Plan your city: Bring life back to Deathbridge

Plan Your CityToday, Joanne and I had the opportunity to meet with city consultants Cory and Brian, who are involved with the process of bringing Lethbridge into the 20th 21st century. They’re part of the “Plan Your City” initiative, where Lethbridge might actually listen to its citizens, so as to shape our future up to the year 2050 (before beastmen enslave humanity).

Listen, Lethbridge matters to me, or else I wouldn’t have started this blog. If you’re a young person like me (I’m 28) who has ever referred to this city as “Deathbridge,” this should matter to you.

Not only is the city holding visioning workshops, which probably won’t give much true insight, they are also encouraging everyone to create their own “city circles.”

A City Circle is a self-formed and self-managed  group of Lethbridge residents who want to help with preparing the new Plan. To form a city circle get a group of friends together; they can be from work, school, sport, extracurricular activities, an existing organization, your family, all of the above – there are no rules for how your Circle organizes itself.

Your City Circle will meet when and where its members want and discuss any community related issue you choose such as: Arts, Heritage, CULTURE, Parks, recycling, SUSTAINABILITY, zoning, roads, CITY GROWTH, pesticide use, RECREATION, affordable housing, protecting the river valley.

The point of the circle is to submit your ideas for presentation to the public. These ideas will be published in the Plan Your City Ideas Book and presented at an Ideas Fair in October. Joanne and I plan on starting one very soon, so keep your eyes on Lethbian Love.

Over lunch, she and I ranted on numerous issues; things that should be addressed now and others worked towards. I feel we have a long way to go before becoming a progressive city, but the following is just a small sampling of the things we brought up.

Lethbridge:

  • must be designed
  • isn’t inspiring, especially to youth – why do they all want to leave?
  • needs to cultivate culture, such as the arts – why are art collections locked up at the university and college?
  • is not beautiful (save the coulees) – we need more architecture and green spaces
  • has transportation woes: bus transit sucks, we need a third bridge, more bike paths & pedestrian streets
  • needs more higher density & affordable housing
  • needs curbside recycling, or even bins downtown, let alone more sustainable practices
  • must pierce through the accepted norm or else change won’t happen
  • and so much more (succulent bison steak has pervaded my thoughts)

I’m not a political person or anything like that, but I want to see this city change because I’d hope to stay here. I want an amazing city; not one to try and find excuses to love it.

Seriously, it’s up to you – the people who read this blog! Don’t let the nearly-dead or religious conservatives dictate the future of this city – it’s yours!

If you want to know more, get in touch with the City Circle coordinator, Brian Conger at 403-329-7139.

  • I don’t want to debate your points, but I wanted to say two things:

    1. Lethbridge has great transit compared to similarly-sized cities in Canada, and way better than when I moved here 11 years ago.
    2. There are recycling bins downtown: at Park Place Mall.

  • I don’t want to debate your points, but I wanted to say two things:

    1. Lethbridge has great transit compared to similarly-sized cities in Canada, and way better than when I moved here 11 years ago.
    2. There are recycling bins downtown: at Park Place Mall.

  • 1. Then tell me why I can’t find a bus schedule anywhere. Or that transit runs every 20-30 minutes on roundabout routes.

    2. There are not recycling bins downtown. Not everyone shops at the mall.

  • 1. Then tell me why I can’t find a bus schedule anywhere. Or that transit runs every 20-30 minutes on roundabout routes.

    2. There are not recycling bins downtown. Not everyone shops at the mall.

  • Paul

    Q: “why are art collections locked up at the university”

    A: There are many, many reasons for this – one main reason being the fact that there is too much art, not enough space to showcase it. The University has been “in the works” putting together funding for a new art gallery for years (decades?). I know for a fact that the admin staff at the gallery would love nothing more than to be able to showcase all of its amazing work, but it just isn’t possible with the space provided. It isn’t being “locked away” by choice.

    I’ll also comment on the city “cultivating culture” – sure, that is something that the municipal government could be doing a better job on, but the fact is there is more art/culture per capita than lots of places on a similar size, mainly because we have a lot of amazing talent and hard-working people doing it for the love of doing it. Which, of course, is met with indifference and ignorance.

    I think the city putting up those postering-sleeves on lightpoles downtown is a nice start, but I am constantly bringing in talented bands/musicians and pairing them with local talent, and I am lucky if I can scrape together 30-40 people together to check it out.

    I love this city. I like to pretend that it already is progressive and accepting and artistic and vibrant (mainly due to the company I keep). But I think that no matter how well “designed” Lethbridge is, or how “pierced” the accepted norms are, you are still dealing with a culture of lethargy, with a sizable population who embrace “redneck” values who will always choose to believe that there is never anything going on here.

    I’ve fought this losing battle for over 10 years. I’ve put on 100’s of shows, been involved in as much as I can be involved in, and I have to say this is as good as it ever has been, possibly as good as it gets.

  • Paul

    Q: “why are art collections locked up at the university”

    A: There are many, many reasons for this – one main reason being the fact that there is too much art, not enough space to showcase it. The University has been “in the works” putting together funding for a new art gallery for years (decades?). I know for a fact that the admin staff at the gallery would love nothing more than to be able to showcase all of its amazing work, but it just isn’t possible with the space provided. It isn’t being “locked away” by choice.

    I’ll also comment on the city “cultivating culture” – sure, that is something that the municipal government could be doing a better job on, but the fact is there is more art/culture per capita than lots of places on a similar size, mainly because we have a lot of amazing talent and hard-working people doing it for the love of doing it. Which, of course, is met with indifference and ignorance.

    I think the city putting up those postering-sleeves on lightpoles downtown is a nice start, but I am constantly bringing in talented bands/musicians and pairing them with local talent, and I am lucky if I can scrape together 30-40 people together to check it out.

    I love this city. I like to pretend that it already is progressive and accepting and artistic and vibrant (mainly due to the company I keep). But I think that no matter how well “designed” Lethbridge is, or how “pierced” the accepted norms are, you are still dealing with a culture of lethargy, with a sizable population who embrace “redneck” values who will always choose to believe that there is never anything going on here.

    I’ve fought this losing battle for over 10 years. I’ve put on 100’s of shows, been involved in as much as I can be involved in, and I have to say this is as good as it ever has been, possibly as good as it gets.

  • Paul

    Sorry if that last comment comes off as cynical. I’ve been “doing something about it” for as long as I’ve lived here without much progress, change, help, acceptance, etc. I think my bitterness is well earned.

    I’d love to see the underground, leftist, artisan, community-spirited, free-loving people to get together and “do something about it”. I’m just not convinced (knowing as many of them as well as I do) that they ever will.

  • Paul

    Sorry if that last comment comes off as cynical. I’ve been “doing something about it” for as long as I’ve lived here without much progress, change, help, acceptance, etc. I think my bitterness is well earned.

    I’d love to see the underground, leftist, artisan, community-spirited, free-loving people to get together and “do something about it”. I’m just not convinced (knowing as many of them as well as I do) that they ever will.

  • Re: Art. It has to do with money. It’s not seen as a worthwhile investment, since what kind of monetary returns are to be expected?

    Maybe the college can’t afford it, so I’ve been told. But what about the university who gets boatloads of money? Someone once told me that they had a willing investor, who would donate enough money for an olympic-sized track, providing they also create an art gallery. Needless to say, no new art gallery, no olypic-sized track.

    Paul, I applaud all the work you’re doing. Don’t say this is the best we’ll get.

  • Re: Art. It has to do with money. It’s not seen as a worthwhile investment, since what kind of monetary returns are to be expected?

    Maybe the college can’t afford it, so I’ve been told. But what about the university who gets boatloads of money? Someone once told me that they had a willing investor, who would donate enough money for an olympic-sized track, providing they also create an art gallery. Needless to say, no new art gallery, no olypic-sized track.

    Paul, I applaud all the work you’re doing. Don’t say this is the best we’ll get.

  • Paul

    The University spends its money on areas that will bring it money (in terms of donations, investments, funding etc). Big science. Big Management.

    I remember when I got into the promotional game in the mid 1990’s after I first moved here. I could do a show with 3 local bands and 400 people would show up. It isn’t getting any better, and if anything, it is worse. The local talent (rock and hip-hop) is blossoming right now, and it is too bad most local people don’t care enough to check it out.

    On the other hand, Calgary is certainly paying attention: http://www.ffwdweekly.com/article/music/music-features/the-scene-to-the-south-3663/ is the latest coverage (an article which, I have to add, is unsolicited), combined with Beatroute’s continued
    coverage of the things happening here.

  • Paul

    The University spends its money on areas that will bring it money (in terms of donations, investments, funding etc). Big science. Big Management.

    I remember when I got into the promotional game in the mid 1990’s after I first moved here. I could do a show with 3 local bands and 400 people would show up. It isn’t getting any better, and if anything, it is worse. The local talent (rock and hip-hop) is blossoming right now, and it is too bad most local people don’t care enough to check it out.

    On the other hand, Calgary is certainly paying attention: http://www.ffwdweekly.com/article/music/music-features/the-scene-to-the-south-3663/ is the latest coverage (an article which, I have to add, is unsolicited), combined with Beatroute’s continued
    coverage of the things happening here.

  • I for one (and my friends) would love to see a more artistic city, more art, more theater, and hear live music! But how do people find out about these events unless they know someone specifically related to the event. Paul you say you have put on 100’s of shows, how do people find out about them?

    Paul, I understand your bitterness, it sounds like you really want things to change. Well I would say here’s your chance, but instead I’ll say here’s another chance! Speak up and hopefully this time you will be heard, get your friends together, start your City Circle, and get your ideas out there!

  • I for one (and my friends) would love to see a more artistic city, more art, more theater, and hear live music! But how do people find out about these events unless they know someone specifically related to the event. Paul you say you have put on 100’s of shows, how do people find out about them?

    Paul, I understand your bitterness, it sounds like you really want things to change. Well I would say here’s your chance, but instead I’ll say here’s another chance! Speak up and hopefully this time you will be heard, get your friends together, start your City Circle, and get your ideas out there!

  • Amanda Hugnkiss

    How do you find out about shows??? Look at lamp posts! Walk around downtown and check out any window with posters on them!! Listen to CKXU!!! Make friends with venues on Facebook and receive updates, make friends with local bands on MySpace and check their show dates. How do you WANT to find out about shows??

  • Amanda Hugnkiss

    How do you find out about shows??? Look at lamp posts! Walk around downtown and check out any window with posters on them!! Listen to CKXU!!! Make friends with venues on Facebook and receive updates, make friends with local bands on MySpace and check their show dates. How do you WANT to find out about shows??

  • Paul

    We do everything we can to make sure that shows are advertised well – every local shop downtown puts up flyers in their windows for us (and have for years, god bless em). Facebook certainly helps a great deal. Posters all over UofL and LCC campus (though those get ripped down as fast as we can put them up). CKXU mentions our shows constantly. We twitter and myspace and facebook and blog our hearts out.

    For every show, so pretty much constantly there is a small group of people jumping up and down trying to get your attention.

    Save that – just go to Henotic (the old firehall downtown) or The Slice because there are always interesting things happening.

    Tonight at the GCBC (the upstairs lounge at Henotic) there are going to be 6 local acts performing a wide variety of music – from folk to blues to garage-rawk to punk. (Thanks for the plug Jon)

  • Paul

    We do everything we can to make sure that shows are advertised well – every local shop downtown puts up flyers in their windows for us (and have for years, god bless em). Facebook certainly helps a great deal. Posters all over UofL and LCC campus (though those get ripped down as fast as we can put them up). CKXU mentions our shows constantly. We twitter and myspace and facebook and blog our hearts out.

    For every show, so pretty much constantly there is a small group of people jumping up and down trying to get your attention.

    Save that – just go to Henotic (the old firehall downtown) or The Slice because there are always interesting things happening.

    Tonight at the GCBC (the upstairs lounge at Henotic) there are going to be 6 local acts performing a wide variety of music – from folk to blues to garage-rawk to punk. (Thanks for the plug Jon)

  • Johnny,

    Here’s the schedule:

    http://www.lethbridge.ca/NR/rdonlyres/5E74A55C-B4D7-4F1F-BF4D-38E134D8232E/11641/Jan2009RideGuideforweb.pdf

    Schedules are on all the buses, and you can also pick them up at the Transit office.

    Thirty minutes is the base time. In other words, during the day, routes will not take longer than 30 minutes. On that note, not every route is 30 minutes: the number 12 on the Westside runs every 15 minutes, there is 15 minute service between the U of L and downtown, and there are plans to increase frequency on other routes.

    Even so, your complaints don’t negate the fact that Lethbridge has one of the best transit systems of similarly sized cities and that it has vastly improved in the last 11 years. When I moved here, there were no wheelchair-accessible buses, no cross-town service (every route went downtown), no bi-directional service on any street, no 15-minute service, no service into the Industrial Park, and the bus schedule was a big complicated mess.

    I’m not sure what shopping at the mall has to do with using the recycling bins there. They’re in the parking lot. You don’t even need to go inside the mall to use them.

  • Johnny,

    Here’s the schedule:

    http://www.lethbridge.ca/NR/rdonlyres/5E74A55C-B4D7-4F1F-BF4D-38E134D8232E/11641/Jan2009RideGuideforweb.pdf

    Schedules are on all the buses, and you can also pick them up at the Transit office.

    Thirty minutes is the base time. In other words, during the day, routes will not take longer than 30 minutes. On that note, not every route is 30 minutes: the number 12 on the Westside runs every 15 minutes, there is 15 minute service between the U of L and downtown, and there are plans to increase frequency on other routes.

    Even so, your complaints don’t negate the fact that Lethbridge has one of the best transit systems of similarly sized cities and that it has vastly improved in the last 11 years. When I moved here, there were no wheelchair-accessible buses, no cross-town service (every route went downtown), no bi-directional service on any street, no 15-minute service, no service into the Industrial Park, and the bus schedule was a big complicated mess.

    I’m not sure what shopping at the mall has to do with using the recycling bins there. They’re in the parking lot. You don’t even need to go inside the mall to use them.

  • Also, I am doubtful we could build a gallery large enough to showcase all the university’s artwork.

  • Also, I am doubtful we could build a gallery large enough to showcase all the university’s artwork.

  • Kim, you are right in some of the things. I just don’t want to wait 30 minutes for the wrong bus…why not have the schedule on the pole?

    As for an art gallery, something wouldn’t better than what there is now. Wasn’t the old Woodwards building used as a gallery for some time? There was one in that area that featured a lot of the art from those collections.

  • Kim, you are right in some of the things. I just don’t want to wait 30 minutes for the wrong bus…why not have the schedule on the pole?

    As for an art gallery, something wouldn’t better than what there is now. Wasn’t the old Woodwards building used as a gallery for some time? There was one in that area that featured a lot of the art from those collections.

  • Oh, and the sessions were good. A little long winded, a little led, but they demonstrated the compounded effects of investing more effort in one area (e.g. road networks) affect other areas (e.g. eco-footprint). The big change comes when you add more dense housing…a very good visual representation. My only beef is that they asked you to scribble notes as the night progressed, and I felt it a little counter-intuitive to try and think of “everything all at once.” I wish that part was online too.

  • Oh, and the sessions were good. A little long winded, a little led, but they demonstrated the compounded effects of investing more effort in one area (e.g. road networks) affect other areas (e.g. eco-footprint). The big change comes when you add more dense housing…a very good visual representation. My only beef is that they asked you to scribble notes as the night progressed, and I felt it a little counter-intuitive to try and think of “everything all at once.” I wish that part was online too.

  • I totally would love to see the schedule on the pole. At least on the major stops.

  • I totally would love to see the schedule on the pole. At least on the major stops.

  • Better yet, I would love to see LED lights at the stops that say how much longer the bus will be, but that’s a long way off.

  • Better yet, I would love to see LED lights at the stops that say how much longer the bus will be, but that’s a long way off.

  • Hey everybody the City Cirlces are up and running!

    Get a group of friend’s together, record what you like about Lethbridge and/or what you don’t like (please include a way to solve the problem…) and submit it to the City. We are hoping for a variety of mediums- Personally I’m hoping that someone comes up with an interpretive dance about what Lethbridge means to them and is willing to present it at the ideas fair in October…

    http://www.lethbridge.ca/home/City+Hall/Departments/Development+Services/Plan+Your+City/City+Circles/City+Circles.htm

    Cory

  • Hey everybody the City Cirlces are up and running!

    Get a group of friend’s together, record what you like about Lethbridge and/or what you don’t like (please include a way to solve the problem…) and submit it to the City. We are hoping for a variety of mediums- Personally I’m hoping that someone comes up with an interpretive dance about what Lethbridge means to them and is willing to present it at the ideas fair in October…

    http://www.lethbridge.ca/home/City+Hall/Departments/Development+Services/Plan+Your+City/City+Circles/City+Circles.htm

    Cory

  • simon

    it’s kinda disappointing that only me and one other person ‘like’ this

    I whole hardheartedly agree with everything you said in the main article, and I know pretty much 100% of my friends would to…

    this doesn’t just have to be a retirement town with a university… it could be so much more.

    the fact they just spent a stupid amount of money a brand spankin new CURLING RINK, is truly a sad sign in my eyes…why not an entire recreation center or something, not just one activity mostly only the old folks will enjoy…