June 24th, 2024

Hyggen highlights positives after first 100 days

By Al Beeber - Lethbridge Herald on February 5, 2022.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDabeeber@lethbridgeherald.com

In their first 100 days since being sworn into office, mayor Blaine Hyggen and city council have faced challenges and experienced some accomplishments.
“It’s been great, we’ve got a wonderful council and doing some great things,” the mayor said Friday morning.
Among council’s accomplishments is creating the Gateway to Opportunity action plan where council pledged an approach that clearly articulates its priorities, creates more transparency, reports performance and builds community trust.
“I’d like to be able to say that we’ve got completion on all these things but of course, there’s many things that are in the works,” the mayor said.
An important issue for Lethbridge is family physician recruitment and retention, he said.
“We know that’s been a huge concern throughout our community for primary care doctors in our community,” Hyggen said.
Of all the contact he’s had with residents since the election, doctor recruitment is their biggest concern, he said.
“The main concerns are doctor recruitment and I need to agree. There’s anywhere from 30 to 40 per cent of citizens that don’t have a doctor and this is a family doctor. This is a struggle in our community so we’ve been working very hard on this. It’s weekly, different discussions on how we can address this because it’s one of the biggest things and the largest challenges that we’ve been facing here. That doctor recruitment is so important for sure.”
Since being elected council has had discussions with provincial ministers including Minister of Community and Social Services Jason Luan and Health Minister Jason Copping on matters involving the city.
Hyggen has also met Mike Ellis, the associate Minister of Mental Health and Addiction about addictions and recovery issues “as our city continues to work to support the provincial government agencies who provide the programs and services related to addictions and mental health here in our community.”
Hyggen also has regular discussions with police chief Shahin Mehdizadeh about possible solutions for safety concerns many in Lethbridge have.
Council has also been working on EMS dispatch and the concerns and struggles the City has with that service.
One highlight of council’s term so far was this week’s unanimous approval to allocate nearly $500,000 in provincial and federal grants to the Blood Tribe/Kainai Nation to deliver services at the Indigenous Resource Hub, he said, calling it a “really exciting thing.”
Hyggen talked about the review of the cityLINK transit system which council will be addressing at a future meeting.
“Another topic of conversation throughout our community was the transit concerns that many are having.”
Hyggen called a recent airport initiative “extremely exciting to me” with all the economic development the city wants to stimulate.
On Jan. 18, council voted to approve a new airport initiative framework “and we’re going to discuss potential agreements with airlines regarding options for passengers flying in and out of Lethbridge, Hyggen said.
He said a lot of conversations in the city have focused around a third bridge so administration has been tasked with reporting back to council in September on potential locations as well as potential sources of funding. Administration has also been asked to identify anticipated costs for a third crossing.

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