June 18th, 2024

Positive steps warranted to address current city issues

By Lethbridge Herald on December 10, 2022.


There is a direct connection running through three recent news items.

First, city council’s decision to increase property taxes by almost six per cent.

Second, the photo and letter presented by Mr. McAdams of a singed wall due to a fire against a downtown building.

And lastly, the study by University of Calgary presented to a group called Civic Works Standing Policy Committee, pointing out there are vacant buildings downtown. 

The City’s conclusion on considering the vacant buildings? The response was quoted, “What are the ‘forward thinking’ opportunities that we could do as a city to help transition something into being more economically productive?”

In case the City has not thought of the following, here are some observations made at Coffee Row:

1. Reduce property taxes downtown. Paying $11,000 annually for a building 30 feet wide is challenging. It scares away most tenants.

2. Address vagrancy. The defecation and the fires are not irritants. They are dangerous.

3. Reduce government expenses. Every city counsellor should know points 1 and 2 above, and should know there are vacant properties downtown. A study by the University of Calgary doesn’t add much.

4. Know the City’s boundaries. The City does not own the vacant properties. 

Property owners would love to have renters. The City’s job is not to ponder ‘forward thinking’ (to differentiate that thinking from mere reminiscing I suppose) – nor is it to worry about transitioning into something more economically productive. 

Might there be a connection between the high property taxes, and the university studies and committee deliberations and city salaries to observe the problems, but still overlook the obvious?

I urge the City to take prompt positive steps.

Frank de Walle


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Good letter. City continues to address things we already know and it costs us big time. Overtaxed, studies, etc.

Maria Stein

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Every City council meeting should begin with a recitation of points 1 – 4 while every tax paying resident should demand the City take prompt positive steps. Thanks for the great letter!


Good letter! Are the vacant buildings downtown they refer to the Bowman, the old Curling Rink, city assets or are they from the businesses the died? I apologize, I missed the report by U of C.
There will be more vacant buildings downtown as more businesses move to areas where their customers feel safe shopping and conducting business.
This morning I see on 6th Street South 2 groups of people sleeping in doorways between 5th Ave and 6 Ave who have been there for 2 days. After 2 days they think it is theirs and will become harder to move. Police did talk to them last night . . . some went with D.O.T. some stayed. We need to applaud the great work DOT does while working under difficult conditions, with threats, assaults, overdoses, people ‘sick’ in van that requires cleaning.
One good thing is the fire department is close to some of these old buildings downtown so they could be saved, although i still have concerns about the old curling rink . . . there is a large scorch mark on the northside of the building where someone started a fire.
The Herald has been there for years and after seeing the scorch marks on the wall it is a good thing it didn’t start on fire. There have been vacant houses, garages, sheds that burned due to vagrants around this city just in the past 2 years.

Last edited 1 year ago by ewingbt

Forgot to add . . . Frank your comment regarding relation between high property taxes/studies/committees/wages . . . the city taxpayer, from property tax, etc., is on the hook for over $10 million per year dealing with impacts and issues of the addiction/homeless/encampment problems.
The Watch costs over $1 million per year and the Downtown Unit of LPS deals mostly with the downtown issues while other departments of LPS deal with related investigations. Fire/EMS are seen responding to multiple overdoses downtown alone daily. The costs of Clean Sweep and Puro-Clean to clean up all the mess. D.O.T. gets funding, non-profits get funding . . . there is a long list, all because of these issues.
Yet many of the same mistakes are made as made with the SCS.
If we are doing it right, there should be reductions of the issues on the streets, but instead, it is growing and the areas expanding.
We don’t need a study or committee to see this!

Last edited 1 year ago by ewingbt

The city is not going to listen. They promised to listen and then became deaf!

Say What . . .

We will not see a decrease in property taxes and issues in the downtown core until the gong-show is ended!
It can be done, but it appears we don’t have the leadership!