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February 2024 Mayor's Column

Happy February, Lethbridge!

I want to begin this month with the news that the City of Lethbridge is pleased to support the Government of Alberta, Lethbridge Housing Authority and the Blood Tribe Department of Health with the expansion of the Lethbridge Shelter, through an in-kind contribution of the property.

The announcement is a huge step forward in being able to best support our most vulnerable residents in a culturally sensitive way, as the increased capacity will ensure those in need in our community are better cared for.

Transferring ownership of the shelter property to the LHA, as a $1.4-million in-kind contribution, will also simplify relationships by removing the City from being a landlord between the province and the agencies it funds to manage and deliver a critical provincial service. 

We are also extremely grateful to the Province of Alberta for the significant funding agreement they have reached with LHA to make this much needed resource a reality for Lethbridge. Thank you to Minister Nixon and his office for their tireless efforts in collaborating on this transition and expansion.

Read the full Provincial news release here.

I’d next like to address a frequent comment and narrative that my Council colleagues and I often hear is that ‘we don’t support businesses’ or ‘it takes a long time to get a permit.’ But did you know that the average time for development permit approval in Lethbridge in 2023 was six days? We are among the quickest turnaround time of municipalities in Alberta.

With many positive indicators for 2024, Lethbridge City Council and City Administration continue to work for you to help build and maintain a thriving business community in the city. The message is simple: we are open for business and development. In 2023, the total construction value in Lethbridge was $287.9 million and there were 1,328 development permits approved.

Our City Council also acknowledges there is always room to improve supports for businesses, whether it’s in the form of access or grant opportunities. In October, I earned support from my Council colleagues for an Official Business Motion on an updated Development Incentive Program. Council has directed the City Manager to draft a report for the Economic Standing Policy Committee to consider, by Q3 2024, that includes a program with a comprehensive, fair, consistent, and broad approach of all incentives for new development or businesses, as well as revitalization, redevelopment or expansion of existing development or businesses in Lethbridge, designed to provide a long-term benefit to the community by creating economic stimulus and support investment.

We are committed to encouraging and attracting new development and businesses, including new construction, business revitalization, redevelopment or expansion, to Lethbridge to promote investment for the general benefit of the municipality. Read more information on permits, processes and grants in a release from earlier this week here.

If you’re like me and are starting to look ahead at possible springtime home renovations, applications are still being accepted for the City of Lethbridge's Clean Energy Improvement Program (CEIP).

Launched in late February 2023, this program provides eligible homeowners with a financial tool to support energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades to their properties. With the goal of creating a more climate resilient community and lowering energy costs, the list of eligible projects for the CEIP includes upgrading windows, doors, adding solar panels, increasing insulation, upgrading lighting fixtures, installing a tankless hot water system and more.

CEIP applications reached the initial capacity within a week last year. Following a Public Hearing on October 17, Lethbridge City Council unanimously voted to amend the Clean Energy Improvement Tax Bylaw to remove the previous annual cap amounts – allowing for an expedited service delivery of the CEIP and therefore providing more homeowners timely access to funding. And we now still have capacity to help more people in our city. This program remains a great opportunity for those homeowners thinking about renovations to consider choices for better energy performance and to lower their utility bills. Learn more about the program here.

Last week, we launched the Mighty Neighbour: Winter Warrior Edition initiative. This heartwarming campaign is aimed at recognizing and celebrating those unsung heroes in our neighbourhoods who go the extra mile to make winter a little brighter. We invite residents to nominate neighbours who help others shovel snow, keep an eye on the gutters lining their street, or make sure the not-so-glamorous task of doggie doo clean-up is always done. I’m told we already have seen more than 25 submissions come in. Way to go, Lethbridge!

To nominate a Mighty Neighbour, simply visit 

Each month a nomination will be drawn and the winner will have the opportunity to have their story shared with local news and on the City’s social media channels. Plus, the neighbourly nominee from this entry will receive a Mighty Neighbour certificate and a small gift of recognition. Following this season, the program will be reviewed to determine if it will continue throughout the rest of the year. 

Thank you to everyone who completed the Water Conservation Plan (WCP) survey, which closed on February 7 with nearly 4,000 responses – an all-time high for the Get Involved Lethbridge website. The results show a high level of community engagement on an important topic.

Feedback on current practices and community interest for initiatives, such as low flow fixtures and Xeriscaping, will help inform the City’s WCP. The WCP will inform on both short-term and long-range planning, with strategies to combat water scarcity to follow. The WCP will be presented to the Assets and Infrastructure Standing Policy Committee in the coming months.

A big shoutout to Tannis Chartier, a third-year University of Lethbridge student in the Therapeutic Recreation Program, who is providing meaningful opportunities for unhoused people to enjoy recreational pastimes like bingo, movies and karaoke. Chartier created the Resilient Rec YQL program which operates out of the Soup Kitchen and sees a dozen or so participants at art events and card game nights and more than 85 people for movie nights.

Anyone interested in helping with the program can read more in the U of L news release here.

I will close this month by wishing everyone a Happy Family Day. I hope everyone gets to spend some extra quality time with family members this weekend. Cherish those moments.

And as always, be safe and kind to one another.

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