June 22nd, 2024

Community Conversation sparks ideas for city’s future

By Lethbridge Herald on January 18, 2023.

Herald photo by Ry Clarke Residents had the opportunity to ask Lethbridge Waste and Recycling about the new green bins being rolled out this spring and voice concerns on issues during the City’s Community Conversation event Wednesday at the Enmax Centre.

Ry Clarke – LETHBRIDGE HERALD – Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Lethbridge residents were invited to attend the City of Lethbridge’s Community Conversation Wednesday at the Enmax Centre to get up to speed on issues of concern to community members.

This was the City’s first time back in-person for the community engagement event since 2019, with over 35 projects to explore and fun activities for the whole family. Those in attendance were encouraged to connect with City staff and partners to give feedback on upcoming projects and programs happening in Lethbridge. Public input from the event helped build a connection between community and city, while also informing decision making happening in council.

“Through the whole pandemic we have still been doing community engagement. We have had lots of online opportunities to do focus groups and surveys. But it is really important to have a face-to-face sometimes,” said Tara Grindle, communications manager for the City of Lethbridge. “We are really excited to bring back the Community Conversation, and then people can ask questions, give ideas, and we can brainstorm with residents. It is a good opportunity to showcase all the work that is happening in the city.” 

With booths lining the Enmax Centre, residents could browse through various projects and programs, like Lethbridge Transit, Parks and Cemeteries, or facilities like the Galt Museum and Helen Schuler Nature Centre. The event encouraged those in attendance to spark up conversation and create a dialogue on how things are running, or any concerns with current operations. 

“People are generally really excited about the green cart program,” said Steve Rozee, manager for the Waste and Recycling Centre. “We have had a lot of people come to this event, in recent days, to talk to us about: when are they going to get it? That is happening in the spring of 2023. […] Others are interested in what can they put in the green cart? That is really topical, and we are accepting the full range of organics, so yard waste as well as food waste. The other topical question that people wonder about is compostable plastic. Can they bag it, and at this time we are accepting paper bags. Compostable or biodegradable plastic is not in the program.”

With community engagement the focus of the event, residents got to voice their opinions, while also learning about new things in the city. 

“It’s been nice to see what the community wants to present itself to everyone,” said Brittney Lopushinsky, in attendance at the event. “I’m new to the city and I thought it would be a good way to get first-hand knowledge from the people who work in the city and get to see what their plans are moving forward. I’m most interested in the recycling organics, I’m from Edmonton, so we already have it, and I was missing the organics bin. It’s interesting to see how they are going to implement that.”

Encouraging feedback, the City is hopeful on having the feedback influence future projects. 

“A lot of times we hear from the community when a decision has been made and then it is too late to take that community feedback. It is hard to think ahead of things, but there are things like our Parks Master Plan, which is something we are planning out 20 years in advance, and we need to be looking at what the community wants,” said Grindle. “This community engagement are things that city council takes into effect, too, their decision making. They can go back and go, ‘Yeah, we did talk to the community and this is actually how they feel about it’.”

With plenty of booths and lots in attendance the engagement was high for the event, seeing a hearty turnout with flowing ideas for the city’s future. 

“Lots of the projects have surveys, and everything that is happening here today, you can also do on getinvolvedlethbridge.ca. If you didn’t make it out today there is lots of surveys you can do that way,” said Grindle.

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