Medicine Hat Minute: Car Thefts, Building Sale, and a New Substation Application
Medicine Hat Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Medicine Hat politics
This Week In Medicine Hat:
There will be a meeting of the Administrative and Legislative Review Committee on Tuesday at 4:00 pm. No agenda is available for this meeting. The Energy, Land and Environment Committee will meet on Thursday at 4:00 pm. No agenda is available for this meeting yet either.
- Auto thefts are on the decline in Medicine Hat, with numbers dropping from 144 to 119 last year, reflecting a 17% decrease. So far this year, 12 vehicles have been reported stolen, primarily attributed to opportunistic crimes where vehicles are left running or keys are left inside. Medicine Hat is bucking the Canadian trend of increased auto thefts - one vehicle was stolen every five minutes across Canada last year.
- The High School Art Show at Medicine Hat College's One-on-One Gallery is providing high school students with an opportunity to showcase their art professionally - and for the public to view it - until February 22nd. Art teachers from local high schools have selected over 80 pieces for the exhibition. A public reception on Thursday at 7:00 pm will celebrate the students, and faculty will award prizes, including gift certificates to the MHC Bookstore, to the first, second, and third place winners, along with two honourable mentions.
Last Week In Medicine Hat:
Cypress-Medicine Hat MLA Justin Wright has joined Alberta's new Drought Advisory Committee, noting the significant impact drought conditions have on residents in his constituency. Highlighting the challenges faced in recent years due to increasingly severe droughts, Wright emphasized the need for proactive discussions on water conservation to support industries, municipalities, and the agriculture sector. With Alberta experiencing below-average winter snowpack, record-low river levels, and reservoirs below capacity, Environment Minister Rebecca Schulz is collaborating with municipalities to develop a water shortage plan and review water licenses.
- City Council voted to sell the old food bank building at 532 South Railway St. for half the price it was acquired for in 2020. Administration has been authorized to sell the property "as is, where is" at a recommended list price of $249,900, representing a significant loss from the $500,000 purchase in 2020. The decision faced opposition from Councillor Robert Dumanowski, who advocated for retaining the property due to its potential value and suggested holding off on the sale despite annual carrying costs. However, Administration noted the lack of community interest and recommended selling the building in its current condition, anticipating demolition by the buyer. Councillor Shila Sharps supported the sale to avoid spending a substantial amount on bringing the building up to code. Only a government could lose 50% on a property bought in the middle of the pandemic downturn. Based on this report, it looks like the City bought it based on a valuation done without even inspecting the property, only to find out later that hazardous materials abatement would be required.
- The City's power company outlined plans to reapply in the fall to construct a new substation in south Medicine Hat, following the denial of a similar application by the Alberta Utilities Commission last summer. The City is seeking a suitable location for the substation to enhance power delivery capacity to the south end of Medicine Hat. The previous application faced objections from county residents, leading to a rejection by the Commission panel, citing concerns about the chosen site's impact on properties and the need for exploring alternative locations. There will be a public feedback process ongoing until July, with an application anticipated in early fall and potential construction in spring 2026 if approved.
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