from the branches


Central Alberta Celebrates Centennial


Economic development in Central Alberta continues at a good pace. Red Deer county has seen steady growth in development areas adjacent to the city as businesses look for sites with highway access and more space. Finding empty lots in the city of Red Deer's industrial areas is getting more difficult.

These are good indicators that industrial activity has not yet peaked. The region's economic health can also be gauged by the opening of the Red Deer airport to a scheduled airline in 2004.

The agricultural sector will see some benefits with expansions to a packing plant in Innisfail, geared to processing older cattle. The plant expansion will be in production by the time this article is published. Also, there are signs that the Red Deer pork processing plant will be increasing its processing capacity this year.

The Alberta Centennial will be the highlight of many communities' celebrations this summer and fall. The city's celebration will include redevelopment of 48th Street into a pedestrian friendly promenade called Alexander Way, after a famous local citizen.

The new street will have narrowed driving lanes, walkway bulbs and other features to calm traffic. Wide sidewalks and trees will create a pedestrian-friendly environment that invites people to shop, relax and socialize.

The local office of UMA Engineering is managing the design of the project, which will be phased in over 10 or more years and is part of a larger plan to redevelop a major downtown area long the Red Deer River.

Branch's Bubble and Bench

The Central Alberta Branch of APEGGA started planning a centennial project in the fall of 2003. A lot of brainstorming occurred over the first few months as the committee looked at everything from junkyard wars to bronze statues.

By the spring of 2004, a sub-committee went to work on the list of ideas and reduced it to a manageable few. The idea of creating a lasting icon was combined with Alexander Way as a possibility. A budget was prepared to establish creative design limits.

The committee selected a “busker bubble” (sidewalk mosaic) and “stratified bench” as the legacy of choice. Through connections at Red Deer College, a local artist was contacted to prepare conceptual sketches of our vision.

The busker bubble is a logo showing the pillars of the Alberta economy — oil and gas, agriculture, forestry and mining. The bench's base is a cross-section of the geological horizon through central Alberta. The bench seat will be tiled with symbols of Alberta's engineering and technological evolution of the past century.

The busker bubble and bench will be part of the first infrastructure along Alexander Way to be unveiled at one of the city's centennial celebrations in September.

This project will provide a legacy of artistic and functional value for future generations. We're most thankful to the centennial legacy project sub-committee, which comprises Wade Keller, P.Eng., Andrew Poole, P.Eng. Beverly Perozzo, P.Eng., Kathryn Cramer, P.Eng., and Bob Watson, P.Eng.

Staying Topical

Lunch-time forums have been going on successfully now for several years and we are always looking for new speakers.

The branch has co-sponsored a series of lectures on sustainability at Red Deer College. The lectures are aimed at providing a forum for public discussion of issues around sustainable societies.

Author Credits

University of Alberta
Central Alberta Branch Chair