Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer speaks at the opening of the new Servus Arena, a Canada Winter Games project. (Advocate file photo).

Red Deer council city plans to boost the city’s profile, while creating a safer community

New Strategic Plan solidifies council’s vision for the next four years

Growing public concerns about crime, as well as the big economic boost provided by the 2019 Canada Winter Games, will both influence Red Deer city council’s priorities for the next four years.

The city’s new strategic plan centres on four goals: To have a safe, socially responsible city, which is also an economic leader, and a chosen destination.

Mayor Tara Veer said the plan approved earlier this month will set the course for council and be a guide for administrative policies until 2022.

A big change from previous plans is the safe city aspect— as well as Red Deer becoming a chosen destination for out-of-town events and tourists.

Increasing community concerns about crime and downtown safety were behind council adopting the “safe and secure community” theme, said Veer. But council also saw how hosting a national event, such as the games, can boost the local the economy, causing major development and spin-off for businesses.

Veer said making Red Deer a chosen, four-season destination is a new aim that wasn’t part of previous strategic plans.

“We are now recognizing that the more we promote our city… the more we will see a return on that investment.”

While the planning document is very broad in scope, it is meant to be considered as a strategy that outlines priorities and opportunities for change.

The 2019-2022 strategic plan states Red Deer is:

* a safe and secure community. Safety is strengthened through enforcement, prevention, intervention and education.

* a socially responsible city. Red Deer offers a welcoming community where everyone can enjoy a high quality of life. This means advocating for much-needed social infrastructure and “building a resilient community.”

* an economic leader that capitalizes on the city’s central location. Red Deer is a strong, dynamic, diverse economic hub, fostered by entrepreneurship and innovation and a revitalized downtown.

* a chosen four-season destination; a “city within a park” where visitors can enjoy the greenbelt, trails and distinctive amenities. “Centrally located, we attract events that generate investment and enhance our community identity.”

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