archibald also took issue with the amount, although she supported the proposal. “The project is good.”

The county’s portion should be in proportion to the city, said Councillor Don Nesbitt. That would work out to an annual contribution over six years in the range of $6,500. That motion was passed 6-1 with Councillor Philip Massier opposed.

Earlier, Massier also expressed reluctance to provide the full amount, questioning whether that level of support would eat up the county’s advertising and promotional budget.

Jack Donald, who made the float presentation to council, said they will have to go back and crunch the numbers because the budget was based on the county providing $90,000. Donald was optimistic the project could go ahead and the committee plans to approach other Central Alberta communities for funding help.

Donald said the float would be used to promote the city, county and Westerner Park at around 20 events a summer, including the Calgary Stampede and Edmonton’s Capital Ex.

The electric-powered float would have a fold-up stage, a sound system and lights so it can be used day or night. It would be designed so that the superstructure could be lifted off and replaced and refurbished easily.

It replaces a float based on a 1980 Pontiac chassis that is worn out.

A sharing scheme was worked out so the county could be highlighted on the float one year, the city for two years and Westerner Park for two years.

“We think it’s an opportunity to feature the County of Red Deer throughout Alberta,” said Donald.

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com