May 21st, 2024

Mark Campbell: Campbell ready to put first term experience to work for city

By Tim Kalinowski on September 23, 2021.

Herald photo by Tim Kalinowski - First term councillor Mark Campbell is seeking re-election this fall and hopes to apply the lessons learned over the past four years to work toward a better city going forward.


Incumbent city councillor Mark Campbell says he has learned a lot the past four years over the course of a very challenging term, and he is ready to re-dedicate all his energy and efforts to making the city a better place to live for everyone over the next four years if re-elected.
“I admit there were days where I was losing sleep,” he says, reflecting on his first term in office. “The important thing to know is, number one, it is a hard job. Number two, you have to find out information. You have to study. You have to figure out all the information you need to make the right decision. I did the best that I could. Does everybody love me for what I have decided? Of course not. That’s never going to happen, and you go into this because you want to do better – you want to make Lethbridge a better place to live and improve the city.”
Campbell says coming onto council for the first time with no previous political experience was like “drinking from the hose,” and this council, more than any other in recent memory, had some extremely√ā¬†challenging issues to deal with.
“There was the massive drug crisis we had,” he says. “The SCS was a big, controversial part of the city. And the COVID – the first time in 100 years we have a worldwide pandemic. Those issues really threw a wrench into the (usual business) on council.”
Campbell supported harm reduction efforts in the city during the divisive SCS debate in the community, and he stands by that record even though the ARCHES-run SCS turned out to be not quite what it was billed to be when brought into Lethbridge and funded by the provincial government.
“I believed in the harm reduction model,” he states. “I believed ultimately in what they (at the SCS) were trying to do with the addictions and trying to get people off the streets, and all that. The issue we have, and continues to be, is the wrap-around services we severely lack. So we lack intox, detox, and affordable housing for people. That was really the overwhelming theme. Again, that is a provincial matter. The SCS is a provincial matter thrown into the hands of city politicians. We had to deal with what we were given, and that was what we were given.
“It blossomed into this massive controversy with so many people using the site,” Campbell acknowledges. “I feel such sympathy in those businesses in that area that had to deal with it on a daily basis. So you think about: Were we saving lives? I think we were saving lives … It just created this massive social issue we are still dealing with today.”
Campbell admits to lessons learned from the SCS experience for him and all his council colleagues. Thus why he voted against the Mustard Seed sober shelter proposal when brought to city council for re-zoning earlier this year when it became apparent not enough public consultation had been done.
“What came out of that was impassioned people who want to figure this out; and thus there is now a committee which involves all sides of the issue: business people, champions of social issues, and generally people who really want to make a difference,” he says. “I think going forward, and I always say this, partnership is leadership. Those partnerships will get together, and will figure it out. I think that’s going to be a real crucial part of what is coming up in the next few years … It’s going to be tough, but I think we can get it done.”
Campbell says, however, he has zero regrets about strongly supporting a local mandatory masking bylaw and other public health measures, particularly vaccination, as a community response to a global pandemic. And also to zero regrets for championing the construction of a new performing arts centre as a capital priority for the City of Lethbridge.
“For 20 years it has been seen as a need in the city for the majority of the people in Lethbridge,” he states. “It’s one of those things when you are involved in the arts it is such a thing if you don’t get it, you don’t get it. It’s so important to a community for its vibrancy, for its health, for a place to go. I have just always believed in the arts. It matters. It’s good for the soul, and when you have a good soul you have a great city.”
In this respect, Campbell also strongly supports the efforts city council made this term to foster a better relationship with local First Nations and Indigenous people.
“We need to find more of the ‘truth’ in truth and reconciliation,” he states. “That is crucial. We have done a lot of things, but we just have to keep on going. We have come a long way, and I think we will continue on the right path.”

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pursuit diver

Sorry but you do not have my vote!!! You didn’t just refuse to listen to concerned citizens and business owners that were being impacted by the SCS, but you attacked those bringing the concerns to Council!
We also do not need a $100 million performing arts center after blowing over $40 million on the art’s facilities in the last 5 years!
May had hoped you would do better, but you proofed to be just another ‘bad actor’, pardon the pun!


Sorry no vote the only reason you got elected for the first time was the arts group backing you sat in council know nothing but Performing Arts center and organics program $ 15m residential cost for 5000 tonnes organics, support Industrial, Commercial, institutional group with a 5 year no target and organic cell/ici solution #7cell dumped 20,000 tonnes each year for $50.00 tonne cheap rate.good bye.