March 26th, 2019

Council throws support behind poverty reduction strategy

By Collin Gallant on February 7, 2017.

Medicine Hat News

Medicine Hat city council has voted to support in principle a major poverty reduction strategy, which will be unveiled next week by a wide array of community groups.

The initiative is not city-led, stressed Coun. Julie Friesen, who introduced the measure “asking council to share the concept of their goal to reduce poverty in the community,” she said after council voted 9-0 in favour.

For more information, Hatters will have to wait for a major announcement expected on Feb. 15

Groups include some city-supported agencies, like the Community Housing Society, as well as various community groups, social service agencies, private individuals and businesses, said Friesen.

“We thought it important to show solidarity with numerous community groups that have done so much work,” said Coun. Celina Symmonds.

Some of the initial budget was provided by Family and Community Support Service grants, which is a grant partnership between the city and province.

Price cut for Flats lots

The city’s land office will cut asking prices on 13 lots left vacant after the 2013 flood. Administrator say they began marketing the lots in 2015 at the blanket rate of $17 per square foot — a rate they say kept property value stable in the community for private sellers.

However, only three have sold and another three have been added in a new program to tear down privately-owned, but uninhabitable homes that have stayed standing.

Now, the base price will be dropped to $14 per square foot, or about an 18 per cent reduction, at which point the city will still recover the estimated $750,000 spent on the acquisitions.

Coun. Les Pearson said it should be remembered the city has made flood recovery and flood protection a top priority, including the expenditure of $9 million in a $33-million berming budget,

“The city has made a major contribution from city funds and it’s important to acknowledge that,” he said.

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