By Lethbridge Herald Opinon on March 15, 2019.
City has shown its ability to attract top-calibre sports events
This month’s ‘From City Hall’ column by Mayor Chris Spearman
There are many reasons to head out and enjoy the city this weekend, the welcomed warm weather being just one of them.
We are thrilled to be the host city for the 2019 U SPORTS Cavendish Farms University Cup this week. The bid for the national event was submitted in partnership between the University of Lethbridge and the Enmax Centre last year. City council supported this bid by providing $125,000 in financial support from the Major Community Event Hosting Grant. Being awarded such a prestigious event speaks to the calibre of our facilities and community support for our hometown teams. The four-day national event will be hosted by the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns at the Enmax Centre. With teams coming from all over Canada, our city will be on full display to a national audience so be sure to show up and cheer loud and proud.
As we welcome the best university hockey teams in the country, we also welcome some former NHLers to our fair city, too. Rogers Hometown Hockey rolls into town this weekend, kicking off their two-day hockey festival on Saturday at noon at the Enmax Centre. This much-anticipated event travels from coast to coast across Canada and we’re delighted to be able to support the event right here in Lethbridge. Some familiar faces will be there including NHL alumni Rich and Duane Sutter, Glenn Anderson, Curtis Glencross and Olympic gold medallist Carla MacLeod. Live music, lots of free and fun family events plus an outdoor viewing party are just some of the opportunities available to residents this weekend.
If you’re more of a soccer fan, Lethbridge College is hosting the 2019 Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) men’s and women’s futsal championship from today to Sunday. This is the third year that Lethbridge College has been chosen to host an ACAC championship tournament. Being chosen as a host city again and again really proves how supportive our community is of our local organizations and speaks volumes to how our city’s infrastructure and attractions are seen by the rest of our province.
As the WHL season heads towards playoff season, our Lethbridge Hurricanes are right there in the mix and I can’t wait to cheer them on! The announcement of the Hurricanes Playoffs Fan Zone at Bullys at the Lethbridge Exhibition grounds is the perfect opportunity to come together, share the amazing community spirit we have and cheer loud for our Hurricanes. The free family-friendly event is going to be held for every playoff game that the Hurricanes are playing at the Nicholas Sheran Arena. With a huge LED screen, live coverage, pre-game shows, the United Way 50/50 and activities for the kids, it’s going to be a fantastic community event and I encourage you all to come.
Last but definitely not least, from March 30 to April 7, Lethbridge will play host to the best men’s curling teams in the world. The 2019 Pioneer Hi-Bred World Men’s Curling Championship at the Enmax Centre will see teams from more than 10 countries call our beautiful city home for a week. While the curling teams are hurrying hard on the ice, their fans and sponsors, event broadcasters, media, production crews and officials will be bringing a boost to our local economy.
As we continue to grow our reputation as a host for world-class events, we will continue to see the economic benefits those events can bring. I encourage you to get out and be ambassadors for our great city and welcome visitors when these events take place. Lethbridge will have eyes on us from all over the nation and beyond in the coming weeks and it’s a great opportunity to show everyone just how amazing our city really is.
This week also saw the launch of our new customer service centre, Lethbridge 311. This new service will streamline customer inquiries and create a more co-ordinated City response. Available on the phone from Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and online 24/7 at 311.lethbridge.ca, the centre will improve how we deliver our services to our residents. By calling 311, residents will reach the City of Lethbridge customer contact centre, staffed with trained customer service specialists who can help callers. The new 311 service will also enable residents to subscribe to their service requests and see real-time updates from our crews working on resolving issues. It’s one easy number to remember and will provide quick answers for real questions from residents.
The 2014-2023 Capital Improvement Project (CIP) budget provided the funding for the investigation and implementation of 311. This was a one-time funding for the design of the program as well as the necessary building renovations, staff training, systems and equipment procurement. The ongoing annual cost of operating the 311 service is funded from the original CIP approval and the remainder is funded from existing budgets.
The 311 system is integrated with other City technology to easily log customer inquiries and issue service requests to the appropriate department when needed. Data from the new system will support decision making and City improvements. Lethbridge 311 also provides additional capacity for connecting with residents during big events or emergency situations. We are excited to be able to offer our residents a new, higher level of customer service at no extra cost.
Chris Spearman is the mayor of Lethbridge. His column appears monthly.