Mayor Tara Veer is greeted by students outside Central Middle School as she attends the arrival of the MasterCard Memorial Cup in Red Deer. Photo by JEFF STOKOE/Advocate staff

Mayor looks back on 2016

Successes and challenges

Red Deer had its share of highs and lows in 2016.

The city hosted a phenomenal MasterCard Memorial Cup, but also made headlines for having the highest crime rate among Alberta’s four major cities.

Construction of the province’s $80-million QEII interchange project got underway to improve traffic safety on the city’s south side.

Meanwhile, Red Deer’s population shrunk by one per cent after decades of growth.

Mayor Tara Veer said Red Deer definitely had its successes and challenges in 2016, all while struggling with the flailing economy.

“The overarching story of 2016 was certainly navigating through a provincial economy like none in recent history,” said Veer during a year-end interview with the Advocate.

She said obstacles will continue in 2017. The city saw a drop in revenue and council will debate a proposed 2.5 per cent property tax increase that includes a 0.22 per cent increase to deal with the province’s new carbon levy.

“(The carbon levy) has a real financial impact on our local businesses and residents. Now our work will be cut out for us to ensure that money comes back to Red Deer in the way of environmental capital grants.”

Hosting the MasterCard Memorial Cup in May was among Veer’s favourite memories of 2016.

“The Memorial Cup provided an economic spinoff for Red Deer of approximately $14 million in a time when we needed it the most. It was an incredible source of community pride. But it also gave us the opportunity to welcome 10,000 national and international guests to Red Deer who otherwise would not have come to Red Deer.”

According to the Canadian Hockey League, Red Deer set the bar for future Memorial Cups and bodes well for a great 2019 Canada Winter Games, she said.

“As much as it is about preparing for the Canada Winter Games, it’s also about positioning us for what’s next after the Canada Winter Games. One event builds upon the next event.”

As many as 20,000 Canadians will visit the city during the games, and Red Deer is already working on its “identity challenge,” she said.

“When there is a national news story about where Red Deer was positioned in terms of our crime rates, that obviously is concerning to us not only in perspective to the level of our crime rates, because citizens have identified crime and public safety is their number one priority.”

Veer said police made an impact on organized crime and now the focus needs to be on reducing property crime, which has become a source of significant public frustration.

szielinski@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Sneak Peak: Tour properties with Red Deer County and look at backyards, acreages, gardens

Snoop around people’s backyards without any guilt on Red Deer County’s beautification… Continue reading

New RDC president has three decades of experience working at colleges and universities

Peter Nunoda says he’s ‘excited’ to help transition the college into a university

Pro-pipelines rally draws crowd to City Hall

Canadian Taxpayers Federation says Canada missing out on billions in revenue

Blair says more gun-control action needed, signals no new steps before election

OTTAWA — Crime Reduction Minister Bill Blair says more must be done… Continue reading

Pricey tours of decaying Titanic shipwreck delayed until June 2020

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Adventure tourists who paid $168,000 each to help… Continue reading

Police searching for suspect after shooting at Toronto Raptors rally

Toronto police are still looking for a suspect after Monday’s shooting that… Continue reading

The corporate winners and losers from the Toronto Raptors’ historic win

We The North mania spread across Canada as the Toronto Raptors created… Continue reading

Efforts continue to raise profile of New Brunswick sprint champion from 1900s

HALIFAX — A New Brunswick sprinter who achieved world-class success in the… Continue reading

Campaign to eradicate rodents puts other animals at risk

The bird was a female cardinal. It was on the ground and… Continue reading

Opinion: Throwing cold water on fee for calling firefighters

There’s never any upside to adversity. Whether it’s the loss of a… Continue reading

‘This is our story:’ Winnipeg General Strike commemorated on screen, stage

WINNIPEG — A moment in history that changed Canada forever is headed… Continue reading

Most Read