City council backs bike Tour

All eyes will be on Red Deer should the city be given a nod to host a stage of the Tour of Alberta.

All eyes will be on Red Deer should the city be given a nod to host a stage of the Tour of Alberta.

Red Deer city council said hosting a finishing stage of Alberta’s inaugural international cycling event would put the city on the map.

Council voted 7-1 on Tuesday to allocate $77,000 towards expenses related to being a third-stage finishing host.

Coun. Chris Stephan was opposed because he felt the money could be better spent on core infrastructure and on items like snow removal and filing potholes.

As well, Stephan said some residents would likely not support a cycling event given the feedback from the bike lane pilot project.

Other councillors, however, reasoned it was a minimal investment that would pay off in city exposure and local economic benefits.

The funding sources will come from the hosting major events reserve, community services directorate reserve and the tax stabilization reserve.

The estimated economic benefit for the city is pegged at $650,000.

Councillors said Red Deer is a perfect community to host because of the strong volunteer base.

Mayor Morris Flewwelling said the event is perfectly timed as it will be part of the city’s centennial.

Flewwelling said this will be a huge event for the community.

“We won’t get Red Deer for the whole week but we will definitely get our day in the sun,” said Flewwelling. “I expect to see Ross Street just packed with people.”

Coun. Cindy Jefferies said hosting the stage creates a huge opportunity for Red Deer. Jefferies was recently at an event in Whistler and noted that the local council added $2.5 million to its festivals, events and animation budget for the year.

“That’s the kind of competition that I think that is out there for hosting and wanting to attract certain events to communities,” said Jefferies.

“I see this comparatively as a small investment into a whole lot of potential.”

The inaugural cycling race is set to speed through Alberta in six-stages between Sept. 3 and Sept. 8. The official route will be announced in April but the host communities will be announced next month.

The local organizing committee will make a presentation to Red Deer County Council later this month.

Coun. Tara Veer was absent for the meeting.

In other council news:

l Clearview North is getting a car wash. City council unanimously gave the green light to amending the land use bylaw to allow for a car wash on 62 Carleton Avenue. The new facility will be built in the northwest corner next to a Shell gas bar and Tim Hortons in the Clearview Market commercial area. The facility will also be next to some developing residential areas. The proposed operating hours would be 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. during the summer months and 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. during the rest of the year.

crhyno@bprda.wpengine.com

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