A family leaving Red Deer’s Collicutt Centre. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).

Red Deer city council makes recreation, transit cuts to offset revenue losses

Dawe, Collicutt Centres to close earlier, less frequent buses Sundays, holidays

Cuts will be made to Red Deer’s recreation and transit services this spring to help balance the 2019 city budget.

Faced with sharply falling revenues, Red Deer city council reluctantly approved service reductions to the Collicutt Centre and Dawe Centre, as well as to public transit routes on Sundays and holidays.

As of April 1, the two city recreation centres will close one hour earlier, at 9 instead of 10 p.m., from Mondays through Saturdays to save nearly $113,o00.

This includes public hours for the pools, gyms and the track. It does not include the private rental of rinks or other facilities.

Starting May 1, Red Deer transit buses will run less frequently on Sundays and during statutory holidays. There will be a one-hour wait between bus arrivals instead of the previous half hour. This provides a savings of about $650,000.

Coun. Buck Buchanan expressed reservations about the “disenfranchised minority” who would suffer — especially by less frequent bus runs.

But city council and administration felt it necessary to take action to reduce bottom-line costs at a time when city revenues are down significantly in recreation as well as transit.

“Are we going to please everyone? No,” summarized Coun. Vesna Higham. But she added the decision attempts to strike a balance between what the city offers and what it can afford.

The decisions were based on usage.

The city has heard complaints from the public about buses running empty in the evenings and on holidays. While Red Deer’s entire transit system is being overhauled over the next year or so, these savings were enacted to try to keep the city’s 2019 tax increase at no more than 2.5 per cent.

City manager Craig Curtis recommended the non-peak hour reductions, saying they were a reasonable way to “recognize decreased revenue generation.”

Council was unanimous in voting for less frequent bus service on Sundays and holidays after hearing that few riders would be affected.

The Sundays and holiday reduction will affect six to seven customers counted per route, per 30 minutes. Lengthening the bus frequency to one hour will still mean fewer people will be on the buses than the 15 passenger per hour guideline.

Administration acknowledged that this could impact connections to Red Deer County’s contracted bus service to and from Bower Mall.

Mayor Tara Veer was the only one who voted against the recreation hour reductions, voicing concerns about adult lane swimming being affected. She was told staff would look at rescheduling this.



lmichelin@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Red Deer food bank to re-evaluate to stay up to date on new Canadian food guide

The Red Deer Food Bank Society that feeds thousands of families every… Continue reading

Young Blackfalds mother copes with double tragedies with community support

Three fundraisers are being held to help Alana Newbold and her children

Red Deer careful about overuse of road salt

Focus on anti-icing to reduce salt use

Carjacking victim would stop to help again

Springbrook woman has some sympathy for carjacker

Red Deer’s crisis line workers are busy dealing with multiple emergencies

Callers need everything from mental health counselling to their basic needs met

2-for-1: Total lunar eclipse comes with supermoon bonus

On Sunday night, the moon, Earth and sun lined up to create the eclipse, which was visible throughout North and South America

Liberals have options to help more millennials buy homes, experts say

OTTAWA — The federal Liberals have several options as they look for… Continue reading

Parks Canada puts brakes on Icefields Parkway bike trail in Alberta

Parks Canada says it won’t go ahead with a plan to build… Continue reading

Sylvan Lake resident to receive kidney from younger sister

Sylvan Lake resident Lexie Libby had been losing hope of ever finding… Continue reading

Closing arguments at trial of accused in slaying of Calgary Stampeders player

CALGARY — Final arguments are to be heard today at the trial… Continue reading

Edmonton Oilers fire general manager Peter Chiarelli: reports

EDMONTON — Peter Chiarelli has been fired as general manager of the… Continue reading

Canadian Milos Raonic has Australian Open run end in quarterfinals

MELBOURNE, Australia — Canadian Milos Raonic is done at the Australian Open… Continue reading

$20K pay gap between women, men in Canadian tech jobs

The report defines tech workers as people either producing or making extensive use of technology, regardless of industry

Two Quebec short-film directors mark first Oscar nominations together

TORONTO — Two Quebec filmmakers celebrated in solidarity on Tuesday after learning… Continue reading

Most Read