The Save Our Churches Association won’t go down without a fight. During Sunday’s annual general meeting, members voted to take their fight to save St. Patrick’s Church to the top court in Rome.
“The spirit is strong and while we can, we will do what we can. The churches deserve to be saved,” said Francis Noronha, Procurator and SOCA’s secretary.
It’s been almost six years that the church has been shuttered. Former Bishop Frederick Henry, who resigned due to ill health in January, had proposed the sale of the three Catholic churches in east Lethbridge — St. Patrick’s, St. Basil’s and Assumption — which were merged in 2006 to create All Saints Parish. The plan is to build a new $21-million church facility in southeast Lethbridge near 43 Street.
St. Patrick’s Church was shuttered by the bishop on Aug. 1, 2011. The Save Our Churches Association has been fighting ever since to have it reopened, even appealing to the Vatican.
In February 2016, the Congregation for the Clergy of the Vatican agreed to investigate if the closure of the church is contrary to the norm of Canon Law. The deadline for the investigation had been repeatedly extended.
Taber mayor resigns
Often viewed as a polarizing figure throughout his tenure in office, Henk DeVlieger tendered his resignation as mayor of the Town of Taber in a surprise announcement last week.
Speaking prior to town council’s regular meeting, DeVlieger suggested increasing friction between himself and administration had made his position no longer tenable. “The bureaucracy, rules and regulations started to clash too much with the way I think and operate,” said DeVlieger. “Therefore, for our community, it’s best that I resign in order for administration to function and govern our town.”
First elected to the position in 2013, DeVlieger ran on a platform of change but was often mired in controversy over decisions like the Community Standards Bylaw in early 2015, as well as a series of other issues which drew the attention of the public and media.
Province to help with airport plan
The provincial government is supporting Lethbridge County’s work on a master plan for Lethbridge Airport.
Lethbridge West MLA Shannon Phillips announced a $90,000 grant Thursday on behalf of Deron Bilous, minister of economic development and trade.
“It’s important to people in southern Alberta to have an airport that can support our growth as we move forward,” Phillips said. The plan could include upgrades to the passenger terminal as well as the landing field.
It will also address questions about the best management framework for the airport, pointed out Reeve Lorne Hickey.
The County will issue a call for interested firms to bid for the project, he said, with completion expected in six to seven months. Apart from scheduled passenger service, Hickey added, the airport is also used by a number of private jets including U.S. aircraft heading north to Alaska.
Mosque being created
The Lethbridge Muslim Association is looking forward to a bigger home now that it’s purchased the old Bill Kergan Centre from the City of Lethbridge.
The building was purchased for $575,000 and will eventually become the Muslim Association’s new mosque. The land sale of 207 13 St. N. was approved at Monday’s city council meeting.
The building, which formerly housed the Southern Alberta Ethnic Association, has been vacant since the SAEA moved to its new location on 6 Avenue South last year.