We’re brighter when we work together: the 2023 Brighter Together Business Survey

On January 18, Economic Development Lethbridge, Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce, and Downtown BRZ released the results of their Brighter Together Business Survey. In its fifth year, this initiative seeks to have local businesses provide feedback about their current sentiments and overall business health. The survey results help anticipate and respond to current and future challenges in our area and help to highlight and articulate our comparative advantages as a city. Further, as most questions are consistent each year, it allows for inspection into trends and variables within the business community.

In a December Globe and Mail Op Ed by Todd Hirsch, he states that “Policy makers at every level need to facilitate entrepreneurship, encourage R&D spending, bolster education and simplify immigrant entry into the labour market. And if they need any practical ideas to get them started, they can refer to any of the thousands of policy papers put out by business councils and chambers of commerce.”

The Brighter Together Business Survey is one of these tools with practical ideas that informs my work on Council. Out of the results of this survey I can work with the survey partners to reach out to respondents and learn why they responded they way they did. It gives me an opportunity to learn and understand the sentiments of our local business community, and what work they need me to be doing for them.

2023 Brighter Together Business Survey highlights include:

  • Optimism among local businesses and organizations remains high, as two-thirds of respondents (66%) expressed a favourable outlook for the next 6–12 months.
  • 56% of businesses mentioned witnessing a moderate or substantial growth in their business over the past 12 months.
  • Locational strengths were consistent with previous years, with quality of life selected again as the top attribute. Other attributes include proximity to complimentary industries and a collaborative environment.
  • An increasing share of respondents indicate they are likely to focus on upskilling and staff training over the year ahead.
  • There is an elevated focus on improving company productivity, with two-thirds of respondents (66%) highlighting this.
  • Employers are more likely to maintain the status quo regarding their workforce, with a rising proportion of respondents indicating their head count will remain the same over the next 6–12 months.
  • The most pressing obstacles are related to costs, with rising cost of inputs, rising interest rates & debt costs, and rising cost of labour the top projected barriers for 2024.
  • The top locational challenges to doing business were centred around costs with utilities, municipal tax environment, and ease of permitting and regulatory procedures.
  • Businesses indicate they are seeking assistance with acquiring and retaining employees, and upgrading digital processes.

I believe that surveys such as this are a learning opportunity. They help me to understand business investment attraction, business retention and expansion, and entrepreneurship and innovation, all of which lead to job creation and help pay for City services, thus creating a vibrant community. Learning from our businesses and focussing on economic development is important to our city’s future. This survey provides an opportunity to understand where local business is coming from and where, if appropriate, positive change can be made.

Thank you to Economic Development Lethbridge, Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce, and Downtown BRZ for your work in this important initiative. I continue to look forward to engaging with you and our local business community.

If you have any questions at all, or would like to talk further about the work I am doing on Council, please contact me via this website, or email me at: jenn.schmidt-rempel@lethbridge.ca

Let’s talk about community safety…

This is the last week for you to share your perceptions of community safety in our city by completing the Community Safety Survey: https://getinvolvedlethbridge.ca/

Safety in our community means different things to different people, and we need to understand and discuss the who, what, where, why, when, and how of all facets of community safety to fully understand what it means to be safe in our city. Each and every one of us has a different idea of what it means to be safe in this community.

What makes our city safe for you?

  • Increased police presence?
  • Fraud prevention and other learning opportunities?
  • Better outdoor lighting?
  • Regularly cleared walkways in the winter?

Over the past number of years, to address safety and well-being concerns in our city, the City of Lethbridge has completed studies and developed the:

Without the perception of safety in our community our ability to attract and retain businesses and residents in our community begins to decrease. We want to ensure we are building a growing and thriving city that everyone is proud to call home. Our city’s success relies on how we support the experiences of our residents through community spaces, services, and businesses.

Take the time to tell us:

  • How safe you currently feel in Lethbridge?
  • What do you believe are the most pressing safety and well-being issues in our city?

Take a few moments to have your say, and complete the survey by Friday, January 19.

Weekly Roundup Dec. 8

Video and agenda packages for all meetings are available at: https://agendas.lethbridge.ca/AgendaOnline

If you have any questions at all, or would like to talk further about the work Council is doing, please contact me via this website, or email me at:


Audit Standing Policy Committee, Dec. 6, 2023:

Committee received the Audit Planning Report and the Economic Update and Public Sector Accounting Standard 3450 – Financial Instruments report in a closed session.

Assets & Infrastructure Standing Policy Committee, Dec. 7, 2023:

Committee received an update on the Toxic and E-Wast Round-Up Pilot projects held this year. Due to the success of the 2 events held in 2023, another 2 events have been recommended to Council for 2024.

It’s important to note that there will still be opportunity for the public to engage on individual projects included in the 2023 Transportation Master Plan as each project will come forward to Council for approval.

There were concerns brought forward by a local business regarding communication about the recently completed construction in the downtown core. All feedback received regarding the construction will give us an opportunity to improve and adjust as we move forward and onto future projects.

I asked a question regarding accessibility and where we were at with retrofitting intersections for accessibility. In 2023, 77% of intersections have intersections with pedestrian ramps.

Committee also receive a Land Use Bylaw Renewal Project Update. Phase 1 is directed towards social issues exploration and how the new Land Use Bylaw can help ensure that everyone in Lethbridge has appropriate housing for their needs and the option to access the social supports they need.

As we work through the Phase 1 bylaw process, a public hearing is planned for March 26, 2024. Opportunities to engage on Phase 2 will be available as that starts and moves forward.

Committee also heard from members of the community regarding Exhibition Park’s emergency funding request. Speakers included:

  • Cyndi Bester, Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce
  • Dale Leier, local business owner
  • Layne Whipple, local business owner
  • Erin Crane, Tourism Lethbridge
  • Alf Gurr, local business owner
  • Bridget Mearns, BILD

Members of committee also heard that Mayor Hyggen and Exhibition Park CEO, Mike Warkentin, met with provincial representatives this week.

I asked questions pertaining to operational costs if the City of Lethbridge were to take over operations of the Agri-Food Hub: operational costs would increase, particularly if there was no revenue from events or programs being generated, and the loan would need to be covered through new taxation.

At this time there is no update on the Dec. 12 City Council agenda for this item.

It was fantastic news for our city this week as the provincial government announced funding for up to 50 temporary winter shelter spaces. It’s a step in the right direction as we continue to work on helping the most vulnerable in our city: https://www.alberta.ca/release.cfm?xID=8941449F57D64-F4ED-507F-79256D90921640DE

Congratulations to the team at PIP International for the work they’re doing with Emissions Reduction Alberta and the Government of Alberta. Their work on their Total Energy Solution Project will showcase an innovative thermal battery, which will bring PIP to net zero and emissions free: https://www.alberta.ca/release.cfm?xID=894285A615B45-EF69-116E-B4E4D086C5B075A6

Agenda packages and video are available at: https://agendas.lethbridge.ca/AgendaOnline 

  • Dec. 12: City Council
  • Dec. 14: Safety & Social Standing Policy Committee
    • This meeting will allow the public to speak to and ask questions about:
      • YWCA Harbour House Expansion
      • Lethbridge Social Helping Organizations Coalition

Weekly Roundup Dec. 1

Video and agenda packages for all meetings are available at: https://agendas.lethbridge.ca/AgendaOnline

If you have any questions at all, or would like to talk further about the work Council is doing, please contact me via this website, or email me at:


Lethbridge and District Exhibition Park Update

I received several questions as to why I voted the way I did on this issue. You can find my commentary on this agenda item (posted earlier this week) at: https://jennschmidtrempel.ca/in-response-to-todays-meeting/

I will reiterate though, I largely did not support any points in the motion because I believe we should have moved forward with our support of Exhibition Park without the condition of receiving a formal commitment from the Province. That we should be working in a collaborative fashion with Exhibition Park, the Province, as well as other stakeholders and investors to secure additional funding for the project.

Council allocated up to $30,000 in one-time funding to build a fenced dog run on the Animal Shelter property with the aim to provide additional opportunities for socializing, training, and exercising dogs available for adoption at the Animal Shelter.

A resident came forward to appeal an order to remove chickens from his backyard. Council will meet to deliberate the request.

Starting Sunday, December 3, the City of Lethbridge is introducing two Ability Skate times into its public skating schedule. The Ability Skate is a new sensory-friendly public skating program specifically designed for Lethbridge residents with disabilities. Learn more at: https://www.lethbridge.ca/news/posts/new-ability-skate-now-available/

Nikka Yuko Winter Light Festival: https://nikkayuko.com/winter-light-festival/

Lethbridge Handmade Market: https://www.facebook.com/events/564059692463163

Big Christmas Show & Farmers Market: https://www.facebook.com/events/186371810937311

Christmas Glow: https://www.glowgardens.com/lethbridge/

Agenda packages and video are available at: https://agendas.lethbridge.ca/AgendaOnline 

  • Dec. 6: Audit Standing Policy Committee
  • Dec. 7: Assets & Infrastructure Standing Policy Committee
    • This meeting will allow the public to speak to and ask question about:
      • The Toxic & E-Waste Round-Up Pilot Project
      • The 2023 Transportation Master Plan
      • The Land Use Bylaw Renewal Project Update
      • Exhibition Park emergency funding request

In response to today’s meeting…

It was a long one at Council today, and I’ve received some questions tonight as to why I voted the way I did on the resolution Councillor Dodic brought forward regarding Exhibition Park’s request for additional funding. I’d like to take this opportunity to reiterate what I stated in my debate at Council, and why I did not support the motion. For those who were unable to attend, some background information first…

Today, Exhibition Park came forward to Council with an ask for additional funding (https://agendas.lethbridge.ca/AgendaOnline):

  • a capital grant in the amount of $6,742,315.72; OR
  • a capital grant in the amount of $2,081,093 to cover unfunded capital of construction; and a four-year debt deferral that will be repaid on the back-end of the loan totalling $4,671,309.72.

In addition to one of the above-mentioned options, they also requested the City of Lethbridge immediately take over the old pavilions (excluding the West Pavilion).

Councillor Dodic brought forward the following resolution:

WHEREAS the Lethbridge & District Exhibition has a shortfall with respect to the Agri-Food Hub and Trade Centre Project in both Capital and Operating Costs such that they are unable to continue operations in the near term.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT City Council, contingent on receiving a formal commitment from the Province of Alberta by December 11, 2023 and conditional on the Lethbridge & District Exhibition agreeing to a City-led, independent third-party review, direct Administration to provide:

  • 1. A capital grant of $2,081,093.00 (of which $1,040,546.50  is to be provided to the City by the Province) to cover the capital shortfall with the funding to be held in reserve and which can be accessed by the Lethbridge & District Exhibition upon their submitting claims for eligible expenditures for the Agri-Food Hub & Trade Centre Project with funding being provided subject to the amendment of the Agri-Food Hub & Trade Centre Project grant agreement in a form satisfactory to the City Manager; and

    Upon confirmation from the Province of Alberta of their financial commitment referred to in item 1 above, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT City Council:

    • 2. Interim operational funding up to $500,000 for maintaining the old pavilions with the City’s contribution with one-time funding coming from the Municipal Revenue Stabilization Reserve for which the Lethbridge & District Exhibition will be required to submit claims for the eligible expenditures for the old pavilions with funding being provided subject to the execution of a contribution agreement in a form satisfactory to the City Manager; and

    • 3. Defer two of the  Lethbridge and District Exhibition’s semi-annual loan payments of $583,913.59 for the period of December 15, 2023, and ending June 15, 2024 by adding two payments (December 15, 2052 and June 15, 2053) plus accrued interest based on the City’s average 10-year investment portfolio yield at the time of deferral, to the Development Loan Agreement between the City of Lethbridge and the Lethbridge and District Exhibition, with the interim funding of $1,167,827.18 (two payments of $583,913.59) from the Municipal Revenue Stabilization Reserve; and

    • 4. Authorize the City Manager to retain and work with an independent Third-Party to obtain the information necessary to evaluate and provide recommendations on the strategic and operational planning as well as the financial decision-making of the Lethbridge & District Exhibition to support their ongoing success. The review will also provide an economic feasibility assessment of the Exhibition to determine its short-term (2024), mid-term (2025-2027) and long-term financial sustainability (2028-2034). This will include comparator business models that are similar to the Lethbridge & District Exhibition and scenario analysis for the future state of Lethbridge & District Exhibition analyzing a range of existing operating initiatives as well as possible future opportunities and models. The selection of a consultant will be jointly considered by City and Lethbridge & District Exhibition Administration. Funding of up to $300,000 will be funded from the existing 2023-2026 operating budget in accordance with Financial Services Policy – FS1, as per the delegation to the City Manager in Bylaw 6099 – The City Manager Bylaw. Administration to report on the status of the Third-Party Review with regular updates to the Economic and Finance Standing Policy Committee; and
    • 5. Direct Administration to execute amendments to the Development Loan Agreement to reflect the amended schedule of loan payments; and

    AND FURTHER, BE IT RESOLVED THAT City Council direct that the closed meeting report and discussions, with respect to the Lethbridge & District Exhibition Project Update remain confidential pursuant to Sections 16 (Harmful to Business Interests of a Third Party), 21 (Harmful to Intergovernmental Relations), 23 (Local Public Body Confidences), 24 (Advice from Officials) and 25 (Harmful to Economic and Other Interests of a Public Body) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

    • Councillor Crowson requested an amendment to add that Exhibition Park attend the Dec. 7, 2023 Assets and Infrastructure SPC so that the public can have an opportunity to speak to the request.

    • Councillor Parker asked that each item be voted on separately.

    I did not support any points in the motion because I believe we should have moved forward with our support of Exhibition Park without the condition of receiving a formal commitment from the Province. This was my debate:

    It seems like we all want this facility to succeed – and understand that it’s imperative to the long-term economic development of our city and region. I will not say Exhibition Park is blameless, nor will I say the City of Lethbridge doesn’t bear some responsibility. What I will point out is that like Exhibition Park the City of Lethbridge also faced financial pressures over the past few years. To differing degrees both organizations have faced pressures to provide services, complete infrastructure projects, and serve our community in an environment of rising inflation and costs, while also facing supply chain issues, which in turn cause construction delays and costs to rise – we’ve seen this with our own projects – all while doing our best to balance affordability with limited resources. MNP could not predict COVID or all the increases this project faced. Further, if we go back to the historical debates around this project, we’ll see that Council voted on the project understanding that things can change and will change as the project progressed. 

    My focus for this project has always been on my commitment to the economic development and benefit to the region.

    This a large startup – large startups see operational deficits in the initial years. The difference here is that Exhibition Park cannot go to a bank for financing like a private business could.

    We’re not just supporting Exhibition Park, we are investing in our commitment to agriculture, agri-business, and economic development in this region and in this province.

    There is so much more here than the financial ask – it really is the well being and collaboration of our region. It’s about how well we can partner on a challenging issue and come through with all our partners on the other side. The Agri-food Hub is what ties this together. It is something that the city and region and stakeholders have come together around and enhances our agricultural roots. 

    I will not be supporting this motion for a number of reasons:

    • The City of Lethbridge requested the old pavilions feasibility study. I believe it is our responsibility to bear this cost with or without the commitment of provincial funding.
    • Waiting until December 11 only kicks this can down the road, and Exhibition Park has impressed upon us the timeliness of their ask.
    • Waiting until the Dec. 12 meeting – if there’s one thing we’ve learned interest rates can change in 14 days. Every day delayed for a decision risks changes to the funding structure.
    • Regarding the amendment of adding this to Assets & Infrastrucure so the public can speak – we have allowed the public to speak at Council meetings before on other issues. We have a number of individuals here today who could and are likely prepared to speak to this, and we’ve decided not to allow that, so are being inconsistent in our procedures.
    • Finally, in addition to the financial costs we need consider any unintended consequences/costs this might have insofar as inter-governmental relationships as well as relationships and perceptions with investors and other stakeholders in our community and region.

    It’s time for this Council to demonstrate a commitment to the current investors and stakeholders on this project whether the Province comes to the party or not. This project brings the community and region together – I support that – whether the Province comes forward with additional support or not. I’m not saying we shouldn’t continue looking for funding on this from the Province and other organizations, but I am saying we should move forward with our support of Exhibition Park without the condition of receiving a formal commitment from the Province.

    Weekly Roundup Nov. 24

    Video and agenda packages for all meetings are available at: https://agendas.lethbridge.ca/AgendaOnline

    If you have any questions at all, or would like to talk further about the work Council is doing, please contact me via this website, or email me at:


    Governance Standing Policy Committee, Nov. 23, 2023:

    Committee received an update on creating a Diverse & Inclusive Workforce at the City of Lethbridge.

    I had concerns around reporting as the information Committee received included a request to rescind the annual standing resolution for the City Manager to report annually on efforts and achievements related to creating a workforce that reflects our community.

    Our Administrative team outlined that significant changes cannot be captured in an annual report, and will actually single individuals out. Instead, we will see reporting every 2 – 3 years.

    The City of Lethbridge is committed to creating an inclusive workplace through resourcing, strategic planning, and thoughtful actions in collaborations with employees and community partners. Committee also received an outline of 2023 achievements in the areas of:

    • Establishing a foundation for Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility in the workplace
    • Events & Engagement
    • Learning & Development
    • Partnership & Programs

    A request for amendments on our Sponsorship, Naming Rights & Advertising policy was submitted to Committee. The amendments align procedural elements of the policy with respect to other operational organizations such as boards and fee for service groups.

    I had concerns regarding political advertising as outlined in the policy. Once Council approves the amendments, specific guidelines will be set around what can/cannot be done for political advertising and ensure it is clearly outlined that political advertising is not sponsored by the City of Lethbridge.

    Committee received an update and request for amendments to our Community Capital Projects Grant. The amendments will allow for our Administrative team to be more flexible and responsive to changing community needs.

    However, in the Committee materials “Removal of annual reporting to City Council, in alignment with corporate direction to not provide annual reports to City Council” was requested. I had concerns with this, as did the residents who contacted me.

    Reporting will be included in audit and financial reports, so Council will still get reporting through other means.

    Tourism Lethbridge has been honoured with the Culinary Tourism Experience Award! This is a national award that recognizes their commitment to showcasing our local Agri-Food experiences. Learn more about Tourism Lethbridge and experiences in our local area at: https://tourismlethbridge.com/

    Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods (SCAN) unit announced for Lethbridge…

    In an effort to improve public safety in southern Alberta, the Alberta Sheriffs have created six positions for a Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods (SCAN) unit in Lethbridge. The new team will work with local police to investigate illegal activity at problem properties throughout the region. Learn more at: New sheriff team established in southern Alberta | alberta.ca

    Highway 3 update…

    Through $179.7 million in provincial funding, this first phase will twin Highway 3 between the town of Taber and the hamlet of Burdett. Learn more at: Highway 3 twinning moves ahead | alberta.ca

    Have your say…

    Support a climate-resilient future with your feedback. The City of Lethbridge is working to create a Climate Adaptation Strategy and Action Plan to help guide decision-making, policy setting and organizational actions. Provide your feedback at: https://getinvolvedlethbridge.ca/climate-adaptation

    The provincial government is calling on Albertans to help shape health care and participate in an online survey on the refocusing of Alberta’s health care system: Shape the way | Alberta.ca

    Agenda packages and video are available at: https://agendas.lethbridge.ca/AgendaOnline 

    • Nov. 28: City Council

    Weekly Roundup Nov. 19

    Highlights from last week’s meetings…

    There’s a lot to review from Council last week as we had a regular meeting of Council (Nov. 14), met as Economic & Finance Standing Policy Committee (Nov. 14 – 16), and met as Safety & Social Standing Policy Committee (Nov. 16).

    Video and agenda packages for all meetings are available at: https://agendas.lethbridge.ca/AgendaOnline

    If you have any questions at all, or would like to talk further about the work Council is doing, please contact me via this website, or email me at:


    City Council, Nov. 14, 2023:


    • Taxi amendments – Business Licence Bylaw 5658
      • Council voted to amend Licence bylaw 5658 that removes the requirement for regulated fares in the city as well as removing the requirement for a taxi to have a top light.
      • Drivers will still be required to be licensed, have criminal record checks, and companies will still be required to submit vehicles for inspection.

    Economic & Finance Standing Policy Committee, Nov. 14 – 16, 2023:


    We received a general economic update highlighting and overviewing current economic conditions and the impact on the City’s financial position and financial resources. Topics covered were:

    • Overall economic conditions
    • Taxation pressures
    • Utility pressure
    • Operating & Capital pressures
    • Impact on reserves

    We also received presentations on:

    • 2023 September Operating Forecast
    • A summary report of the 2023 – 2026 Operating Budge Initiatives
    • A summary report of the 2022 – 2031 Capital Improvement Program

    The City faces financial pressures including inflation and rising interest rates. The presentations and updates over the 3 days gave Council an opportunity to consider options and tools that will assist with future financial decision to continue to meet the needs and expectations of our growing city.

    • Lethbridge Housing Authority Tax Request
      • Economic & Finance SPC recommended to Council that one-time funding of $180,000 be provided to Lethbridge & Region Community Housing Corporation and Lethbridge Housing Authority for operating funding for affordable housing properties
      • Further, administration was directed to develop a non-profit Affordable Housing Grant Program with funding options
    • Community Group Budget Process Review for Grants and Fee for Service
      • Economic & Financial SPC proposed increased funding of $37,500 per year per organization (2024 – 2026) for:
        • Interfaith Food Bank
        • Lethbridge Food Bank
        • Lethbridge Soup Kitchen
        • Habitat for Humanity

    Safety & Social Standing Policy Committee:

    This week at City Council:

    Agenda packages and video are available at: https://agendas.lethbridge.ca/AgendaOnline 

    • Nov. 23: Governance Standing Policy Committee

    Weekly Roundup Nov. 10

    A recent update from CTV News shows that AHS has recently recruited 23 family physicians to work in Lethbridge. As of Oct. 29, 22 of those have started practising and 1 is undergoing College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta practice readiness assessment and should start work in March 2024. Read the full story at: https://bit.ly/49sWEO2

    Thank you to our partners for their hard work in this initiative: AHS, Chinook Primary Care Network, and Economic Development Lethbridge. I look forward to continuing to move forward with this initiative and helping to grow long-term solutions.

    Municipal government affects our lives every day, and the provincial government wants your input related to the Local Authorities Election Act. This act provides the framework for municipal and school board elections. Your input will inform decisions regarding:

    • Voter eligibility
    • Voter list
    • Political parties
    • Advance voting
    • Runoff elections for Chief Elected Officials

    Get your feedback in before December 6: https://your.alberta.ca/councilor-accountability-laea/survey_tools/laea

    Love it? Hate it? Share your thoughts on the Residential Speed Limit Project: https://www.lethbridge.ca/news/posts/two-more-neighbourhoods-added-to-the-residential-speed-limit-pilot-project/

    This week Uplands/Blackwolf and the southern portion of Southgate Sixmile were added to the pilot project that has lowered residential speed limits to 40 km/h in three Lethbridge neighbourhoods. The pilot started September 15 when speed limits were lowered in Paradise Canyons/The Canyons.

    Lethbridge Police are warning the public to be aware of the grandparent scam after a recent increase in reports. 

    The emergency scam, or grandparent scam as it’s often called, involves fraudsters typically targeting seniors by calling and pretending to be a family member – usually a grandchild – claiming they are in some sort of trouble and need money immediately.

    Learn more from the Lethbridge Police Service: https://www.lethbridgepolice.ca/my-post4a136a40

    Agenda packages and video are available at: https://agendas.lethbridge.ca/AgendaOnline

    • Nov. 14, 15, & 16: City Council will convene as Economic and Finance Standing Policy Committee for an overview of the current economic conditions and the impact they have on the City’s financial position and resources.
    • Nov. 14: City Council
    • Nov. 16: Safety and Social Standing Policy Committee

    Weekly Roundup Nov. 3

    Time to fall back…

    Just a reminder Daylight Savings Time comes to an end at 2am on Sunday, Nov. 5, which means it’s also a good time to check your home’s smoke detectors and change your furnace filters. Read more at: Fall Back means change your clocks, check your smoke detectors | City of Lethbridge

    Still have leaves to pick up?

    If you have leaves to pick up there’s still time to schedule your fall leaf collection. Call 311 before Friday, Nov. 10 to book your pick up. Learn more at: https://www.lethbridge.ca/news/posts/time-to-schedule-your-fall-leaf-collection/

    Council Highlights…

    This week Lethbridge City Council held its annual Organizational Meeting as well as a regular meeting of Council. Video and agenda packages for all meetings are available at: https://agendas.lethbridge.ca/AgendaOnline

    City Council – Organizational Meeting, Oct. 31, 2023


    • Bylaw 6429 – A Bylaw 6374 Electoral Ward Boundary Commission Bylaw
      • Council voted to rescind the Electoral Ward Boundary Commission Bylaw

    I did not support this rescindment motion. Bylaw 6374 was to establish an Electoral Ward Commission as a council committee and have that Commission examine, analyze, engage stakeholders, and produce a Final Report on the use of a ward system to be submitted to Council. 55.79% of voters said “YES” to “Do you support using a ward system to elect City Councillors (other than the Mayor) starting with the 2025 municipal election?” I support and respect voters in this request.

    • The 2024 City Council and Standing Policy Committee Calendar was approved. Council also accepted changes to the Standing Policy Committees:
      • Civic Works SPC becomes Assets and Infrastructure SPC
      • Cultural and Social SPC becomes Safety and Social SPC
      • Economic SPC becomes Economic and Finance SPC
      • Governance SPC and Audit SPC to remain the same
      • Audit SPC will have meetings reduced to 4 times per year, with the option of adding more if needed
      • Advocacy SPC has been transferred into Governance SPC
    • Council Member appointments to Boards, Commissions and Committees

    I’m pleased to share that I was appointed to the Safety and Social SPC as well as the Governance SPC. I will also continue as a Council representative on the Lethbridge Police Commission.

    Congratulations to members of the community and administration representatives who were appointed to our Boards, Committees, and Commissions; and thank you to all departing organizational representatives for your work during your term.

    City Council, Oct. 31, 2023


    • Unsafe and Dangerous Properties
      • Council directed Administration to compile a list of all properties located in Lethbridge (whether residential, commercial, industrial or vacant lands) that may be unsafe and/or dangerous and which may potentially be subject to an Order allowed by sections 545 and 546 of the MGA and Bylaw 5747; provide recommendations for steps or measures that may be taken by the City of Lethbridge to address the safety issues or concerns that may be identified; identify any funding or resources that may be required; and report back to Council by the end of Q1, 2024.

    I supported this resolution so that we can get a handle on what properties that may be unsafe and/or dangerous are in our city and start the discussion on how we might move forward on this.

    • Childcare Needs Assessment

    This is a motion I brought forward and was pleased to see it approved.

    Administration has been directed to complete a childcare needs assessment for the City of Lethbridge by Q2 2024, which shall encompass in-depth background research, thoroughly analysis and benchmarking of the current childcare landscape; key stakeholder engagement; and the formulation of recommendations to address challenges related to increasing the number of childcare spaces within the city. Up to $25,000 has been allocated to support the development of this assessment.

    Anecdotally over the past year, I’ve heard from community stakeholders supporting newcomers, YWCA reps, Lethbridge College reps, student reps at the U of L, Lethbridge Chamber and Economic Development Lethbridge reps that a lack of childcare, and affordable childcare, in our community may be preventing caregivers – many of whom are women – from accessing English learning programs, educational and employment opportunities. That a lack of childcare opportunities could be creating a barrier to access for other opportunities and services for many in our community.

    Also identified by the provincial government, there is a focus on building capacity in licensed child care with the Space Creation Grant that will help enable up to 68,700 total new licensed spaces be created by 2026. Further, the Alberta and Canadian Chambers of Commerce have recently put forth policies calling on the Alberta and Canadian governments to ensure adequate, quality childcare spaces are available for caregivers, further setting the stage for more caregivers to enter or re-enter the workforce. Our Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce was ahead of the pack, identifying the issue in its own local policy “The Economics of Childcare” in 2020.

    We know generally that many neighbourhoods in Lethbridge are home to young and growing families, and that there is a need for easily accessible childcare in those neighbourhoods. Also, 2021 Census and 2022 childcare spaces data shows that the city is currently about 600 spaces short of the minimum number of childcare spaces that should be available to the community.

    Without an in-depth look into this issue, we won’t accurately know how to position ourselves. This will give Council and our community solid research and enable us to make a data-driven decision on how to move forward in a proactive manner for addressing challenges related to developing opportunities for more childcare spaces in the city.

    Next week:

    Weekly Roundup Oct. 28

    Check out this “pawsome” gift idea…

    The 2024 Lethbridge Police K9 Calendar is now on sale with all proceeds going to the Lethbridge and District Humane Society and Lethbridge Area Search and Rescue. This year is the 60th anniversary of the Service’s K9 Unit. Calendars are available for cash purchase only at the front counter of the police station, Monday – Friday, 7:30am – 4pm. For more info visit: https://www.lethbridgepolice.ca/lps-has-pawsome-gift-idea-for-the-dog-lover-on-your-christmas-list

    Participate in Community Conversations…

    On Monday (Oct. 23) City of Lethbridge held its 2nd Community Conversation event at the ENMAX Centre. It was a great opportunity for you to come out and have your say about various projects going on in and around our community. It you weren’t able to make it you can still have your say online on various projects at: https://getinvolvedlethbridge.ca/

    Current projects we’re currently gathering feedback on include:

    • ENMAX Centre Master Plan
    • Residential Speed Limit Pilot
    • Animal Bylaw Review
    • Snow Control Service Level Changes
    • 10 Ave & 9 Ave. S. Functional Plan
    • Land Use Bylaw Renewal Project
    • Climate Adaptation Plan

    Because We’re Always Brighter Together…

    Speaking of having your say: calling all local organizations and businesses it’s another opportunity to share your feedback! Economic Development Lethbridge, Downtown BRZ, and Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce are working together to survey local organizations in order to better understand and evaluate the current business landscape in our region as we move into 2024. Please take part in the annual Brighter Together Survey: https://www.chooselethbridge.ca/

    Get Outside and Play…

    I’m not a fan of the winter weather at all, but Lethbridge Plays and the Helen Schuler Nature Centre make getting outdoors with your family easy with the Kid’s Map of Lethbridge – Fall and Winter Fun. Designed for children, youth and their families, the map features more than 50 play inspired locations across the city. It also shares ideas for games, outdoor activities, and online resources where parents and kids can access information for even more fun.

    Copies can be picked up at the following locations:

    • Cor Van Raay YMCA
    • Fritz Sick, Nicholas Sheran and Stan Siwik Pools
    • Helen Schuler Nature Centre
    • Lethbridge City Hall
    • Lethbridge Family Centre (North, South and West locations)
    • Lethbridge Public Library (Main and Crossings branches)
    • Tourism Lethbridge Visitor Centre

    Council Highlights…

    This week the Governance and Advocacy Standing Policy Committees met. Video and agenda packages for all meetings is available at: https://agendas.lethbridge.ca/AgendaOnline

    Governance Standing Policy Committee, Oct. 26, 2023:

    • Ethics Advisory Discussion
      • After much discussion, the Governance Standing Policy Committee recommends that City Council direct Administration to conduct a review of the Council Code of Conduct Bylaw 6125 and provide a report.
      • After the review it may be that Council will wish to re-examine an Integrity Commissioner and/or Ethics Advisor position(s).

    Advocacy Standing Policy Committee, Oct. 27:

    • Inviting MLAs and MPs on a regular basis
      • A recommendation will move forward to Council that Lethbridge Members of the Legislative Assembly and Member of Parliament will each be invited to attend a separate Governance Standing Policy Committee meeting on a semi-annual basis.
      • And a recommendation will move forward to Council that the City Manager prepare an update for the November Governance Standing Policy Committee that provides options for advancing advocacy for the City of Lethbridge. This could include an advocacy session with community partners/stakeholders led by the City of Lethbridge and exploring an Advocacy Consultatant for the City of Lethbridge.

    Next week at City Council:

    Oct. 31, 2023: City Council (https://agendas.lethbridge.ca/AgendaOnline)

    Oct. 31, 2023: City Council – Organizational Meeting (https://agendas.lethbridge.ca/AgendaOnline)