A number of City of Lethbridge departments presented their future wish lists to members of city council on Wednesday at the Economic Standing Policy Committee meeting.
City staff pitched potential projects for the 2022-31 Capital Improvement Program, with CIP budget deliberations set for May 10-14, 2021.
While many of the proposals won’t make the cut, they do highlight future priorities identified within the city.
Lethbridge Fire and EMS Chief Marc Rathwell explained the need to relocate Fire Station 3 in South Lethbridge; the building was constructed in 1963, and Rathwell says the city has outgrown the station in the nearly 60 years it’s been in service.
Building a new station to replace the current facility would also relieve pressure on Station 1.
“Can you [explain] relieving pressure from Station 1,” Coun. Jeff Carlson asked Rathwell on Wednesday. “Did we not build that big enough?”
“At the time, yes,” Rathwell answered, “but over time, we’ve filled it up, and we’ve had to deal with many more issues as we’ve gone along.”
According to Lethbridge Fire and EMS, Station 3 is also not strategically located to mitigate the current risks in South Lethbridge, with the city significantly growing since the small facility was constructed.
The estimated cost to relocate Station 3 to a new building is estimated at more than $27 million. Rathwell says the need for a new station was presented in the previous CIP cycle but was postponed.
Another project not deemed a high priority in prior CIP deliberations was a new twin ice arena, which would eventually replace the aging Civic Ice Centre.
The city’s recreation and culture general manager Robin Harper says the need for more available ice in Lethbridge has been apparent for quite some time.
“We’ve been tracking the usage of the arenas, and what we have found is that prime-time usage — which is roughly between 4 p.m. and 10-11 p.m. and weekends — the usage is anywhere between 90 and 95 per cent,” Harper said. “There really is a shortage of ice in those prime times.”
The price tag for a new arena with a pair of ice surfaces — including the demolition of the civic facility — is pegged at about $38.6 million. Harper’s department is also proposing a $5.8 million renovation to the Henderson Ice Centre as well as a $530,000 renovation for the Fritz Sick Pool and a pair of planning studies.
The list of pitches made so far is available on the city’s website. More proposals will be made in the next two weeks before CIP budget deliberations begin on May 10.