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County of Lethbridge Feb. 1 council briefs

Posted on February 8, 2024 by Sunny South News

By Heather Cameron
Sunny South News

The following are selected briefs from the County of Lethbridge Council meeting that took place on February 1.

Gem of the West Museum Society Donation Request

Jennifer Place from the County’s Corporate Services reported to Council that the County received a request for $2,000 from the Gem of the West Museum Society for their free family event being held on May 4, 2024. Place said that the intent of the event is to promote the museum to both municipal and rural communities. It will also signify the museum’s opening for the upcoming season, Place said, and they plan to showcase the work that they do in preserving the history of the area. Local and surrounding areas, Place said, will have different events and entertainment going on throughout the day. Place noted that when the Gem of the West Museum held the event last year, they had over 400 visitors throughout the day. Place said that in looking at current policy in regards to donations, the situation does appear eligible, as it is an event that is taking place within County boundaries and is being held for the enjoyment and benefit of the general public that is also hosted annually. That said, Place established that Administration’s recommendation is that Council provide a donation to Gem of the West Museum for $500, as the policy recommendation is for that amount. Councillor Sayers made the motion that Lethbridge County Council provide a donation to the Gem of the West Museum Society for their free family event in the amount of $500 as per policy 161. The motion was carried.

Farming Smarter 4-H Silent Auction Donation Request

Jennifer Place from the County of Lethbridge’s Corporate Services shared with Council that the County of Lethbridge received a donation request in the amount of $500 from Farming Smarter for their 4-H Silent Auction being held during the Farming Smarter Conference and Trade Show on February 14-15. Farming Smarter, Place said, is a registered Canadian charity that focuses on agricultural research within southern Alberta that helps crop producers with making decisions and around inputs and technology and management practices, and one of their signature events is a two-day annual conference held in Lethbridge, where they bring in knowledgeable speakers who provide valuable information to members, and they host a trade show that allows them to showcase businesses and network with other top producers in the area. 

The event, Place said, is going to be taking place on February 14-15 at the Sandman Signature Lethbridge Lodge. Place stated that over the past four years, the funds raised there have helped produce successful programs for 4-H members across southern Alberta. 

The recommendation, Place said, referring to that section of eligibility, speaks to an event taking place within the county boundaries, that is held for the benefit of the general public, as well as an event that is hosted on an annual basis, and recognizes a milestone. That said, Place recommended that County Council provide a donation to the Farming Smarter 4-H Silent Auction in the amount of $500 per policy 161. Place added that in their letter, Farming Smarter stated that any donors would be recognized at the event, so if Council did choose to donate, they would be recognized. A motion was made that Lethbridge County Council provide a donation to Farming Smarter for their silent auction in the amount of $500 as per policy 161. The motion was carried.

Town of Picture Butte – Health Professional Recruitment and Retention Committee Request

Cole Beck, Chief Administrative Officer for the County of Lethbridge, reported to Council that the Town of Picture Butte has invited a member of Council to participate in their Health Professional Recruitment and Retention Committee. The committee’s overall intent, Beck said, is to provide support from an area of recruiting, and retain medical service providers who serve to support county residents. Beck stated that there is a significant physician shortage worldwide, specifically in the region, and the shortage has been exacerbated by factors including COVID, retirements, and closures of other facilities. That said, Beck stated, the committee wanted to know if Council would consider appointing a representative from Council to join their committee. Councillor Van Essen commented that he would see some synergies, Councillor Hickey’s standing on the Green Acres Foundation and some of the work that they’ve done with Picture Butte, or proposed to do with Picture Butte, that there might be more alignment if Councillor Hickey was interested in sitting on that committee. Council briefly discussed the idea, came to agreement, and a motion was eventually made to appoint Councillor Hickey to the Town of Picture Butte’s Health Professional Recruitment and Retention Committee. The motion was carried.

Salvation Army Memorandum of Understanding

Administration presented a Memorandum of Understanding to Council that if approved, would allow Lethbridge County to partner with the Salvation Army and support first responders in long-term events. 

Administration stated that they thought it was a great opportunity to partner with Salvation Army and support local volunteer firefighters at the same time. This Memorandum of Understanding, Administration said, came to light as a result of a long-term fire event creating barriers and challenges for firefighters to have proper rehabilitation in a timely fashion.

Currently, Administration said, many of the volunteer firefighters’ spouses rally together to support firefighters with meals when they are on a long call, which can present challenges and this memorandum presents an opportunity for rehabilitation support, including physical, mental, and spiritual, to our contracted Lethbridge County Fire Departments during significant fire events. 

The Salvation Army, Administration stated, does not charge a fee for five days of continuous response to an event. Plus, Administration said, the guideline for disasters is that a two-hour window is established before the County would engage  those further resources. Administration emphasized that having this relationship and the MOU in place strengthens Lethbridge County’s ability to support first responders in emergency events and strengthens the County’s emergency management plans. Council did express concern that the volunteers that are currently supplying the food would be disrespected if their work was taken away through the MOU, as some of them are really dedicated to their work. Council responded by stating that they have spoken to the volunteers in question and the extra support is welcomed. Eventually, Councillor Van Essen moved that County Council approve the Memorandum of Understanding between the County of Lethbridge and the Salvation Army as read. The motion was carried.

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