Lethbridge, I'm listening.
Thank you to the residents of Lethbridge for giving me this opportunity to serve you. I look forward to working for you and I'm humbled to be your Mayor. I look forward to continuing to give my perspective and commentary in this space as we embark on a new term.
At the Council swearing-in ceremony, I spoke to the eight years of dedicated service by our former Mayor Chris Spearman and thanked and acknowledged him, along with my former Council colleagues, Jeff Coffman, Joe Mauro and Rob Miyashiro, for their combined decades of public service.
I also spoke about my new colleagues and our collective commitment of working together as a team. I'm looking forward to a collaborative and respectful team effort as we strive to move our city forward. Importantly, I recognize that our strengths lie in our individual diversity of experiences, knowledge and perspectives.
In my speech, I pledged to establish and grow strong bonds with our Provincial and Federal governments in order to advocate for the resources and funding our city needs to address key issues. We will push to further secure and advance our business sector's needs, so we can be the first place investors and businesses come when they look to open new doors and new ventures.
Our ability to produce world-class research and innovation between our two outstanding post-secondary institutions is phenomenal. I look forward to continuing to work together with the University of Lethbridge and Lethbridge College to leverage the work they do and bring focus to how they're changing the game of technology and innovation on the world's stage.
Indigenous relationships will continue to be a key focus as we move into a new term as City Council. I look forward to continuing to be a good neighbour to the neighbouring nations and progressing the good work being done in this space.
You can view the full Council swearing-in ceremony on the City of Lethbridge YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ad2g1nqsius&t=1166s
So, what has Council been doing since being elected and sworn-in?
Most of our time has been spent in orientation and strategic planning and I'm really excited to see how our Council is already working together during the first four weeks. There's been really good energy and engagement from everyone in the work we've done so far.
We've spent time through our orientation learning about the important processes and procedures through the Municipal Government Act we need to follow as a City Council. We've received context from City administration about the big pieces of work underway and the challenges we may have before us.
We worked alongside the Administration leadership team for a two-day session last week to explore our priorities. This is still ongoing work and we are hoping to have the strategy ready in December to share with the community. I think the overwhelming theme to all of this work is that we are poised and ready to unlock the potential we know Lethbridge has. I'm looking forward to not just laying out our priorities to the community but then building a work plan and reporting back to residents on our progress towards those goals.
I want our Council to be a source of continued optimism. We will strive to be an open, accountable and transparent group of leaders. We will address the concerns of all of our residents – whether you voted for us or not. We aim to be good financial and environmental stewards for future generations and hope to leave our city in a better place in four years' time than it is today.
Council had its first full formal meeting on Monday, where we passed five official business motions asking the City Manager to return with detailed reports on several topics. The full Council highlights are here: https://www.lethbridge.ca/City-Government/Agenda-Minutes/City-Council-Highlights/Pages/default.aspx
We had to slightly change-up the regular Council schedule this week as on Tuesday, several members of Council and I are travelled to Edmonton for the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) Conference. This conference is a great chance to network and to discuss Lethbridge's issues. We are excited about the conversations we've had and look forward to the opportunities that can stem from here.
On Monday, I was also able to attend three community events at City Hall: the Métis flag raising, the National Philanthropy Day flag raising and the Joint Christmas Kick Off Press Conference. Our community's generosity never ceases to amaze me. I have said it many times before and I will always reiterate how much I love our city.
Christmas can be an amazing time to celebrate with family and friends. But we know that not everybody in our community has the same opportunities. Christmas can be a very difficult time for many people.
Council is thrilled to help these fantastic community organizations: Lethbridge Food Bank, Interfaith Food Bank, Lethbridge Family Services Angel Tree, MyCityCare Shop of Wonders, Volunteer Lethbridge and Salvation Army – who have all committed to jointly serve our community the 15th consecutive year of Christmas Hope.
This collective will help about 2,000 adults and 4,500 children for supplies needed during this holiday season. We know there is a big need in Lethbridge, so we are asking our residents to do what they can to help each other out. Please visit https://www.christmashope.ca/
I look forward to contributing myself in a variety of manners and I will have more information to share by next week, including a media event to launch the Mayor's Community Hockey Challenge – set to take place on December 18 at 11 a.m. at the ATB Centre. More details to come!