June 13th, 2024

Council approves funding to complete Festival Square

By Tim Kalinowski on July 2, 2021.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDtkalinowski@lethbridgeherald.com

City council has approved $1.7 million in spending to complete the Festival Square project to a “gold standard.”
The project’s future had been in doubt after City Urban Revitalization manager Andrew Malcolm informed councillors at the June 15 council meeting that the lowest bid to complete the work had come in $485,000 above the $900,000 allotted by the province’s Municipal Stimulus Project (MSP) grant funding.
Malcolm reported during Tuesday’s council meeting that conversations with the province indicated that if the City did not use the $900,000 grant by Dec. 31 it would lose the funding. The province, however, would allow council to reallocate funding as needed from another local MSP project or transfer the Festival Square Project moneys to another MSP project if that was city council’s decision.
Malcolm also informed council it is projected that the two other airport projects funded by the MSP will come in at $1.9 million under budget.
In this light, City staff presented council with three options during Tuesday’s meeting.
First, to finish Festival Square to a basic “bronze” standard as proposed at the June 15 council meeting by moving $485,000 over from the airport surplus and adding it to the $900,000 already allotted in the MSP to complete the work. This would include completing water/wastewater servicing, lane rehab, community lighting, entry sign and decorative column lighting. The additional $1.4 million surplus leftover could be used for the “Bravo Taxiway” repaving at the airport.
The second option was to complete Festival Square to a “gold” standard which would mean spending $1.7 million. This would include the $900,000 MSP grant, the $485,000 as described in option one, and adding a further sum of $325,000 to pay for the additional components envisaged in the original design scheme such as an interactive stage, a secondary entry sign, programmable lighting, and site furniture such as tables, chairs, and planters. This would leave about $1 million for Bravo Taxiway repaving.
The third option was to mothball the Festival Square Project altogether and enter it for potential future CIP funding, and put all its MSP monies into airport repaving instead this year.
Council discussed and ultimately voted down the mothballing option by a close vote of 5-4 with Councillors Hyggen, Mauro, Coffman and Parker in favour.
Deputy Mayor Mark Campbell then put the $1.7 million motion on the table for discussion citing the importance of continuing the downtown revitalization work council started with its 3rd Avenue South upgrades and Heart of Our City initiatives. Festival Square, he felt, would be the next step in those efforts.
Earlier in the discussion Coun. Jeffrey Carlson also reminded council this was provincial grant money being allocated for the project and would not be funded by local taxpayers, and if the MSP grants were not used they would simply be returned to the province.
Campbell’s motion passed by a vote of 6-3 with Mauro, Parker and Hyggen opposed.

Follow @TimKalHerald on Twitter

Share this story:

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Citi Zen

This council is clearly on its way out. Spending even more money on downtown is ludricous. Downtown is dead. How many times do they need to be enlightened?
Clean up the riff-raff first, then fix up what remains.

pursuit diver

They don’t get it, they are too busy ‘performing’ and don’t see through the fog of cannabis smoke! After all these years, they are still trying to get the cart to go and haven’t realized they have the horse behind the cart and the cart can’t pull the horse, instead of the horse in front of the cart.
That may be too deep for them to understand!

Seth Anthony

Just more lipstick on a pig. All the while ignoring the reason why so many people don’t even want to go downtown.

That City Urban Revitalization manager should be fired. The mayor and most of council should have stepped down a long time ago due to bias and sheer incompetence. We should have the ability to fire these people (our employees) at any time. Although we can’t, because we don’t live in a democracy.

We need a mayor and council that doesn’t bury their heads in the sand.

Last edited 2 years ago by Seth Anthony
pursuit diver

Thank God this council is on it’s way out! We just need a few more good candidates to step forward for Councillor positions so we can rid of all but the 3 that opposed this!
No wonder Lethbridge has one of the highest property taxes in Canada! Money grows on trees I guess! This council has repeated ignored the concerns of concerned citizens, spending money on the Arts- almost $40 million on CASA and the Yates, then another $6.8 million on the SAGA building located in Galt Gardens, $11million on the 3rd avenue revitalization where they bottle necked traffic down to two lanes, now $1.4 million burned up.
LPS could have used that money to clean up the streets downtown, but instead, they put up signs downtown direction people to go the Galt Gardens or to Festival Square, so they can see what, a bunch of indigenous addicts doing drugs, drinking alcohol opening, committing sex acts, using the neighbourhood as a toilet or sleeping after a night of wreaking havoc on the streets!
Thank you for those that choose to leave and move on, we almost need a clean sweep of this council, ones that don’t want to build a $100 million performing arts center and will respect taxpayer money.
You will not attract people downtown until you clean up the issues, which are the addicts who break into vehicles, usually smashing the windows, costing you an instant $500, or make you spouse feel afraid or not wanting your kids in the park because you don’t want them to get pricked by needles.
The election will not come soon enough! That money could have been spent on better things considering we are facing massive cuts in federal and provincial funding! Great job Campbell! Bye Bye!