With a Digital Transformation Master Plan ready by this fall and a possible budget proposal put in place within a year for a new municipally-owned fibre optics backbone, the City of Lethbridge could be closer than ever to having its own Open Access Network and becoming its own internet provider.
The need for a forward-looking digital strategy is clear, the Community Issues Committee was told by City of Lethbridge general manager for Information Technology Trevor Butler during Monday’s meeting, as the city is lagging behind the national average for both access to internet connectivity and network speed.
Butler predicted if the City does not do something to address this gap it could start to have an impact in the coming years on what businesses might want to locate here. It could also fall afoul, Butler explained, of the CRTC ruling in 2016 which said access to a certain level of internet is a basic right of every citizen across the country.
“That CRTC mandate formally kicks in 2021,” Butler stated. “That decision sets the minimum thresholds for both municipalities who may have a desire to deliver that service and for the service providers — it provides direction for them as well. I believe that ruling provides a bit of an incentive of a target.”
Landfill surcharge in works
Businesses hauling materials to the Lethbridge landfill could be subject to a $50-per-tonne surcharge as of July 1 if their loads slated for disposal exceed 25 per cent in mandatory recyclables.
Mandatory recyclables for businesses hauling to the landfill now include cardboard, paper or wood, the City’s business waste reduction consultant Alex Singbell told members of the Community Issues Committee on Monday.
“The 25-per-cent threshold was set at a level designed to focus on loads that have a large amount of easily recyclable materials,” explained Singbell, “and at the same time to not be so low that we are penalizing businesses that are already doing most of the things we want them to do. Certain industries like the construction industry will tend to be either/or. So there will tend to be a very large amount or not any of those materials.”
Singbell said the City will bring on additional inspectors at the landfill to ensure compliance, but intends to phase in the surcharge gradually to allow haulers time to adjust.
“Inspections will begin on July 1, and then October 1 is when we will actually start issuing the surcharges themselves,” he said. “In between our inspector will give feedback to the drivers and the hauling companies, but we won’t be charging them anything during those three months of grace.”
Glacier launches parking website
Glacier National Park has rolled out a new online tool that aims to help visitors find places to park.
The Missoulian reported June 22 that the Montana park’s Recreation Access Display gives live updates on campgrounds, parking lots, car access restrictions and weather.
The website has a chart indicating whether each campground is open, closed or full. It also gives the times when the campgrounds filled the previous day.
It gives the same information for each of the eight parking lots.
Park public affairs assistant Kristine Abbey says the website is currently not optimized for computers, but it does work on mobile phones.
No charges laid in deer incident
The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) has concluded that a Lethbridge Police Service officer being investigated for repeatedly running over a gravely injured juvenile deer in order to “euthanize it” did not act in way which is criminal.
A video showing the incident went viral in January after it was released to the public, and about 100,000 people signed a petition calling for the LPS to fire the officer in question, and for the officer to face animal cruelty charges.
ASIRT legal counsel Greg Gudelot and the unit’s executive director Susan Hughson, who were in Lethbridge Wednesday to publicly release ASIRT’s findings, said the passionate public response to the incident in no way swayed the investigation as team members carefully weighed all the facts and came to an objective conclusion.
Gudelot said the officer met with ASIRT and clearly explained his reasoning as to why he chose not to use any of the three firearms he had access to at the time — he was trying to avoid creating a ricochet in a public street, either into the concrete pillar in the middle of the road or into nearby houses, Gudelot said.
Gudelot did admit, however, when questioned by reporters, that Fish and Wildlife officers would generally recommend the use of a firearm in this type of situation to quickly dispatch a wounded animal. “The use of a firearm is a preferred option, but that obviously depends on the ability to do that safely,” he said.
City passes 100,000
The City of Lethbridge can now boast six digits in its population figures, and can stake its claim to being the third-largest city in the province of Alberta once again.
City council broke out in spontaneous applause during Monday’s council meeting after City Clerk Bonnie Hilford certified that the 2019 municipal census results showed Lethbridge had comfortably cleared the 100K mark with an official total of 101,482 residents counted.
The occasion called for some level of celebration as City staff brought in big gold balloons and special cupcakes. Mayor Chris Spearman and Couns. Rob Miyashiro, Jeff Carlson, Mark Campbell, Joe Mauro, Belinda Crowson, Ryan Parker, Blaine Hyggen and Jeff Coffman also gathered for a group photo in the city hall foyer. Mayor Chris Spearman reflected on what it means to be a city of 100,000 plus, and what residents of the past and future might think about Lethbridge reaching this important milestone as a community.
Goats back in parks
After a successful pilot project last year in Cottonwood Park, the goats have returned to Lethbridge to help fight invasive species in local nature reserves.
“They are down in Alexander Wilderness Park targeting leafy spurge, wormwood, crested wheatgrass, and any other invasives they can get a hold of,” explains City of Lethbridge parks natural resource co-ordinator Jackie Cardinal. “They really like broadleaf, flowering plants, which is perfect because all the native plant life down here is typically grasses with a few phorbs (flowering plants), but not much. So they are really going to target the spurge and the leafier species which are not supposed to be here.”
The 200 to 500 goats provided by Magrath-based Creekside Goat Company will spend three weeks in June and July grazing at Alexander Wilderness Park and Indian Battle Park, and will come back for a three-week return engagement in August and September to clean off any patches which may grow back.
Boulets named parade marshals
This year’s Whoop-Up Days parade is going green.
But the floats won’t be in the form of electric cars.
Exhibition Park announced June 25 that the Boulet family will be this year’s honorary parade marshals — and that they are encouraging spectators and participants to wear their Green Shirt Day T-shirts to convert the parade route into a sea of green on Aug. 20.
“It’s an exceptional honour,” said Toby Boulet during a media event at Exhibition Park.
“We’re always amazed that someone wants to talk about Logan. The community of Lethbridge is an excellent community and we’re so proud to be part of it. We want to continue to give back. We’d go to Whoop-Up Days when Mariko was little, then Logan got old enough to go. We were Whoop-Up Days fanatics. It’s a big event. It’s a celebration of southern Alberta.”
U of L revises policy
The University of Lethbridge has revised its Sexual Violence Policy.
The U of L Board of Governors, officials said in a news release Wednesday, recently approved an updated Sexual Violence Policy that reinforces its intolerance of sexual violence and promotes a safe and supportive community for all who work, live and study at the university. The revised Sexual Violence Policy is the result of extensive review and community consultations, officials say.
“It sets out consistent procedures for complaints and investigations and, among other important changes, more explicitly emphasizes the university’s role in providing robust support for those who have experienced sexual violence,” the release states.