October 24th, 2020

City looks to add two initiatives to Downtown Clean and Safe Strategy


By Kuhl, Nick on December 5, 2019.

Community peace officers James Belisle and Jeff Hilliard patrol their beat Wednesday downtown. The Lethbridge Police Service CPOs are part of the overall Downtown Clean and Safe Strategy. Herald photo by Ian Martens @IMartensHerald

Nick Kuhl

Lethbridge Herald

nkuhl@lethbridgeherald.com

A City Core Safety and Security Evaluation and Strategy as well as a Galt Gardens Outreach Team are two new initiatives being added to the City of Lethbridge’s Downtown Clean and Safe Strategy (DCSS).

That’s if city council passes the proposed 2020-22 DCSS funding at their next meeting, set for Monday.

This past Monday, during a Community Issues Committee meeting at city hall, Andrew Malcolm, Urban Revitalization Manager for the City, identified all 18 existing initiatives as well as the two new concepts.

The DCSS is the City of Lethbridge’s response to concerns by the Downtown Lethbridge Business Revitalization Zone (BRZ), as well as the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and businesses and residents, of the declining perception of cleanliness and safety in the downtown and nearby areas.

It was developed and implemented in 2019 to highlight, co-ordinate and implement all the initiatives the City is doing, including initiatives such as the Diversion Outreach Team, the Clean Sweep Program, the biohazard cleanup program and the Lethbridge Police-led The Watch and the CPOs.

In addition to approved funding through the City’s 2019-22 Operating Budget, the initiatives in the DCSS as proposed will cost an additional $1,684,000 during the next three years, Malcolm says.

“Businesses have been quite vocal that they need these programs,” he said. “We’ve worked with businesses to figure out what the specific needs are. That’s reflective of the programs we’ve presented to council.”

Many of the initiatives within the DCSS were funded for one or two years within the 2019-22 City Operating Budget with specific direction to report back to council. Administration indicated the strategy would be monitored for effectiveness and a report back to the city manager and council would be completed at the end of the year ahead of future funding decisions.

“We want to work with the downtown businesses,” said Mayor Chris Spearman, adding the City does still need further assistance from the Alberta government for social infrastructure.

“We want to make sure people feel safe coming downtown. We need to restore that. We heard loud and clear people won’t come to events downtown unless they feel safe. We all have to build on a message of positivity and hope.”

Malcolm says the City Core Safety and Security Evaluation and Strategy would look at the downtown core, the 13 Street North corridor and the areas around 1 Avenue and 2 Avenue South between Stafford Drive and 13 Street. It would further focus on enforcement, security, outreach, cleaning, promotions, education, and built environment improvements. A Galt Gardens Outreach Team would potentially replace the current private security with a new program, of which specific details are not finalized.

Following a review of the existing initiatives within the DCSS, Malcolm says there is strong support from downtown and community safety stakeholders for the continuation and expansion of DCSS initiatives, programs and actions until such time that the critical social infrastructure is fully implemented.

“These programs are not maybe the big picture solutions that we as a community need,” Malcolm said.

“They’re not intox, detox or supportive housing. These are the programs that are assisting businesses and residents on the day-to-day issues that they run into related to the addictions and homeless problems we have.”

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Citi Zen

Another $1.6 Million taxpayer dollars thrown at the problem, with no end in sight. Why not deal with the issues of crime snd addiction effectively, once and for all, and stop spending our money on fruitless studies?

ewingbt

Anyone familiar with the term ‘mission creep’? We are seeing the same mistakes being made here as the Vancouver DTES made in 2003 when they opened the first injection site in Canada. They have poored billions into the problem and ignored treatment and mental health programs to that would get the addicts and homeless off the streets. Treatment is the answer!
They spend over $360 million per year for the Vancouver DTES with a population under 20,000 people for 260 social services and housing services and the costs continue to rise along with the number of addicts, overdoses, crime and homeless.
Why are we going down this road when it is proven to fail . . . open up your wallets and bend over!
This is insantiy!!!