March 2022 Mayor's Column
What an incredible 10 days of entertainment we just had in our city!
Last Sunday, I was invited to speak at the closing ceremony at the 2022 Tim Hortons Brier. I spoke about what an absolute honour it was to have Lethbridge as host and what a thrill it was to have fans back at the ENMAX Centre to witness this incredible event in person.
On behalf of Lethbridge City Council and our residents, I want to again congratulate all of the great curlers and amazing curling fans – as well as the organizers, volunteers, sponsors, coaches and media – for a spectacular and safe event. A special shout out to Team Gushue who managed to take out the tournament, as a wild card entry and with only three players on the sheet!
Earlier this month, I participated in a Lethbridge Tourism town hall. I presented about the Brier and how our city has a storied history of hosting major curling events. We also talked about the ongoing airport enhancements and incentive framework, the soon-to-be-completed Festival Square Market Plaza, Exhibition Park's expansion project and Agri-Food Hub, as well as the Nikka Yuko Bunka Centre.
Tourism businesses are critical job creators and employers across Alberta. As travel resumes, the sector will be a key part of Alberta's economic recovery and future growth I am so proud of our welcoming and inclusive community that offers visitor experiences unique to our character, personality and features.
One of the many items in Council Gateway to Opportunity 2022 Action Plan is: Establishing a Regional Economic Development and Tourism Strategy. We are excited for the work to come in this area. We will also have our first Action Plan quarterly report coming to Council next month.
March is Women's History Month and March 8 was International Women's Day, which was an opportunity to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.
I'd like to acknowledge all of the women who work hard each and every day to bring their knowledge, creativity and skills to help strengthen our community and move us forward as a society. I can think of no better examples to celebrate than my two Council colleagues, Councillor Belinda Crowson and Councillor Jenn Schmidt-Rempel. We're a stronger City Council because of their ideas, intelligence and experience. Thank you also to more than 600 women who have chosen a career with the City of Lethbridge.
April 7 is Green Shirt Day and I will again be bringing a motion to Council. We want to acknowledge Green Shirt Day every year to always recognize the impact Logan Boulet's legacy has had in inspiring Canadians to talk to their families about registering as organ donors. Six lives were saved by Logan donating his organs. Because of his selfless act, it is estimated that almost 150,000 people registered to become organ donors in the days and weeks that followed.
On February 23, Council had special meetings with MP Rachael Thomas and MLAs Shannon Phillips and Nathan Neudorf. Some of the many topics discussed included: housing, policing, the Indigenous Resource Hub, Regional Development Strategy, Lethbridge Airport, the Federal relationship with municipalities, the opioid crisis strategy, the physician crisis strategy and the 2022 Provincial Budget.
As an important takeaway, all parties appreciated the opportunity to meet and look forward to regular standing meetings moving forward.
Also in February, I was honoured to receive my Traditional Blackfoot name Iikinapitapi, meaning "Kind Person," given to me by Elder Patrick Black Plume at this year's International Peace Powwow.
It was a very inspiring opportunity for me. I feel honoured to be taught traditional ways by friends like Don Shouting, Mary Ann Crow Healy, Jacob Faithful and leaders in the Indigenous community. I am forever thankful for each of you and the kindness you have given me.
I recently submitted a welcome message for the 2022 Alberta Treaty Hockey Games which are coming to Lethbridge April 13-17.
Our city's motto is Gateway to Opportunity and I truly feel like it's in action by being honoured as the host city of this amazing event. With more than 100 teams coming here and using almost every ice surface we have in Lethbridge, this event is sure poised to create a great atmosphere for players and hockey fans alike.
Sports and sporting events have the power to bring people and cultures together. Events like this help to bring Reconciliation into focus with a social and cultural lens that perhaps some folks haven't encountered before. It's one of the reasons I love this game. Sport really is a great unifier.
Last week was March 11 (aka 3/11 day) and 311 celebrated its third anniversary of operation in our city. Of the 107,468 calls answered by 311 last year, 100,683 were answered in 30 seconds or less. Keep up the great work 311!
As the spring weather has started to appear, it's been so nice to see so many smiling faces out and about enjoying the sunshine and events around our community. Take care, be safe and be kind to one another.