Lethbridge Growth Management Review

Apparently the City of Lethbridge requested public comments regarding their Growth Management review. I missed it, so I sent the following letter to Tom Wickersham, who was acting mayor at the time.

Dear Mr. Wickersham,
I apologise for the lateness of me message. I heard about the request for comments on the Growth Management Review only yesterday in the Lethbridge Herald. I check the city’s website frequently and had failed to notice any requests posted there. I am not sure if my comments will still be regarded given the timeframe, but I think they are still valid.
I welcome manageable growth. I am not opposed to growth in Lethbridge per se, but I do feel, it should not be unmanageable as we have seen in other Alberta centres.
That being said, I also think as stewards of the city’s resources (financial and physical), city council is ultimately responsible for judicious use of these resources. As such, I think it behooves city council to seriously consider the current trend of having the bulk of development being low density, single-family homes.
Lethbridge has one of the lowest high-density housing start rates among the province’s cities.
This is unfortunate. The City has plenty of opportunity to address many of the growing concerns that come with urban sprawl. By encouraging higher density developments, all of the following concerns can be addressed:

  • Lower off-site levies
  • Lower infrastructure costs
  • Increased use of transit (leading to reduced cost to run transit)
  • Decrease in traffic
  • Revitilisation of downtown
  • Lower crime
  • Improved emergency response times (again, leading to lower operating costs)
  • Increased use of public facilities (arts, library, etc)
  • Decreased air pollution

The list, frankly, goes on.
Obviously, Lethbridge isn’t in a position where it needs to build 30-storey residential and office towers downtown. Nevertheless, it is apparent that if the City does not address the above mentioned trend soon, we will find ourselves in the midst of many problems that will be very difficult to eliminate.
One of the things I have loved about city councils (and city administration) past and present is their foresight in managing growth. I honestly hope Council will continue to uphold this expectation I, and many other fellow Lethbridgians, have for them.

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By Kim Siever

Kim Siever is an independent queer journalist based in Lethbridge, Alberta. He writes daily news articles, focusing on politics and labour.

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