June 13th, 2024

City program aimed at crime prevention


By Al Beeber - Lethbridge Herald on December 7, 2022.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDabeeber@lethbridgeherald.com

Initiatives and grants to help revitalize the downtown core was the focus of a talk at Casa Tuesday by the City’s Urban Revitalization manager Andrew Malcolm.

Malcolm gave a sparse audience a look at revitalization efforts in downtown with much of his talk focusing on the Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design program.

This program, which was recently extended by city council in the 2023-24 budget with $50,000 annual funding, is aimed at supporting businesses in the downtown core that are dealing with costs due to increasing amounts of loitering, vandalism, and theft.

CPTED provides 50 per cent matching funds up to a maximum of $5,000 for improvements. Eligible costs include, but aren’t limited to, lighting, fences, security systems and other improvements.

CPTED, the audience was told, is a “multi-disciplinary approach of crime prevention that uses urban and architectural design and the management of built and natural environments.”

It includes strategies aimed at deterring “offender decisions that precede criminal acts and build a sense of community among inhabitants so they can gain territorial control of areas, reduce crime and minimize fear of crime.”

The new money means CPTED will be able to support a minimum of 48 new projects, Malcolm said.

Projects must be for commercial tenants who have an active City of Lethbridge business licence. Retroactive funding is not permitted.

Malcolm also addressed other initiatives including the Urban Core Housing program that offered per-unit incentives of $12,000 for mixed-use and $7,000 for residential development up to 24 units “for the development of new attractive self-contained market-rate dwelling units within the urban core.”

Malcolm said seven projects have been completed downtown encompassing 24 residential units with $780,000 in grant funding paid out.

Four more projects have been approved with construction pending. These will include 56 residential units with a total of $1,278,000 in grant funding to be disbursed.

Malcolm also addressed the Targeted Redevelopment Incentive Program which was a tax-based incentive for targeted redevelopment projects with a minimum construction value of $500,000 “that reduces the effect of an increase in municipal taxes attributable to the differential between pre-construction and post-construction assessment.” This program had 11 approved projects with nine in downtown Lethbridge and two in the Warehouse District.

Estimated construction value is $23.5 million. There will be an estimated $5.3 million net increase in municipal taxes from the redeveloped properties over 20 years.

Follow @albeebHerald on Twitter

Share this story:

16
-15
10 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Rob H.

Curious – the City spent a significant amount of money seeking to make the downtown core more “livable” – in line with the Downtown Area Redevelopment Plan (DARP), and, yet, now seeks to greatly expand the “direct control” re-zoning of downtown land to assist in housing the homeless.
Original applications were to allow for “shelter” development, and though that word was removed from the applications, once direct control zoning is established, it’s pretty simple for the city to put that word back in by amending it’s controls.
Bottom line – you buy a condo or commercial space downtown, under he understanding your neighbors are businesses, and then discover after the fact that they might be a shelter.
Just a great example of our feckless city council who just have no plan when it comes to responding to crime and homelessness particularly in the downtown area.
But thanks for helping us pay for metal roll-down doors in our office to avoid people shooting up drugs, sleeping and and defecating in our doorway. That’s the “Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design” program at work in case you’re curious.
Maybe next week we’ll put in a moat.
Or – we could enable the police to actually arrest people for breaking the law downtown. That would be an idea.

pursuit diver

Rob, you are one of the few that actually see it as it is. You see the truth.
Our city leadership is drinking the Kool-aide from the non-profits who believe following the BC playbook is the answer and they are leading us down the same pathway. They say they listen to our concerns, but just like the SCS, they continue to build and open these projects.
Anyone that is from Lethbridge, understands the city, which up until 2015 was a city that people would visit and state what a beautiful, clean and friendly city and wanted to move here, now realize our city has being tarnished by poor leadership and people that do not have the will to clean it up. Instead, they try to attract people to downtown by spending millions of taxpayer dollars, while allowing the reason why people do want to come downtown to flourish, slowly taking over more of the downtown core each year.
You can put up all the security you want, but people still have to park and walk down the sidewalk where someone is doing drugs, aggressively panhandling, swearing at you, having a drug induced mental episode, breaking into your vehicle, overdosing, urinating right in front of you and more, yet the leadership just doesn’t get it.
They blew almost $2 million on Festival Square, a small peace of a street because no one would go across the street to Galt Gardens since the addicts and homeless took over. A fraction of the size in the park!
It was a beautiful park with a stage, PA system, kitchen, washrooms, grassy areas and a much bigger space, but they gave it up and built a small space across the street instead of dealing with the issues and taking back our park.
This is how our leadership thinks, and one of the Downtown BRZ people said the Square was ‘a gift for the provincial government’! Well that means it was a gift from the taxpayer.
They don’t get it!
Until they focus on getting rid of the addicts/loiterers/vagrants downtown, people with continue to avoid it, no matter how much money you put into try to attract them. Security secures the business, not the consumer!
The city has spent over $57 million downtown in the last five years on the arts, revitalization and other projects to attract people and if you include CASA which opened in 2013 that adds $20.69 million to the total, and there have been many other costs. Yet, they are giving it up slowly to addicts/homeless.
Propery values are going down, but they don’t care, because they have thrown up their hands and say, there is nothing we can do about it, it is in all cities. A true leader would not say that and act!
The city taxpayer alone pays over $10 million annually to cover the impacts of the addicts and homeless.
The greater Vancouver DTES pays over $360 million each year to almost 300 social services/housing services/non-profits for an area with under 20,000 people.
Think about that! They pay over $500,000 for ambulance responses and $9 million for police responding to mental health issues, many of which are drug related. A 2016 study found that 107 chronic offenders in the DTES incur public service costs of $247,000 per person per year. The government-paid lifetime healthcare cost per HIV-infected injection drug user is estimated at $150,000.
These are some of the costs we can expect to pay once they embed further into our community.

Montreal13

Move many of these services out of town. The city didn’t want to do this for years because they could at least control which nonprofits got the grant money from the province. Council has thrown up their hands and handed over more and more of this control to the province. So FIRE the entire community social services department. That’s a huge savings right there. Their jobs are no longer needed. Even to pretend. I am tired of paying for illusions.

Montreal13

The police chief and acouple of councilors have said,”We cannot police our way out of this”. So why add to the police budget another million dollars?

Montreal13

There are a number of housing units that are in fact operating with out the legal or correct zoning bylaws in place, by various agencies.. That is in addition to 215 &221- 2avenue so. and 535- 8 street so. . These places have been operating as shelters for years. Especially the Castle apartments.
Right or wrong,fair or unfair ? The point is especially for 215 & 221, it has been at least 10 years. The city has illegally used the Blackfoot lodge on the northside as emergency shelter. And to be fair various other locations around town.
Why are the powers that be coming out of the woodwork now? Follow the money. And the spineless city councilors that won’t say “enough is enough” and move all treatment /nonsober shelters out of town. Councilors say,”Oh we have no control,it is all the province”.
Do the taxpayers want to continue to subsidize the doubling of this industry every 4 years, in Lethbridge?
A huge portion of the Lethbridge Housing authority’s budget is for wages and operating costs.Not saying we shouldn’t have an agency such as this,on a supersized scale. But our council and those before have turned over the reins more and more every year. What do we need a council for now? To decide if city hall should have 1 or 2 ply toilet paper in their loos?
Fire council! Let the province and these agencies,LHA, Alberta Health,Blackfoot health services etc. openly run the show. Cut out the layer of pretend. And open a shelter in the basement of city hall and the unused offices of councilors. They all “work” from home now anyway.

Citi Zen

What does a City Utrban Revitalization Manager actually do, other than addressing a sparse audience? Time for a serious witch hunt through City Hall.

Say What . . .

No witch hunt, but time to clean up the dead wood and take away the check-books. Time for police to enforce the laws and take out the trash on our streets.

ewingbt

I would like to be very, very clear . . . if the citizens of this city do not wake up and see the increasing problems on our streets we will become another Vancouver Downtown Eastside, where hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars are burned up every year for an area that only has 18,000 people.
Ending the canarge on our streets is the only way to end this and take back our city, our streets, our neighbourhoods, our businesses and our parks.
BUT . . . our leadership, our Council, our Police leadership are not listening!
The only way they will listen is if YOU, the residents let them know, Call them, email them or write them a letter . . . it is the only way for change! Many of us are growing weary of fighting for our city, our community, taking up most of our time for the last few years.
How much more do you want to pay for property taxes? My calculations surpassed $10 million per year of our local taxpayer dollars alone, as others have agreed, and that doesn’t include all of the provincial and federal taxpayer dollars that have been poured into our city!
Your choice . . . sit back and complain at the coffee table and watch costs go up. . . or . . . let the leadership know you have had enough!
Many of the troubemmakers are not truly homeless, but criminals that destroy our city!

Montreal13

Agree. By far most residents want to help the true homeless. Those just out of jail etc. to get on their feet. But most of the time we are not discussing this element. The other 90% should be serviced out of town with treatment centers etc. Build it out there and they will come(go).
Instead this council and city is just throwing the hot potato around and trying to figure out which area they can get away with to ghettoize next. The usual victims have had enough!
People in Lethbridge need to quit being afraid of their own shadow. Are you really comfortable with ghettoizing further certain areas of your own town? Do you really believe it doesn’t creep into every corner? Is this the legacy you want for the future of this town?
High acuity- addicts need help now for sure too! But this hot potato game is getting red hot under the “watch” of city council. Some councilors who have been in place for much,much too long! Don’t buy their scrap any more. They have prolonged this game for 10 years too long!

Dennis Bremner

And so it begins………………