Centennial planners receive surprise

A $250,000 birthday present will come early for a group planning the City of Red Deer’s Centennial in 2013.

A $250,000 birthday present will come early for a group planning the City of Red Deer’s Centennial in 2013.

The Centennial steering committee learned on Monday that city council had accepted their request for $110,000 in 2012 and $140,000 in 2013.

The money will be used to further plan various activities throughout the city during the special 100th birthday, said committee chairwoman Sheila Bannerman

“The (Central Alberta) Historical Society is a small non-profit organization and we were asked to take on this responsibility by the city,” said Bannerman, president of the historical society.

“It’s kind of the city’s way to say they support what we’re doing and they support the centennial.”

The city will draw the money out of its tax stabilization reserve.

Celebrations are planned for March 25, the day Red Deer became a city, as well as a main event and a closing one.

said the money will also help boost smaller events such as skating parties hosted by neighbourhood groups.

“We’ll be soliciting proposals from community groups,” Bannerman said.

“By the end of 2013, we’re expecting Red Deerians will have enjoyed a thoroughly enjoyable year.”

Bannerman said some of the money will also be used to hire a co-ordinator to work with all the groups.

The steering committee received a discount, courtesy of the Downtown Business Association, to set up shop inside the Scott Block building. It’s also received some in-kind donations such as donated office furniture.

The committee hopes to raise another $250,000 to enable them to do even more things, Bannerman added.

“It’s about party and excitement, but also engagement in what’s available in this community,” she said.

Councillor Cindy Jefferies said the centennial gives the city a chance to celebrate and to reflect about its history and what will happen in the future.

But Councillor Chris Stephan suggested the request be deferred until council gets talking on the 2012 budget. Councillor Buck Buchanan suggested $110,000 now and then look at giving the $140,000 once council has the 2012 operating budget talks.

Councillor Dianne Wyntjes said she expects the money will be passed during budget time so might as well do it now.

Buchanan and Stephan voted against the motion to approve the $250,000, but the remaining seven voted in favour.

In other council news:

l Approval on crime prevention and policing study has been set aside for two weeks until Oct. 3.

l A report on the possibility of 20th Avenue signalized intersections is filed for information.

l City of Red Deer launches webcastings of council meetings. The service available on the city’s website allows residents to watch video, hear audio and view the decisions of council. The city has also launched a publicly available wireless network at City Hall.

ltester@bprda.wpengine.com

— copyright Red Deer Advocate