With warmer weather coming, the City of Red Deer is having to proactively postpone the opening of local spray parks, the outdoor pool, Discovery Canyon, the River Bend Golf Course and Lions Campground.
Mayor Tara Veer said she knows many local residents will be disappointed to hear of these additional postponements along with the ongoing temporary closures of recreational centre until June 30 due to measures to contain the spread of COVID-19.
But she said the city has to follow provincial social distancing guidelines. Right now, facility closures have been set until the end of June, based on recommendations from the provincial chief medical officer of health.
Depending on progress in limiting the spread of the new coronavirus, she added the city might have to extend that date — or lift the restrictions early, depending on advice on how well Alberta is reducing cases of COVID-19.
The city will not be issuing special event permits before June 30. This means there will be no Ross Street Patio, Downtown Farmers’ Market or Red Deer Public Market happening until after that date, if at all this year. Karen Mann, the city’s director of emergency operations, said private organizers will have to decide whether these events are viable to go ahead later in the season, if possible.
According to the city, the Mayor’s Garden Party and Mayor’s Recognition Awards will be postponed, with no dates chosen yet.
Veer said there are too many unknowns at this time to say what will happen to Westerner Days, Centrefest and other special events happening later this summer.
Part of the problem with planning a giant event, such as Westerner Days is that key decisions have to be made well ahead of time, likely by early June, so organizers will have to determine at that time whether it can go ahead as planned in mid-July.
The Westerner had to lay-off 90 per cent of staff, so Veer said it would be a boon to be able to put people back to work if the fair was given the green light.
She added that the city will be looking for opportunities to partner with the province on various infrastructure projects to try to get people working once the initial threat of the virus subsides.