Medicine Hat Minute: Strong Towns, Bylaw Refresh, and Ambitious Population Target
Medicine Hat Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Medicine Hat politics
This Week In Medicine Hat:
This morning, at 10:00 am, there will be a meeting of the Emergency Advisory Committee. There is one lone item on the agenda - the 2023 Emergency Preparedness Plan.
- The City is looking to refresh its Land Use Bylaw. The current bylaw was drafted in 2013 and has been through a few revisions since then. According to the City, a new Bylaw is needed to align with long-range planning objectives, create zoning that better fits with community priorities and standards, and has clearer definitions. A public engagement process is being launched, but right now, the City is promising to answer questions about the project. Residents can submit questions - or post an idea - online.
- Medicine Hat is the only Canadian city chosen to participate in the inaugural Strong Towns Community Action Lab (CAL). The two-year project is designed to introduce Strong Towns ideas of good city planning, fiscal sustainability, and overall community wealth. Residents are invited to take an initial online survey to help get the program started.
Last Week In Medicine Hat:
At the annual State of the City address, Mayor Linnsie Clark said Medicine Hat is aiming to grow its population to 110,000 by 2043. That represents a 75% increase from the latest census, which counted 63,000 residents. Clark said that innovation, economic evolution, community wellness, and resilience and sustainability are some of Council’s priorities as part of the growth plan. The Medicine Hat & District Chamber of Commerce said that the city’s recent acceptance into the Province’s Rural Renewal Stream program will play a key role in the Hat’s growth.
- The HAT Smart home incentive program has undergone changes to allow more residents to take advantage of its benefits. The program promotes energy conservation by offering incentives for upgrades such as window replacement and solar panel installation. To qualify for a rebate, homeowners must complete an EnerGuide home report - this year, only $200 of the $450 cost can be claimed through the HAT Smart program, freeing up more money for more participants. The remaining funds can be claimed via federal Greener Homes grants so that applicants are not out of pocket. Furnaces and air conditioners have been removed from the program as the cost of the report to claim the rebate is more than the actual rebate, but they have been moved to the Scratch and Win program.
- Talks with a potential buyer for the Monarch Theatre fell through last year, but a more advanced request for proposals has yielded three qualified submissions. Council heard that negotiations could soon be taking place as the City is in the process of reviewing the proposals. Councillors expressed a desire to see a community group or private sector buyer take over the theatre to keep it active in the downtown area without adding burden to the municipality.
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