January 23rd, 2021

2020 year in review: August


By Herald on December 30, 2020.

Demonstrators stand in front of the supervised consumption site as they protest the end of services at the site on the final day of ARCHES operation at the facility. Herald file photo by Ian Martens @IMartensHerald

The Herald takes a look back at the Lethbridge stories that made headlines in 2020 in a month by month series running through this week to New Year’s Eve

AUGUST
Area water management receives over $40M in provincial grants
The Alberta government announced over $40 million in grants on Tuesday for irrigation and water management in southern Alberta, including major announcements in the Taber area. Minister of Infrastructure Prasad Panda said the money provided for the projects through federal-provincial matching grants is part of his government’s ongoing efforts to help stimulate the economy coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic and foster economic growth in the region.

Mayors ‘blindsided’ by AHS dispatch decision
Mayor Chris Spearman presented a united front with Mayor Naheed Nenshi of Calgary, Mayor Tara Veer of Red Deer and Mayor Don Scott of Wood Buffalo in opposing the Alberta Health Services’ decision, with no consultation with affected communities, to discontinue satellite call centre operations in these four jurisdictions and consolidate them within the three existing AHS regional call centres. “We were blindsided,” said Spearman. “We are strongly opposed to this planned change to EMS dispatch.”

Ottawa man sentenced to 7.5 years for brutal attack on elderly woman
A 21-year-old Ottawa man who viciously beat an elderly woman in her Lethbridge home last spring was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison by Judge Kristin Ailsby during sentencing Friday in Lethbridge provincial court. Adam Hobkirk-Onate had previously pleaded guilty to charges of housebreaking with intent to rob, aggravated assault and being disguised while committing an offence.

ARCHES to shutter SCS
The announcement by ARCHES it will be ceasing its supervised consumption services and needle collection as of Aug. 31 was welcomed by some business owners in close proximity to the SCS, but is also of great concern to community harm reduction advocates. A letter obtained on Wednesday by local media sent out by ARCHES to neighbouring business owners dated Aug. 7 confirmed that supervised consumption, needle collection and outreach services will end Aug. 31, and that the organization will vacate the downtown site by Sept. 30.

Mobile SCS begins operation
The new mobile supervised consumption site, which is based in a Winnebago-style vehicle parked next to the Lethbridge Shelter and Resource Centre, began operation on Aug. 18. The overdose prevention site will be open seven days a week for 20 hours a day. Its operating hours will be between 8 a.m. and 4 a.m. daily. There will be three supervised consumption booths available for use.

Fire in Fairmont
Two homes were destroyed and a third suffered major damage in a fire on Lethbridge’s southside. Lethbridge Fire and Emergency Services were called to the scene of a multi-residential structure fire on the 400 block of Fairmont Boulevard South. There were no injuries in the blaze, which was fanned by dry winds.

Temporary mandatory mask bylaw in effect
A temporary mandatory face-covering and masking bylaw is now in effect in all public areas within the City of Lethbridge. City council passed third and final reading of the bylaw by a vote of 6-3 during Monday’s council meeting. The bylaw comes into effect immediately and will remain active until at least the end of December, when an initial sunset clause kicks in unless the bylaw is extended by another vote of council.

Council approves loan, grant for Exhibition Park
Lethbridge City Council voted unanimously to give the Lethbridge and District Exhibition a $17.8-million guaranteed loan to complete work on its new event centre and agrifood hub, and also approved a grant of $25 million which will come from existing City funding sources.

City drug dealer sentenced to prison
A Lethbridge man once considered one of the city’s biggest drug dealers has been sent to prison. Daud Abdul Kadir Mohamed was sentenced Wednesday in Lethbridge Court of Queen’s Bench to three years in a federal penitentiary.

First cases of Dutch Elm Disease in province found in Lethbridge
The City of Lethbridge has the first two confirmed cases of Dutch Elm Disease in the province of Alberta. City forestry technicians noted the tell-tale signs in two trees in north Lethbridge in early August.

‘Die-In’ marks closure of SCS
To mark International Overdose Awareness Day supporters of harm reduction held a “Die In” protest at Lethbridge City Hall and a candlelight vigil at the former supervised consumption site to draw attention to local overdose victims.

New Chief of Police sworn in
Shahin Mehdizadeh was formally sworn in as Lethbridge’s newest Chief of Police with a special change-of-command ceremony held at Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden.

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