June 2023 Mayor's Column
I want to begin this month’s column by congratulating both newly-elected Alberta Premier Danielle Smith as well as Rachel Notley for their contributions to this great province of ours. It was a hard-fought election as both main party leaders shared their visions for Alberta.
Congratulations to Lethbridge East MLA Nathan Neudorf – the newly-named Minister of Affordability and Utilities and vice-chair of the Treasury Board – and to Lethbridge West MLA Shannon Phillips for their victories locally.
It takes a great amount of courage and passion to put your name forth for public office. Thank you, candidates, for your determination and commitment to Alberta.
As always, Lethbridge City Council and I will continue to advocate for the supports we need in our city to best serve our residents. We are excited to begin working with our local MLAs and with the new Provincial Government. We have already been in conversation with several of the new Cabinet Ministers and look forward to engaging with the rest to ensure election promises to advance Lethbridge’s priorities are followed up on.
Now let us get to the fun stuff – summer 2023 officially begins next week! Plenty of places are open and a whole host of events will be happening in our city and region during the next couple of months:
- Spray parks are open for families to enjoy
- Henderson Pool is open, with regular hours starting June 29
- The Lethbridge Bulls baseball season is underway. Check out their schedule here
- National Indigenous Peoples Week is coming June 18-24 with National Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21. Stay tuned for details on several events planned in the city
- The ATB Financial Lethbridge Rotary Dragon Boat Festival runs June 23-25. More information here
- The Lethbridge Pride Fest Society Pride Parade and Pride in the Park are set for June 24. More information here
- A full slate of Canada Day events on July 1. More information here
- The 2023 Street Machine Weekend is set to rev up from July 14-16. More information here
- The 2023 Lethbridge International Air Show is set to hit skies from July 29-30. More information here
- Whoop-Up Days (August 22-26) plus the Lethbridge & District Pro Rodeo & Relay Races (August 24-26) are set for later this summer. More information is here
There are many other events throughout our city and region I would encourage people to seek out. City staff earlier this week also compiled a list of hidden gems that can be enjoyed by residents and visitors of all ages. These fun (and often free) activities will help you embrace the amazing recreation, culture and nature our community has to offer. Read more here.
The first full week of June was Seniors’ Week, so I want to recognize all of the contributions that our wisest residents have provided in their years.
The City of Lethbridge also celebrated Environment Week from June 4-10. The Climate Adaptation Strategy and Action Plan survey is open until June 26 for residents to provide their feedback on how we can adapt to changing climates in Lethbridge. The survey is live on the City’s public engagement website at getinvolvedlethbridge.ca. The feedback gathered will help inform the strategic direction of the strategy and action plan.
Lethbridge Fire and Emergency Services (LFES) recently issued several reminders for everyone to be safe while using bodies of water in and around the city during the summer months. The Oldman River is a very popular place to cool down, but before using the river there should be a few safety items to check off before you get on the water. More information here.
Summer also, of course, means road closures and road construction. I encourage all motorists to please follow posted detours and signage to keep the workers safe.
City Council has recently received many calls about the new Galt Gardens Inclusive and Accessible Play Space currently under construction. We understand people have concerns on some of the social issues with that location, as well as the costs.
In 2022, the City of Lethbridge was successful in securing $375,000 in grant funding through the Government of Canada’s Community Revitalization Fund (CCRF). This grant represents more than 50 per cent of the $662,000 total project cost. The remaining $287,000 comes from a previously-approved budget in Public Realm Enhancements for $152,000, plus $125,000 approved by Lethbridge City Council in the 2022-2031 Capital Improvement Program, as well as $10,000 from the Kal-Tire Replay Fund.
The CCRF is a two-year $500-million national infrastructure program designed to support communities across the country with projects that revitalize downtown cores and main streets, reinvent outdoor spaces, create green infrastructure, and address accessibility of community space. PrairiesCan is administering the CCRF in Alberta.
This new amenity, which will be located immediately adjacent to the Rotary Centennial Fountain in the southeast corner of the four-hectare park, will consist of inclusive and accessible play equipment, rubber surfacing, plaza space and park furniture. It is tentatively scheduled to open in mid-September.
As Galt Gardens is the primary downtown festival and events park in Lethbridge, this project will add to community vibrancy and the vitality of downtown by fostering active, social, educational, inclusive and accessible play opportunities. It will contribute to the attraction of more families to events in the park as well as utilize the space daily throughout the year.
We are aware that there are challenges, but this project will add to the ever-increasing amount of positive development in Downtown Lethbridge and we believe this play space will be a major step forward to helping public perception. Parks and public spaces bring people together, attract people to downtown cores and provide opportunities for residents and visitors to benefit from nearby local businesses and attractions. It will also address a notable gap in recreation and play opportunities within a 10-minute walking distance of Downtown Lethbridge.
The Galt Gardens Inclusive and Accessible Play Space will also continue to leverage exciting synergies created between Festival Square, 3 Avenue Reconstruction, Casa, the Rotary Fountain, new and existing businesses downtown and future Southern Alberta Art Gallery (SAAG) expansion.
In other positive news, stay tuned to hear more about new electric vehicle chargers coming to the city soon, as well as our 2023 Municipal Census results coming soon.
As always, be kind to one another and Happy Fathers’ Day weekend, everyone!