Medicine Hat Minute: Potato Production, Town Halls, and an Interim Electricity Rate
Medicine Hat Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Medicine Hat politics
This Week In Medicine Hat:
There will be a Public Services Committee meeting this afternoon at 4:30 pm. The Committee will discuss new lease agreements with the Medicine Hat Golf and Country Club and the Connaught Golf Club. There will also be an in-camera (secret) discussion, but there is no indication of what this is about.
- There will also be a Council Committee of the Whole meeting this evening at 6:30 pm. The sole agenda item is the 2024 Budget Update. Notably, the Medicine Hat Public Library is requesting a 17% increase in funding for 2024, bringing their funding ask to a total of $2,627,106.
- There are several haunted houses around the City if you’re looking for some Halloween fun this weekend. The Silver Buckle Haunted House, in its 25th year, has expanded, and the Bounce of Fun Haunted House features a brand new 60-foot haunted mine shaft, promising cave-ins, dynamite explosions, and other spooky surprises. Redcliff offers two haunted houses, with The Haunted Greenhouse introducing a swamp theme and The Glass House Haunting focusing on family-friendly scares. Each house has unique themes and quirks, but one thing is certain - be prepared to scream when you visit. Hours and locations can be viewed online.
Last Week In Medicine Hat:
Premier and MLA for Brooks-Medicine Hat Danielle Smith attended the Medicine Hat Chamber's Leadership Breakfast and spoke about the potential for establishing two new potato processing plants in the "agri-food" corridor along Highway 3. The Province is spearheading efforts to assess water availability in municipalities along the corridor and major irrigation projects are planned to support agri-food processing. Smith also said her government will expedite Highway 3 improvements. “Communities like Medicine Hat aren’t just participating in the rural Alberta Advantage - we’re at the forefront of it,” she said.
- Council unanimously approved an interim electricity rate, effective November 1st. The decision followed a nearly three-hour public hearing that discussed the pros and cons of implementing the interim rate while a more extensive rate-setting review takes place. The Managing Director of Energy highlighted customer concerns, including limited choices and sudden price increases. The newly approved rate will be based on October's fixed annual rate, and there will be a larger business review of the power plant next year.
- During a town hall meeting, Mayor Linnsie Clark and some members of Council addressed concerns from the business community. Issues such as housing, labour shortages, and the condition of commercial spaces were raised. While vacant properties were discussed, not all Council members believed that punitive measures on landlords were the solution. The community also expressed concerns about mental health, drug issues, and homelessness in the downtown area. Council has faced criticism over utility rates in recent months, but business owners said they appreciated the opportunity to engage and hoped for continued open communication. Premier Danielle Smith and MLA Justin Wright also engaged in a town hall meeting at Medicine Hat Public Library, where they addressed various community concerns. Wright focused on economic growth, the workforce, and promoting local achievements, while Smith discussed utility cost controversies and the importance of addressing power grid stability.
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