March 3rd, 2024

What to expect from the State of the City address

By COLLIN GALLANT on January 23, 2024.

cgallant@medicinehatnews.com@CollinGallant

The first event of the political calendar is marked down for this afternoon as Mayor Linnsie Clark provides the “State of the City” address at a noon-hour luncheon.

“I’m going over the highlights from last year and looking forward to some of the challenges that we’ll face as a city in 2024,” Clark told the News last week as she was preparing for the event.

The event, hosted by the Kiwanis Club of Medicine Hat in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce, typically provides an overview of progress made on issues and work still ongoing at city hall.

Her predecessors have also taken the opportunity to announce substantial business news or major projects.

“It’s pretty early in the year,” said Clark.

In her first “state” address two years ago, Clark outlined the city’s industrial attraction strategies, and last year discussed the potential for population to grow above 100,000 residents.

Tops of the current to-do-list is a pending review of the city’s power business, followed by finalizing and implementing an environmental road map this spring, as well as a recreation and parks facilities plan that will lead into the 2025-26 budget, due in 11 months.

On the business front, the Invest Medicine Hat office was restaffed in late 2023. The department now known as Medicine Hat Economic Development is also advertising its priorities.

In the early fall, S3 Group showcased its new Medicine Hat farm implement manufacturing facility to the media in an event that included Brooks-Medicine Hat MLA and Premier Danielle Smith.

On the legislative front, city departments are also studying a transportation plan and an arts and culture engagement plan. The land-use bylaw, which lays down development procedures, will be amended as the “Strong Towns” collaboration winds to a close.

That could provide a roadmap for local government response to housing issues.

“The provincial and federal governments have recognized this as a very serious and urgent issue, and (we hope) come to the table with additional ideas and funding,” she told the News. “As a city we’re looking at what we can do in terms for zoning and incentives to spur housing development.”

In early February administrators will take part in a second “summit” meeting in a series to discuss housing and social sector concerns with other agencies and business interests.

The speech takes place at the Medicine Hat Lodge, though pre-registration is required to attend. Previous events have been rebroadcast on local cable TV.

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