Lethbridge Minute: Encampment Strategy, LINK Pathway, and a Ward System Petition
Lethbridge Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Lethbridge politics
This Week In Lethbridge:
- On Wednesday, at 1:00 pm, there will be a meeting of the Economic Standing Policy Committee. (The calendar says this meeting is starting at 1:30 pm, but the agenda says 1:00 pm, so we're going with the earlier time so you don't miss anything!). Representatives from the Lethbridge Oldtimers Sports Association will give a presentation on their vision for a Community Room project at Henderson Arena. The Committee will also receive an update on the collaborative work between Tourism Lethbridge, the Lethbridge Lodging Association, and the City of Lethbridge, as well as discuss recommendations made by a consulting firm to bolster the city’s presence as a film and television destination. At the end of the meeting, several confidential items will be discussed, including an Airport Operations Update specifically regarding Flair Airlines, and an update on the Park Place Mall lease agreement negotiations.
- The Governance Standing Policy Committee will meet on Thursday at 1:30 pm. The Committee will discuss honorariums for members serving on Boards, Committees, and Commissions, as well as the potential of moving the Animal Welfare Committee from an Ad-Hoc Committee to a Standing Committee. The Committee will also discuss the proposed new “precinct” model for elections - the one that Administration decided is better than the ward system Lethbridgians actually voted for (see below for more on that!).
- On Friday, there will be a meeting of the Advocacy Advisory Committee at 9:00 am. No agenda is available for this meeting yet.
Last Week In Lethbridge:
We launched a petition calling on Council to implement a Ward system in time for the 2025 election. In a referendum held in the 2021 election, almost 56% of Lethbridgrians voted for this type of system - one that would divide the city into smaller geographical electoral areas, with a Council member elected to represent the residents of each specific area. Unfortunately, Administration decided the cost to implement voters’ wishes would be too high and that a “precinct model” should be implemented instead. This system would see elected officials assigned to an area of the City by Council. So let’s see - we’ve got $43.8 million for bike lanes that almost no one asked for, but we can’t find $300,000 to implement the electoral system that voters did want? That doesn't make sense. If you agree, please sign our petition calling on Council to Implement The Ward System Lethbridge Voted For.
- The City has taken steps to implement its Encampment Strategy, hiring two full-time encampment response positions and one full-time housing specialist. More than 90 encampments were taken down by the Downtown Policing Unit in just under two weeks, with much of the work involving cleaning up garbage, dealing with some biohazardous materials, stolen property, weapons, and occasional conflicts. A large part of the Encampment Strategy going forward will center around connecting people with shelter and outreach services, and a seven-month contract to do that work has been given to Streets Alive.
- A groundbreaking ceremony was held for the LINK Pathway project, a partnership between Coaldale, the City of Lethbridge, the County of Lethbridge, the St. Mary’s River Irrigation District, and private landowners. The 15-kilometre pathway will connect Lethbridge and Coaldale through a walking and biking trail, and has been in the works for more than 10 years. Construction has now begun on Phase 1, a $400,000, 3.5-kilometre portion running across 30th Street in Coaldale to Highway 512. The rest of the project is apparently still only 33% funded.
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