Medicine Hat Minute: Closed Meetings, Downtown Patrol, and Transit Route Extensions
Medicine Hat Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Medicine Hat politics
This Week In Medicine Hat:
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This afternoon, there will be a regular meeting of City Council. The meeting will begin with a closed session at 3:45 pm to discuss an item entitled Process Flowchart for Councillor Contact Form, as well as an Energy Matter Letter of Request. Once the meeting opens up to the public at 6:30 pm, Council will discuss the Community Vibrancy Grant Distribution, Appointments of Public Members to Advisory Boards and Commissions, and Corporate Strategic Objectives. Council will also review the structure of its closed meetings, after Councillor Sheila Sharps introduced the topic at a previous meeting. She brought forward the concern that pre-scheduling Closed Meetings may potentially create an opportunity for items to be added to a Closed Council agenda unnecessarily. Councillor Ramona Robins will bring forward two Notices of Motion, one that would direct Administration to prepare a Downtown Enhancement Grant Program that would provide funding for Downtown businesses for extra security and cleaning measures, as well as a Capital Project Grant Program for nonprofit agencies.
- The City and its tourism services provider are on the verge of signing a new long-term contract to continue working together. Following a successful request for proposals process in the fall, which garnered four responses, the current provider (the Destination Marketing Organization) emerged as the strongest candidate. The impending contract is expected to span an initial five-year term, with provisions for a potential extension for an additional five years.
Last Week In Medicine Hat:
The City announced that, starting January 4th, the Medicine Hat transit system will extend the hours on Route 21, offering services on weekday evenings and Sundays. This adjustment aims to ensure reliable hospital access and reduce demand on MHTnow, which will no longer serve Route 21 bus stops. However, MHTnow will continue to provide services at all other central zone locations. Route 21 will operate on weekdays from 6:45 am to 10:45 pm and on Sundays from 8:15 am to 7:15 pm. Additionally, Route 56 will maintain expanded hours after a successful pilot, offering morning services and running from 6:30 am to 6:30 pm, connecting Southlands Boulevard, Masterpiece Lodge, Medicine Hat Mall, and the Walmart shopping area.
- The Public Services Committee received an update on the Community Well-Being Plan, which aims to address social challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. An 18-member advisory committee, representing City departments and community associations, has held six meetings to shape the Plan. The initiative also aims to identify factors impacting well-being, such as high inflation, and define roles for organizations and levels of government, with future public engagement strategies planned. City council has allocated $100,000 for the Plan's development as part of the 2023-24 budget, with the Plan expected to be presented to Council by the end of 2024.
- The Medicine Hat Police Service's downtown patrol unit has been bumped back up to three members. The unit, established in October 2020 for enhanced downtown presence, had temporarily downsized in January 2023 due to operational needs and manpower issues. The presence of the police unit has been beneficial for the business community, fostering quick responses and positive interactions in the downtown core. The reintroduction of three officers restores the downtown community to its previous level of service.
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