July 20th, 2024

SPC being asked to approve task force terms of reference

By Al Beeber - Lethbridge Herald on February 21, 2024.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDabeeber@lethbridgeherald.com

The Governance Standing Policy Committee of Lethbridge city council on Thursday will be asked to recommend council approve amended terms of reference for the Downtown Lawlessness Task Force.

The committee will also be asked to recommend ratification of the appointments of Hunter Heggie, Sarah Amies, Sheri Kain, Kendal Hachkowski and Matthew McHugh from the Downtown Business Revitalization Zone to the task force.

The task force, which meets again Thursday at 7:30 a.m. in council chambers is a sub- committee of the Safety and Social SPC of council.

Members of the task force are to collaborate on “development of a structure, stakeholder composition and resourcing requirement (if any) for a cross-functional task force on lawlessness.”

It has several mandates including:

1. Identify the symptoms and depth of lawless behaviours and their impacts in our city.

2. Identify stakeholders to strategize on responses and resourcing requirements.

3. Work collaboratively with stakeholders to identify solutions.

4. Provide recommended solutions to the membership organizations for action.

5. Develop a joint communication plan for this task force and its member stakeholders.

6. Consider how any recommendations from the task force can support and/or integrate with existing encampment, shelter and housing strategies developed and being implemented by the City of Lethbridge.

It’s scope is to:

1. Identify and prioritize underlying issues and recommend solutions.

2. Investigate and identify past best practices.

3. Research and identify new initiatives and make recommendations for action.

Downtown Lawlessness Reduction Task Force

4. Identify appropriate funding and resources and recommend their required delegation, procurement and coordination for proper utilization.

5. Identify, and collaborate with, key partners to achieve the same desired outcome.

6. Advocate to local and provincial governments.

7. Provide membership organizations with advocacy topics for coordinated advocacy to

other levels of government.

8. Review and make recommendations of bylaws and strategies for enforcement.

Helpseeker Technologies has been selected to do data analysis for the task force with a statement of work having been agreed upon.

A report to be presented to the task force Thursday showing questions from the Downtown BRZ says Helpseeker is working to compile data for the analysis with a final report “on track” for delivery in April.

Helpseeker is a data analyst and artificial intelligence software company that deals with complex social problems, the task force was told at a recent meeting.

The company has done work on guns and gangs, social disorders, complex needs, encampments, novel psychoactive substances and recovery systems of care, Turner said.

Customers of the company have included the cities of Red Deer, Thunder Bay, Ont., Sudbury, Ont., Burnaby, B.C., Langley, B.C. and Moncton, New Brunswick as well as police forces in Vancouver, Edmonton and Toronto.

The expected impact of Helpseekers is to help the task force gain a deeper understanding of downtown lawlessness and provide data-backed strategies for the force.

Draft questions have been prepared by the committee for a door-to-door survey to be conducted.

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