Fracking and drilling is back on the table within city limits, and there may be very little Lethbridge residents can do about it.
Ian Magill owns a home in Sunridge looking towards the Tamarack well site. Magill says he and many of his neighbours fear if Tamarack can ignore the consistent and strong anti-drilling message sent by city residents — and local city administrators and officials do not even see fit to inform the residents most heavily impacted by such developments — that there was no stopping future drilling and fracking projects going forward within city limits.
“Our biggest fears are pollution of the groundwater, disturbance of buried pipelines, other environmental issues such as having potential H2S gas released, and then it goes all the way down to property valuations,” states Magill. “I just can’t believe something like this can happen in the city. It just seems somebody did their homework and snuck this one in so no objections could be made.”
Magill, like many in the city, says he can’t help but feel shades of the old Goldenkey dispute rearing its head in the current Tamarack situation.
“I took part along with many people in opposing the last two wells by Goldenkey back in 2013,” he says. “It did not shock me at all another oil company found a way to exploit that area.”
Suspect asks for solitary
A woman apprehended recently following her disappearance from Alberta nearly three years ago is asking to be put in solitary confinement.
April Dawn Irving told a judge Tuesday in Lethbridge provincial court that she has received death threats while she’s been in custody and fears for her safety.
The 59-year-old woman, who appeared in court by closed-circuit TV from the Lethbridge Correctional Centre, also asked if an orthopedic surgeon could see her for a knee injury she sustained in a car accident while she was in Jamaica following her disappearance from Alberta in 2016.
The former Milk River resident was on bail at the time and waiting to deal with one charge of animal cruelty under the Criminal Code, and 13 charges under the Animal Protection Act. She was charged early in 2015 after she voluntarily surrendered 60 dogs to the SPCA in December 2014, and after another 141 dogs were seized Jan. 13 after authorities returned to her Milk River-area property with a warrant.
Charging stations being installed
Southern Alberta motorists and visitors will soon be able to tour the region — without filling the gas tank.
They’ll be invited to plug their electric vehicles into public charging stations in Lethbridge and communities across the south.
As part of a collaboration between civic administrations and the provincial government the 20-station, $2-million “Peaks to Prairies” network will stretch from Medicine Hat to Crowsnest Pass. Fast-charging stations will also be provided at Warner, Cardston and Waterton Lakes National Park, as well as communities along Highways 2, 22 and 23.
“This is an excellent way of leveraging greater appreciation of southern Alberta’s renewable energy resource,” Environment Minister Shannon Phillips noted during the announcement Monday at Lethbridge College.
Each station will be powered by a renewable-energy source or its equivalent, she said.
The SouthGrow Regional Initiative brought the initiative to her attention, Phillips said. It will boost southern Alberta’s tourism industry, she predicted, as well as its overall economic growth.
And it follows the recent announcement of $2 billion worth of private investment in southern Alberta’s wind energy industry, Phillips said, with major projects being built this year and next.
“That’s part of southern Alberta’s regional strength, along with agriculture and tourism.”
The first station will open this spring in Lethbridge, officials said.
Polar Plunge helps Special Olympics
During the cold weather over the weekend, law enforcement members from Lethbridge and surrounding areas, as well as members of the community jumped into chilly Henderson Lake to help raise funds for the Alberta Special Olympics, for the annual Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) Polar Plunge.
For the last eight years, groups and individuals raised funds within their community to help support the Special Olympic athletes and take the plunge into the freezing water to support the athletes before and during their meets. The winter chill made the plunge a little more challenging, but participants looked forward to the warm hot tub to jump into immediately after.
“This is an event that we have done for quite a few years now and every year law enforcement members from around Lethbridge and area as well as members of the community come together to fundraise money for the Special Olympics and we jump into an iced Henderson Lake to raise the money,” says Victoria Rudiak, Polar Plunge Organizer.
Decommissioned buses going to Mexico
Lethbridge city council voted unanimously during its public meeting to approve the transfer of two decommissioned Access-A-Ride buses to the Lethbridge Rotary Club’s Los Amigos project.
The two donated vehicles are about 10 years old, and have miled out their useful life and come with some maintenance issues, but are still considered roadworthy, confirmed Lethbridge Transit officials. The value of the vehicles is estimated at about $5,000 each.
Over the past eight years the Los Amigos Project has taken 41 surplus service vehicles from all over southern Alberta to Mexico, and the City of Lethbridge has been a frequent donor during that time.
Rotarians Karl Samuels and Jim Campbell presented a certificate of appreciation to Mayor Chris Spearman and the other members of city council Monday acknowledging the City’s ongoing generosity to their work in Mexico.
Besides the two Access-A-Ride buses donated by the City this year, Samuels, who serves as Los Amigos Project co-ordinator, said the Rotary Club had also received a donated fire truck from the Town of Olds and ambulance from the Town of Pincher Creek, bringing the total number of vehicles donated, so far, to four.
City growth impacts animals
While the City’s recently released “Environment and Historic Resources Report” suggests Lethbridge does well overall in maintaining good air quality, clean water and in disposing of waste efficiently, there are significant pressures on bio-diversity and healthy habitats for animals due to ongoing growth and development.
According to the report, riparian areas and natural grasslands have been particularly impacted, with the report stating, “It is rare to find undisturbed native grasslands in Lethbridge.”
The report says it is important for the remaining “patches” to be preserved.
“Natural grasslands are rapidly declining,” the report reads, “and there need to be processes put into place so that the remaining areas are preserved.”
With the riparian areas, the report studied Pavan Park, Alexander Wilderness Park, Peenaquim Park, east of Elizabeth Hall wetlands, Indian Battle Park, Botterill Bottom Park, Bull Trail Park, Lethbridge Country Club, Island Site, Six Mile Coulee, North Paradise Canyon Golf Course, South Paradise Canyon Golf Course, Popson Park and Cottonwood Park.
Of these areas, only Six Mile Coulee is ranked as “healthy,” with little to no impairment to riparian functions in the eco-system. North Paradise Canyon Golf Course, South Paradise Canyon Golf Course, Lethbridge Country Club and the Helen Schuler Nature Centre are all ranked as “Unhealthy,” with severe impairments to riparian function due to management or natural causes. The rest of the areas studied fall somewhere in between, ranked as “Healthy, But with Problems.”
Food bank demographics detailed
Food Banks Canada released its hunger count for 2018 to show the public the need for hunger support in communities across Canada, as well as the types of clients they serve.
Last year, more than 1.1 million visits to food banks across the nation were used to feed hungry families, individuals and youth who are struggling to make ends meet. Lethbridge’s highest demographics for clients they serve include the single individual and children under the age of 18.
“We have a few of our categories that is quite a bit higher than the Canadian and Alberta average. Single individuals and one out of three single adults live in poverty and we are really trying to focus on that because those are the people that are being left behind,” says Neil Heaton, operations manager for Lethbridge Food Bank.
“Based on our numbers this year, 40 per cent of our clients are children under the age of 18 and a lot of them are from single-parent families and the most important thing is having a healthy meal, it is a huge issue to try and support them.”
The highest demographic locally, provincially and nationally were to people who seek out social assistance or disability support.
A Lethbridge man arrested last year after shots were fired at a westside home is preparing to stand trial on several charges, including attempted murder.
Robert John Sheppard and his fourth lawyer, Andre Ouellette of Calgary, attended Lethbridge provincial court last Tuesday where Ouellette said they may be able to set a trial date on the next court appearance Feb. 15.
Sheppard pleaded not guilty last August and elected to be tried by a provincial court judge. The matter has had to be adjourned several times since then, however, following repeated changes of counsel. Sheppard pleaded not guilty last August and elected to be tried by a provincial court judge. The matter has had to be adjourned several times since then, however, following repeated changes of counsel.
Price of death rising
The price of death will be on the rise in Lethbridge over the next four years after city council voted unanimously during its most recent public meeting to increase cemetery fees.
The cost of a single-depth plot without a continuous foundation will be $1,800 in 2019 and will increase to $1,900 in 2020 and then $2,000 in 2021 and 2022. The cost of a single-depth plot with a continuous foundation will be $2,050 in 2019, rising to $2,150 by 2020 and then to $2,250 in 2021/22.
And the deeper you go the more expensive it gets.
A double-depth plot without foundation will cost you $2,200 in 2019 rising to $2,350 by 2021/22. A double-depth plot with a continuous foundation will cost you $2,450 in 2019 before rising to $2,600 in 2021 and 2022.
Cremation plots are cheaper. Lethbridge residents will pay $770 for a single-depth cremation plot in 2019, with prices rising to $825 by 2021/22. Double-depth plots will cost $1,350 in 2019, rising to $1,450 by 2021/22.
However, if you want a roof overhead in your final resting place after cremation, Columbarium niches in the smaller size on lower levels will start at $2,270 in 2019 and prices go up from there, literally. The higher you go in the Columbarium, the more expensive it gets. Larger sizes in the higher levels will cost $3,585 in 2019 and will increase to $3,840 in 2021/22.
A Lethbridge man who says he has been addicted to drugs for at least 10 years, was sent to jail for several months after he was caught with drugs and stolen property.
Cory Bruce Hagan pleaded guilty Monday in Lethbridge provincial court to single counts of drug possession and theft under $5,000, and two counts of possession of stolen property under $5,000. He had also pleaded guilty last November to one count of drug possession for the purpose of trafficking. He was sentenced on all charges to six months in jail, prohibited for life from possessing weapons, and ordered to submit a sample of his DNA for the National DNA Databank.
Court was told that on Dec. 17, 2017 police were called to a drug overdose at a city hotel. When they arrived they found a man in “medical distress.” A woman who was also in the room told police that just before she called for help, she called two men who removed personal items belonging to the overdose victim.
Police watched surveillance footage from the hotel and determined Hagan had been in the room before police arrived but left with a large duffel bag. Police suspected the bag contained drugs that had been in the hotel room. Hagan then left the area in the vehicle owned by the man who overdosed.
Police discovered Hagan was staying at another hotel in Lethbridge, and the next day at about 1 p.m. they found the vehicle in the parking lot. They arrested Hagan as he was leaving a room with a bag they believed was the same bag Hagan had the day before. Police searched the vehicle, as well, and found on the back seat a lock box containing 28 grams of fentanyl.
BILD awards handed out
The Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) Lethbridge Region recently hosted its 20th annual Awards of Excellence in Housing and honoured the best industry partners with 32 awards including Custom Builder and Builder of the Year.
For the second year in a row, Galko Homes Master Builder took the award for Builder of the Year for their overall work of developing homes and in the community. Ramton Homes claimed the award of Custom Builder of the Year, KB Heating Plumbing & Air Conditioning took Best Trade, while the Best Supplier award went to Ply Gem Building Products.
“It is truly inspiring to see the level of quality, attention to detail and customer service and commitment BILD Lethbridge members have in designing, building and supplying the best products for Lethbridge citizens and region. The judges had a very difficult job,” said Bridget Mearns, executive officer of BILD Lethbridge.