Medicine Hat Minute: Budget Amendments, Skate Donations, and the Water Treatment Facility
Medicine Hat Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Medicine Hat politics
This Week In Medicine Hat:
The Public Services Committee will meet today at 3:45 pm. The Committee will hear from the Managing Director regarding the hiring of a Community Inclusion Coordinator, engagement activities for the arts, the Heritage and Entertainment Master Plan, and the City’s skating rinks.
- The Corporate Services Committee will meet on Thursday at 4:00 pm. No agenda is available for this meeting yet.
- A national charity, Ever Active Schools, is seeking skate donations from the community to support newcomers to Canada in learning to skate. The charity plans to host three learn-to-skate sessions in March at the Redcliff Arena for approximately 50 newcomers, and they are aiming to collect enough skates for all attendees, both children and adults. Ever Active Schools, already operating similar programs in Edmonton and Calgary, has partnered with Saamis Immigration for this initiative. Donations can be made at the Medicine Hat Rattlers women’s hockey game on Saturday or dropped off at Saamis Immigration on 3rd Street.
Last Week In Medicine Hat:
Council reaffirmed its decision to provide two years of funding for the Beat the Heat festival organized by the Medicine Hat Skateboard Association. In December, Council had initially approved two grants totaling $19,000 each for the Skateboard Association for the years 2024 and 2025. City staff suggested converting the funding into a one-year grant to align with Canada Day funding for other initiatives, allowing more flexibility for various options. However, Councilor Ramona Robins advocated for sticking to the original plan, emphasizing the importance of maintaining commitments made in December to support large festivals and provide sustainable funding.
- The construction of Medicine Hat's long-planned water treatment facility is facing additional costs of $3.85 million, according to information heard by Council at Monday’s meeting. Construction delays, partly due to awaiting provincial construction approval, contributed to the increased cost. Some Council members argued that the Province should be responsible for the additional expenses, given that the plant is being built to meet provincial water treatment standards. Despite suggestions to halt construction until a new costing agreement could be negotiated, Council passed a motion, with an 8-1 vote, to use Infrastructure Reserve Funds to complete the project.
- Council allocated an additional $263,000 to the budget for running Co-op Place and the Esplanade. Administration argued that, despite the additional monies, the overall budget is still more cost-effective than hiring a private-sector contractor to manage the venues. The City took over operations of Co-op Place in 2020 after seeing increasing shortfalls, and now, the financial results for the 2022-23 operating season still show a shortfall of nearly $4 million - though $444,000 less than the 2019 operating year when adjusted for inflation. Councillor Andy McGrogan expressed concerns about the City getting into business, but the majority of Council supported the budget amendment.
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