Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer reveals the recommended 2020 Capital Budget on Friday. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).

Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer reveals the recommended 2020 Capital Budget on Friday. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).

Red Deer’s proposed aquatic centre could be sidelined for the forseeable future

New economic realities must be faced, says Mayor Tara Veer

How can Red Deer call itself a sports capital if swimmers’ needs are constantly deferred, questions a supporter of the long-sought aquatic centre.

Lynne Mulder, a former city councillor and proponent of the pool project, says “disappointed is an understatement” of how she feels about a city proposal to push the competition-sized pool project off its 10-year capital projects list.

“They are constantly looking for reasons that it can’t be built, instead of coming up with a plan of how it can be built,” adds Mulder.

While she understands the fiscal limitations caused by Alberta’s slow economy, Mulder questions why another hockey rink is in the plans for the G.H. Dawe Centre when the city already has plenty of rinks available locally and in the region?

The new rink would replace the aging Kinex arena — but how about where swimmers will train once the aging Michener Centre pool is shut down, Mulder wonders.

By spending little chunks of money, the city will have no funds left to aside for the large pool project, she adds. Meanwhile, a second study was undertaken to determine the scope of the aquatic project.

As the results will have no value in 10-plus years, Mulder says the study will be a waste of money.

On Friday, the city’s 2020 capital plan was revealed, showing that the new aquatic centre and the Northlands Drive bridge and connector route were bumped out of Red Deer’s proposed 10-year capital plan, due to a slow economy and stagnant city growth.

While funding is proposed for the G.H. Dawe Centre rink twinning to replace the aging Kinex Arena, money for an additional police station for north Red Deer was also pushed ahead by more than a decade, despite high crime in the community.

Mayor Tara Veer says the “bricks and mortar” station is no longer needed since the city is no longer growing much in any direction.

The city’s Chief Financial Officer Dean Krejci confirms Red Deer has only seen about 1 per cent growth over the last two to three years. At this rate, the Northlands Drive connector bridge won’t be needed until 2032.

Here are some of the recommended items in the 2020 budget

He and other city administrators remain concerned about what the provincial budget will bring on Oct. 24, since Alberta has been locked in a recession, with the premier warning that cuts are coming.

Veer says she understands that some people will be disappointed with the sidelining of long-sought items, such as the multi-use aquatic centre with a competion-sized pool.

But she feels the city must be fiscally responsible and take prudent action, based on the state of the local and provincial economies and dwindling city revenues.

(See sidebar about the smaller projects planned).

Red Deer City Council

 

Aquatic centre supporters want the project to go ahead within in a few years. From left are Roy van der Sluis, Brian Gallaway, Darcy Waddle and Lynne Mulder. (Advocate file photo).

Aquatic centre supporters want the project to go ahead within in a few years. From left are Roy van der Sluis, Brian Gallaway, Darcy Waddle and Lynne Mulder. (Advocate file photo).

Just Posted

Mayor Rick Bonnett. (Screenshot)
WATCH: Ponoka council calls on gov’t to support rural small businesses

Ponoka council is calling on the provincial government to increase funding to… Continue reading

Pumpjacks draw oil out of the ground near Olds, Alta., Thursday, July 16, 2020. A new report suggests the economic impact of the pandemic led to a massive increase in federal aid to Canada's oil patch. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Alberta economy ‘still reeling,’ says ATB Financial

Alberta’s economy is still feeling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and… Continue reading

Ella Stoner, five, is ready to cut off her hair and donate it to A Child’s Voice Foundation. (Photo by Lauren Stoner Photography)
Central Alberta girl to donate her ‘princess hair’ to A Child’s Voice Foundation

A five-year-old girl from Rimbey has never had a haircut before. Now,… Continue reading

Asymptomatic testing will now be available for "priority groups" who are most likely to spread the COVID-19 virus to vulnerable or at-risk populations. File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS
Alberta adds 1,195 new COVID-19 cases Saturday

Red Deer has dropped to 760 active cases

The Minnesota Wild celebrate their overtime victory over the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of a first-round NHL hockey playoff series Sunday, May 16, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/David Becker)
Eriksson Ek’s OT goal lifts Wild past Vegas 1-0

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Joel Eriksson Ek’s goal at 3:20 of overtime… Continue reading

Toronto Blue Jays' Lourdes Gurriel Jr., celebrates after hitting a double against the Philadelphia Phillies during the third inning of a baseball game Sunday, May 16, 2021, in Dunedin, Fla. (AP Photo/Mike Carlson)
Girardi, Segura have confrontation as Phils lose to Jays

Blue Jays 10 Phillies 8 DUNEDIN, Fla. (AP) — The injury-depleted Philadelphia… Continue reading

New York Islanders' Kyle Palmieri (21) returns to the bench after scoring during the first period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Pittsburgh, Sunday, May 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Palmieri’s OT winner lifts Isles by Penguins 4-3 in Game 1

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The New York Islanders brought Kyle Palmieri home at… Continue reading

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions hearing to examine an update from Federal officials on efforts to combat COVID-19, Tuesday, May 11, 2021 on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool via AP)
Fauci says pandemic exposed ‘undeniable effects of racism’

ATLANTA (AP) — The immunologist who leads the COVID-19 response in the… Continue reading

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, participates in a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Feds face growing calls for answers after general overseeing vaccine effort sidelined

OTTAWA — The federal Liberal government is facing growing calls for answers… Continue reading

Conservative MP Ron Liepert rises during Question Period on Parliament Hill, Friday, March 10, 2017 in Ottawa. Ron Liepert says these days, the phone calls and emails from people wanting to talk about his party's climate plan have slowed. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Alberta MP pitches Conservative carbon price with a 24-pack of Pilsner

OTTAWA — Ron Liepert says these days, the phone calls and emails… Continue reading

A sign marks Stairs Place in the Hydrostone district in the North end of Halifax on Thursday, May 13, 2021. The street was named for William Grant Stairs, a Canadian explorer from Halifax who helped lead some of the most controversial expeditions through the African continent. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Where the streets have explorers’ names, some Halifax residents call for change

HALIFAX — When builders created Halifax’s distinctive Hydrostone neighbourhood more than a… Continue reading

Riley Oldford, 16, suffers from cerebral palsy. He was the first youth in the Northwest Territories to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Here he receives the needle from nurse practitioner Janie Neudorf in Yellowknife on Thursday May 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Bill Braden
People with disabilities even more alone during pandemic: cerebral palsy spokeswoman

YELLOWKNIFE — Riley Oldford is usually out playing sledge hockey or hanging… Continue reading

Most Read