July 12th, 2024

SPC meeting early with heavy agenda

By Al Beeber - Lethbridge Herald on July 11, 2024.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDabeeber@lethbridgeherald.com

With a heavy agenda to deal with, the Economic and Finance Standing Policy Committee of Lethbridge city council will be meeting today at 11 a.m., 1.5 hours earlier than usual.

The SPC consists of the mayor and all council members.

The agenda includes 12 submissions and an update by Community Social Development housing solutions co-ordinator Matthew Pitcher on City’s municipal housing strategy.

A report to the SPC will recommend that it recommend council adopt the updated strategy in principle as a guiding document and direct administration to the November meeting of the SPC with a proposed plan for implementation and an implementation funding allocation request.

The strategy, says a report to be presented to the SPC, says that the strategy “identifies community housing gaps, needed housing typologies, priority populations, and other strategic actions to support intended housing outcomes.”

The first submission on the agenda is from councillor John Middleton-Hope regarding a fee-for-service benefit analysis which was referred by council on June 11 in an 8-1 vote to today’s meeting to gather further information from relevant parties.

Those parties are Economic Development Lethbridge and Tourism Lethbridge which an official business motion by Middleton-Hope called for having the City Manager to undertake fee-for-service arrangements with.

Second on the agenda is a submission by Abby Slovack, general manager of Opportunity Lethbridge, on a bid for the 2026 Memorial Cup.

A subcommittee of the sport tourism advisory committee has been formed to prepare a bid for the national major junior hockey championship withe committee seeking a letter of support and financial support to the tune of $1,250,000 in cash and in-kind to host the tournament which will run for 10 days in early May and late June in 2026.

A report to the SPC says such an event has significant social and economic impacts and no money will be required to be paid unless the bid is successful.

According to the report, City administration deems the proposal aligns with the intent of the CC55 Major Community Event Hosting policy but all funds from that grant program have been allocated from the 2023-26 budget and the program is considered to be closed.

Darrell Mathews, the City’s Chief Financial Officer and treasurer will discuss with the SPC the Southern Alberta Art Gallery’s successful application for a $1 million Community Facility Enhancement Program grant which will be applied towards an approved capital project included in the 2022-31 Capital Improvement Program. The grant will increase the approved budget to $7,014,000 from $6,014,000. Administration requires council approval to spend additional monies that aren’t identified in the capital budget.

Urban Revitalization manager Crystal Scheit will talk to the SPC on four targeted redevelopment incentive matters while parking co-ordinator Phillip Berg will make a submission on customer parking at City Hall.

His report states Administration recommends maintaining the status quo and that visitors be informed and educated about free parking behind City Hall. Customers can park for 30 minutes at no charge behind the building.

Other submissions will be made by Community Planner II Genesis Molesky and Manager of Corporate and Strategic Initiatives Graeme Woods who will talk to the SPC about three matters.

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