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City Council to discuss lease of public lands for public market

February 17, 2023 8:14 AM
(Red Deer, Alberta)

The option to lease Servus Arena and Pidherney Centre parking areas for the purpose of hosting a public market is on the agenda for the next City Council meeting set for Tuesday, February 21.

The Red Deer Public Market has operated from May to October for more than 50 years and is a beloved amenity in our community. The market is a for-profit business that is considered an asset to downtown, but its impact on adjacent purpose-built facilities and uses continue to cause challenges at the site.

The main challenge is the inability for The City of Red Deer and Red Deer Curling Club to fully capitalize on revenue generating opportunities through event hosting and facility rentals without access to parking areas on Saturdays during market hours. City staff have worked extensively to support collaborative use of the site, but the organizations have not reached a mutual agreement to share the site.

As a result, City Council directed administration to allow the license agreement with the market owner to expire in fall 2021 and to explore other potential locations. Multiple viable downtown options were identified, and though City staff have worked with the market owner on a change of location since January 2021, an agreement has not been reached. A temporary, one season license was issued in 2022. City Administration does not support leasing the lands and is seeking direction from City Council.

“Markets are known for being positive economic and social contributors to communities for many reasons – they activate public spaces, support food security, promote healthy lifestyles, and bring people together,” said Sarah Tittemore, General Manager, Community Services. “The City continues to support a regular downtown market in a location that is better suited, supports unrestricted access to City facilities year-round, and aligns with the new Major Event Strategy, which aims to position Red Deer as a premier tourism and event destination in Canada.”

The City supported the operation of a public market in its current location in the 2010 Rotary Recreation Area Park and South Study Site, but much has changed through subsequent Council decisions which have fundamentally transformed the vision for the area. Servus Arena was built as a premier multi-season facility with capacity to provide dry space uses for a variety of events and is connected to the redeveloped Pidherney Centre, purpose-built to support non-curling, year-round activities. There are new spaces in Red Deer designed for outdoor community gatherings that did not previously exist, including Gary W. Harris Celebration Plaza and Canada 150 Square in Capstone.

To assist in their decision, Council has been provided with recent input from community stakeholders and site neighbours, including Red Deer Curling Club, Red Deer Minor Hockey Commission, Red Deer Tennis Club, Parkvale Community Association, Red Deer Museum + Art Gallery, Golden Circle Senior Resource Centre, Red Deer Children’s Festival, Norwegian Laft Hus, Baymont Inn & Suites, and Red Deer Chamber of Commerce.

The council meeting begins at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday. A link to the agenda and to view the meeting online can be accessed at

Frequently Asked Questions about the upcoming City Council discussion regarding the lease of public lands for public market (pdf)

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