Lethbridge councillors set intentions in first meeting as new COVID-19 recovery committee

Lethbridge city council met for the first of new weekly meetings on Thursday, sitting as the Lethbridge Community and Economic Recovery Committee, which has been tasked with aiding in city-wide recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The first meeting of the committee — which name has been shortened to Recovery Lethbridge by some councillors — included a short agenda, with the first order of business being electing a chair.

Councillor Belinda Crowson was nominated by Mayor Chris Spearman, and was elected committee chair by acclimation.

Crowson said she was excited to take on the new role.

“This is very much about making sure everyone is moving along, that things are getting done are reported back,” she said. “This is wonderful because it gives me a chance to help coordinate everything and to help make sure that anything my colleagues need in their work on the sub-committees is getting done, and that they’re supported.”

Councillor Jeffery Coffman was named vice-chair of the committee, which will function with four sub-committees reporting back at meetings each Thursday moving forward.

“We’ve made sure that everything reports back to this group. This is a committee of council and this committee will report up to council,” said Crowson.

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“So the process has been set that we’re going to ask each of those groups to set a chair, and that chair then will meet with the chairs of the other committees, and that will then report up so that everything is connected.”

Crowson said the hope is to support the city through both the community and corporate recovery that will follow the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We looked at the needs, and then we broke those into categories, and now we’ve assigned ourselves those various roles,” she said.

The sub-committees were confirmed to be made up of the following members:

  • Economic and business recovery — Business improvements, local construction and red tape reduction
    • Mayor Chris Spearman, councillors Ryan Parker and Blaine Hyggen
    • Councillors Jeffery Coffman, Belinda Crowson and Joe Mauro
    • Councillors Rob Miyashiro, Jeff Carlson and Mark Campbell
    • City manager Craig Dalton and the City of Lethbridge senior management team

    The economic and business recovery group will work closely with Economic Development Lethbridge and the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce, who have together presented as the Lethbridge and Region Economic Recovery Task Force frequently over the last two months.

    Crowson said the new committee will not duplicate the work of any other community organizations, and that communication will be key to having all parts work effectively together.

    “The worst thing that could happen is siloing, so that information is not being shared across. So we’ve set this up very carefully to make sure that there’s good communication, that the public is going to be involved and aware of what’s going on, and that we’ll get the best ideas around the table,” she said.

    Each sub-committee has now been tasked with finding members of the public to join the recovery efforts.

    “So there’s going to be three members of council on each, and then we’re asking them to find seven to 10… members that would be connected to the issues that they are looking at,” said Crowson.

    “They will be able to bring information, to bring advice, to bring recommendations, to be there to bounce ideas off of — so that’s the next step.”

    The sub-committees have been given two weeks to outline individual terms of reference, define how success will be measured and bring community members on board.

    That information will be shared at the June 4 meeting of the committee.

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