Recap of December 13 Lethbridge City Council meeting
- Following a lengthy discussion Tuesday, Lethbridge City Council, by general consent, recessed the Public Hearing on Bylaw 6390 - Land Use Bylaw Amendment re: 215 – 2 Avenue South and 221 – 2 Avenue South (Castle Apartments), as well as the Public Hearing on Bylaw 6391 - Land Use Bylaw Amendment re: 535 – 8 Street South (Halmrast Manor). At the Council meeting, first readings were carried to both items. These are not decisions in favour, but simply introduced the Bylaws. For all three readings to have carried in the same meeting, the votes would all have had to be unanimous. The next City Council meeting is scheduled for January 24, 2023, and the continuation for the Public Hearings will begin at 3 p.m. that day.
- Council voted 5-3 in favour to adopt the Community Wellbeing and Safety Strategy Advisory Committee recommendation to fund Streets Alive Mission for the operation of an Overnight Comfort Centre for $325,670, with $225,670 from Reaching Home funds and $100,000 from taxation.
- Council voted unanimously to approve the allocation of $1,500,000 of Affordable and Social Housing Capital Grant funding from the 2022-2031 D-32 Affordable Housing CIP project to the Aboriginal Housing Society for construction of the Legacy Ridge Housing Project. City funding to be provided subject to the execution of a third-party contribution agreement in a form satisfactory to the City Manager.
- From an Official Business Motion from Councillor John Middleton-Hope, Mayor Blaine Hyggen and Deputy Mayor Ryan Parker, Council voted 7-2 to rescind previous council decisions to proceed with analysis and possible implementation of a Ward System of Elections, including rescindment of a one-time budget of up to $297,000, and direct Administration to prepare a bylaw to rescind Ward Commission Bylaw 6374. The City of Lethbridge, at the direction of Council, had previously been instructed to examine the current process used to elect members of Council and research alternatives because of a non-binding ballot question in which 55.69 per cent of the electorate voted in favour of a question, "do you support using a ward system to elect city councillors (other than the Mayor) starting with the 2025 municipal election?"
- From an Official Business Motion from Councillor Middleton-Hope, Mayor Hyggen and Deputy Mayor Parker, Council voted 7-2 to direct this to the Governance Standing Policy Committee to report back to Council by Q2 2023, having conducted a robust examination of a 'precinct' model, being one example, and a strategy and timeline for implementation, including any budget and resourcing requirements. The OBM movers say the primary impetus for amending the current model is to develop a more democratic election process that would provide for effective and efficient representation and that the 'precinct' model, as one example, is designed to eliminate the need for a further costly review process by addressing at-large representation and blending it with geographic accountability thereby improving the existing model.
- From an Official Business Motion from Councillor Nick Paladino, Council voted unanimously to direct Administration to return to Council, through the Governance Standing Policy Committee, no later than Q2 2023, with the following potential amendments to the nomination process in Bylaw 5803 – A Bylaw to Provide for Municipal Elections: 1. Eligible Elector Signatures – increase from five to 25 for Councillor and to 50 for Mayor. 2. Deposits – increase from $0 to $100 for Councillor and $250 for Mayor.
- From an Official Business Motion from Councillor Belinda Crowson, Council voted unanimously for the Mayor write a letter to Lethbridge County Council highlighting support for the Cor Van Raay LINK Pathway, affirming the city's commitment to the project and highlighting the importance of the pathway as a regional resource. The Cor Van Raay LINK Pathway will be a 15-kilometre pathway linking Coaldale and Lethbridge, being funded by private donations and grants, to offer a natural recreational corridor for people of all ages. The City of Lethbridge has agreed to cover costs once the pathway hits city limits and this pathway will join into the city's pathway system at Henderson Park and will enhance the city's own pathway system.