It’s back to the drawing board for New West Theatre, now facing a summer with nowhere to perform.
“We’re still coming up with creative solutions,” says general manager Derek Stevenson, following word renovations at the Yates Centre will not be complete by July as expected. “There’s lots of challenges.”
For more than 25 years, Lethbridge-based New West has rented the Yates to stage two music and comedy shows each summer. It also presents dramas, including theatre for young audiences, in the Yates Centre’s smaller Sterndale Bennett Theatre throughout the year.
When the $10.9-million renovation project began last September, the contractors predicted completion by mid-May. That would have allowed New West to rehearse and perform two shows as always.
But New West officials learned early this year that unexpected amounts of asbestos had been found when renovations began, likely delaying the reopening until July.
That prompted plans to stage one show this summer and then a second one in the fall.
Those plans were dashed last week when news of a further delay was confirmed.
“Now we’re trying to figure out what to do with the August show,” Stevenson says. It’s not clear how many performers would be available at another time of year — or whether the Yates would have dates available once it reopens.
And downtown Lethbridge has no other mid-sized venue for live theatre.
City eyeing plans for airport
The City is moving forward with planning for the future of the Lethbridge Airport.
An Airport Transition Committee has been established for a transfer of ownership of the facility. The committee will also oversee the development of a new governance model and begin planning future enhancements for the facility.
An agreement in principle was jointly approved last month by the City of Lethbridge and Lethbridge County to transfer ownership to the City from the County.
The two municipalities continue to work closely to have all formal agreements in place by June for the formal transfer of ownership and governance.
“Our job is to manage the process of transition,” said Mayor Chris Spearman.
“We signed that (memorandum of understanding) that (Lethbridge County and City of Lethbridge) councils agreed to. Now we want to transfer ownership to the City of Lethbridge by the middle of June.”
The agreement has allowed the City to start looking into federal and provincial grants for future upgrades. Some of these applications were not possible for the airport under County ownership, according to Spearman.
Stolen foal found dead
Another young animal reported stolen off a farm in southern Alberta was found deceased last week.
Raymond RCMP were reporting a black and white coloured foal, (similar in appearance to the colour of a dairy cow), was taken from a farm near Welling sometime between 9:30 p.m. on last Tuesday and 6:30 a.m. Wednesday. The animal was only two days old and therefore not weaned.
As a result, reported the Raymond RCMP, the owners were expressing concern the young horse would not be fed properly by those who took it. RCMP later sent a follow-up regarding the death.
The theft of the foal makes it 27 young animals reported stolen off of southern Alberta farms this year. Besides the foal, there have been 26 calves taken already by rustlers in 2018.
The theft of the horse and the calves are likely unrelated, say RCMP, but there are so far no solid leads in either case.
“We are definitely hoping someone can spot this unique horse,” Raymond RCMP Cpl. Don Nelson said earlier Thursday.
“There are concerns he needs to eat from the mom. If this horse doesn’t get the nutrients it needs right away, it’s possible it could die.”
Those with information on any of the thefts are asked to call 403-752-4747 or Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS). There is also the RCMP’s online tip page at http://www.tipsubmit.com.
Kiosks to replace meters
The City of Lethbridge is rolling out new user-friendly parking kiosks to replace the city’s aging coin meters in most areas of the downtown by the end of May, but will also be ending free, time-restricted parking on streets in the core’s immediate periphery. It’s a move the City is acknowledging may not be popular with some.
“Once you have to pay for something that was free to you before, that could become upsetting, for sure,” says the City’s parking co-ordinator Valerie Fellger.
“But when you drive down the streets with the time-restricted stalls those are completely clogged, and many are not actually leaving to allow the businesses to have customer turnover parking. Part of this is trying to equalize the downtown for all businesses.”
Fellger says 15-minute loading zones, after-hours and holiday parking will continue to be free to those coming downtown. Fellger believes the cost to those affected by the loss of time-restricted, free stalls will be minimal.
“Not free, no,” she admits.
No garbage cops planned
The City of Lethbridge is looking at ways to ensure their recycling stream stays clean — but that won’t include so-called “recycling police.”
During a city council discussion regarding community concerns surrounding the new curbside recycling program, Coun. Mark Campbell brought up the issue of recycling enforcement to ensure bins are being used properly.
“Around the world, just to ensure that the right recyclables get into the right bins, there’s actually “recycle police” and they are monitoring a lot of these (programs),” he said.
“Is there a plan in place, going forward, to ensure everything that gets into the bins is the right stuff? How do we monitor that?”
While there are no plans for so-called “Recy-cops,” there are a number of ways to deal with the issue.
“We don’t technically have garbage police or recycling police,” said Doug Hawkins, director of Infrastructure Services.
But the City does have staff who are closely monitoring the participation results of the initial pilot project/900-residence rollout.
First, the recycling bylaw needs to be amended in order to address the curbside program, as it currently only addresses recycling in the City’s centralized depots. Hawkins told council this could happen in the fall.
“There will be prohibitions spelled out about what is acceptable and what’s not,” he said. “To the extent that we have bylaws in place, we will have the ability to chase people who are repeatedly not getting with the program.”
Music lineups announced
With the 2018 edition of Whoop-Up Days set to get underway in August, Exhibition Park has released this year’s lineups.
There will be Canadian acts on stage throughout the week such as the Road Hammers, Prism, The Sheepdogs, Ryan Lindsay, Helix, Harlequin, Joey Landreth and Lee Aaron.
“With Whoop-Up Days we always try to be at least 95 per cent Canadian content whether it’s on the ground, or on the Gas King Stage,” said Exhibition marketing manager Doug Kryzanowski.
There will also be an abundance of family activities on site including carnival rides, along with Bucking and Barrels in the grandstand.
Jackie French, Event and Entertainment supervisor, said they will have a new attraction on location this year, one she’s very thrilled about.
“I’m really excited about the Pioneer Village that’s coming in,” she said. ”It’s really interactive for kids and they can really get to experience what it was like to live in that Old-West time.”
New mental-health unit opens
A new facility has opened for southern Albertans with complex mental-health challenges.
Covenant Health and Alberta Health Services officials were on hand Monday to cut the ribbon at an updated 24-bed unit at St. Michael’s Health Centre.
“The addition of these beds means we are now providing care for those individuals requiring support to manage complex and challenging behaviours in a residential-care setting,” said site administrator Evelyn Myles.