Apparently the City of Lethbridge requested public comments regarding their Growth Management review. I missed it, so I sent the following letter to Tom Wickersham, who was acting mayor at the time.
Dear Mr. Wickersham,
I apologise for the lateness of my message. I heard about the request
for comments on the Growth Management Review only yesterday in the
Lethbridge Herald. I check the city’s website frequently and had
failed to notice any requests posted there. I am not sure if my
comments will still be regarded given the timeframe, but I think they
are still valid.
I welcome manageable growth. I am not opposed to growth in Lethbridge
per se, but I do feel, it should not be unmanageable as we have seen
in other Alberta centres.
That being said, I also think as stewards of the city’s resources
(financial and physical), city council is ultimately responsible for
judicious use of these resources. As such, I think it behooves city
council to seriously consider the current trend of having the bulk of
development being low density, single-family homes.
Lethbridge has one of the lowest high-density housing start rates
among the province’s cities.
This is unfortunate. The City has plenty of opportunity to address
many of the growing concerns that come with urban sprawl. By
encouraging higher density developments, all of the following concerns
can be addressed:
* Lower off-site levies
* Lower infrastructure costs
* Increased use of transit (leading to reduced cost to run transit)
* Decrease in traffic
* Revitilisation of downtown
* Lower crime
* Improved emergency response times (again, leading to lower operating costs)
* Increased use of public facilities (arts, library, etc)
* Decreased air pollution
The list, frankly, goes on.
Obviously, Lethbridge isn’t in a position where it needs to build
30-storey residential and office towers downtown. Nevertheless, it is
apparent that if the City does not address the above mentioned trend
soon, we will find ourselves in the midst of many problems that will
be very difficult to eliminate.
One of the things I have loved about city councils (and city
administration) past and present is their foresight in managing
growth. I honestly hope Council will continue to uphold this
expectation I, and many other fellow Lethbridgians, have for them.