I have heard too often that there is no bias against the residents in Red Deer, living north of the river, but it is usually from someone living south of the river.
Numbers tell the story. Number of recreational facilities, number of high schools, and number of services on per capital basis favor the south every time.
Projects that fall into the ‘not in my backyard’ category usually gets built north of the river, and every desired project gets built on the south side of the river.
Skaters versus swimmers bias is evident not only in the number but in the history of Red Deer. Collicutt is such a huge success but our leaders only talk about ice rinks. The city residents have told survey after survey, as a top priority, that the city needs a 50m pool yet we have built how many ice rinks?
We talk about replacing our rinks when they reach a certain age but the newest pool (Collicutt) is 20 years old. The Dawe pool and Michener pools are older. Yet it will be 10 years at least before we build a pool.
The worst part about this whole situation is lost opportunity.
There is ample land available, north of 11A, in a buyer’s market. There is ample workforce available. There is money available. Tenders are coming in at sometimes north of 30 per cent lower than before. Red Deer County and Blackfalds have capitalized on these.
Red Deer did when they sped up renovations at city hall. They found the money for new ice rinks, the Central Community Centre, downtown and Capstone but no money for a pool.
The twinning of rinks at the Dawe Community Centre is much appreciated and it does help soothe the anguish felt by the residents living north of the river, but a lot is erased when some politicians deny the bias against them, exists.
It is usually the perpetrators of bias who deny that bias exists, but the victims of bias still feel it. Walk a mile, in their shoes, on the north side before you declare “no bias exists.”
Garfield Marks, Red Deer