Lethbridge Minute: SCAN Unit, Taxi Deregulation, and a Gloomy Financial Outlook
Lethbridge Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Lethbridge politics
This Week In Lethbridge:
- On Thursday at 1:30 pm, there will be a meeting of the Governance Standing Policy Committee. The City of Lethbridge plans to address strategies for creating a more inclusive workforce. This includes proposals for collecting detailed data and enhancing the understanding of diversity, alongside the implementation of various diversity, equity, and inclusion programs and partnerships, and strategic planning for workforce representation. Additionally, the Committee will review updates to the Sponsorship, Naming Rights, and Advertising Policy that propose a new format, clearer terminology, and distinct roles and responsibilities.
- The University of Lethbridge is seeking community feedback for its new Comprehensive Strategic Plan. This plan is intended to be a five-year roadmap for the university, influencing the future of higher education in southern Alberta and beyond. The insights gathered will also contribute to updating other key university documents, including the Academic Plan, Research Plan, and People Plan.
- There will be a new Safer Communities And Neighbourhoods (SCAN) unit in Lethbridge. While the unit, which specializes in investigating suspected drug houses, will be based in Lethbridge, it will cover the region from Vulcan County to the Saskatchewan boundary. For the last four years, a unit has been based in Calgary, although a significant number of cases in southern Alberta necessitated a more local office. Mayor Blaine Hyggen called it a “game-changer” for public safety.
Last Week In Lethbridge:
The Economic and Finance Standing Policy Committee heard an update that did not paint a very rosy picture of the City’s financial outlook. Administration highlighted the strain on Lethbridge's finances, saying they come from increased funding needs for public safety, homelessness, mental health, crime prevention initiatives, and inflation. Significant investments are needed in water and wastewater systems to meet growing demands, requiring substantial borrowing. The City also faces reduced revenues from land development, impacting its ability to fund projects and loans. Keep an eye on your inbox for more information! We’ll be sending some shortly.
- The Downtown Lethbridge Lawlessness Task Force, recently approved by Council, developed terms of reference for its cross-functional team approach. The task force, which includes members from City administration, police, Fire/EMS, Regulatory Services, and Downtown Business Revitalization Zone representatives, aims to address lawlessness issues. The top 20 issues will be identified and prioritized, including concerns about an increase in fires in the downtown core and the use of shopping carts for transporting belongings. The task force will address issues on both local and provincial fronts, focusing the challenges unique to mid-sized cities.
- Council approved two significant amendments to the taxi industry's licensing bylaw. These amendments, passed unanimously, include the removal of regulated fares and the requirement for taxis to have a top light. The industry, facing rising operational costs, had initially asked Council for an increase in regulated rates. Some Councillors raised concerns about health and safety impacts from deregulation, but Administration clarified that the bylaw changes will remain limited to fare deregulation. Three cheers for the free market!
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