Welcome to Red Deer. High unemployment, high crime, poor air and a shrinking population.
Red Deer has over 10 per cent unemployment, add in that Red Deer’s population shrank by 975 residents and numbers become mind boggling.
Our city’s crime severity index is 182, while the provincial index is 112 and the national index is 70.
Our air quality readings are consistently in the “requires immediate attention range.” Air spans municipal, provincial and federal jurisdictions. Every politician believes that they are faultless and will not take on this issue.
Take one example. Red Deer intends to build all six high schools on one side of town, (five along 30 Ave.) and they intend to build all but one recreational complexes on one side of town, and this means a lot of commuting for one side of town, which creates more air pollution. Lack of recreational facilities for the idle young and the less fortunate people on one side of town, which could lead to more juvenile delinquencies and increased crime.
Ask the province if this makes sense with regard to population and air quality statistics and their response is; “That is the municipal decision.” We will just fund another bridge to make it easier for the 30,000 plus current and 55,000 future residents to travel across town to use facilities on the south side. Air pollution is “not my department.”
Ask the city and they will blame the school boards and the province. Mention air quality and they will mention their “idle free zones” initiative, and ignore the “constant commutes by residents” issue.
We cannot stem this by placing each issue in separate bubbles and passing them around. We need to step back, hit the reset button and consolidate our efforts and resources.
Perhaps we could get away from the mantra that high schools and swimming pools go on the south side and industrial parks and food banks go on the north side.
What is the root cause for Red Deer’s high unemployment, high crime index, high air pollution and shrinking population? Let me guess, it’s “ not my department.”
Garfield Marks, Red Deer