When ladder trucks from Red Deer Emergency Services weren’t responding to urgent calls they were creating pop-up spray parks in neighbourhoods for city kids last summer. (Advocate file photo).

Automated licence plate readers allow Red Deer police to quickly identify stolen vehicles

This is one of many innovations city council heard about on Tuesday

Pop-up spray parks and yarn-enhanced asphalt are some of the dozens of innovations the City of Red Deer is trying to improve quality of life and bump up efficiencies.

Impromptu spray parks sprang up in neighbourhoods around the city last summer when idle ladder trucks and fire hoses were deployed to create fountains of water that kids could play under.

Corporate Services director Lisa Perkins said the ladder trucks from Red deer Emergency Services were just sitting there, so an idea was born: Why not create some fun for kids around Red Deer?

Perkins figures about 400 children benefitted. “It’s about social inclusion and creating recreational opportunities.”

A long list of various efficiencies and innovations that were presented to city council during Tuesday’s budget process, included a new technology that has been tried out by the Public Works department.

The asphalt used to pave 67th Street, east of the Red Deer River bridge, contains some wax-coated bits of yarn. Perkins said these “chunks of fibre” are expected to extend the life of the roadway by stopping the formation of cracks that can lead to road degradation and pot holes.

Some of the other innovations on Perkins’ list are:

– The purchase of an automated license plate reader for police. This allows officers to scan up to 1,200 plates during each shift to identify vehicles that were reported stolen. (Red Deer has one of only two of these readers in use in Alberta).

– The city is saving $300,000 in contract costs with Enmax by using an automated meter reader. Rather than having a person going into residents’ yards, the water meter reader can obtain all the information needed by being pointed at a house from the road, said Perkins.

– Real estate agents are now being used to sell city lots in Timberlands and other new neighbourhoods instead of city staff. Perkins said this allows for better marketing, creating broader public interest, as more people can see the lots when they are listed on MLS.

Another change could save the city money while increasing ridership on transit buses.

Perkins said the city is working with various social service agencies, as well as Action Bus drivers, to inform some people with disabilities that conventional transit buses might better meet their needs.

Community Services director Sarah Cockerill said large transit buses now come with special features — they can be lowered on the side where passengers enter, and ramps can be extended for wheelchairs.

While not every person with disabilities will be able to use a regular bus — it involves getting to a bus stop — Cockerill said those who can will get to their destination faster. The small Action buses must make multiple stops to pick up and let off other people at their homes or destinations.

They are also in high demand and must be ordered days ahead of time.

While the financial implications have not yet been measured, “even one rider (switching) is a cost-saving,” said Cockerill.



lmichelin@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

‘A little love can go a long way,’ says a Red Deer opioid user who supports overdose prevention

The OPS means higher survival rates and less needle debris, he adds

Red Deer’s overdose prevention staff want to counter misinformation

There are no free drug giveaways, and needles do not leave the building

Facility designed to divert waste from Sylvan Lake’s landfill to be ready by end of year

Fogdog Energy Solutions Inc. technology turns waste into a fluff

More help in Red Deer for youth addicted to drugs

New facility for Protection of Children Abusing Drugs (PChAD) program officially opened

Four flu deaths reported in central Alberta

19 influenza deaths across the province

Fashion Fridays: The basics you need for your body type

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Your community calendar

Jan. 22 Downtown House Senior Center (5414 43 St.) in Red Deer… Continue reading

Comedian Russell Peters on cancel culture and his Amazon Prime Video special, ‘Deported’

TORONTO — Canadian comedy star Russell Peters says he feels so-called cancel… Continue reading

David Marsden: Drug addicts deserve our care

The provincial government, rather than seizing an opportunity, is flirting with putting… Continue reading

Wheels in Motion: Canada’s Mitchell a quick study in track cycling

MILTON, Ont. — Canada’s Kelsey Mitchell returns this weekend to where it… Continue reading

Women’s players hope NHL All-Star Weekend helps their cause

ST. LOUIS — Annie Pankowski got an email from the NHL asking… Continue reading

Juno-nominated folk band the Jerry Cans to set out on nine-city Canadian tour

TORONTO — Iqaluit folk-rock ensemble the Jerry Cans are plotting a Canadian… Continue reading

Taylor Swift shakes Sundance with revealing documentary

PARK CITY, Utah — The normally private Taylor Swift premiered an intimate… Continue reading

Second day of search yields no sign of French snowmobilers missing in Quebec

ST-HENRI-DE-TAILLON, Que. — It was an exuberant group of French travellers who… Continue reading

Most Read