Medicine Hat Minute: Development Application, City Debt, and Needle Deposit Boxes
Medicine Hat Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Medicine Hat politics
This Week In Medicine Hat:
There are two meetings scheduled for this evening at the same time - a City Council Organizational Meeting and a regular meeting of City Council are both listed as taking place at 6:30 pm. The agenda for the Organizational Meeting involves the appointments of City Council Members to City of Medicine Hat Standing/Special Committees, External Boards, and Quasi Judicial Tribunals.
- The regular meeting of City Council will include a Public Hearing regarding the redevelopment of a property on 6 Avenue. (See below for more information!). Council will also discuss options for an interim electric retail rate offering.
- Winterization and seasonal closure of park washrooms is underway as the City prepares for the coming cold. Several washrooms will remain open throughout the winter months, including the facilities at Police Point Park, Toboggan Hill, Southview Community Park, and Echo Dale Regional Park. Portable toilets will be installed at Strathcona Island Park once the weather gets cold, so as to avoid freezing lines.
Last Week In Medicine Hat:
The City’s debt is now $451 million. While that figure has slightly decreased, the ratio of debt to the provincially mandated cap shrunk significantly. The City has a self-imposed debt limit debt of 65 to 70% of the Province’s cap, which is set at twice the City’s annual revenue. By the end of this year, the debt level will be only 38%, down from 44% last year, primarily because major increases in sales from the City-owned utility significantly raised the debt capacity. Medicine Hat paid $41.7 million in principal and interest payments in 2022.
- Another application for a development permit to demolish the home at 1123 6 Avenue SE in order to build a larger luxury residence has been filed. A similar request was defeated by a tied Council vote last year, citing concerns about slope stability in the area. The resubmitted application includes conditions to maintain stability and drainage and requires a new geotechnical survey certification by the developer. Neighbours are once again expressing concerns about potential disruptions to the hillside and older homes, and are planning to present at the public hearing today.
- The City's Parks Department said there are plans to install needle deposit boxes in two downtown parks, Batus Park and Veterans Memorial Riverside Park. Apparently, City staff often find them in discreet places like flower beds or secluded areas. To address this concern, the department will provide sharps boxes, similar to those in washrooms at Strathcona Island Park, to make it more convenient for proper needle disposal. The city is also working to improve lighting in Riverside Park and coordinate efforts with the police to reduce drug activity downtown. Additionally, permanent maps of the downtown area will soon be posted to assist pedestrians with navigation and direct them to public amenities like washrooms.
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