Medicine Hat Minute: Frustrated Residents, Utility Relief, and the Recreation Master Plan
Medicine Hat Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Medicine Hat politics
This Week In Medicine Hat:
There will be a meeting of City Council tomorrow afternoon. As usual, the meeting begins with a closed session at 3:45 pm, before opening up to the public at 6:30 pm. During the public session, Council will discuss the Facilities for the Future Final Report, as well as a Cost Pressure Relief Program and utility rates (more on all of these items below!). Also on the agenda are recommendations for the 2023 Community Spirit Awards for Council consideration, and the appointment of external auditors. The Energy, Land and Environment Committee will meet on Thursday at 4:30 pm. No agenda is available for this meeting yet.
- Starting this evening, the underpass connecting South Railway SE and North Railway SE will be closed from 11:00 pm to 6:00 am. The City says the walkway is not being used as intended, and people can use the sidewalk along First Street SE as an alternate route.
- Registration is open for the Medicine Hat event on the Can’t Stop Alberta Tour. On Tuesday, September 12th, the Common Sense Medicine Hat team will be joining the Alberta Institute for a fun evening at the Kinplex Arena Social Room. We’ll be discussing some important, topical issues in provincial and municipal politics. You can RSVP by clicking here, and view the list of other events online. Hope to see you there!
Last Week In Medicine Hat:
About 400 Hatters gathered to demand action from the City with regard to skyrocketing utility bills. Mayor Linnsie Clark and Councillors Darren Hirsch, Cassi Hider, and Andy McGrogan were in attendance, and residents lined up for their turn to share how the current utility rates are hurting them. “The best rate possible without compromising utility revenues is a win-win for all in the City of Medicine Hat and the surrounding area,” said the organizer of the event. A video recording of the meeting can be viewed online.
- Speaking of utility rates, Council held two special meetings on the subject. The first meeting was brief, and was intended to bump up debate on the issue to an earlier meeting than had originally been scheduled. In July, Administration was tasked with providing options for utility relief by the end of the year. But, owing to rising frustrations from Hatters, Council asked for those options to be presented at the September 5th meeting. The second meeting was a closed session to discuss the actual relief measures. This week, those relief measures will be discussed again (see above).
- Council received the final Facilities For The Future report - a Parks and Recreation Master Plan to transform the city’s recreation landscape. The Plan recommended that the City build a new large community recreation facility in the south end and a two-rink arena with an attached curling club in an yet-to-be-determined location. The Crestwood Recreation Centre, the two YMCA facilities, and the Moose and Hockey Hounds arenas would be demolished. The rationale is that current facilities overlap and are competing with one another for users. Several facilities in the Hat are more than 50 years old and, according to Administration, are nearing the end of their lifespan, costing the City an estimated $50 million over the next 10 years to maintain. If the City proceeds with the plan, the price tag comes in at between $160 and $210 million.
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