City council supports $25,000 for Downtown Community Development Committee

Funding supports stakeholders in developing programs enhancing downtown safety

Funding for downtown safety initiatives was up for discussion during Monday’s City council operational budget deliberations.

The recommendation was to support a one-time allotment of $25,000 for the Downtown Community Development Committee (DCDC) and its stakeholders to work together in developing programs that enhance safety in the downtown.

Council supported the motion, with two opposed (Coun. Lawrence Lee and Coun. Buck Buchanan).

“The Downtown Business Association, the Central Alberta Crime Prevention Centre, businesses in the downtown as well as not-for-profits such as Canadian Mental Health and Turning Point – they were all consulted as part of the safety strategy creation – those players all sit on the DCDC and they are working to increase the safety, and promote a safer community in our downtown,” said Sarah Cockerill, director of community services.

“Really, the gap that council saw at the time was the gap between social agencies and our business community and residents in the downtown being able to come together with a shared understanding, as well as how they could be proactive in having a safer neighbourhood for us all to live and work in,” she said, adding the first meeting was back in 2015.

“There are a myriad of agencies and businesses involved – anyone who is interested can come and sit at the table and hear what’s happening,” she said.

“It’s not a formal group – it’s about coming together, working collaboratively, leveraging each other to do something great for our downtown.”

Cockerill said the seed money has gone to many causes, such as Art Alley and the Buffalo Backyard, the wrapping of the electrical boxes and some of the needle debris initiatives. “They didn’t receive money in 2017, and their initiatives did decline significantly,” she said. “It’s a collaborative, networking opportunity where they decide where their priorities are, and make sure they aren’t duplicating services.”

In other budget news, City council also decided to support one-time funding allotments to the Central Alberta Economic Partnership ($40,167) for continued membership and the Red Deer Museum + Art Gallery ($100,000).

“I encourage the council members who haven’t been to the CAEP office to go and have a visit with the director,” said Coun. Dianne Wyntjes, emphasizing the importance of continued membership with the group.

Coun. Michael Dawe agreed.

“It’s certainly something I will be supporting. I think we make a mistake sometimes (with relatively small savings) that we overlooked the larger part of Red Deer being part of a regional economic centre and a regional planning centre.”

As to the Museum, he pointed out that granting the funds isn’t about absolving the Museum of the goal to step up fundraising programs to build up their own independent sources of funding.

“This is not an issue of the Museum and Art Gallery per se, it’s an issue of changes in government policy and practice that are having a direct and indirect impact on the City of Red Deer budget,” added Mayor Tara Veer.

As to the caution council is showing in extensive discussion over expenditures in general, Lee noted that economic challenges are an overriding theme to these decisions. “I think there are two factors that come into play – one, a newer council and two, the economic times. It’s really at a point where things are starting to catch up now, and we have to diligently go line by line and ensure we are looking (at times) at not even maintaining in a lot of areas, but cutting back where it’s not a significant impact to the service levels that we’ve been delivering traditionally.”

Just Posted

Red Deer Rebels take the game against Kootenay Ice 4-3 in overtime

Defenseman Alexander Alexeyev scores winning goal 75 seconds into overtime

It’s been a strong start for Red Deer’s newest hockey team

Red Deer Senior AA Rustlers coming off back-to-back wins

Innisfail RCMP investigate serious collision west of Innisfail

One of the passengers was taken by STARS air ambulance to the hospital

The Red Deer Home Renovation & Design Show runs through to Sunday at Westerner Park

Lots of ideas for fall renovation, decor, design, organization, construction and indoor living projects

Singer k.d. lang receives Alberta’s highest honour

Celebrated singer-songwriter k.d. lang received the Alberta Order of Excellence in Edmonton

Payette invites critics to ‘come and spend a few days’ with her

Governor General Julie Payette made her first official to B.C. back in March

Police say suspicious death of B.C. artist ruled a homicide

Patrick Zube Aylward’s body was found in a residence on a rural road outside of Seton Portage, west of Lillooet, B.C.

Temporary roads being built in areas affected by landslide in northern B.C.

Emergency Management BC news release says Disaster Financial Assistance is available to eligible residents of the Peace River Regional District who may have been affected by the landslides

‘Mom, I’m in trouble:’ Canadian faces 10 years for alleged graffiti

Brittney Schneider, another tourist caught spraying message on walls of Tha Pae Gate in Thailand

Feds consulting on national anti-racism strategy behind closed doors

Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez says people still face systemic racism in some communities

Pot sales down by nearly 70% on Day 2 of legalization in B.C.

Several products on BC Cannabis Store are still sold out

Colourfully named cannabis products appeal to youth, Tory health critic says

Conservative health critic Marilyn Gladu says the Liberal government needs to do more to ensure cannabis products available online are not enticing to young people

B.C. high school teacher faces sexual assault charges

A Mt. Boucherie teacher has been charged with child luring, sexual exploitation and sexual assault.

Most Read