Lethbridge Minute: Encampment Update, Expensive Consultant, and Shelter Location Rezoning
Lethbridge Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Lethbridge politics
This Week In Lethbridge:
- There are no Council or Committee meetings scheduled this week. One calendar does indicate that there will be a Priorities & Agenda Review Committee meeting today, but that event has not been carried over to the schedule yet.
- Beyond Van Gogh, a very popular travelling exhibit, is on at the ENMAX Centre until August 6th. Projection technology is used to showcase over 300 pieces of Van Gogh’s artwork in an immersive and larger-than-life way. Tickets for the first weekend sold out, so if you’re looking to go, it’s best to get them in advance. They can be purchased online.
- A new Electric Vehicle (EV) is in use at the Galt Museum & Archives. The new programming cargo van was purchased through the Municipal Climate Change Action Centre, which provides funding for fuel-efficient vehicle options. The Museum says they’ll use the van for hauling materials, as well as doing pickups and deliveries.
Last Week In Lethbridge:
After a lengthy debate, Council narrowly voted to approve spending $200,000 to hire a consultant to conduct a needs assessment and strategic updates to the Community Wellbeing and Safety Strategy and Municipal Housing Strategy. Initially, the funding request was on the Consent Agenda (the stuff Council doesn’t debate), but it was debated separately at the request of Councillor John Middleton-Hope. While the money will come from federal Reaching Home funding, some Councillors questioned whether the price tag was simply too high. The consultant will provide a report to Council in April of 2024.
- Council gave second and third readings to a rezoning bylaw concerning the area where the shelter is located. Rezoning was intended to allow for the future expansion of services without the need for more rezoning discussions. The area now allows for drop-in centres, food banks, group homes, medical and health offices, and supportive housing. A supervised consumption site is not going to be one of the permitted uses.
- The City provided an update on the Encampment Strategy. Two full-time encampment response positions and one full-time housing specialist have been hired, and a Street Medicine program has been launched. Since the Encampment Strategy was put in place, there have been 156 service requests related to encampments. Most of those requests were simply to report encampments, but 28 of them were for needle debris. Weekly cleanups have seen the removal of 2,345 kilograms of waste and materials.
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