Medicine Hat Minute: Theatre Debut, Development Billboards, and Fair Entry Extended

Medicine Hat Minute: Theatre Debut, Development Billboards, and Fair Entry Extended


Medicine Hat Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Medicine Hat politics


This Week In Medicine Hat:

  • This afternoon, at 3:45 pm, there will be a meeting of the Public Services Committee. The Committee will receive a presentation from the Gas City Roller Derby Association, who are having issues growing their sport due to venue issues. The Association has laid out some ways they think Council can help, which include allowing them the use of Big Marble Go! Gym or an unused arena space, or by planning to include a hard surface field house space in the next rec center renovation or construction. The Committee will also hear an update on the Community Well-Being Plan as well as a Fire and Emergency Services Staffing Update.

  • The Monarch Theatre is preparing to open its doors for the first time in years, to show a documentary about the theatre itself, called ‘Your Cinema Needs You’. The film will run from December 28th to 30th. Tickets will not be sold at the door but are available online.

  • The Saamis Teepee will be repainted at a cost of more than $1 million. This will take place in April 2024, and there will be limited vehicle access during the upgrade. The money was already budgeted for in the 2023-2024 budget, but if someone can tell us why it costs that kind of money to paint the structure, please enlighten us!


Last Week In Medicine Hat:

  • The City has begun implementing billboards to advertise development permits or land-use changes at project sites, with the potential to expand the approach to major road projects. The initiative, aimed at enhancing public awareness and engagement, has been tested twice this fall and is part of a commitment made last fall to improve how residents are informed about zoning changes. Despite a $500 cost per billboard, it is seen as a potential resource-saving measure by reducing staff hours and addressing resident queries early on. The billboards include QR codes for additional information and feedback. Once again though, we can't help wondering how a single billboard costs $500?!?!

  • Administration recommended that Council sell the former food bank building at 532 South Railway St., acquired by the City for $500,000 in 2020. The proposal suggests selling the building with the assumption that the buyer will demolish it, considering its limited marketability due to various uses over the years. Despite being structurally fair, the building's mechanical systems were recently rated as poor, and an assessment in 2020 estimated a cost of $238,400 for hazardous materials abatement. With no formal offers resulting from periodic showings, staff recommends selling it "as is, where is" for a recommended price of $249,900.

  • Council decided to extend the City’s Fair Entry Relief program, which offers $1,200 in utility credits to low-income earners, into 2024. Despite allocating $2.3 million for the program in late 2022, aimed at assisting an estimated 6,000 individuals, only about 900 applicants participated. The unspent $1.2 million will now be utilized for the program extension. The initiative provides an average monthly credit of $100 on utility bills for single individuals earning less than $25,100 annually or couples earning about $31,100. The program will continue at $1,200, distributed throughout the year, aiming to support those at low-income levels who still require assistance. Administrative changes have also been approved, allowing qualified applicants to be enrolled for two consecutive years, reducing administrative burden and work for both applicants and staff.




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