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Priorities

 

I consider my positions on the topics facing our community as solution oriented, and not politically partisan. I will address the issues and problems in our community proactively, individually, and responsibly. It is absolutely important to me that I attend to each issue with an approach informed by expert opinion and community feedback.

I’m listening to the experts. I’m Listening to Lethbridge.

Priorities

 

I consider my positions on the topics facing our community as solution oriented, and not politically partisan. I will address the issues and problems in our community proactively, individually, and responsibly. It is absolutely important to me that I attend to each issue with an approach informed by expert opinion and community feedback.

I’m listening to the experts. I’m Listening to Lethbridge.

Community Safety

My first and foremost concern is safety in our city. 

Statistics Canada has revealed that Lethbrige has the highest Crime Severity Index rating in our country. We’re ranked 138.7, which is 35 points higher than our CSI rating only five years ago, and I regard this rise in crime as absolutely unacceptable. 

Restoring the Lethbridge Police Services budget that was unwisely cut in 2020 is the key to ensuring our local police are adequately staffed, equipped, and trained to do their difficult and often dangerous work. I will advocate to restore these resources, and implement the strategies being developed by the LPS like youth engagement, new patrol deployments, and stronger responses to prolific offenders and crime hot spots like our downtown core. 

As your Mayor I will not turn a blind eye while crime rises and our community suffers. 

I stand for law and order, and safety in Lethbridge is my number one priority.

Recruiting and Retaining Doctors

Lethbridge has seen a steep drop in our number of practicing physicians. We were already spread thin prior to the Covid-19 pandemic when, according to the Chinook Primary Care network, there were already about 30,000 people in Alberta’s South Health Zone without a family doctor. And this figure has only been made worse by the pandemic, and recent physician departures and retirements.

Community health is addressed at the provincial level, but my approach at our municipal level will be made of two tactics. First, I will focus on making Lethbridge a more desirable city for physicians to relocate to. By focusing on my other platform issues, like revitalizing our downtown core, supporting our local economy, and reducing crime in our city, I will make Lethbridge a better place to live, work, and raise a family. 

Second, I will ensure this problem receives dedicated and ongoing attention by a specially developed Stakeholder Committee including local physicians, engaged community members, medical students, and other health and economic professionals. This team will produce and oversee ongoing attraction and retention strategies for physicians and healthcare workers in our community in collaboration with our provincial government. 

As your Mayor I will work with this committee to recruit and retain doctors in our community.

Responsible Leadership

Now more than ever, it is so important to have responsible, involved, and transparent leadership. I make decisions by collecting information, opinions, and research. I talk to my team members and experts in their fields. And most importantly, I listen to you - the people of Lethbridge.

To anyone who knows me, they know I am involved and responsive to our community. I have been a member of more than a dozen local clubs, councils, boards, and commissions including the Lethbridge Police Commission, the Economic Standing Policy Committee, and the Lethbridge Housing Authority to name only a few. We need a leader that is involved in the community, who will take your opinions seriously, and who will consider the wants vs needs for our city. 

As your Mayor, I will make sure you are informed about the issues facing our community and what we’re doing about them. And my decisions will always be made with your feedback in mind. 

We may not always agree, but you will always be heard. After all, it’s OUR city. 

Third Bridge

Our third bridge is long overdue. The project has been in the planning stages for years, and it's time we stop talking about doing it, and just do it. I’ve said before when dealing with our municipal issues it comes down to needs vs wants, and with our growing population the third bridge is a Need.

Lethbridge only has two major roadways crossing the Old Man River and these two thoroughfares are not enough for our daily commuters. These get seriously congested during morning and evening traffic, but traffic comes almost to a stop when there’s construction or a vehicle collision. A 10 minute commute becomes 30. But more than just the strain on our commuters, this is about our emergency services. For an ambulance that doesn’t have seconds to spare, minutes are too long. 

Our third bridge is about more than opening an artery from our developing West side to our lucrative South, it’s about getting firefighters to a burning building in time to stop thousands of dollars in damages. It’s about getting police to a crime scene in time to prevent it from escalating. But more than anything else, it’s about getting our ambulances to the hospital in time to save a life.

As your Mayor, I have a plan to build Lethbridge’s much needed third bridge, and I will collaborate with our Provincial and Federal governments and other stakeholders to get this job done.

Transit

Our Lethbridge Transit system is just not sustainable in its current form. It’s our third largest tax supported service, next to our emergency services like the LPS and our Lethbridge Fire Department, and we need a long term plan to manage it.  

I believe transit is essential to our community. Our current fleet of buses is aging and costly to maintain and without a long term plan, the future of Transit in Lethbridge will depend on short-term solutions like tax hikes or service cuts to meet budget demands. This isn't fair to our taxpayers or our transit users who rely on this essential service.

While our fleet of buses are approaching the end of their service lives, I will phase in a more varied and cost effective transit fleet to replace them. I want to build an environmentally and financially sustainable transit solution that could involve electric and hybrid vehicles, smaller buses for off-peak routes and times, and other solutions developed by partnering with other levels of government, private enterprises, and other stakeholders. 

As your Mayor I will work to improve the quality of our Transit system and its services, while reducing its impact on our environment and municipal budget. 

Economy & Downtown Revitalization

The Lethbridge economy is one of my top priorities moving forward. It will determine the state of our streets, the quality of our lives, and so much more. In the wake of Covid-19, and even before this pandemic, our local economy has been struggling. 

First and foremost I will reduce red tape to attract new business. Shorter wait times, expedient permitting procedures, and more will contribute to making Lethbridge a desirable location for local entrepreneurs and new business branches alike. I will continue plans on the construction of Lethbridge’s third bridge, as I discussed earlier, to improve city navigation and infrastructure, opening a gate from our developing West Side to our South Side. I will support and promote our Agri-Food Trade & Convention Centre, and strive to revitalize our Downtown core. 

I believe the key to restoring our downtown is to restore the safety of our community, support our local economy, efficiently manage municipal infrastructure and resources, and continue to advocate for housing for our homeless residents and treatment and recovery options for those struggling with addiction. 

As your Mayor I will support local business and focus on restoring our struggling economy and Downtown core. 

Community Supports

Hand in hand with community safety is how we structure supports and resources in our community. Safety for the front line staff and the individuals in need must be balanced better. Locations of services should be where the need exists not just where there is an empty building. Consideration has to be given to those in need and the impact of where / when services are provided, better structured care will lead to a safer community.

Environmental Stewardship

No matter what your opinion on issues like global warming I think we can all agree that reducing our footprint on our City can only be a good thing. Working with provincial and federal programs, grants and incentives to cost effectively improve our community and quality of life is something I have done in the past and will continue to do in the future.

Fiscal Responsibility

I have said before that Lethbridge does not have a revenue problem, we have an expense problem. We’re spending a lot of money inefficiently or on projects that simply aren’t necessary at this time, especially as we come out of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

I appreciate the value of arts, entertainment, recreation, and leisure. These things are important to each of us, and crucial in their own rights, but these things cannot come at the expense of projects and infrastructure that are essential to the functioning of our city. 

In the same way you would not buy a new television, until you had paid those necessary bills like utilities, rent or mortgage payments, and groceries, so the City of Lethbridge should not spend money on novelty and unnecessary projects until we have settled our essential expenses. So far these new projects, and our inefficient spending, has come at the expense of our taxpayers, and Lethbridge residents are paying some of the highest rates of property taxes in Alberta.

I want better for the people of Lethbridge. I will focus on developing efficiencies to lower taxes, implement the KPMG Review recommendations, and explore other new opportunities to save the taxpayer money. In this way, we can reduce municipal spending and therefore our taxes, and potentially use some of the money saved from these efficiencies to support our wants like arts, entertainment, recreation, and leisure. 

As your Mayor I will be fiscally responsible and prioritize needs over wants. 

Please Donate to Blaine Hyggen for Mayor

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