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Council approves Terms of Reference for Downtown Lawlessness Reduction Task Force

The Downtown Lawlessness Reduction (DLR) Task Force, which will consist of members from City Council, City Administration, the Downtown BRZ, Lethbridge Fire and EMS and the Lethbridge Police Service, is now officially operational.

On Tuesday, Lethbridge City Council voted to approve the Task Force’s Terms of Reference, which were developed in collaboration with all members, as well as to create the Task Force as a sub-committee reporting through the Safety and Social Standing Policy Committee (SPC).

As part of the motion approved, Council will appoint Mayor Blaine Hyggen and Acting Mayor John Middleton-Hope as Council representatives on the DLR Task Force. This option aligns with current City practices when Councillors are involved on a City committee. It also allows members of City Council and the Downtown BRZ to actively participate on the Task Force with City Administration there in a supporting role.

With Council’s approval, the DLR Task Force will be active for the duration of 2024, with it reviewed prior to December 31, 2024. When required, recommendations from the Task Force would proceed through the SPC for formal adoption by City Council.

“Many people, including the Downtown BRZ, have formally expressed deep concerns and impacts regarding ongoing lawlessness,” says Mayor Hyggen. “Public safety for our residents will always be Council’s No. 1 priority and one of the core purposes of a municipality is to develop and maintain a safe and viable community. The purpose of this Task Force is to tackle the issues head on.”

“This Task Force now has a clear direction to identify the symptoms and depth of lawless behaviours and the impacts to our city,” says Acting Mayor Middleton-Hope. “We will collaboratively strategize on responses and resourcing requirements, then work with stakeholders to take action on solutions.”

At the October 17, 2023 City Council meeting, City Administration was directed to work with the Downtown BRZ to develop a task force on downtown lawlessness.

On November 8, 2023, a facilitated session to discuss and draft the proposed Terms of Reference was held with delegates from the Downtown BRZ representing the small business, large business, real estate, development and administration sectors. Also in attendance were members of City Council, the Lethbridge Police Service and representatives from the following City of Lethbridge departments: Lethbridge Fire and Emergency Services, Community Social Development, Regulatory Services, Opportunity Lethbridge and Communications & Engagement.

The Terms of Reference does not in itself have financial implications; however, financial requests could be forthcoming as the DLR Task Force proceeds with identifying and recommending initiatives that support their mandate.

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