July 19th, 2024

City Notebook: There’s a policy for that

By Collin Gallant on July 6, 2024.

@@CollinGallant

Forgetting the thunder that woke everyone up Friday morning, there’s several tell-tale signs that summer is on the way.

Above-30C temperatures are on the horizon, the Stampede Parade in that other city was held Friday, and though the southeast is as green as Ireland at the moment, we can still see shades of brown in the lawn, can’t we?

As well, items are backlogging a to-do list at city hall, which should provide a busy fall entering the final year of this council’s term:

Aside from court proceedings to settle things between Mayor Linnsie Clark and her council mates, there a few doozies on the road ahead.

Budget meetings this month reveal that the biggest ticket items – a plan for rec facilities (a top issue in the 2021 vote) and financial aspects of net-zero planning will be outlined in the fall.

So, too, is due a report on how the city’s electricity business is operated, not such a minor a thing.

The News figured out that talks with Redcliff and Cypress County have been jumpstarted toward something or other (no one’s saying).

There is also:

– An update needed on addressing downtown disorder;

– Public washrooms (remember that?) and Towne Square operations;

– Changes to the code of conduct investigation process (see “court proceedings” above);

– Some sort of news about the now city-owned Medicine Hat Curling Club might be nice, and;

– An update of the city’s Land-use Bylaw is needed. Whatever happened to Strong Towns?

Elections

One among many proposed election rule changes from the province would move the set election dates from spring to the fall. The stated reason is the greater potential for disruptive floods and forest fires to coincide with election periods.

Some strategists prefer votes in late April or early May (when income taxes are fresh in voters’ mind), but all rural MLAs hate having to step away from official duties during an election in May and June when high school grads are on.

Now hiring

Enquiring minds have made it a habit to look at the city’s career opportunities with intrigue on their mind. New is a call for a head of the public services division. Keen readers will recall that former fire chief Brian Stauth took over the position on an extended basis with plans to retire in the fall of 2024.

The city is also looking for a chief electoral officer – a role once handled by the city clerk – which seems early considering the 2025 election is 15 months away.

Head count

St. Albert will push ahead with a civic census, though the exercise won’t result in additional per-capita grants from the province. The treasury board began rejecting local numbers and using its own estimates five years ago.

This led the Hat to cancel its head count since there would be no financial windfall from the $100,000 budget item. More recently though, real estate observers have said a view of changing demographics may provide insight to the relatively sudden housing crunch.

A look ahead

A second committee of the whole meeting Tuesday will dive into capital budget priorities that were laid out late last month.

The Saamis Archeological Site in the city will turn 40 years old since it was designated, with a gathering planned for Wednesday.

Another big (and I mean “big”) anniversary is coming the following week, so keep your eyes peeled.

100 years ago

In the post-Dominion Day news lull, the Medicine Hat News looked through the sporting lens in early July 1924.

The Medicine Hat Typos baseball team bought an ad to apologize to about 3,000 fans who crowded to see their Dominion Day double header against the Calgary Hustlers – contests that were “mediocre exhibitions crammed full of excitement, a galaxy of errors and heavy swatting.”

“The Typos will have blood in their eyes” when Duchess visits later in the week, it vowed, though reports described a Hat victory as one full of “hits and foozles” later in the week.

Pete Vandermeer of Calgary won the British Exhibition bucking contest in London at a special rodeo presentation. The Edmonton Grads had arrived in Paris ahead of the Olympics.

In business and fashion news, as hemlines rose over the past decade, the hosiery business grew to a quarter billion dollar industry in the U.S. – a 150 per cent increase over 10 years.

Collin Gallant covers city politics and a variety of topics for the News. Reach him at 403-528-5664 or via email at cgallant@medicinehatnews.com.

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