June 14th, 2024

Grant program supports businesses negatively impacted by social conditions downtown

By Al Beeber - Lethbridge Herald on October 27, 2022.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDabeeber@lethbridgeherald.com

City council on Tuesday unanimously approved a motion put forward by councillor John Middleton-Hope to help businesses negatively impacted by social conditions downtown.

The motion calls on administration to continue the Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design portion of the City’s Clean and Safe Strategy and repurpose funds from the Compassionate Encampment Clean-up program to assist those impacted businesses.

Council was told between $40,000 and $50,000 will remain at the end of the year from funding used for the cleanup.

CPTED is a program that provides 50 per cent matching grants up to $5,000 for improvements that would support small businesses in the downtown and surrounding area which are dealing with costs related to social conditions including vandalism, loitering and theft. Eligible costs include security systems, fencing, lighting and other improvements to sites.

The program is focused on the urban core geographic area including downtown, the warehouse district and 13 St. N. By mid-June according to a report made to the Economic Standing Policy Committee earlier this year, 74 total project applications had utilized $98,000 in funding. Of those projects 54 were downtown.

Middleton-Hope told council Tuesday “I’m asking for your support to direct administration to reallocate surplus funds from the Compassionate Encampment Clean-up program and to continue this matching program until the end of 2022. I look forward to bringing this forward as a new budget initiative to fund next year and moving forward additional components of this program to not only assist businesses but also residents with the high cost of securing their properties.”

Mayor Blaine Hyggen said he supported the motion, stating “I’ve received calls regarding this program (CPTED)… and I think it’s a great program to have. It offsets some of the concerns business owners in the area have had and been adversely affected by some of these issues.”

Deputy mayor Ryan Parker told council he appreciated Middleton-Hope’s efforts, adding he would support it but “it is sad that we actually have to spend this kind of money on these issues.”

Parker said council doesn’t ever want to spend tax dollars on such issues, but rather on initiatives “that create a better community, investing in your community instead of just trying to protect your community.”

Acting mayor Jenn Schmidt-Rempel said she looks forward to more discussions at budget time about the problem.

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Another cost due to the addiction issues in this city. The vangrants throw their garbage down on the ground as if their mommy’s will pick it up. The taxpayer now pays for the cleanup!
Millions are spent to counter the impacts to our community and it appears the only way the citizens are going to stop this is to rise up and say ‘WE HAVE HAD ENOUGH’, ‘WE ARE NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE’!
They eat, the containers go on the ground, even if a garbage box is within 2 feet, they throw everything they don’t want on the ground, clothes, suitcases, rucksacks, syringes, new naloxone kits, old flashlights. You would be amazed! Not to mention the little piles they leave for us to step. DO-DO!