We are just over a month away until the municipal election, and with Mayor Chris Spearman not seeking re-election again. He spent Tuesday morning addressing the State of the City with community members and stakeholders reflecting on the highs and lows of council’s time in office, giving him a chance to look back on the accomplishments made in the last four years.
“You don’t notice it when you are working on it week-to-week and day-to-day as much, but then it is nice to sit back and reflect on what we had one and two terms ago and what we have now and how the city has progressed,” says Spearman.
Some of those items include the Park N Ride terminal, Cavendish, Legacy Regional Park, Exhibition Park Agri-food Hub and Trade Centre, Lethbridge Airport renovations, and truth and reconciliation.
Spearman gave a detailed presentation of past and future projects, hoping to provide some insight as to what being on council looks like before he leaves office.
“Providing information that will benefit candidates and which will benefit voters, so you’ll be able to look at information on the [city’s] website and maybe ask some good questions of the people running for council,” added Spearman.
Being the mayor of a city has both positives and negatives, Spearman, who’s been in the role since 2013, says one of the hardest challenges he faced while in office was the drug and homelessness crisis that Lethbridge has endured for the last few years.
“It became a part within a year or two of me first being elected, in 2014 we had a growing drug problem, by 2015 they doubled, and it doubled every year. Achieving solutions on some of our social problems is perhaps one of my frustrations and one of the things that will be a challenge for the next council,” explained Spearman.
Throughout his presentation, Spearman touched on the process of making the city functional, which relies on the surrounding partnerships with different organizations. Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce hosted the event on Tuesday. Chamber CEO, Cyndi Vos, says these types of partnerships are vital for the city.
“We look at the partnerships with the University of Lethbridge, with Lethbridge College, with Alberta Health Services, those are important partnerships that we can’t ignore. I think what this challenge through the pandemic has been is that we have been working together, stronger as stakeholders and we’re listening to each other in ways that we didn’t listen to each other before.”
As of Sept. 14, there are 8 mayoral and 19 city councillor candidates eyeing up a seat in council chambers.