During the second 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 second quarterly report for the Action Plan – which outlines the status of each initiative Council has identified as priorities.
"Lethbridge City Council has made some significant strides during this second quarter towards the realization of our overall plan," says Mayor Blaine Hyggen. "We have progressed in several areas and are on track for many others in the following two quarters."
See more in this video from Mayor Hyggen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=717j5Q-f2L4
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: Economically Prosperous; Healthy and Diverse; Culturally Vibrant; Well-designed City; Environmentally Responsible; and Supports the Region.
Some focus areas and highlights from the second quarter of 2022 include:
Healthy and Diverse
- Community safety is a top priority for City Council. The City has the role of ensuring a clean and safe community, facilitating partnerships and advocating other orders of government for the services needed. We continue to advocate to the province for much-needed transitional and supportive housing
- In September, Council will receive an update on the Municipal Housing Strategy, which will set priorities and direction on implementation of recommendations
- A new promotional video to support and advocate family physician recruitment and retention plan has been created and shared. View it here
- Council approved a recommendation from the Cultural and Social Standing Policy Committee to direct Administration to proceed with the construction of six new Pickleball courts as outlined in 2022-2031 CIP. More information here
- Council directed Administration to extend the Recreation and Culture Fee Assistance Program to include the provision of free bus passes for a six-month period for any new refugees arriving in Lethbridge in 2022
- Council will proceed with forming a commission to undertake detailed analysis and engagement to possibly implement a Ward Electoral System in time for the 2025 municipal election. Once formed, the commission of public members with related backgrounds, along with appropriate non-voting supporting resources, will review whether or not to recommend to Council that a ward system be implemented. Through their work, the commission could also suggest other recommendations to improve Lethbridge's political system. More information here
- Council will be implementing several service level modifications for snow and ice control. Starting in winter of 2022/23 (Phase 1): Snow routes will be declared across the city; and approximately 28 km of existing snow routes will be piloted with plowing to the right. More information here
- We also recently heard the results of the 2022 Community Satisfaction survey completed by IPSOS. It showed 90 per cent of respondents rank their quality of life in Lethbridge as good or very good. It's a useful tool and essentially a community report card to help inform Council on how residents see their quality of life in our city and their thoughts on city services
- With funding coming from the Governments of Canada and Alberta, the City of Lethbridge has capitalized on creating further economic catalysts for Downtown Lethbridge. The $1.71 million Festival Square Market Plaza (which opened in June), entirely funded through the Province of Alberta's Provincial Municipal Stimulus Program, will be a versatile, active and engaging public space for people and the local businesses in the area. The main draw will be its offering as a permanent market space with infrastructure to support local producers, artisans and craftspeople a place to sell their wares year-round. The project includes an interactive stage, entry signs, decorative column lighting, programmable lighting and site furniture, as well as water/wastewater servicing and lane rehab. More information here
- Council approved existing 2026 capital projects within the 2022-2031 Capital Improvement Program (CIP). This will include projects in Transportation, Environmental Utilities and Electric Utility (Section C, E & F); existing ongoing 2026 CIP projects in Community (Section D); plus, a reallocation of other 2026 CIP projects in Section D with Undetermined Funding to 2027. This will allow the four-year capital and operating budgets to be aligned starting in 2026 for the 2027-2030 budget cycle
- Council directed Administration to implement a pilot program for toxic/e-waste round-ups. The Waste and Recycling Utility (WRU) pilot will offer three round-up events with no utility rate increase. The events will be held within the city limits to encourage resident participation and increase the amount of Household Hazardous Waste and e-waste diverted from the landfill. More information here
Supports the Region
- Work continues on establishing a Regional Economic Development & Tourism Strategy. We anticipate a first draft of this vision to be presented to Economic SPC in September, with an implementation plan to commence in Q3 2022
- Council has directed Administration to look at is the creation of a policy to streamline the process for film companies interested in working in Lethbridge. This would not only boost our own city in revenue generating opportunities but also the region. We'll look forward to receiving that report in the fall
"Council has two quarters remaining to accomplish many of our goals in our now-next-later model," says Mayor Hyggen. "We feel as if we can accomplish quite a lot in that timeframe as well as continue to advocate for resources we need."
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 its new approach in 2022 – one that clearly articulates priorities, creates transparency, reports performance and builds community trust
If residents would like to be directly informed, there's a new option to subscribe to quarterly update newsletters, as well as a further detailed look at the Action Plan, at www.lethbridge.ca/2022ActionPlan.