During the third quarter of 2022, Lethbridge City Council moved ahead steadily on several key items identified in the Gateway to Opportunity 2022 Action Plan.
On Tuesday, Council voted unanimously to accept the third quarterly report for the Action Plan – which outlines the status of each initiative Council has identified as priorities.
The action plan includes 24 initiatives prioritized as Now, Next or Later items formally approved by Council in January. Seven initiatives have been completed, including five of the eight identified as Council's most immediate priorities, with a full quarter of activity remaining in 2022.
"Significant progress has been made on achieving the goals City Council set for ourselves this year," says Mayor Blaine Hyggen. "Much of the coming work for this year, as well as 2023 and beyond, will be a major focal point of November's four-year Operating Budget Deliberations."
See more in this video from Mayor Hyggen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yyn1SaqD9a8
Council's Action Plan was created using the Municipal Development Plan (MDP) as a guiding strategic document. The initiatives identified in the action plan are each aligned to one or more of the MDP's six strategic themes: Healthy and Diverse; Culturally Vibrant; Well-Designed City; Economically Prosperous; Supports the Region; and Environmentally Responsible.
Some focus areas and highlights from the third quarter of 2022 include:
Healthy and Diverse
- Enable support for an emergency shelter and examine opportunities for extreme weather responses. Emergency Management recently presented future mitigation strategies to the Community Safety Standing Policy Committee.
- The allocation of up to $230,000 in one-time funding from Corporate Budget Contingencies to address the administrative and policing funding shortfalls to expedite compassionate clean-up at encampments. A local community task force is being established to gather key partners for a community view of these complex issues and City Council has written letters to Provincial ministries of Seniors and Housing, Community and Social Services and Mental Health and Addictions requesting the formation of a provincial/City of Lethbridge working group to allow for collaboration on medium- and long-term housing and homelessness solutions that will ultimately address encampments issues.
- In September, received an update on the Municipal Housing Strategy and directed a multi-step Administration Response on the Federal Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI). This includes prioritizing the review of the development permit and safety code permit applications for multi-unit and social housing projects that are in pursuit of other levels of government funding, as well as preparing budget initiatives for the 2023-2026 Operating Budget deliberations to consider potential long-term impacts and resourcing.
- Ongoing support and advocacy for family physician recruitment and retention. See the video here
- The Safe Community Call Centre has moved to the Public Safety Communications Centre to create efficiencies and provide 24/7 service
- The Community Engagement Strategy will look at ways to engage consistently with residents in a meaningful way. It will also develop budget requirements to fulfill outlined activities, which will then be reviewed during budget deliberations.
- Council recently directed Administration to implement recommendation Number 1 in the Indigenous Placemaking and Public Realm Audit – the development of a committee composed of Indigenous Elders, Indigenous members and knowledgeable people of the community and surrounding region; and to create an implementation strategy aligning with recommendations 2 – 31 and report back by the end of March 2023
- The approval of one-time funding of $500,000 from the Electric Reserve to complete the Chinook Trail Functional Planning Study in 2023. The 2022 Alberta Electric System Operator's (AESO) long-term plan has identified a need to construct a new substation in West Lethbridge by 2028, along with a new transmission line connecting the new substation to the existing west Lethbridge Substation located just south of Copperwood.
- Approval for the re-naming of the southeast section of Parkside Drive South to Exhibition Way South. The curved roadway configuration for Parkside Drive South has resulted in an ad hoc approach to the addressing of City assets in Henderson Park and on the Exhibition site for many years. With the redevelopment of the Exhibition site and building of a new facility, an influx of addressing requests for construction permitting exposed this ad hoc approach and a lack of numerically sequential available addresses
- The Broadband Pilot Project in the Sherring and Churchill industrial parks successfully tested the system connection with four customers and is now proceeding with 60 customer requests for connection.
Supports the Region
- Council has directed the City Manager to investigate, explore and research best practices for Destination Management Organization funding models for tourism in other municipalities and report back to Council by October 31, 2022, through the Economic Standing Policy Committee, with any recommendations for the Lethbridge model
- Council approved the 2022 Highway 3 Twinning Development Association municipal membership fee in the amount of $6,500, funded from Council Contingency. As part of the resolution, Council also directed Administration to prepare a Budget Initiative for the 2023-2026 Operating Budget Deliberations at the November Economic SPC meeting for ongoing membership in the Highway 3 Twinning Development Association for the years 2023, 2024, 2025 and 2026
- Work continues on a Parks Master Plan, as well as on Water and Wastewater Master Plans
During this four-year term, Lethbridge City Council will develop annual Action Plans and are committed to report progress back to the community every three months. Council wants to continue this approach in 2023 – one that clearly articulates priorities, creates transparency, reports performance and builds community trust
If residents would like to be directly informed, there's an option to subscribe to quarterly update newsletters, as well as a further detailed look at the Action Plan, at www.lethbridge.ca/2022ActionPlan.
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