July 21st, 2024


By Lethbridge Herald on March 5, 2024.

The Herald inadvertently ran an old story on Page A3 today regarding funding for a proposed lawlessness workshop in May. Council met last Tuesday and unanimously approved $2,500 in funding for the workshop. We apologize for the mix-up.

Here is the correct story:

City council last Tuesday voted unanimously to fund up to $2,500 from mayor and council’s budget allocation workshop on lawlessness.
Council voted 8-0 on an official business motion by Acting Mayor John Middleton-Hope to approve the funding for the workshop for mid-sized Alberta cities which would be staged on May 2, the day before the Alberta Association of Police Governance Conference & Annual General Meeting which is scheduled for May 3-4 here.
Councillor Jenn Schmidt-Rempel was absent.
“It is important from an advocacy perspective that we take the lead on this,” said Middleton-Hope in response to a question from councillor Jeff Carlson.
“As you’re well aware, we brought this to a number of mayors and their members that they brought to the Alberta Municipalities this fall. We had conversations with them. This is a municipal government-led initiative. There will be police, there will be commissions, there will be administration invited to attend,” but the initiative is one of advocacy by municipal government, he emphasized.
Carlson said he wasn’t comfortable with putting his hand up with a blank cheque regarding the total costs of hosting such an event.
Upper limits of staffing would be perhaps two for the day working on regular business hours, council was told.
Middleton-Hope told council the term ‘lawlessness’ has caused “some concern or some confusion in some council members’ minds in the past. It is defined as a state of disorder due to a disregard of the law. These behaviours behave criminal, uncontrolled and anti-social behaviours that have a sustained and pervasive impact on communities. This is a term that is widely used by numerous cities and municipalities across this country to describe the condition of their downtown core.
“This is not a made-in-Lethbridge term,” he said.
The workshop is directed at the eight largest mid-sized cities in Alberta with a population of over 50,000 people each with a combined aggregate populace of over 700,000, he said.
“These cities were selected as they are frequently most impacted by displacement of problems from the larger centres without sufficient input into provincial solutions or resources to effectively address these issues, said the Acting Mayor.
He represented the City at the Alberta Municipalities meeting in Edmonton last fall and discussions were held with staff of members of five communities about an appetite for a one-day workshop.
“The response was unanimously positive and the mayors we met with expressed excitement over the opportunity of working with their peers and gratitude that we have taken the lead on co-ordinating the group discussions,” added Middleton-Hope.
“The workshop would be an opportunity to share successes and challenges through presentations dealing with lawless behaviours that we have all been contending with,” he said.

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I don’t completely accept that it is on the grounds that those councilors don’t have the foggiest idea what the term ‘lawlessnesss’ signifies. I accept it is on the grounds that they don’t completely accept that it is an issue in our city. They think it is alright and acceptable. 
Crowson and Carlson both hold up significant actions that will improve these issues in this city, yet I’m actually attempting to sort out why. And another councilor sits on the fence, but leans on supporting these two!
Is there any valid reason why they wouldn’t want our city to get back to the beautiful, clean city many visited and desired to return to and retire or work in, rather than one that has had some of the highest crime rates and anti-social behaviors displayed throughout? 
I’m angry and disappointed in these leaders, some of the same who pushed for cutting the police budget at a time when we had the highest crime ratings on the Canadian Crime Index and the police force was understaffed by national averages! Did that make sense?
We need a few changes on council, and some of the committees, since some councilors simply don’t have any desire to acknowledge we have a problem, and assist in developing conditions on our streets, but block endeavors by the rest. 
Because of this, they don’t deserve the privilege of serving the community , sitting on council or any committee that oversees such matters and should be removed! 
There is a high cost to the community from lawlessness, and to the taxpayers and the term lawlessness is easily understood by those impacted!


This $2,500 is money well spent for a meeting with other community leaders who share in similar concerns and are looking at ways to resolve the issues. Each community has its own unique challenges though!
I do agree with you R.U. Serious and have shared similar concerns with others after sitting in the GOVERNANCE STANDING POLICY COMMITTEE on February 22 of this year.
I walked out before it ended, because clearly Councillor Crowson was trying to shut down the Downtown Lawlessness Reduction Task Force, a committee that had already displayed some positive ideas, since they can only make recommendations and many of us who live downtown, or as in your case, owns a business downtown had optimism of finally seeing some results.
That meeting almost appeared to be staged in my mind to bring down the task force, or at least force them to put people on the task force who are opposed to changes to resolve the issues.
The academic who spoke and one of his associates, do not live downtown, work downtown or have any business downtown and have not suffered any of the impacts of the drug crisis. Nor has Councillor Crowson who doesn’t live in the ‘hood’ as I now refer to it as! We are the ones who have had to endure it along with all the other businesses and residents. We are tired of the issues and had hope.
If this academic and Councillor Crowson pushed forth their policies, we would see 2 or 3 supervised consumption sites in this city along with another 25-30 non-profits who suck up more taxpayer and donor dollars and our streets would look like Vancouver DTES.
Our city has made great headways beginning with the Encampment Strategy which saw great results last year, with planned amendments for this year.
Now it is time to deal with the issues on our streets! We do not have to allow it! We have rights too! Unfortunately a couple left on City Council do not get it and just like you, I can’t understand why! Do they want to kill downtown and turn it into a free for all?
The rest of Council is working hard, with pushback from some who do not want change, to resolve the issues and give our city baqck its reputation and in the same time, save lives.
Many are not aware of how many millions of our own local tax dollars from property taxes (not federal or provincial) are spend annually dealing with the issues and the impacts and as we now see, as I forecasted, those funds are drying up from the feds and provincial governments. And as a reminder, they are all our tax dollars.
I tried to calculate exactly how many million dollars of our local tax dollars pay for the impacts of this crisis over a year ago and my FOIP request was going to cost me $1250, instead of the possible $250 they estimated.
I didn’t go forward due to the high cost, but my personal calculations were close to $10 million per year. That included, police/fire/EMS, the Watch, repairs to damaged city property from addicts/homeless, programs such as Clean Sweep/PuroClean ( bio hazard clean-up) and many of the other programs needed to assist in the crisis.
That doesn’t include all the provincial and federal funding!
Do we really want to be like the Vancouver DTES where that small section of Vancouver, about 20,000 in population, sucks over $400 million per year of tax dollars dealing with the crisis , with no end in site, supporting over 270 non-profits who do not treat the addicts, only band-aid the issue?
We are on the right track and most of Council are making every effort to resolve the issues, knowing it can be done!
The DBRZ has heard from the business community and the issues downtown were not dealt with after several of the other committees have come and gone or are still active. The Downtown Lawlessness Reduction Task Force is and has the right people to deal with the issues and recommend the correct actions needed. It is for the downtown and represents downtown and the success of those actions can be used across the city!
You do not need to be an academic to know the failures in the attempts BC has made and continues to make and we are on the right track, seeing less fatal overdoses in the province per capita than BC, without all the costly and useless policies and programs which have failed miserably and taken thousands of young lives in the mad experiment!
Keep up the great work and lets all push Council for change that will return our city to its peaceful and beautiful state! Most of us support you and the task force! I know you have been under attack by many who just can’t see the forest for the trees!

Last edited 4 months ago by ewingbt