2020 was quickly unsettled as the world together watched the COVID-19 pandemic unfold. During this uncertain and unprecedented time, Red Deer County experienced many new and exciting developments throughout the year and we are excited to enter into 2021 building on the momentum we have carried.
GASOLINE ALLEY FARMERS’ MARKET
This past November saw our indoor Farmer’s Market in Gasoline Alley West open to the public for Saturdays and Sundays and it was an even bigger hit than we could have ever anticipated! Our producers now have a place to call home where they can showcase their products and we are so very proud of them. Demand is so great; we just recently heard the news that the doors will be open one more day a week – people will now be able to shop every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Thank you so much to our residents and customers who come from far and wide to purchase the locally grown, produced and made products and wares.
Red Deer County has worked closely with our businesses throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and continues to conduct our one-on-one “Health Checks”. With the COVID-19 protocols still in place for some of our businesses, Red Deer County has also been reaching out with help to navigate the provincial and federal government programs that are available. We realize this can be very daunting to some so we scheduled a Zoom webinar conference just before Christmas in order to provide some guidance for people to hear from the professionals and ask questions of them. We have engaged MNP to provide assistance to speak to the programs and to provide help if necessary. The webinar was recorded for those who could not attend via Zoom so if you are interested in seeing the recording, please reach out to Sandy Badry, Economic Development Officer, email@example.com and she can provide you a copy of that webinar for your convenience. We understand how difficult things have been and are doing our best to reach out and help.
If you require a Health Check, or would like someone to call you back with additional information, please call the main office at 403.350.2170 or one of our Economic Development team members and we will have someone return your call.
FIBER OPTIC PROJECT
As the world’s primary means of enabling learning, delivering knowledge, providing health care, enhancing agriculture, saving the environment, creating jobs, and understanding each other, the Internet is moving from commercial service to public utility. Red Deer County views fiber optic infrastructure as being no different from road, power, water and waste treatment infrastructure that is so critical to the sustainability and future of rural Alberta. Therefore, over the next four years, the County plans to construct an end to end fiber optic network by investing in infrastructure while contracting out all other operational services (including wholesale and retail operations).
In an effort to align with the County’s objective to meet or exceed 95% overall coverage, we have gathered business intelligence that allows for us to put forward a comprehensive coverage strategy by using the following guiding principles:
- Build to cover the most population the fastest way possible
- 95% coverage from a Real Estate and 95% coverage for Constituents
- Fiber first mentality
- Eye on the overall strategy – “Red Deer County will be the most connected County in North America”
- Minimum of 200Mbps (Symmetrical) of internet service bandwidth
- Technology agnostic – fiber as future service points
- Future proofing the network – backhaul assurance to the gateway
- Build to or past all to incorporated towns i.e. Sylvan Lake, Bowden, Innisfail and Penhold
- Propagate highspeed internet through Red Deer County and utilizing best technologies to fill in space
This network is intended to bring the best of market services at the best of market prices to all constituents. The network will be independent and will support all future information and telecommunication applications such as fiber-to-the premise, Smart City, Agritech, and 5G mobility. The network creates critical fiber infrastructure that will be leveraged to connect residents, farms and businesses throughout Red Deer County as well as provide connectivity to incorporated towns and villages inside the County boundaries.
LANTERN STREET EAST INTERSECTION UPGRADE
On November 10, County Council awarded the tender of the Lantern Street East Intersection Upgrade to Border Paving. The project includes roadway widening from Leva Avenue to Laura Avenue, construction of a “mini-roundabout” at Liberty Avenue (by the Hideout Restaurant), curbs, sidewalks and underground utilities. In addition to the primary work, two pedestrian pathways will be constructed south of Lantern Street. The first is along Liberty Avenue, where the shoulder is being widened to accommodate pedestrians and will link to a concrete bus stop at The Hamlets Senior Care Facility. Another path, from Lake Street to Lantern Street will provide safe pedestrian access from Liberty Landing and businesses that are adjacent to Laura Avenue, to access the bus stop at the Gasoline Alley Farmers Market. Border Paving has proposed a schedule which would see them starting June 7, 2021, and completing the project by September 14, 2021. Total costs for this project are $2.9M.
COUNTY PARTNERS WITH THE GOVERNMENT OF ALBERTA ON TWO MAJOR INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS
At the December 15 Council meeting, County Council awarded a major construction project tender for the intersection of Highway 2A and Township Road 372 (which is known as Airport Drive once it enters the Hamlet of Springbrook) to Northside Construction. The project is unique, in that Red Deer County has been asked to design and project manage the construction of Provincial infrastructure on behalf of the Provincial government. Mayor Jim Wood commented, “This is a huge project for the County and the Hamlet of Springbrook. The intersection at Highway 2A and Springbrook has been an issue for years, as the amount of traffic on Highway 2A has steadily increased. I am very happy that we were able to partner with Alberta Transportation, and that they have demonstrated faith in our ability to manage the project. This roundabout will improve traffic safety while not impacting our bottom line in a significant way.” Red Deer County has agreed to pay $857,000 toward the project. This cost is comprised of $750,000 for road work and $107,000 for additional costs related to utility work being completed at the same time. The total cost of the project is budgeted at $6.8M. Initial work on the project will commence May 3, 2021 and be completed on September 15, 2021. Detours will be in place for motorists on Highway 2A during the construction phase.
And the County isn’t done yet! In December, the County and Alberta Transportation entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) towards improving additional provincial infrastructure on the QE2 Highway. The provincial investment is intended to support the growing business base in Gasoline Alley, which will help lead Alberta’s economic recovery postCovid19. An outcome of this MOA is that in early 2021, the County will be putting out to tender two roundabouts on the QE2 Highway McKenzie Interchange. The roundabouts, located at Leva Avenue and the Gasoline Alley East Service Road, will be a welcome addition for motorists and businesses alike. Featuring double lanes to accommodate turning movements and through traffic, the roundabouts will provide a much improved level of service. The project also includes widening and twinning of McKenzie Road on the Interchange to eliminate bottlenecking and stacking of vehicles. The Province has agreed to pay $6.55M of the $8.55M cost. The works will be initiated in the spring of 2021 with a completion being in the fall of 2021.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Sandra Badry - Economic Development Officer
Tara Logan - Business Development Officer