May 18th, 2024

Jeff Carlson: Carlson seeks to continue working at challenges facing council

By Tim Kalinowski on September 30, 2021.

Herald photo by Tim Kalinowski - Incumbent city council candidate Jeff Carlson says if re-elected he will continue to champion the arts and work toward making Lethbridge the best place to live, work, play and grow for all citizens.


Incumbent city council candidate Jeff Carlson says he is proud of the work this council has done to lead the city through tough times, and fully expects more hard work lies ahead.
“I think I am most proud of the steady leadership during the pandemic, and during a lot of the social issues we had pop up in Lethbridge,” he confirmed. “Councillor Crowson, Mayor Spearman and I headed what was called the COVID Recovery Task Force, because we knew folks were experiencing challenges and issues. And we knew it was not going to be fixed overnight, and it was going to cause a lot of long term issues.”
Carlson says he is also very proud of his work with Coun. Rob Miyashiro, and other local community advocates, in bringing in an advertising ban on conversion therapy- the first bylaw of its type in the country which has now led to the potential national ban on the practice.
“I know a lot of the folks in the LGBTQ plus community,” he states. “I know it is important to them. I have friends who were forced into conversion therapy through their faith or their family. These are folks now in their 30s, 40s, 50s, and up. They still talk about the pain it caused. The trauma it inflicted, and they are still working through that.”
While that was one area where Carlson feels city council needed to take a stand on an issue nominally outside of its jurisdiction, another area Carlson feels council should have stayed in its lane was on the ARCHES-run, provincially-funded, federally sanctioned supervised consumption site.
“I was very vocal in saying, ‘This is not a City of Lethbridge issue,’ he states. “It is impacting us as a community, but the SCS was not a Lethbridge project and it was not Lethbridge-funded. It was provincial. Some of my colleagues on council tried to make it a City issue. My hope was we would stay out of this. We can’t tell the province and Alberta Health what they can or cannot legally do. They have got their legal right; so we shouldn’t be wearing it.”
“We (as council) implemented the Downtown Clean and Safe Strategy, the Watch, the community police officers, the needle clean up. Those are things we did as a City … That’s where I wanted our focus to be; on the things we could control.”
Carlson does admit to regret on how the whole SCS issue played out and greatly divided many within the city.
“While I do think it was done with the best of intentions, and with the goodness of heart, and the lofty goals of saving lives- I think (ARCHES) might have been a bit too aggressive in their approach,” he says.
Carlson says one thing he does not regret is his championing of a new performing arts centre for the City of Lethbridge.
“If we want to grow and experience new and better things, we have to have facilities for them,” he states. “It’s anywhere between a $45 million and $85 million project, which we can’t do as a city alone. The challenge is going to be finding partners, federal and provincial governments, hopefully private investment, and community-led fundraising– I think those are the ways we’ll achieve it … It’s in our (long-term capital) plan, and now we have to find a way to fund it.”
Carlson dismisses the dichotomy some other candidates have put forward about needs and wants in relation to their arguments against a performing arts centre.
“I guess it depends on how you look at what a need is,” he retorts. “If you boil it down, I guess what do humans need? Food, shelter, water. Life is much more than that. I think if people reflect on their time during the pandemic, they will realize how important the arts are to us.”
Carlson hopes voters will look at the positive qualities he has brought to council over his past four terms, and give him a mandate for another term on council after the election on Oct. 18.
“I am thoughtful, I am dedicated, I do the work, and I have got the experience,” he says. “Those are the values I will keep bringing to council. The values I bring into the chamber every day are on how to positively impact the people in Lethbridge and our community to make it the best place to live, work, play and grow.”

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pursuit diver

I think you should stick to your acting on stage and not on Council! We have blown over $40 million on the arts in this city which include the Yates, one of your venues for acting. We do not need or can afford the $100 million performing arts center you want.
You should have focused on helping the downtown business community save their businesses, their livelihoods as the impacts of the SCS you wanted wreaked havoc! You ignored the citizens pleas to save their downtown, their parks, their neighbourhoods and in doing so saving many young lives!
You will never have my vote!!!!

Last edited 2 years ago by pursuit diver

I thought, particularly in the age of Trump, that it was an important part of the journalist’s job to challenge politicians when they say things that are transparently, demonstrably false. The cost of the performing arts centre approved by our Council is not “between $45 and $85 million”. It is in excess of $136 million. Here is the link to the CIP, the PAC project is on page D-39:
The previous Council approved a project that was then estimated at around $77 million. The “Steering Committee” established to oversee this project (of which this candidate was a member) was faced with a resolution to discontinue the project and so sought a review of the thing. In September of 2020 that Steering Committee received and considered a report (from AMS Planning and Research) that offered up two alternative visions, a “traditional” and a “non-traditional” facility. The non-traditional facility was estimated to cost less than half as much, cost 31% less to operate, and generate 17% more revenue. So it would cost less to build, less to run, and would serve more people. Naturally the Steering Committee rejected that approach out of hand. The next thing that happened was the new CIP, at which point the “traditional facility” cost ballooned to over $136 million.
How can this candidate keep spouting these numbers? Has he not read the reports and budget documents he voted on? Or is there something more “bald-faced” in his pronouncements? Help me out here people, is there any explanation that does not damage this candidate’s competence, integrity, or both?


Carlson chairman of the Pac committee ,Campbell his new west buddy committee member.Carlson declared a conflict of interest on Yates funding affiliation with new west theatre. The Shrinke & Schriner consult report is quite clear on size and cost, completely ignored by Carlson Chairman and his arts buddies. The Senator Tom Banks in attendance at the Casa opening stated the PAC proposal was to big for this City. We pay the allied arts group over $400,000 to run down the Casa will we pay them over $4m to run the PAC. Carlson also pushed the 5 year plan on Waste organic plan called Organic cell/ ICI solution 20,000 tonnes of ICI organics in cell #7 for 5 years no target at $50.tonne. Residential out put organic less the 4000 tonnes a year 25% to now 50% cost over $15million, do we need this.