(Contributed photo).

City of Red Deer to begin dialogue with developers

Barriers and solutions to downtown redevelopment to be explored

It was a case of win some/lose some for outgoing Red Deer City Councillor Paul Harris.

Although Harris was absent from the last council meeting before the election, two of his motions were voted on by the rest of council (minus Dianne Wyntjes, who was also away) on Monday.

Harris proposed that council instruct city administrators to meet with developers to identify barriers and potential solutions to attracting downtown redevelopment.

He noted that many developers have expressed concerns about the high cost of utility connection charges in the downtown. Since the municipality wants to increase the economic viability of the city’s core and not miss out on business tax dollars, Harris suggested more communication would be beneficial.

Although Coun. Frank Wong and Coun. Lawrence Lee did not vote for the motion, (Wong cited that the city’s utility connection charges were already on a cost-recovery basis), it was carried by the rest of council.

A majority felt it timely to open up dialogue with developers at this economically challenging time.

However, they voted down Harris’s second notice of motion, asking that a researcher be hired to assist city councillors who wanted to look more thoroughly into constituent concerns.

While Councillors Buck Buchanan, Ken Johnston, and Lynne Mulder saw merit in having additional help to better serve the public’s interests, most councillors were not in favour of hiring a researcher.

Mayor Tara Veer said she was satisfied with 1,600 staffers “acting on council’s direction.” She also felt it would also send the wrong message at a time of city cost-cutting and hiring constraints.


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