New civic yards officially opened

City of Red Deer staff joined community leaders to celebrate the official opening of Red Deer’s civic yards Thursday.

Jim Stock

City of Red Deer staff joined community leaders to celebrate the official opening of Red Deer’s civic yards Thursday.

Dozens watched as Jim Stock, Red Deer’s longest-serving civic yards employee, and Mayor Morris Flewwelling cut the red ribbon inside one of the bays within the transit barn and civic garage.

Stock, first hired in April 1972 with the city and now Environmental Services foreman, had only good things to say about the new digs within Riverside Heavy Industrial Park.

“The guys enjoy the site down here,” Stock said.

Brent Smith, a labourer for Environmental Services, said it’s great to be working in close proximity with other department staff.

“We get to know a few more people,” Smith said.

Close to 500 employees from Public Works, Environmental Services, Electric Light and Power, and Red Deer Transit departments, along with a portion of Recreation, Parks and Culture are now stationed at the 70-acre site — a much more spacious area than the old civic yards in west downtown Riverlands area.

The $118-million civic yards relocation project was finished earlier this spring after construction began in the fall of 2007.

The new site includes many environmentally-friendly features that the public will be able to see on Saturday, starting at 10 a.m.

No walk-in or drive-in traffic will be allowed. Pre-registration was required by phoning 403-342-8147 or going online at online at www.reddeer.ca.

Peter Bull, a director with IBI Group Architects and Engineers in Edmonton, said the vehicle wash building will recycle 90 per cent of its water.

“We’ll be harvesting rain water and during those months, we’ll top off the shortfall,” Bull said. “Generally, these buildings waste so much water.”

Bull said the building will also have solar panels installed to generate 50 per cent of the power required for this facility. Solar panels are also being put outside the south side of the administration building.

The vehicle wash building also features recycled power poles to give these facilities an interesting look.

Nine buildings were erected, many of which will house various city equipment. There are picnic benches, plus other green space.

A bur oak tree, more than 15 years old, was also planted near the entry gates as a reminder of the special opening.

As Development Services director Paul Goranson noted, planning has been in the works for more than 10 years.

“It’s quite rewarding to see the final product,” he said.

ltester@bprda.wpengine.com

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