Capital Improvement Program (CIP) deliberations continued on Tuesday, beginning with a deeper look at last month’s online public engagement.
More than 2,000 Lethbridge residents participated in the online survey, with an average response time of 12.5 minutes. The information compiled by city staff following the feedback highlighted some of the projects with the most community support, and some that are more polarizing.
In an overview of the voting, the city identified five potential CIP items that received the broadest community support, including:
- Fritz Sick Pool renovation: 74 per cent supported the project, at a total cost of $530,000
- Parks Central control irrigation: 71 per cent supported the project, at a total cost of $500,000
- Facility assessment and accessibility upgrades: 72 per cent supported the project, at a total cost of $400,000
- Fire Station No. 3 relocation: 70 per cent supported the project, at a total cost of more than $27 million
- Outdoor sports court: 70 per cent supported the project, at a total cost of $762,000
According to the city’s information, support was measured by the average value of the votes, where the value of a totally opposing vote is a 0 and a totally supportive vote is 100.
The city was also able to determine which CIP items were seen as receiving low support and high levels of polarization, deeming them as items of the highest conflict:
- Royal View Memorial Cemetery (Phase 2): 39 per cent supported the project, at a total cost of more than $3.3 million
- Galt Gardens Pickleball Courts: 38 per cent supported the project, at a total cost of more than $1.7 million
- West Lethbridge Operations Depot (Phase 3A): 39 per cent supported the project, at a total cost of $7.8 million
- Arena replacement: 40 per cent supported the project, at a total cost of more than $38.6 million
- Transit cityHubs: 43 per cent supported the project, at a total cost of more than $5.4 million
Specific response numbers were not provided for a potential green cart program in Lethbridge, but Day 2 of deliberations included a lengthy discussion on the future of curbside organics.
“We know that organics at 57 per cent of what’s going into the (black) bins now, and that’s the next step,” said Mayor Chris Spearman. “We’ve been given good, scientific reasons to address the greenhouse gas and the possible pollution issue.”
Coun. Jeff Coffman motioned to have a decision on green carts postponed to January 2022, following more detailed public engagement, but that motion was defeated in a 5-4 vote.
Another 5-4 vote — with Spearman and councillors Mark Campbell, Rob Miyashiro, Jeff Carlson and Belinda Crowson in favour — means the green cart program will be recommended as part of the 2022-2031 Capital Improvement Plan, when council votes on it for final approval next week.
Another recommendation made on Tuesday was to reserve $10 million of the projected $74 million in forecasted capital funding. That $10 million would be saved with the intention of it being used to match future federal and provincial grants for projects not yet on the city’s radar.
“Technically, a motion like this would never actually be necessary, because any future council can always open the capital budget, can move projects around,” said Coun. Crowson. “But I will be supporting this, because it puts an idea out there for future councils that here is some money that’s prepared, for when you need it.”
Any recommendations made this week will be made as the Economic Standing Policy Committee, and city council will need to give those recommendations final approval at the May 18 meeting of city council.
The Economic SPC will continue on Wednesday morning, with electric buses and the charging infrastructure needed for them to be up for discussion.