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Economic leader strategy focuses on building a healthy downtown

August 31, 2020 5:05 PM
(Red Deer, Alberta)

In September 2019, Council directed administration to initiate Land Use Bylaw amendments that would assist economic development for Red Deer. Healthy downtowns are important factors in a city’s economy. Key factors in healthy downtowns include long-term residential options, activity attraction, and employment opportunities. Administration proposed a series of Land Use Bylaw amendments to support key elements of a healthy downtown and city, which were reviewed at today’s City Council meeting.

There were three Land Use Bylaw amendments presented today, intended to improve economic activity within the city of Red Deer:

  1. Focus long-term residential uses in the Downtown Core (Gaetz-Ross Heritage area): Focus on long term residential in the downtown core by removing Temporary Care Facility uses.
  2. Residential parking incentives: Changing minimum parking standards for multi-family residential in the downtown.
  3. Office expansion: Preserving large-scale office in the downtown while providing additional opportunity for office in commercial areas throughout the city.

“These economic development programs are taking intentional actions to incent development in our downtown,” said Tara Lodewyk, General Manager of Planning and Development Services. ”We recognize that downtowns are the heart of our cities and play a vital role as our communities’ business, administrative, and cultural centres.” 

Council approved the removal of temporary residential uses, defined in the Bylaw as Temporary Care Facility, from the Gaetz-Ross Heritage area to promote long-term residential uses, while continuing to provide opportunity for temporary residential uses in the remainder of downtown and other locations throughout the city. This will allow the Gaetz-Ross Heritage area to be the business, entertainment, and long-term residential area in the downtown, featuring restaurants and commercial entertainment facilities along the main floor, and residential opportunities above.  

City Council also heard first reading of the Residential Parking Incentive Bylaw, which, if approved, would reduce the requirement for parking stalls in the downtown area to one parking stall per unit for multi-family buildings, and encourage more residential development in the downtown area.

Also receiving first reading was the Office Expansion Bylaw. This Bylaw aims to clarify office and office-related definitions for increased flexibility and clarity and add office uses in additional commercial land use districts. The downtown will be the area for large-scale office development, though all sizes of offices will be considered in the downtown. Medium scale office development will be located along major arterials and areas serving the Red Deer region. Small-scale office development will be located in commercial areas throughout the city that serve a smaller geographic area. 

“The City of Red Deer has established ambitious objectives for the future revitalization of its downtown core,” said Lodewyk. “We are also implementing items from the Economic Leader report, including support for façade and storefront improvements, reducing red tape, demolition of vacant and derelict properties, and utility connection fee grants.”

The Residential parking incentives and office expansion bylaws will return for public hearing and second and third reading on September 28.

More information on the downtown incentives information can be found at www.reddeer.ca/economicincentives. Note that the closing period is Friday, September 4 for the second and final intake period of 2020.

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For more information, please contact:

Communications & Strategic Planning
The City of Red Deer

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