Wednesday, October 20, 2021
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Lethbridge City Council revisiting CIP projects for possible savings

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City Council has decided to delay discussion about pulling three projects from its current Capital Improvement Plan (CIP).

On Monday (Feb. 24), Council discussed whether it should hold off for a few weeks instead. Three projects including city pathway expansions, a new multi-purpose facility for Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden, and a downtown performing arts centre were all deferred to future meetings.

Mayor Chris Spearman says funding is getting tighter from the province and that’s making things a lot more challenging. “If MSI funding continues to be reduced and money flowing to municipalities continues to be reduced, we are going to be making some difficult choices between tax increases and delaying projects”.

Council did however vote this week to discontinue funding for a proposed expansion of the Southern Alberta Art Gallery (SAAG). That’s because the scope of the original project, which was in the current CIP, has changed. SAAG will now have to reapply to get back into the future Capital Improvement Plan.

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City Council was actually supposed to vote on all four projects this week, but decided after some debate that three of the four will be deferred. The pathway expansions and Nikka Yuko facility were put off two weeks until Council’s next regular meeting on March 9th. The performing arts centre discussion was pushed off until June.

Mayor Spearman stated Monday the challenge going forward is as the finances of the province are under review, municipalities are not immune to that “and we have to respond. It’s really difficult to fully fund one project at the expense of others. We need to have a full and fair debate where all projects are given an equal opportunity. 

The Mayor also indicated Council may have to look at its entire CIP process as a whole.

Suzanne Lint with the Allied Arts Council says the concern is that if these projects are shelved, it’ll be very difficult to get them back into the CIP down the road. “We understand the constraints and challenges facing City Council, but we are also disappointed to see we may lose some really wonderful initiatives for the community long-term”.

Any project dropped from the current four-year CIP could be resubmitted for consideration in the next Capital Improvement Program.

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Patrick Siedlecki

Pat has been a mainstay in the CJOC News department from the time the station launched in 2007. He’s been in the position of News Director since then and has been anchoring daily news casts as well as reporting and working behind the scenes.

Community is important to him and keeping CJOC listeners and readers informed about what’s happening across southern Alberta and beyond.

Pat has been in radio broadcasting for the past 24 years, starting in Port Alberni on Vancouver Island in 1997 and then moving up island to Nanaimo for another few years before heading to Lethbridge in 2007.

Pat grew up in the small Saskatchewan farming town of Foam Lake. After high school, he went to Western Academy Broadcasting College (WABC) in Saskatoon prior to moving to the island.

Pat also spent several years broadcasting hockey in the BCHL as well as seven years as the radio voice of the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the WHL.

Pat has been working at Cornerstone Funeral Home in Lethbridge as a Certified Life Celebrant and Funeral Assistant since 2016.

News and sports have always been Pat’s passion from the time he was a teenager and he’s always been grateful to have had the opportunity to make that part of what’s been a fun and long radio career!

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