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June 2024 Mayor's Column

City Council has been busy recently with several important items for the community.

Earlier this week, Council voted unanimously to provide the Lethbridge Housing Authority (LHA) with contingency funding of up to $1.05 million to support their new supportive housing project located at 416 Stafford Drive North. A groundbreaking ceremony was held earlier this year.

The City’s grant funding contribution will come from the Affordable and Social Housing Capital Fund, which had unallocated funds of $2.7 million available to support social and affordable housing projects. The City’s funding will be used as contingency funding and is conditional to the inclusion of key project features that are crucial for promoting safety and wellbeing. More information here.

On that note, as we know, Lethbridge is changing – and our strategies must evolve to meet new challenges and diverse community needs. A comprehensive update of the Community Wellbeing and Safety Strategy (CWSS) has recently been completed and will serve as an important guiding document in the advancement of community wellbeing and safety.  The CWSS is utilized most directly by the City of Lethbridge to inform the funding disbursements from Federal Reaching Home (RH) and Provincial Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) funding sources.   

The safety and wellbeing of our residents is always Council’s number one priority. Through several presentations in the past few months, we have had the opportunity to hear from our Community Social Development team on the need to make some strategic changes to serve our city more efficiently and responsibly. We are encouraged by their dedication and Council is certainly optimistic for these positive changes. More information here.

Council will return to having staggered years for its Capital and Operating Budget deliberations. We recently voted unanimously to approve changes for the 2027-2030 Capital and the 2028- 2031 Operating budget process that includes the following: in 2026, conduct Operating Budget deliberations and approval of the budget for 2027 (stub year); in 2026, conduct Capital Budget deliberations for the 2027-2030 Capital Improvement Program (CIP) following by approval of the Capital Budget; in 2027, conduct Operating Budget deliberations for the 2028-2031 Operating Budget’ and for future budget processes, continue to stagger the Capital and Operating budget deliberations by one year. More information here.

Council recently approved an updated Gateway to Opportunity – City Council Action Plan that outlines the priories for the remainder of Council’s term. With the support of City administration, the priorities have been clearly defined and resourced to ensure these important goals can be accomplished. The mid-point of our term was a great time to reflect on all the work achieved so far and re-focusing on what we still want to accomplish. This update Action Plan is the guiding document that will help us get there. More information here.

There is still plenty of water talk in the community. Recent moisture and cooler temperatures have added water to southern Alberta reservoirs. Levels in the Oldman, St. Mary and Waterton reservoirs are just under the low end of normal. While this is good news, there is still a long way to go. Temperatures will rise and moisture will decrease in the coming weeks. Demand for outdoor watering and agricultural irrigation will also increase.

The City of Lethbridge’s updated Water Rationing Action Plan (WRAP) is ready to deploy, if necessary. Council approved a necessary amendment to the Water Bylaw to update the WRAP from the 2016 version. Currently, we are not enacting the Water Rationing Action Plan. We ask that everyone continue to look for ways to voluntarily conserve water in their homes and businesses. We also want to thank the community for continuing voluntary conservations measures. We are monitoring the situation and will respond with mandatory measures if needed. If the WRAP is enacted, the City will inform the community with the cause and stage of water rationing, and whether it is expected to be short term or long term. Efforts will also be made to provide advance notification.

Council on May 28 voted unanimously to provide a letter of support, as well as $400,000 in cash/in-kind services, to support the Lethbridge Curling Club in its bid to host the 2026 Scotties Tournament of Hearts. The event would be held from January 23 to February 1, 2026, at the ENMAX Centre and feature the top 18 women’s curling teams from across Canada, including at least two or three Alberta-based teams. The Lethbridge Curling Club and the community of Lethbridge has a strong history of hosting elite curling events. As we witnessed with the 2022 Tim Hortons Brier, as well as all the other elite curling action held in Lethbridge, there would be significant social and economic benefits to hosting an event of this magnitude.

There is no bidding fee paid to Curling Canada and no money changes hands until all accounting is done after the event in 2026. If the bid is unsuccessful, there is no financial impact for the City. Curling Canada is anticipated to announce the host city in January 2025. More information here.

As City crews and contractors are working on the annual road and infrastructure maintenance around Lethbridge, the City is encouraging residents to stay up-to-date. Our online WebMap is a one-stop-shop of information for City-led construction, closures and ongoing projects happening around Lethbridge. Launched in January this year, the online platform was designed to enhance accessibility and streamline information for residents. The map provides accurate and up-to-date information on everything from road closures to playground upgrades. The WebMap can be found at the top of the City’s website homepage, under the news ticking banner, Closures, Repairs and Improvements WebMap.

As crews and contractors work to upgrade and maintain the streets and roads around the City, motorists are asked to slow down and pay attention to signage to keep crews and themselves safe. Residents can also stay informed and engaged with all City of news by subscribing to receive News Releases, Public Service Announcements (PSAs) and Our Stories directly to their inboxes. Subscribing is as easy as heading to and following the prompts.

On June 1, more than 400 people, who became Canadian citizens during the past three years but were unable to attend their swearing-in, joined MP Racheal Thomas, MLA Nathan Neudorf and I for their long overdue welcome to Canada. It was a great event.

In the past week, I have also attended the ceremonial review of the 2296 Lethbridge Army Cadets, a ceremonial review of Air Cadets, as well as the local 80th anniversary of D-Day event at the Cenotaph.

Congratulations to the Lethbridge Bulls on their 25th anniversary season that just started! Apologies to the Lethbridge Bulls if they must replace their radar speed device after my first pitch at the home opener!

As with Bulls games at Spitz Stadium, there are a whole host of major summer events and occasions in the next several weeks including:

  • Henderson Pool now open (with a full public opening on June 28)
  • Downtown 6 Street Block Party on June 15
  • Lethbridge Rotary Dragonboat Festival June 21-23
  • National Indigenous Peoples Day June 21
  • Lethbridge Pride Fest on June 22
  • Canada Day on July 1
  • Street Machine Weekend July 12-14

As always, be safe and kind to one another – and go Oilers go! It’s not over yet (depending on when you read this).

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