Red Deer has certainly been shoring up the milestones lately in terms of new projects, major events and facilities on the way or having been opened to the public. It’s good to see in a time when the economy is still lagging in many quarters, and hopefully a sign of more prosperous days ahead.
For one, Red Deer is one step closer to the 2019 Canada Winter Games after the official opening of Setters Place at Great Chief Park this past weekend.
The new City facility features a three-storey pavilion, along with a new synthetic field used for both football and soccer. In the winter, the field can be converted into a 400m outdoor speed skating oval — which will host the long track speed skating events at the Games.
The $12 million facility was built in conjunction with a $3 million grant from the government of Canada and also received a naming sponsorship for JT Setters and Sons.
Another huge windfall for the City came when the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association (CPRA), Westerner Park and the Red Deer and District Chamber of Commerce announced the Canadian Finals Rodeo (CFR) is coming to Red Deer for the next 10 years starting in 2018.
After spending the last 44 years at Northlands Coliseum in Edmonton, Red Deer will begin the next era of professional rodeo starting from Oct. 30th to Nov. 4th.
“When this first started, I didn’t think they were taking this seriously. We came here a couple months ago and I realized then they were serious,” CPRA President Terry Cooke said. And speaking of Westerner Park, a major expansion is on the way for the facility, which involves a new 70,000 sq. ft. building.
The multi-use space was approved by the City’s Municipal Planning Commission last Wednesday morning.
The 70,000 sq. ft. space will join the Stockmens Pavilion and the Agricentre.
More good news was also recently announced in other Central Alberta communities, including Lacombe.
The Lacombe Generals and the City of Lacombe were thrilled with Hockey Alberta and Hockey Canada’s recent announcement that the Lacombe Generals have been selected as hosts of the 2019 Allan Cup Tournament, the Canadian Men’s AAA Hockey national championship.
Six teams, representing six regions nationally, will take part in the Allan Cup in April 2019. The week-long tournament will be held at the Gary Moe Auto Group Sportsplex. Tournament schedule and ticket information will be announced at a later date.
Not to mention that Rogers Hometown Hockey Tour, presented by Scotiabank and Dodge, is heading to Lacombe for a celebration of hockey on Feb. 3rd and 4th. The weekend will feature broadcast hosts Ron MacLean and Tara Slone, meet-and-greet opportunities with NHL alumni Rich Sutter and Darcy Tucker, live local entertainment and engaging activities for the whole family.
Perhaps winter doesn’t have to be so bleak after all. This is all encouraging news for our region, especially in light of the fact of some disheartening news from the provincial government that a major hospital renovation for Red Deer is again not on the books this year. And also that the City won’t receive financial help in regards to last summer’s devastating windstorm and the damage it left behind.
But that aside, 2018, with the Canada Winter Games right around the corner and the recent additions to the City in preparation for that, can do plenty to start this year off on a promising note.