July 14th, 2024

Neudorf aims for broad perspective in serving Lethbridge East


By Lethbridge Herald on January 2, 2024.

Nathan Neudorf, seen here with supporters watching results come in during election night this past May, says he acknowledges a close victory shows there are many with differing views that he serves in his role as MLA. Herald photo by Ian Martens

Al Beeber – LETHBRIDGE HERALD – abeeber@lethbridgeherald.com

He narrowly won re-election to represent Lethbridge East in the Alberta Legislature and Nathan Neudorf isn’t taking that victory over the NDP’s Rob Miyashiro for granted.

Neudorf in May was elected to represent the riding for a second term, winning 11,003 votes compared to Miyashiro’s 10,258.

“I take that to heart,” Neudorf said of the close victory in a year-end interview looking at the highlights of 2023.

“It’s an honour to be re-elected. I love serving Lethbridge East in this capacity but I do want to acknowledge the fact it was close and that there are many with a different view that I have to serve in the role of MLA who may not have voted for me.

“I take that to heart knowing there is a broad blend of electoral opinions out there and I’ve been elected to serve all of them and do so to the best of my ability, understanding that at any given time, there may be a different opinion on the approach of that and trying to find that balance,” said The Minister of Affordability and Utilities, adding it’s a challenge but a good one he loves to undertake every time he gets the opportunity.

Neudorf says he’s always taken the broad perspective that he serves everyone in Lethbridge East.

“I believe my job is representative of Lethbridge East, it’s not a uniform perspective and how I do that means I have to bring that multi-viewpoint perspective to different conversations.

“I do like to remind  people that I can’t vote 55 per cent for and 45 per cent against on something like but that I do try to temper that perspective in the debate that we have on critical legislation,” said Neudorf.

One issue that came up repeatedly in the election campaign was the doctor shortage in Lethbridge and Neudorf said that’s partly why he has shifted his focus to really advocate that Chinook Regional Hospital be considered a Tier 3 hospital instead of Tier 4.

“We need to be recognized as a hub, not a spoke in our healthcare services which means we need that additional surgical support and cardiac, thoracic and neurosurgery so that we can attract more doctors of different varieties, more anesthesiologists, more obstetricians, more family doctors who want that emergency/surgical backup.

“If we’re that hub and spoke, I think we’ll actually save the system a lot of transportation costs, whether people drive themselves to Calgary for services or an ambulance drives them or STARS flies or fixed-wing flies them. I think we need to invest wisely in Chinook Regional Hospital and expand the services that we provide here so that we have a stronger support service here in the south. And that will also help attract different supporting healthcare workers, whatever their role or specialty may be,” added Neudorf.

Healthcare services in southern Alberta cover between 250,000 and 350,000 people and more all the time “so I think do need to look at our structure and recognize that Lethbridge is a hub just like Red Deer is a hub, just like Grande Prairie is a hub and make sure that we have the ability to offer those services as well,” added the MLA.

“It makes sense financially, it makes sense systematically and it makes sense socially in providing the services people have come to expect within Alberta and Canada,” Neudorf added, “particularly in terms of healthcare.”

His new ministerial role has provided multiple challenges, he said.

“Affordability is the top issue for most Albertans, most Canadians right now. But what does that mean and how do we actually impact that? The utility side of it, particularly with the electricity grid, that’s a really complex file and we’ve seen the highest historical price in Alberta in August of this year and what are we going to do to not just provide immediate relief which we did the previous term with some cap and deferral? 

“How do we do provide structural corrections so that we have what we’ve enjoyed in the past? Historical low prices of electricity and not just for generation but also for transmission and distribution which is why we’re doing a lot of hard work so that we can build in a generational response that will stabilize the system for a long period of time. And I hope to build in some ability to empower individual consumers so that they can make choices that not only lower their greenhouse gas emissions but also lower their bill – something I’ve heard from a lot individuals in Lethbridge, particularly seniors where they haven’t felt the ability, they’ve turned the thermostat down as low as they can manage and it hasn’t made a material impact on their bill.

Being able to help empower consumers is something Neudorf said he looks forward to making happen in the new year.

Among accomplishments by the UCP in 2023 locally include bringing a SCAN unit to Lethbridge.

“We know this is a high need across Alberta and to see that Lethbridge was one of the very first places announced for that additional service, to be based right here in Lethbridge, shows that Lethbridge is a major hub in the southern part of our province, not just for healthcare but many services including public safety,” said Neudorf.

“We’ve done a lot of work to address some of those challenges that we had left over from our previous administration to ours and we’ve done a lot and added a lot of beds for mental  health and addictions recovery with more on the way.”

As for the Agri-Food Hub and Trade Centre, Neudorf said he was proud to be able to get funding for the project in his first term.

“Lethbridge is not a top tourist destination. A lot of people come through Lethbridge so we need to be looking at event spaces like this that help attract people to Lethbridge,” said the MLA.

When he first advocated for the Agri-Food and Trade Centre, Neudorf said he had two conditions:

“One, we needed to see investment in our airport to increase our accessibility and I’m very proud of our government investing $17 million for that modernization and expansion. And we need to see private investment, whether that’s in the form of a hotel or something else of that nature, to help provide the supportive property tax and economic investment in the region to continue to support that ability to grow,” said Neudorf.

Before construction and design were finalized, Neudorf said he asked if a performing arts centre could be added to the space and he thinks there is still room on that property for such a facility that would further increase the ability of ability of Lethbridge to spur on its hospitality market.

“Having a strong vision for the future and utilizing all of the combined assets together are really critical at this stage,” added the MLA.

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snowman

the citizens/taxpayers do not need another financial debacle with a performing arts center. we do not see the one-third cost provided by the arts people. Councilor Carlson and Campbell have over $ 10 million stashed in the City account but a third share is over $ 25 million so where is arts group’s $25million donation not MSI no build until they show?2
The City organic facility govt grants $4.75 million from MSI Mr Neudorf supposedly to pay for 4 pcs equipment, 2 aerators, $ 650,000.00. , Shredder $800,000,00 Food repackaging machinery $650,000.00 4Trucks $2.4 million, Carts $600.000.00, Vehicle storage facility $1,5 million. But the Mayor and Director of Infrastructure state they will take the $4,75million and pay for the organic facility. No. We want the $4.75million applied properly to what the MSI grant stated, please arrange

SophieR

I wonder where Carlson and Campbell keep their stash?
I also wonder why our MLA raised gas prices as Affordability Guy. And why he never talks about our emerging water crisis?

Chmie

This person has done nothing for our community. Obviously by his lack of action physician recruitment, affordability issues, CPP protection we in Lethbridge r not a priority to him or this government.

SophieR

Interesting photo: might be captioned ‘Mr. Neudorf seen celebrating with a generous donor and unregistered nuclear lobbyist on the eve of shutting down the growth of renewable energy in the province.’ I wonder if Neudorf gets input from people who actually understand climate science? Time for The Herald to dispatch a cub reporter to investigate the truth of these relationships!