Lethbridge City Council has voted in favour of continuing to fund the Downtown Clean and Safe Strategy (DCSS) until 2022.

On Monday, Council approved roughly $1.68 million be spent over the next three years to fund 20 initiatives, that focus specifically on creating a safe, clean, and welcoming environment downtown.

Andrew Malcolm, the City’s Downtown Revitalization Manager, says so far this has been positive. “Business are still very concerned. There’s no sugar-coating that. But at the same time there are reasons to be optimistic. The strategies we put in place over 2019 have been effectively in reducing the number of publicly-visible needle debris, panhandling, people overdosing on the streets. All these types of things have gone down.”

Malcolm says despite the decrease in visible activity, these types of things are still happening which indicates why this program needs to continue.

City Councillor Jeff Carlson says this will continue to aid in creating a positive downtown experience for residents, businesses and visitors alike and is an important step in maintaining a vibrant city.

“The work that everyone involved in the strategy has done will now continue, and will help our community see that our downtown is still a great place to live, work and play,” says Carlson. “We want to build on this work and to continue providing services that benefit our businesses, residents and the city as a whole. I cannot express enough thanks to those members of our community who participated, and their dedication to the Heart of our City.”

City Council wasn’t unanimous though in its support for continuing the funding with Councillors Jow Mauro and Blaine Hyggen voting against.

Building on the existing initiatives of the DCSS which included the implementation of the Clean Sweep Program and the Diversion Outreach Team, the updated strategy looks to add a number of new initiatives includes exploring a different approach to security and outreach in Galt Gardens.