January 16th, 2021

ARCHES defunding sparks heated exchange between councillors

By Jensen, Randy on July 30, 2020.

Tim Kalinowski

Lethbridge Herald


In the first full city council meeting since the province announced it would be defunding ARCHES, there was bound to be some fallout from that decision given it was such a polarizing issue in the community and on council.

Coun. Joe Mauro, who was opposed to the supervised consumption site, took the opportunity at the end of Monday’s meeting to air some of his feelings about some of the harsher statements levied at him during previous council debates in light of recent revelations about ARCHES fiscal mismanagement of provincial funds.

“There are many in the community, including myself, who did not support this from the beginning,” Mauro stated. “We had questions. We were concerned the numbers didn’t add up. There was a lot of questions we had nobody was able to address. Based on the decision the province made, the incidents that have taken place, the behaviour that has taken place and the money being spent every which direction with no accountability … I was grilled saying I did not have the ability to competently do my job.”

Mauro began by expressing the personal offence he felt over the issue, but then quickly turned his comments against his fellow council members who had supported the SCS, particularly Mayor Chris Spearman and Coun. Rob Miyashiro.

“When will you two apologize to the community for your behaviour and your action, or non-behaviour and non-action, for allowing this to take place?” he asked.

Miyashiro immediately took offence to Mauro’s whole line of questioning on the subject and the abrasive tone with which he asked his questions.

“Is this Festivus?” Miyashiro retorted. “Is this the day for airing grievances? We were advocating for a community agency and they did some things, but it is our fault they did the things they did? That is what you are saying?”

Mauro denied he was making any such accusation, but reiterated his question about Miyashiro apologizing for his past advocacy for ARCHES.

“Are you going to apologize for rambling on and on, and being unprepared for council all the time?” Miyashiro asked Mauro in return. “Are you going to apologize to council for wasting our time with all of your nonsense?”

It devolved into a general back and forth from there between the two councillors at which point Spearman stepped in to stop the confrontation.

“This isn’t constructive,” stated Spearman before responding to Mauro’s initial question. “There is no need to apologize to the community; everybody does their work (on council) in good faith with the best information they have.”

Spearman reminded Mauro many harsh words and false statements had been directed toward him as well over the issue.

“When you are in political office people levy many allegations against you which aren’t true,” he told Mauro. “That just comes with the territory.”

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Remember the following aldermen come the next election. They are the ones who voted to keep Arches while putting on a display that was an embarrassment to all.




pffft.. I’ll vote for whoever the hell I want to..speak for yourself.


We are in dire need of completely new City Councillors and Mayor. When the next city election occurs, vote these career councillors out of office. It is time for some new people with new ideas.


Since we are voting:


We need councillors who can do more than ape the Roast & Toast and show everyone his inky reading figure when he thinks he understands something.

I am pleased to see Councillor Miyashiro stand up to his absurd revisionism.


My wife and I watched the big debate when Blaine Hyggen had originally brought forward the motion to ask the Provincial Government to defund the SCS in Lethbridge. We were both absolutely appalled at the behaviour of Rob Miyashiro when he bullied and belittled Blaine Hyggen. I can still picture him saying, “Do you want them to die?” (the drug addicts) “Well, do you?” He then leaned back in his chair, puffed out his chest and folded his arms like the true bully that he is in my opinion. Rob, I wouldn’t vote you to feed my cat if I had one. It’s not because you support the SCS, it’s your actions. As an example, I don’t agree with many positions of Councillor Belinda Crowson but I think she is a great asset to the community and handles herself very well, so she would get my vote next time around. Joe Mauro always has received my vote for Councillor, as I feel we need a “Devil’s Advocate” on council to give some sober second thought. However, I didn’t vote for him as mayor because he basically says no to almost everything and we can’t progress as a city if you don’t do anything.


It’s funny how things can be perceived differently. I was relieved when Councillor Miyashiro brought up the elephant in the room (for those able to recognize an elephant).

To close the SCS means people will die. This should be acknowledged.