Thursday, March 23, 2023

City Council defers Nikka Yuka facility again, keeps pathways in CIP

Lethbridge City Council hasn’t made a decision yet on the future of a new community facility for Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden.

Council is looking at whether to remove some projects from the current Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) as a way to save money.

Colin Hirano with the Lethbridge and District Japanese Garden Society says there is a lot of value in this proposed project. “This would expand the capacity the garden would have. It would allow for a unique area for us to have displays to show off some of the history and symbolism of the garden as well as allowing us to expand the range of services that we provide to the community and to visitors as well.”

Councillors on Monday (Mar. 9) voted to defer the project for two more weeks to give officials with Nikka Yuko a chance to give a presentation. Hirano is hopeful that once Council hears it from them as to the importance of this community facility, they’ll vote to keep it in the CIP.

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“The focus of Alberta seems to be on tourism,” says Hirano. “Our view is the Japanese Garden is one of the leading tourist attractions in Lethbridge and improving on that can only help grow southern Alberta and Lethbridge.”

This is the second time Councillors approved deferring the Nikka Yuko project in the past month. On Monday, Council did vote to keep city pathway extensions in the current CIP.

A few weeks ago, Council voted to remove a planned expansion for the Southern Alberta Art Gallery (SAAG). That is no long in the current budget. The future of a downtown performing arts centre was pushed back to June for more discussion at that time.

Any projects removed, will have to reapply to get back in to future budget deliberations.

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