Tonight at their Special Meeting, Council approved a stronger legal agreement as well as short and long-term financial support for Westerner Park.
The legal agreement includes increased City involvement in the decision making process for Westerner Park’s future and financials. The financial support, a $3 million grant and a $19 million loan, responds to short-term operational needs as well as long-term financial sustainability respectively.
“Council did not take the decisions made today surrounding Westerner Park lightly, we recognize the broad community impact the legal agreement and financial support has,” said Mayor Tara Veer. “Council is acutely aware of the economic, social and cultural importance of Westerner Park to our city and region; administration made the recommendations based on historic data as well as 10 year projections and we believe that we made an informed decision that considers and benefits our community as a whole.”
The $3 million grant will be funded through Operating Reserves – Tax Funded, and will not impact property tax bills for Red Deerians. This grant is to ensure continued operations of Westerner Park through the pandemic.
The $19 million loan approved by Council will have a 30-year payback period and will be funded through debt resulting in the need to revisit the capital plan during budget deliberations in the fall. The loan is intended to pay out an unsustainable loan Westerner Park currently holds, relating to the construction of Exhibition Hall.
“With financial support of this magnitude, Council approved a new agreement that formalizes the level of oversight The City will require that is not covered in previous agreements,” said Veer. “The new framework will give The City a higher level of involvement in decision-making, oversight, budgeting, lease agreements and other major items relating to Westerner Park.”
In the Relationship Framework Agreement, one of the main items is the development of a Master Plan for Westerner Park. The plan will establish the 15-year vision, land use concept, multi-modal transportation plan, building design principles and site-servicing concept.
There will also be the development of an asset management plan to ensure maintenance of all infrastructure on the grounds and to provide a guide for capital investment to support the long-term plan for the site. Council approved one time funding to cover 50 per cent of the contract cost.
Please see attached Westerner Park FAQ (pdf) for further information.
For more information, please contact:
The City of Red Deer