The Red Deer Westerner Parade is the dreaded event of the year in our neighbourhood. Our neighbourhood, yes the area where people actually live, is infested each year by disrespectful parade goers. People park in our driveways, across our driveways, and on our lawns. They box us in so we cannot get out of our parking spots. They leave their garbage behind and walk all over our yards. The traffic jam leaving our neighbourhood this year took 30-45 minutes to clear. Our neighbourhood is used as a parking lot, yet has very few exit routes; if there had been an emergency it would be an absolute disaster. This is a yearly occurrence that I have witnessed for over two decades. It is truly awful.
What is even worse is that our whole neighbourhood is subjected to this horror all in the name of commercialism. The Red Deer Westerner Parade is nothing but a walking billboard and a way to push the people of Red Deer to attend the Westerner so that the Westerner can of course make a lot of money . Three years ago was the last time we went. We lasted 15 minutes. All the parade consisted of were ads. Junk mail on wheels…..mixed with an atmosphere of gagging smoke and f-bombs in the crowd. Classy. Well actually pretty reflective of present day Red Deer if we are to be honest.
This is the crowd that is dropped on our Woodlea neighbourhood , a place where people actually LIVE, each year. But our neighbourhood doesn’t count, it never counts, the City, or the Westerner organization would never dream of running a parade adjacent to the heavenly blessed areas known as suburbia, but destroying our neighbourhood is fine.They simply don’t care about how this parade impacts our properties and our lives.
For years the Red Deer Westerner Parade has made no sense. The Westerner grounds moved from the center of downtown in 1982, 33 years ago, but they did not move the Westerner parade. Prior to the 1980’s the parade used to form at the old fair grounds located in Parkvale (an area in the downtown area), snake through downtown, then return to the fairgrounds. At that time it somewhat made sense. 33 years later the Westerner is miles and miles away, there is NO connection to the downtown area, and they are still forming the parade in the same spot….well kind of…..it is now in front of the arena, skateboard park and tennis bubble, and behind a seniors housing complex that was built on the old fairgrounds (three decades ago). The parade route, we noticed, has shrunk over the years, probably to accommodate traffic and downtown businesses. Clearly the concept of the parade no longer fits current day downtown Red Deer. Traffic and businesses count, they can’t be inconvenienced. They are special. Neighbourhoods where people live DON’T count. The parade route has been altered for these reasons, yet they continue to leave the route impacting our neighbourhood and our home.
This year, however, has topped other years. This year we actually had property STOLEN by parade goers. The planter was there before the parade, the planter was gone after the parade. We had a planter stolen. A planter that measured 16 inches across, 14 inches high and full of soaking wet soil. This was a planter at the side of our house. The dirt from moving the planter is still on the sidewalk. This was a planter that would have taken considerable strength to move and take space in a vehicle as well. This is a deliberate theft. The parade goer trespassed and stole.
This was an ordinary planter, but was full of a tomato and lettuce that we started from seed back in February. Our children watched it grow. Watered it. Cared for it. Hoped to eat it. Now it is gone. Stolen.
The Westerner doesn’t care.
The City of Red Deer doesn’t care.
They don’t care what happens to our neighbourhood, our home or our property. As long as the Westerner and the City of Red Deer can financially capitalize on events such as the Westerner Parade they simply don’t care what happens in our neighbourhood.
They are greedy, selfish and don’t care.
Why is is ALWAYS the historic neighbourhoods that are horribly disrespected? Why don’t we count? They would NEVER dream of doing this to suburbia. Inflicting situations like this on our RESIDENTIAL neighbourhood is simply unfair. Inflicting situations on a neighbourhood that encourage thefts is unfair. It is time things change. Our neighbourhood IS a neighbourhood. This is where we LIVE. It is time we get the same respect that other areas of the city receive. It is time to change the parade route and keep the thieving white trash out of our neighbourhood. After all, nowhere else in the city is expected to endure this level of invasion and disrespect.