They’ll still be doing a lot of sweeping, but not so much towing.
The recently-launched City of Lethbridge street sweep pilot program, which towed vehicles that didn’t comply after receiving advanced notice to park elsewhere, has been suspended.
The issue, city officials say, has to do with too many vehicle owners ignoring the notices, which led to increased costs and logistical challenges. The pilot program was launched at the beginning of April to curb the chronic issues street sweeping crews face every year.
It’s a challenge for street sweeping crews to dodge around vehicles that remain parked on the street. In past years, portions of many streets have remained unswept because sweepers had to go around dozens of vehicles that had not been moved.
In the program, residents were notified twice before sweeping. In the event a vehicle was still not moved, the City had the option to tow them then return them to the same block afterwards at no cost to vehicle owners.
To this date, the cost to the City for moving vehicles has totalled about $15,000.
“The additional advanced notices we introduced this year were well received and are something we plan to continue, but the moving of vehicles has become too time consuming due to the high volume of people choosing to ignore all our requests to move or park their vehicles elsewhere for street sweeping,” said Lee Perkins, the City’s Transportation Operations manager.
Kitchen fire damages apartment
An apartment fire on the southside early Friday led to about $15,000 worth of damage.
No injuries were reported, but 15 firefighters from two stations responded to the 2100 block of 35 Street South at about 6 a.m. They were able to quickly contain and extinguish the fire.
Officials said the fire was contained to the kitchen/dining area. The fire was originally reported by a neighbour and, when firefighters arrived, visible flames were seen coming from a third story apartment window.
After preliminary investigation, officials said, the fire appears to be accidental and not suspicious in nature.
However, fire investigators were still on scene during the day Friday to determine the actual origin and cause of the fire. Because of the extensive damage, material from the fire will be sent away to forensics for further investigation.
Stafford boat launch open
The Stafford Lake Park boat launch has opened for the season.
As of Friday, the park will be open to the public for recreational day use from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.
Located in Lethbridge County, less than 30 minutes from Lethbridge or Coaldale, the park has access to the beach, a picnic area, docks and the boat launch.
With the on-site purchase of a daily pass, boaters can launch their boat, and park on site. Users are asked to stay within the designated parking areas and to not park on the road.
Stafford Lake Park is located at the end of Twp Rd 9-2, off Highway 512.
Groups want OHV ban
A recent incident of abuse of the Castle wilderness area by off-highway vehicle users has conservation groups in the area calling for a permanent ban on OHV use in the newly designated Castle Parks area.
The incident occurred during a recent provincial ban on OHV due to the risk of fire they can represent.
A recent stewardship report by the Castle-Crown Wilderness Coalition reveals an incident requiring RCMP intervention when individuals illegally entered an area closed to OHV use according to the Castle Access Management Plan.
The CCWC and Alberta Wilderness Association are requesting support from both the OHV community and the Government of Alberta to permanently ban OHVs in the newly designated Castle Parks.
“This incident is just one more example of the continuing disregard by motorized recreationists not only of the existing Castle Access Management Plan but also of the recent explicit province-wide closure of all Public Lands to these vehicles,” said James Tweedie, CCWC president.
The groups are asking for the OHV ban to be extended permanently in order to protect the Castle Parks from further OHV damage.