When Kyle Reed took his two-year-old son Elijah down the new slide during last week’s opening of the revitalized G.H. Dawe Community Centre we wonder if the big smiles were small snapshots of contented Red Deerians or just dad and son having fun.
Whatever the reason the bigger and more important question goes to the quality of life issue in Red Deer and whether the City is making sufficient and timely progress to ensure levels of health in all areas are acceptable, or at least going in the right direction.
On the Dawe Centre issue it is interesting to note that in the 2009 Vital Signs report, the Red Deer & District Community Foundation’s annual measuring stick for the City’s quality of life, local facilities was marked as Red Deer’s third greatest strength.
The north end Dawe Centre, which reopened after two years of almost $30 million of renovations, now covers 94,000 sq.-ft. of space compared to 200,000 sq.-ft. at the Collicutt Centre, which largely services the south end of the City.
The improved community centre boasts five pool basins, including ones for children and leisure, along with a spray pool, large hot tub and a refurbished four lane lap facility.
The new Dawe Centre also features two waterslides, a sauna, steam room, three multipurpose rooms, a full multifaceted gymnasium, fitness and workout space and food services.
As well, the new facility offers a new child minding area and a revitalized and 47% larger Dawe branch of the Red Deer Public Library.
In terms of quality of life, we should be careful not to entrench our thinking on too narrow a front by simply acknowledging Red Deer is a better place to be because it has two great public water slides in the north end. There is much more to consider.
Great facilities also improve so many other areas that are measured in determining a City’s health.
Youth are happier because there are greater options for fun and fitness. Health care instantly becomes a greater strength for the municipality. Students and seniors now have a larger and more welcoming library for reading and study. And child care, which was listed last in the Vitals Signs greatest strengths list, gets a big boost because adults now have a safe and well equipped and staffed place to place their children while they use the facility.
Yes, happy smiles are fine while tumbling down a waterslide, but the bigger ones should be reserved when looking at the larger picture.