May 24th, 2024

Boyd Thomas: Candidate looking to community for higher voter turnout

By Tim Kalinowski on September 16, 2021.

Herald photo by Tim Kalinowski - City council candidate Boyd Thomas says he wants to help make the city a better, more inclusive and safer place for all residents.


City council candidate Boyd Thomas offers voters a choice of choosing hope and hard work over apathy and despair to make the city a better, more inclusive and safer place for all residents.
“Twenty per cent voting turnout is not very good,” he states. “I think a lot of people have apathy that it doesn’t matter what they say, what they do, or what they think – it is not going to make a difference anyways. The reason I talk the way that I talk is there is a business heart there, but there is very much compassion for people. I believe in and love this community. And if I represent that voice, then I want those people to come out and vote so I can bring a proper balance between doing the business of Lethbridge, and doing the community of Lethbridge.”
Thomas is the general manager of the Aboriginal Housing Society and a former construction industry contractor with a proven track record of getting housing built in the city for those in need, and getting people who start with very little into their own homes.
“There are two things I am concerned with,” Thomas says. “Number one is public safety. This city is not the same as it was five to seven years ago. Anyone who has lived here for any length of time knows the environment is changing. You can blame the population increase, but I don’t think that is the reason. Any city can grow and get bigger, but it is the community spirit that determines the environment of it. People got to a place where they were afraid to speak about issues that are sensitive because we are going to hurt somebody’s feelings, or we are going to be labelled racist or prejudiced, or any number of ideological concepts. We don’t need to go there, we just have to go: ‘What’s the problem?’ And then we have to deal with that problem.
“The second thing is the housing issues we have in the City of Lethbridge,” he adds. “We have over 3,900 core need housing in the city. That’s huge. In order to meet the core need of housing in the city, we need 3,900 homes. That’s not just homeless people. That’s the people who are couch-surfing and the new people coming in for school. It’s a big issue.”
Thomas feels the City needs to start finding creative housing options to deal with its pressing social issues, including potentially funding the construction of made to order simple homes in different areas of the city. This would ultimately save taxpayers more money than what they would put out for such construction in the end, he says.
“The money we are spending right now for emergency services for programs we thought were going to help with rehabilitation, that’s money we are not going to see again,” he states. “If we can take a look at it. As an example, as a taxpayer I would much rather spend $60,000 on a house, that’s going to be around for a while, than $112,000 (on average per person) for the EMS calls, the police calls, the hospital visits. It’s not that we have to spend more money, we just have to be fiscally responsible with the money that is already there with the taxes that are coming in.”
In this respect, says Thomas, if elected to council, he would measure all spending based on the metric of what is needed versus what just might be useful, and get government out of the way to foster greater community growth and social innovation.
“The City is not here to bring people success,” he states. “The City’s sole purpose is to create the opportunity for you to accomplish that. The City is not here to do everything for you, and I think that’s where sometimes the City may have gotten lost in social focus as opposed to creating the opportunity for people to develop this community.”
Thomas says this is also true of the City’s reconciliation efforts– it should be about creating opportunities to grow relationships and dialogue, and having honest, open engagement about the history and traumas which have led to divisions within the community.
“What I do see in the City of Lethbridge when it comes to reconciliation is you can’t hand money to a problem,” he states. “I have a problem, and you give me money, that will solve my problem. It doesn’t. Because it is not about the material (money), it’s about the relationship. It is in relationships I have been hurt, and it is only in relationships I am going to heal.”

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pursuit diver

The more housing you provide, the more people you will attract from other communities. That is proven! Not sure how you get your 3900 people as a core need unless you are talking about students!
Lethbridge has other communities already shipping their problems here to us and if you provide even more services, more will come! That has already been proven.
Definitely don’t have my vote!!
The greater Vancouver DTES is the best example, where the social and housing programs costs have ballooned over several years and now there are over 300 programs costing over $360 million annually, for a population of under 20,000 people – I say again – for a population of under 20,000 people.
Firm policing of our streets and treatment programs that actually work are what is needed and anyone that tells you harm reduction works has been eating too many magic mushrooms and is stuck down the rabbit hole!