New home starts are up, new stores are open at The Crossings, and there is ice at the new westside leisure centre — the first part of an eventual full build-out $150-million project.
There was a sod turning Thursday at the University of Lethbridge for the nearly $250-million Destination Project, and there was also a tour and grand opening of the $135-million expansion of Chinook Regional Hospital.
Oh, and construction continues on renovations to the Lethbridge Police Service’s headquarters, and the Trades and Technologies facility at Lethbridge College (including a $750,000 commitment from Western Tractor Company Ltd. on Thursday).
The word “new” is being used a lot in Lethbridge these days. And there are many big money projects.
Is it simple growth and forward thinking, with the city rapidly approaching 100,000 people? Is it the diversified economy not reliant upon oil that continues to push southern Alberta through generally difficult financial times elsewhere?
That’s been the case many times in the past.
Whatever the reasoning — it’s likely a confluence of events and timing, rather than one specific element — all of these projects are good for the city and for the citizens.
At CRH, the $135-million redevelopment adds a new five-storey wing, including expansions to Neonatal Intensive Care and a renovation to the Emergency Department for the first time since 1988.
“Residents of the Lethbridge area will greatly benefit from this addition,” said Alberta Health Minister Sarah Hoffman, in Lethbridge Thursday.
“As we inch closer to a population of 100,000 it is vital to have the health-care facilities that can support this growth,” added Mayor Chris Spearman.
The U of L Destination Project, meanwhile, has the university looking ahead to the next 50 years, with the 36,000-square-metre science and academic building.
“This is an investment in our province’s future,” said Marlin Schmidt, Alberta’s Minister of Advanced Education, also in Lethbridge Thursday.
The City of Lethbridge is also preparing to begin its next Capital Improvement Plan process. Naturally, that will have some citizens concerned about potential new forthcoming tax increases.
But the old adage is: “you have to spend money to make money.” It seems to be working for southern Alberta through the current economic climate.
Editorital from The Lethbridge Herald