Projects getting fast-tracked due to 2019 Canada Winter Games

Red Deer community benefiting from economic stimulus

  • Nov. 16, 2016 5:47 p.m.

The Red Deer community is benefiting from a number of projects which are a direct result of being awarded the 2019 Canada Winter Games.

“The Canada Winter Games has brought new provincial and federal dollars into Red Deer that we otherwise would not have been eligible for. Those infrastructure dollars from the provincial and federal governments would have went to another community,” said Mayor Tara Veer.

“There are other infrastructure projects that Red Deer has had longstanding discussions about with the provincial government. We’ve been awaiting infrastructure dollars for those projects but the Games have proved to be the catalyst for those projects to happen. In those slate of projects are the Red Deer Regional Airport runway extension, and the QEII interchange as well as some of the provincial dollars that have gone to Red Deer College for the expansion of the Centre for Health Wellness and Sport.”

There are a number of projects that the 2019 Canada Winter Games committee is directly investing into which includes The Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre at Red Deer College, which is the legacy facility identified as part of the Games. Another project includes the new speedskating oval at Great Chief Park, on which work is just getting underway.

The oval will be built around the football stadium, which will also be rebuilt. “This project is not just about Winter Games because we will have a brand new football field and then also a beautiful new building for dressing rooms and viewing and concessions,” said Scott Robinson, chief executive officer of the 2019 Canada Winter Games.

Another project the Games is directly investing into includes the re-design and redevelopment of the River Bend cross-country biathlon trails which includes trail expansion and widening of existing trails to accommodate the competition at the Winter Games level.

Canyon Ski Hill will also see some renovations which include the lodge being upgraded to become wheelchair accessible.

As mentioned, projects that are underway because of the 2019 Canada Winter Games that have garnered government funds include the Red Deer Airport runway extension and the South Red Deer Interchange project.

The $80 million interchange investment includes the removal of three bridge structures, construction of five new bridge structures, and highway and intersection improvements.

Once complete, the new interchange system will improve traffic flow and safety along this corridor. Construction is expected to be completed in fall 2018.

“The Canada Winter Games has proven to be the economic stimulus for our community in a time where we need it the most. The day that Red Deer won the Winter Games in September 2014, we did not fully anticipate how much we would need the economic stimulus that we are now realizing,” said Veer, adding there has been job creation as a result of these ongoing projects.

Robinson added come Games time, it will be Red Deer’s time to shine.

“This is Red Deer’s coming out and this is our opportunity on the national level to become bigger.”