Many citizens felt this was the top issue in 2017 (probably still is). We all appreciate first class services and facilities. It is what makes any city a great place to live, work and play in. But at the same time, we must balance our wants with our needs and budget. Municipal Councils need to be constantly reminded whose money they are spending.
After the last election, City Council decided to push ahead with curbside recycling (blue bins). Many residents felt this issue would have been better initiated through a plebiscite or as a question on the ballot. Now the city is implementing a residential organics collection pilot project. Many homes are occupied by only two residents producing minimal organic waste. And condo owners have no yard waste at all. It is not clear the amount of organic material produced warrants a third bin at this point. The new Council should take a closer look at this.
Lethbridge has a slow-but-steady growth rate which is great for planning a healthy inventory of serviced commercial and industrial parcels. We must continue to promote the city to attract new businesses. For example, additional prospects in the agri-business, food processing, and tech sector should be pursued. These types of industries will also utilize our educated and skilled workforce.
We must continue to support the Lethbridge Exhibition and their Trade & Convention Centre. This modern multi-purpose facility will cement Lethbridge as a regional hub in Southern Alberta and attract tradeshows and conventions at a scale not currently possible. There is no doubt this will have a trickle-down or “spinoff “effect on our community. It may also provide an excellent opportunity to involve a private partner.
The city has recently acquired the airport from the County. For a city of over 100,000 (and a much larger trading area) it is underdeveloped and underutilized. Over the past few years, air service was slowly beginng to rebound to meet demand, however Covid changed that. The City and region must continue to work together to create an independent airport authority that is self-governed and professionally managed, with the mandate to increase the level of service and generate more airport related business on adjacent lands.
The heart of any city is its downtown. Encouraging apartment, condominium and mixed-use developments on currently underdeveloped parcels will put more "feet on the street". This will ensure our downtown remains vibrant (and safer) after business hours.
I personally like the idea of a third river crossing sooner than later. But I would certainly want to study the numbers, both the financial impact and the traffic counts. There may be an opportunity here to examine creative options for financing.