September 2023 Mayor's Column
Happy nearly Autumn, everyone!
Outdoor pools and spray parks are closed, the leaves are changing colours and the Lethbridge Hurricanes are soon to be back in action – so, summer is over and it’s time to provide updates on some important topics.
Late last year, the Intergovernmental Health Table was formed by invested partners to look at health and social challenges facing members of the Blood Tribe and Lethbridge communities. Our members, which include representatives from the Blood Tribe Department of Health, the Ministry of Mental Health and Addiction, the Ministry of Seniors, Community and Social Services, as well as Lethbridge East MLA Nathan Neudorf, are committed to having open conversations and regular meetings.
The Intergovernmental Health Table reviews matters of relevant importance to each community with a solid understanding by all involved. Our next meeting is September 21 and I look forward to sharing further updates soon.
Last month, I was pleased to host the second annual Mayor’s Community Barbecue following the Whoop-Up Days parade. Thank you, Lethbridge, for the incredible turnout to the event. We served a free lunch to more than 1,400 residents.
I would specifically like to thank Premier Danielle Smith and Ministers Neudorf and Ric McIver and MLA Grant Hunter, for attending and spending time having conversations with Lethbridge residents. I want to thank South Country Co-op and all the other sponsors, as well as my good friend Trevor Panczak, for their contributions to the wonderful day. We will be back in 2024.
That August week featured modern-day record crowds at Whoop-Up Days, thanks in large part to superb weather (starting after the parade!) plus the free gate admission. Thousands of people were able to see the new Agri-food Hub & Trade Centre at the Lethbridge & District Exhibition. Staff there said the event Saturday set a new single-day Whoop-Up Days record with 23,310 visitors.
What an awesome turnout, Lethbridge and region! I am already looking forward to Whoop-Up Days 2024.
Our city’s summer fair of course also means the return of school from elementary to post-secondary would be imminent.
Welcome back, students! For those University of Lethbridge and Lethbridge College students who may be new to our city, I want to thank you for selecting those wonderful institutions and our amazing city. You’ve made a great choice. When you are in need of anything City of Lethbridge related, please visit our website or call 311.
The Lethbridge 311 contact centre is available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. More information is also available online 24/7 by visiting the Lethbridge 311 portal at 311.lethbridge.ca. Matters to be addressed regarding City Operations or services (for example, bylaw enforcement, waste and recycling, transit, utilities, roads, facilities, taxes, parks, etc.) are best directed to our City Administration via Lethbridge 311.
Our City Council and Standing Policy Committees resumed meetings earlier this week in our newly-updated Council Chamber at Lethbridge City Hall. All meeting agendas can be viewed here and the 2023 Council calendar can be viewed here.
Those attending in person and watching online will see and hear some positive differences, as several technological upgrades and infrastructure additions have been recently completed in Council Chamber. For a variety of reasons, this refresh was required to support the current needs and expectations of City Council and the public to maintain accessible meetings in an ever-changing online and technology-driven world. The new upgrades will also enhance the adaptability for other meetings in Council Chamber, such as the Lethbridge Police Commission and other Boards, Commissions and Committees.
Lethbridge City Council meetings have been livestreamed online since 2011 (the City of Lethbridge’s YouTube page is here), but some of the infrastructure in Council Chamber had not been upgraded since the current City Hall opened in 2000. These upgrades will ensure better reliability and amplify the meeting experience for Council members, as well as strengthen the public’s ability to participate in the democratic process. The 2023 upgrades are being funded through existing lifecycle budgets. Read more on the background here.
The deadline for several vacancies on a Board, Commission, or Committee is September 22, at 11:59 p.m. Apply here. Our BCCs provide City Council with information, advice and recommendations regarding important community issues and topics. Whether advisory, decision-making, quasi-judicial or governing, all provide members of the community an opportunity to participate and bring out the best in our City.
The Lethbridge Public Library’s annual Word On The Street Festival is set for September 23 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. There will be authors for adults, kids and teens coming from across Canada, as well as live music, food trucks, workshops and panels for this annual celebration of literacy, storytelling, and the literary arts to our community. It should be a great event!
Earlier this week, the United Way of Lethbridge and South Western Alberta began its annual fundraising with a Pull The Bus event on 6 Street downtown. Their goal this year is to raise $296,000 to help support United Way funded programs. More information at https://lethbridgeunitedway.ca/.
I want to thank Deputy Mayor John Middleton-Hope and Acting Mayor Ryan Parker for their efforts during the past several months. The responsibilities of Deputy Mayor and Acting Mayor change every six months, with each member of Council spending time in each during their four-year terms. The next rotation begins on October 1, with Mark Campbell stepping in as Deputy Mayor and John Middleton-Hope becoming Acting Mayor until April 1. More information here: https://www.lethbridge.ca/council-administration-governance/mayor-and-councillors/.
As always, please be safe and kind to one another.