By Al Beeber - Lethbridge Herald on December 15, 2023.
A report by City manager Lloyd Brierley on Tuesday outlined to city council administration’s accomplishments in supporting council during the first half of its four-year term.
“These accomplishments would not have been possible without the engagement and participation of our residents, staff, stakeholders and community partners. Community engagement on all City projects is conducted in accordance with city council’s Public
Participation Policy to help inform Council decision making. In this council term, we have held two city-wide Community Conversations engaging over 1,000 residents. We have also engaged on 41 individual projects which included a combination of online and in-person activities,” says Brierley’s report.
The presentation, called “Celebrating Success,” noted among the City’s accomplishments the physician recruiting campaign, Tim Hortons Brier, the launch of the curbside organics program and initiatives addressing social issues. Those include encampment and shelter strategies and rezoning of the shelter. The city also supported rezoning for affordable housing projects and did a review of the Municipal Housing and Community Safety and Wellbeing strategies.
Another accomplishment highlighted in the presentation was the creation of Festival Square downtown. The presentation also cites the operating budget that was approved last November, saying it “prioritized community safety and wellbeing” and minimized tax increases.
Other highlights pointed out are the new City website, 311 live chat, the expansion of the fee assistance program, the accreditation with distinction of EMS services and improvements facilities. These include the Legacy Park pickleball courts, Rotary Square at Casa, the Bunka Centre at Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden, the Park ‘n Ride facility and the ice plant replacement at Henderson arena.
The next steps for the City, says the presentation, are to identify opportunities and challenges in the next two years – which will be the final years of this council’s term.
Brierley told council that the City contributed $15,000 to promote living in Lethbridge, targeted at physicians and other healthcare workers. The results included half a million impressions on ads, 4,000 visits to the City’s physician/healthcare recruitment web page and 33 web forms submitted for more information.
“This campaign has been very successful in targeting areas of the country that train physicians and other healthcare workers,” said Brierley. AHS has been successful in bringing nearly two dozen physicians to the city, he noted.
The City also invested $1 million for securing the 2022 Tim Hortons Brier and the economic activity generated by that event amounted to about $16.8 million for the city and area.
Brierley said the City celebrated six months with the new curbside organics program and about 85 per cent of residents have participated, diverting 4,000 tonnes of organic waste from the landfill.
Festival Square, since opening in June of 2022, has hosted 140 events, noted Brierley, who cited the Downtown BRZ for its efforts, saying it “has done an amazing job programming this space.”
After three years of zero tax increases, Brierley noted that council faced “a daunting task” when preparing the 2023-26 budget. That budget included the hiring of 22 police officers and 13 Fire/EMS staff, he pointed out.
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