This week marks one year since the City of Lethbridge started implementing COVID-19 restrictions. It is not an anniversary anyone wanted to commemorate.
The Lethbridge Emergency Advisory Committee met on Tuesday, as the AHS South Zone has seen local case numbers of COVID-19 increase significantly during the past two weeks. While there are several reasons, AHS says many of them are linked to family gatherings and household visits.
I want to stress that now is not the time for complacency and social interaction. We understand people are tired of the pandemic and restrictions in place. But the health restrictions remain in place for important reasons: to reduce the spread of transmission, reduce the risk of serious illness in the community and to protect our health care system from significant demand.
Please continue to follow all public health restrictions, and remember to follow the guidelines we have been practicing for a year – wash your hands, stay home when sick, practice physical distancing, wear a mask and avoid gatherings. Otherwise, if numbers keep going up, this will affect lives and livelihoods.
It's in your hands, Lethbridge. Please keep doing your part until we can get our community protected against COVID-19. I will get my first dose of vaccine next week. I strongly encourage everyone to do the same when their time comes.
I was disappointed earlier this week when the Legislative Assembly did not support a motion brought before them to reverse the decision of centralized emergency dispatch. This is a non-partisan issue. It is about recognizing the importance of community safety and preserving the effectiveness of emergency services.
Since the consolidation of EMS dispatch, each region has experienced significant issues, in varying degrees with the consolidated service. Removing local, integrated EMS dispatch has hurt the health and safety of Albertans and impacted patient outcomes in all four regions. The Mayors are inviting all Albertans to call on the Premier to step-in and return emergency dispatch services to local jurisdictions, in the interest of all Albertans. Additionally, we again request that a third-party external review of the EMS dispatch system be conducted to provide recommendations to improve Alberta's emergency services.
In some good news this week, it was announced that Lethbridge is set to receive more than $13 million from the federal government as part of the Covid-19 Resilience Infrastructure Stream put in place to support Canadians and communities during the current pandemic.
The projects include:
- Nearly $5.5 million to improve broadband internet connectivity in the Sherring and Churchill Industrial Parks
- More than $2 million for roof replacements at several City buildings
- About $1.4 million for lighting retrofits at a number of City of Lethbridge facilities
- About $1.3 million to replace the ice surface at Nicholas Sheran Arena
- Nearly $1 million for Legacy Park Discovery Playground construction
- Nearly $1 million for Labour Club Ice Plant replacement
- More than $400,000 to replace the steam boiler plant at Fritz Sick and install water heaters to improve overall efficiency
- Nearly $400,000 to replace City Hall's cooling tower and install temporary cooling equipment to minimize any service interruption
City Council recently voted unanimously to direct the City Manager to look at creating a municipal workforce that is broadly reflective of the citizens and communities it serves – and to look at its hiring practices and policies in order to accomplish the goal. The City of Lethbridge recognizes that a diverse work force makes full, effective use of the broad range of talents, abilities and perspectives found among our residents. The City of Lethbridge believes that all residents should be respected and valued members of the community with a stake in the future of Lethbridge. This is a great opportunity to make further progress.
With respect to ongoing investigations concerning the Lethbridge Police Service, I would like to clarify that the Alberta Police Act precludes elected officials from directing the police. Our Police Commission, ASIRT and Alberta Justice are involved and City Council looks forward to the resolution of the matters, as well as the restoration of confidence from our residents to LPS and to our city's reputation.
At the March 23 Council meeting, there will be three Public Hearings. One of them involves a proposed rezoning of 110 13 Street South from General Commercial (C-G) to Direct Control (DC) to allow for a drop-in centre, food bank, resource centre, shelter and soup kitchen as permitted uses, along with all other permitted and discretionary uses listed in the C-G district.
The Public Hearing process is in place so all members of Council receive the same information. I want to thank our residents who have shared their thoughts and ideas and those who have registered to speak. More information is available here: https://www.lethbridge.ca/City-Government/public-hearing-notices/Pages/Bylaw-6267---110-13-Street-South.aspx. The Public Hearing livestream will be available at: https://agendas.lethbridge.ca/AgendaOnline.
Congratulations to Team Alberta, which includes former Lethbridge Curling Club ice maker Darren Moulding, for their win last weekend at the Brier. Good luck at the Worlds! We look forward to seeing you all in Lethbridge for the 2022 Tim Hortons Brier at the Enmax Centre!
The Logan Boulet Arena in Lethbridge has once again been nominated in the Kraft Hockeyville contest, where the winner gets to host an NHL preseason game as well as $250,000 for arena upgrades. The top four communities will be announced on Saturday. You can support the Logan Boulet Arena nomination by casting your votes on the Kraft Hockeyville website here: https://bit.ly/3rSPLiK
Council recently voted unanimously to declare April 7 as Green Shirt Day, recognizing the impact Logan Boulet's legacy has had in inspiring Canadians to talk to their families and register as organ donors Green Shirt Day was created to honour, remember and recognize all the victims and families of the fatal Humboldt Broncos bus crash and to continue Logan's legacy. For more information, visit www.greenshirtday.ca.