Recently it was announced the population of Red Deer had surpassed 100,000 residents, with City Manager Craig Curtis stating he expected to see the City’s population double within as little as 25 years.
In his lifetime Curtis has witnessed Red Deer’s population double once in size. Now in his role as City Manager he will work together with the City Planning Department to ensure residents have the proper amenities when the population doubles once again.
Curtis has watched as the City changed to adapt to its growing population and was part of such projects as the moving the railway line west to the outside of City limits, as well as the relocation of the civic yards to expand the Riverlands area.
“When I started with the City in 1980 it had a population of 35,000 people,” said Curtis. “To think the first residential area I worked on with the City was Glendale and the second was the relocation of the Westerner.
“From there to 100,000 has been quite a journey and it really is an exciting time to live in Red Deer.”
Red Deerians can watch as the City borders expand with heavy growth to the east and northeast and light growth in the north and northwest.
Projects such as the Hwy. 11A (North Highway) connector will see a bridge crossing over the river near the northeastern border of the City limits connecting the areas to the west of the river (Chiles Industrial and Riverside Industrial) to the area near Three Mile Bend within the next five to six years.
Within the next 10 years residents can also expect to see the creation of 20 Ave. – currently only a gravel road running the length of the City border behind Rosedale, Deer Park and Lancaster. The road will one day become an integral artery of the City’s roadways and connect with the extension of the Hwy. 11A bridge and become what Curtis called Red Deer’s ‘ring-road’.
This area is also heavily under construction with the ever-expanding Timberlands and Timberstone area, with work currently underway to extend both 30 Ave. and 67 St. with a traffic circle intersecting the two roads and three new high schools also being built in the area.
As the population continues to grow, additional services will be needed in the form of recreation, to which Curtis explained will be met in the near future with the upgrades at the Red Deer Arena, Red Deer College and the Memorial Centre as well as the creation of a new major multiplex recreation facility and site selection for an additional athletic park.
Another plan residents can look forward to is the expansion of the Waskasoo Park system through the River Valleys and Tributaries Plan which could see the creation of additional parks throughout the river valley as the population grows.
Plans for the development of the Riverlands area are also set within the next five years following the address of two major issues halting construction – burying the power line to better open sites for development and the redesign of Taylor Drive to better flow traffic into the area which will host a pedestrian square overlooking the river.
Curtis added these cover the bases of living and leisure for the people of Red Deer but for economic growth to continue people need places to work. To this he added the creation and expansion of the Queens Industrial area located just off of Hwy. 11A and the QE. II near Lynn Valley will be the driving solution. This area also features an eco-industrial area with special principles around sustainability.
Future major area development plans coming to City council later this year, after having already been presented in a public meeting, include the area north of Hwy. 11A and both the Edgar Industrial and Kentwood areas with land surrounding Hazlett Lake.
Curtis explained the plan for the area will be a combination of commercial, residential and light industrial and the area around the lake is expected to become a major part of Waskasoo Park as well.