Curtain rises on new CAT deal

Central Alberta Theatre is nearing a new deal with the City of Red Deer over a long-term loan.

Central Alberta Theatre is nearing a new deal with the City of Red Deer over a long-term loan.

City council agreed on Monday to a new deal on the outstanding $30,700.

The deal will extend the repayment to a seven-year term with a lower interest rate, at 2.9 per cent.

The original four-year loan was set at 5.33 per cent.

About $28,000, plus interest, remains of the total $40,000 loan.

CAT requested loan forgiveness because of its recent financial hardships.

Council reasoned the revised term was a good solution because it’s similar to other arrangements with various non-profit groups.

Paolo Mancuso, CAT president, said having more time to pay back the loan will make it easier for the group.

He applauds council’s decision, and the fact the city is acknowledging the work CAT has done and the leadership in the community.

“It’s month to month for us but we are making it,” said Mancuso.

He said the Memorial Arts Centre is booking more shows now than in 2012-2013 and there’s still four months left in the entertainment season. Mancuso said he attributes this to the new operations and facility manager, and new series of shows for the CAT Studio.

Mancuso said there are some nights they are not hitting the attendance numbers hoped for and they believe that offering dinner theatre would be the fix.

“That’s the direction we’re going in for the next season,” said Mancuso. “We’re working very hard to secure a venue for dinner theatre for the 2014-2015 season so can make up for those numbers. We still want to put in some interesting, edgy stuff in the Nickle (Studio).”

Second and third reading of the required bylaw will be heard in six weeks.

In other council news:

l Red Deer Coun. Lawrence Lee wants to curb the election sign eyesore that litters the streetscape during municipal, provincial and federal elections.

Lee introduced a notice of motion on Monday that limits the length of time that the signs are in place and the number of signs for candidates.

Lee said he noticed the visual blight during the October municipal election. He said the election signs can cause distracted driving. He said a shorter time frame will also reduce vandalism and improve safety.

“One month is sufficient to use that form of communication,” said Lee. “We live in a society now that is driven a lot by social media and through other forms of campaigning. I think that those allow you to advocate yourself and campaign appropriately.”

The motion permits signs to be put in place as of nomination day in the year of a municipal election or on the dropping of the writ for provincial and federal elections and limits the number of signs for any one candidate to one sign per contiguous designated sign location.

Currently signs are permitted six weeks in advance of the election.

Council will consider the motion at its next meeting on March 17.

l Two Red Deer city councillors want to save the honey bees.

Councillors Paul Harris and Lynne Mulder introduced a notion of motion that calls on the city to explore dedicated pollinator park or garden for pollinating insects, and to explore the banning of pesticides that have adverse affects on the health of pollinator populations.

Harris said bees and other pollinating insects need to be saved around the world and there is no better place to start than at home.

“We can do some of that work here by creating gardens and raising some awareness about their importance to the entire food chain,” said Harris. “I think that will help our community and certainly our world.”

The notice of motion also requests that the City of Red Deer request that the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities add the protection of pollinators in their discussions and advocacy efforts on the environment.

Harris said there are no other municipalities in Alberta that have these dedicated parks.

“We would be the first,” said Harris. “It is a very innovative idea to put some gardens together to show what can be done.”

Council will discuss the month at its next council meeting in two weeks.

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