Five southern Alberta communities are receiving funding from the Alberta government for six projects that will create jobs and diversify their local economies.
A total of $225,000 will be provided through the Community and Regional Economic Support program.
The announcement was made Friday by Maria Fitzpatrick, MLA for Lethbridge-East, on behalf of Economic Development and Trade Minister Deron Bilous.
“We want to help provide local leaders the support they need to use their expertise to grow and diversify the economy in their communities,” said Fitzpatrick. “This financial support means they can undertake projects collaboratively, that will benefit families and businesses across the region.”
The funding includes:
• $25,000 to the Town of Claresholm for its project called Claresholm: Defining a Promise;
• $10,000 to the Village of Champion for the Champion Commercial Sustainability Project;
• $50,000 to the Vulcan Business Development Society for its Industrial Land Strategy for Vulcan Business Park;
• $65,000 to the Vulcan Brand Innovation Society for Operation Communicate, Accelerate and Collaborate;
• $25,000 to the Town of Magrath for the Sustainable Agriculture Education Partnership; and
• $50,000 to the Town of Taber for the Southern Alberta Regional MRF Feasibility Study.
The funding will help communities tackle economic development projects they may not have been able to on their own, according to Bilous.
Fire destroys modular home
A double-wide modular home was destroyed by fire Saturday, leaving five residents homeless.
Lethbridge Emergency Services received a call of a fire at Bridge Villa Estates at 2 p.m. on Saturday and members were quick to respond, but the already fully engulfed.
“With a bit of a wind, it was catching the home to the east of it,” said platoon chief Peter Kidd. “Crews were able to knock it down, so the fire just scorched the one to the east just slightly and the double-wide is a total write-off.”
The initial dispatch was for three of the stations, but because of the strong winds, the fourth was called.
“Our concern often with these things is the wind driving the fires and catching other houses on fire, so we put our aerial up in the air just in case that happened, so we could have a master stream from above,” said Kidd. “Fortunately, we didn’t have to flow that nozzle.”
No one was reported injured and the investigation is ongoing.
Police pursuits decline
Lethbridge Police Service saw an increase in people failing to stop for them in 2016, but the number of incidents resulting in pursuits by police is down.
Speaking during an annual update on pursuits this past week, Inspector Tom Ascroft told the Lethbridge Police Commission police take the issue very seriously, and a policy shift in the past number of years has been aimed at reducing the danger pursuits present to the public.
In 2016 there were 43 fail-to-stop incidents reported by police. The number represents a 67 per cent increase over 2014 and 2015.
Of those 43 incidents, four resulted in pursuits by police, representing 9.5 per cent of the total number of incidents. This is a drop from 2015, which saw 20 per cent of the incidents result in a pursuit — six pursuits.
Ascroft said LPS has changed its philosophy on the practice in accordance with shifting philosophies in departments across North America.
“There was a time when, if you didn’t pull over for the police, they would chase you to the ends of the Earth,” he said. “Now, we’re very cognizant. We have policies, and the province has policies about when we will pursue.”
Parking meter days numbered
The weeks are numbered for downtown parking meters. The City of Lethbridge will soon be replacing them with new multi-space kiosks.
The city will start replacing the machines this summer, with a target date of late summer/early fall to turn on the system.
City council approved the project last September. It involves the replacement of the existing meters with 170 pay-by-plate multi-space machines (MSMs) with licence plate recognition enforcement. Another 60 single-space smart meters will be installed at accessible parking spaces and in four isolated locations with foot patrol enforcement.
The new system brings the city up to date with modern parking technologies and is intended to establish consistent parking controls throughout the downtown.