The New Kid In Town-William Slenders

William Slenders is the Executive Director of the newly formed Lethbridge Destination Management Organization. (LDMO) I thought it would be nice to get to know him a little better and what he sees for the future of Lethbridge.

Where did you grow up and how would you describe your childhood?

I grew up around the whole of Southern Alberta. Home was always Scandia, but between the involvement in 4-H and sports we were always traveling to events and other communities. I met many of my friends throughout the cities of Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, and Brooks and as soon as I had my driver’s license I was gone for every weekend. Growing up as a farm kid always had its fair share of work and trouble making. To this day, March is not a month I look forward too just because of calving and my fair share of running away tail firmly between my legs from an angry mother cow. Beyond the work, the farm was a place of education and trial and error. Learning how to make things work when you did not have the tools was a common skill I enjoyed using in many day to day activities. I can’t imagine a better place to grow up than here in Southern Alberta.

You got your degree at the U of L. What was the degree and what was that experience like?

I double majored in International Business and Marketing and received two minors in Japanese and Corporate Social Responsibility. The University of Lethbridge Faculty of Management was an outstanding place to obtain that education and in many ways a second home. Overall, the university offered amazing opportunities to engage with other students and community. I particularly enjoyed the business case competitions where we would compete among other universities for top place.

What were you doing before getting the new job with LDMO?

I had my own consulting business where I focused on helping other organizations do marketing and research. I enjoy research and helping other organizations so it was an excellent opportunity to do something I really enjoyed with the community. I had also returned to the family farm for a time where I was helping to develop enterprise processes to current programs they were operating.

What attracted you to applying for the position?

My wife encouraged me to apply for the position. She & I love Lethbridge and she encouraged me to try. I was also the managing director for another tourism group, the Newell Regional Tourism Association (NRTA) in Brooks Alberta for a great many of years, and loved every minute of it. I thought that this would be an excellent area of industry to become involved with again, and I enjoy helping communities grow and succeed.

It’s just beginning but what has been your first impressions of the new organization?

Absolutely fantastic. The board of the LDMO is incredible. Each one of the board members are incredible people with a deep passion for this community and it shows in the planning and direction that they have provided in the early stages. The city and the staff at the city has been an incredible partner to this as well and are deeply passionate about the success of our community.

In your mind what has been missing in recent years in terms of promoting Lethbridge?

Lethbridge is an incredibly authentic place to be. Every time I see Lethbridge, I am hoping to see more of what makes Lethbridge a fun and original place to be. This is going to be one of the bigger parts of my strategy moving forward. I think the biggest missing piece is communication. Lethbridge always has so many events going on and before we know about them they happen and we don’t get a chance to see if we can make them bigger. I think the biggest part of the puzzle moving forward will be to bridge communication between all of the events rights holders, businesses, accommodations, and industry to make a bigger and better Lethbridge event/destination.

Does Lethbridge need a new convention centre? If so, where should it be built?

I believe that a new Convention Centre would be something to look at. If not, then certainly an enhancement to an already existing facility, for example, Exhibition Park to cater to larger events would be in order. My concern with a Convention Centre is that they typically need to be built next to hotels and service industry ie. restaurants. I believe that the best utilization of a facility such as this would be located in the downtown core. I believe that a Convention Centre overlooking the magnificent view of our coulee and high level bridge would certainly be a memorable experience for visitors coming to our community. In short, I think there are many places to locate a Convention Centre in Lethbridge, but finding the right area will be a challenge.

Is a Performing Arts Centre an important part of attracting people to Lethbridge? And again, where should it be built?

Culture is a major attraction in Lethbridge and one that I believe will continue to be a major attraction into the coming years. I believe that a Performing Arts Centre would make for an incredible enhancement to the already existing arts & culture portfolio in Lethbridge. As with the Convention Centre, I too believe that this should be built downtown. Many people/tourists are looking into the downtown and are desiring a vibrant place to be a part of (hangout) [Roger Brooks- rogerbrooksinternational]. I believe that adding Convention Centre and a Performing Arts & Culture Centre would add a new level of vibrancy to the downtown and push the Downtown core into a new unique place to be.

What improvements would you like to see at the airport?

A longer runway for bigger planes (bigger planes equals capacity for more people) and some additional flights coming into the community from other airports. There is a great deal of interest in aboriginal culture from international markets. If we can create more flights from Calgary to Lethbridge, instead of internationals boarding a bus from Calgary and driving to Lethbridge for the experience, I believe we will continue to grow the services and potential of both the airport and the tourism industry as a whole within this region.

What is your overall vision for making Lethbridge a tourist destination?

I believe that Lethbridge has to focus on what makes it authentic. Lethbridge is incredibly relaxed and has a ton of great events, festivals, and attractions that will people from all over Canada and internationally will travel to see. Lethbridge is also incredibly competitive, and the sports in this community are testament to that fact. I believe that the key to making Lethbridge a destination of choice is to activate our residents and let them tell the authentic story of why Lethbridge is the destination of choice. In so doing, many new festivals and events, volunteers, and opportunities will continue to grow Lethbridge as a destination of choice.

Top 5 albums of all time.

Can’t really say. I listen to so many things nowadays with Spotify and YouTube I don’t pay attention to albums as much as Individual Songs or some Artists. Old Dominion, Spacehog and Live as artists have been in my playlists a little bit more than normal now.

Top 5 movies of all time.

Top Gun, Jurassic Park (1), The Empire Strikes Back, The Dark Knight, The Illusionist

Favorite Actor

Hugh Jackman

Favorite Actress

Halle Berry

As you look into your crystal ball what is going to be the most significant thing you’ve accomplished after one year?

Becoming a dad! (Baby due in April). In all seriousness, getting partners and groups to work with me on exciting new programs and new interactive technologies will be a big win for the LDMO.

And final thoughts….?

Hopefully not, I just got here!


The Joy Of Jogging

I miss jogging. The two hip replacements and the new aches in my knees keep me from pounding the pavement like I did 15 years ago. My usual distance was three miles but I would be challenged by the 10-mile road race and then later the 10k version of the Moonlight run. Jogging was my best weight-loss solution. Whenever I noticed I was up five pounds I’d head out to Henderson Lake for an extra lap or two and I’d be back to my usual 165 pounds almost right away. I still try to get on the low impact elliptical machines at the College as often as I can but it’s just not the same. I don’t exert as much energy and with a change in my metabolism I continue to hover around the 200 pound mark. It doesn’t help that I’m a very undisciplined eater. I love me some Cheetos at the end of the night after a couple of glasses of red wind. My inability to discern portions does me in as well. In my 30s I could eat a plateful of pasta (eat pasta, run fasta) and I’d be able to burn all of those calories off. Today the calories stay with me and head immediately to my mid-section.

Every now and then I say to myself, “Listen buttercup just suck it up and live through the pain for a few days. Go jogging and you’ll be back to what you once were.”

Not going to happen.

It hurts too much. And I vow to not have any more surgery on my body parts until absolutely necessary.

Still there’s nothing like reaching that point in a jog where your anaerobic meets your aerobic (or some kind of scientific thing) and you feel you can run forever and then you sprint to the finish line. You know you’ve exhausted yourself to the point where it feels so good to stop. Maybe that’s the best part of jogging. The stopping.

Jogging was always a good way to clear your head. It was great to be outdoors and for my usual 21 minutes I could forget about any problems I had or relish in what was a good day. I actually enjoyed battling the elements. I’ve run when it’s -20 outside and you can barely feel your thighs but it was awesome when you got home and had a hot shower.

I try to walk as much as I can. It’s great to have a dog to force me out but it’s still not jogging.

So here’s to those of you who took part in the annual Moonlight Run and here’s to those of you who will be running the College 10-4 run in April, I am there in spirit wishing I was alongside you as the adrenalin kicks and then conks out a mile before you finish. And then you get to stop. And have a beer. And some pasta. Love it.

Yay!! Warmer Weather And Other Stuff

I love that we’ve finally had a patch of warmer weather in Lethbridge. It feels like we’ve had a very long winter with consistently cold temperatures and weekly 10 cm snow events. I haven’t seen drifts this big since the first Trudeau was in office. Or at least that’s my perception. I suspect if we look hard enough at our weather almanac it hasn’t been that long. Nevertheless I’m grateful for the plus temperatures. If this keeps up I’ll be able to get to my barbeque this week.

Taking the dog for a walk in the morning has been treacherous this past week as the sidewalks and paths are quite icy. I’ve almost taken a tumble numerous times. I’ve even seen my Pug slip over a few spots. So far, no broken hips from either of us.


Has this ever happened to you? You take your dog on a walk, he poops and when you reach into your pocket for a little baggy you realize you forgot to get one. So you fake pick up just in case someone is watching you. To quote OJ, that’s just a hypothetical scenario. I’m just asking.


I have to admit that I love it when Tiger Woods is in contention in a golf tournament. Even though we had a Canadian in the mix on the final round of the Valspar Open on the weekend, deep down I wanted Tiger to pull out a victory. And he almost did with an amazing putt on 17 and just coming up short on the 18th hole. I can’t give him a free pass for his serial infidelity but he still has some kind of magic spell that makes me want to see him win the Masters and surpass Jack Nicklaus for most Major victories.


As a member of the Library Board I’ve fielded a number of concerns about safety at the Lethbridge Public Library downtown. It is a concern that is taken very seriously and I wanted to pass on what has been done to try to help the situation that people have encountered:

-Ongoing communication with the police and the library.

-Washroom checks every 15 minutes by security

-Washrooms in the upper south rooms have been renovated to be “barrier free” to discourage drug use

-Lighting has improved at the exterior entrances

-A second security guard has been hired for the duration of the renovations

-To discourage after-hour use of library property for suspicious activity the outside power receptacles are turned off during the summertime

-Library wi-fi is turned off after hours.

We’re hoping that the new Supervised Consumption site will have an impact on the number of needles that are seen at the library. It appears in the early going that it definitely is having an impact. The latest stats show that in one week there have been 352 visits there.

I’m hoping there will be new and innovative ideas brought forward to make the library an inclusive and safe place for the entire family.


I watched the Canadian Screen Awards last night. We don’t embrace our Canadian films as much as we should. There are some amazing shows that don’t get as much hype as they should. I loved the tributes to Margaret Atwood, Peter Mansbridge and Rick Mercer. True Canadian icons.

Break A Legg (Badumpah!)


I first met Andrew Legg during some media opportunities with New West Theatre. He is a personable multi-talented man who is currently a professor at the University in the Fine Arts department. He does some professional voice over work and manages to get the occasional professional acting gig. You may have seen him in shows like Fargo and Hell On Wheels. I ran into him again at the recent Allied Arts Council 60th Anniversary celebration at CASA. We shared the role of “Town Crier.” (He was way louder than me.) After an enjoyable evening with him I thought it would be fun for him to share his story.

Where did you grow up and what kind of a childhood did you have?

I grew up in Lethbridge as the third son of four boys. I grew up right across the street from Our Lady of The Assumption Catholic School with hours of soccer playing, riding bikes and cutting it short to run home promptly at 6 o’clock on a Sunday night to watch The World of Walt Disney. Summers were spent at or thinking of Crowsnest Lake Bible Camp where I was alternately a little kid along with my parents as they volunteered, a camper and then staff.

What got you hooked on acting?

I have always felt like I could get in front of a group and talk…and then when I assumed a character or an effect, people would laugh. ‘Dear God what is that sound and how can I get that ALL THE TIME?’ One summer I went out to Fort Macleod and saw a production called The Last Resort with Great West Theatre (what was to later become New West Theatre) and I  thought it was the funniest thing I had ever seen. I made the connection that these people are making this LIVE and not just rehashing something from TV. This is a thing that people do! I want to do this. I had done sketches and skits and the school play before but I had no idea that there could be a thing where people actually make a job out of this and do it not on TV.

Do you remember what your first play was?

I played Santa Claus for just about every Christmas play at the school or Church from age 6 to …..Well I still play Santa. My first paid gig was Puss In Boots with New West Theatre.

You maintain an agent and continue to look for acting/voice over roles to go along with your “real” job as a prof at the U of L. How is that working out for you?

Film and Voice over work are a fascinating mediums and I realize that it all comes back to storytelling. The biggest question for any performance for me now is: What is the story of this moment? The more specific I get about thinking through and telling the story in that moment it becomes real. And film and voice recording are soooooooooo raw for telling you when you are thinking in the character and when you are going through you shopping list. The camera and the microphone pick EVERYTHING up. The moment I am not specific you can hear/see it.  With my film and Voice work it is very sporadic but it pays very well and it feel like a good validation of my chops when I book something. I have a series of commercials running and those little fellas are just the gift that keeps giving.

What are some of your memorable gigs for TV/movies?

In the Second season of FARGO my character gets ambushed, shot through the front window of a car and I crash the car. It is a great bit of filming. Coincidentally the car was a 66 Chrysler the same model I learned to drive in when I was just out of high school.

Is living in Lethbridge a disadvantage for pursing a professional life in acting?

Cost of living is really accessible in Lethbridge but the opportunities for the more professional work is non-existent. The way that I work it is I take advantage of the time I can spend with my children and I put my face out to take gigs further afield and leave.

What would be your dream gig?

I love physical comedy and would love to be in one of the razor sharp sit coms being written these days like Brooklyn 99  or virtually anything on the BBC. Actually when I think about it, I wrote and produced a spec script for a comedy competition project called LITTLETON FALLS SETTLER VILLAGE and THAT would be the dream gig. Getting the funniest people I know together to make a TV show….seems simple enough.

You’re producing and directing a play which will run in March. Tell us about it. Who’s in it, where it’s at and all that good stuff.

WEDNESDAY IS OPENING NIGHT!!!! I am directing The Anger in Ernst and Ernestine a really funny 2 person comedy starring real life couple Jocelyn and Devon Brayne. I worked with them at New West one summer. It is about a sweet earnest couple that fall in love and THEN gets married. We witness the relationship grow from a surface sweet moving in together to shouting tears and the occasional gun as they learn what is to actually LIVE and share life with someone you love. The performances will be at the Dr. Foster James Penny building (the UofL Building across the street from the Penny Coffee House) March 7-11 8pm Tickets at the door and at the Uof L Box office phone or online. Seniors and Students$15 and $20 for all other humans. It has maybe the funniest scene I have ever read in it. Now I just have to do it justice.

This is your own presentation. What are the challenges for something like that?

Well, I wear too many hats but I am starting to create a better team of people around me to help me make things awesome. I must have some trust issues and so I end up doing too much so that the only person to blame is myself. However as I keep making work I start to meet great people and they take more off my plate and make better work than I could have imagined.

Theatre right across the country has struggled in recent years. Why do you suppose that is and what can be done to get people going to shows again?

There are some simple economics at work. Digital media is REALLY good at captivating our time and although much more expensive to produce up front once it is done you just press repeat and it is a little money generator. Live theatre is just plain expensive to create and maintain. I do feel heartened by the fact that there is still nothing more compelling than a live, honestly performed story. On a fundamental level we crave the experience of a story.

Best blooper?

Oy! We could write a book!!!….I was onstage for a curtain call of A Christmas Carol while my friend who was playing the role of Jacob Marley was knocked off balance wearing drywalling stilts and at a height of 8 feet he lurched forward wheeled toward the audience, tripped and made a diving crash into the wings. We stood shocked as we saw him disappear into the wings and watched as the asm went running across the stage and tried to free him from the metal carnage.

If you had an unlimited budget what show would you like to do?

It may sound like a total about face from my comedy roots but there is a Pulitzer prize winning work called Wit about a Woman who is a a Phd English Professor who is struggling with and ultimately dies of Cancer. It was made into a film starring Emma Thompson a few years ago.  It rips my heart out every time I read it. My mother died from a form of blood cancer a couple of years ago and this would have been a work she lived. She was an amazing word nerd and a deeply philosophical woman. This would be my tribute to her.


You’ve done both theatre and film. Talk about the differences between them.

Film pays good. ‘Nuff said. (teeheehee) I love theatre for its immediacy. You have feedback in the NOW. It is a symbiotic relationship. When you get to do it and be involved in it I cherish that. Every show I am onstage I have that little voice that reminds me how lucky I am to be getting to tell THIS story to these people at this moment in time…and it will never be THIS moment again. On film it is much more a directors’ and editors’ medium than an actors’ medium. In film an actor is there to create images from which a light based shadow play can be curated. The scale of works is too different too. I remember the first day on set I was shooting a little spot on HELL ON WHEELS and it was not a major scene just me, some horse and a kid in the frame. I did a rough count of 75+ bodies around and let’s assume everyone is making a wee bit better than minimum wage… It donned on me that I could run a theatre company for a year on what is spent on a mundane day in film.

What’s your best advice you like to give to  your students?

Be seen, be heard, and once you have that…be interesting.

Always tell the story and be specific in what you’re doing.

Find 5 people of differing opinions who will critique your work and tell you when why and how you are not good/bad.

Make your own work then you have yourself to blame for better or for worse.

Be Nice. The industry is small you will run into the same people and nobody wants to be around an asshat for very long, no matter how talented.

Networking involves being real with people.

It is a business. Remind yourself of that when you are struggling.

It is an art. Remind yourself of that you are flying high.

Read plays.

See plays.

Read all the methodologies (Stanislavsky, Laban, Meyerhold, Meisner, Hagen….) that shit is gold.

Don’t talk your projects to death. DO.


Live a life outside of theatre so you can be a real human on stage.


Top 5 plays of all time.

This list seems to get pushed every time I read something new and usually has to do with the roles I most want to do. Let’s go with:

Amadeus, Wit, One Master Two Guv’ner’s, A year with Frog and Toad, Urinetown

Harold Lloyd maybe….I have found a new awe of the early silent film comedians they possessed a talent we don’t really see anymore…or maybe just a lack of safety regulations…

Favorite actress of all time.

Besides my daughter Violet …Emma Thompson, there is something about those Brits.

Favorite brush with fame.

I am sort of a fame dork. I don’t recognize anybody until after the fact. I once gave Raffi some guitar playing advice. I shared a ride back to the acting trailers with Jann Arden after being with her on set all day. I didn’t clue in until I heard everyone else gushing.

10 Random Thoughts To Close Out February

  1. February is hard to say with 10 marshmallows in your mouth.
  2. I’m proud of everyone who represented Canada in South Korea.
  3. I felt bad for the German hockey team who I’m sure will be thinking “We gave up a short-handed goal with 2 minutes to go” for the rest of their lives.
  4. I still think the first Darren was better in Bewitched.
  5. While it was a good exercise, the 3-day planning session we had with members of City Council and Administration sprained a couple of my brain lobes.
  6. Since 1867 there has never been a Federal Budget where all Political Parties thought it was great.
  7. I admit I enjoyed Celebrity Big Brother and dare I say I kind of began to like Omarosa.
  8. I always think that once we hit March we should be done with winter and then I remember 1967. (Record snow at the end of April and May)
  9. I’m looking forward to the Oscars with Jimmy Kimmel as the host. In my opinion he’s one of the best in the past 20 years. I suspect he’ll come out dressed as an envelope.
  10. If I ever got on Jeopardy I doubt that I’d make it to final Jeopardy because I’d probably be $2000 in the hole.

An Informative Chat With Sergeant Robin Klassen

I had the pleasure of meeting Sergeant Robin Klassen of the Lethbridge Police Service at my very first Heart of the City Committee meeting. She has been working hard with her colleagues to come up with solutions to our ongoing social issues that face our city. The new Supervised Consumption Site has been a contentious issue and she is striving to inform the public on its benefits. I thought I’d ask her about that and get to know a little bit more about her background.

Tell us a little about yourself and your journey to becoming Sergeant of the Downtown Policing Unit.

I grew up in a rural farming community outside of Lethbridge.  I received my Social Work Degree from the University of Calgary through the Lethbridge satellite campus and began my Social Work career in Children Services.  While I was with Children Services, I had the opportunity to work alongside the Lethbridge Police Service as well as the RCMP and I always had a strong interest in their world.  My brother is a member of the RCMP which also gave me the chance to see and understand more of what policing life was about.  I applied for the Lethbridge Police Service and was hired in 2001 spending my first five years in the patrol division.  I then moved into the Forensic Identification Unit for a number of years before returning to patrols.  From there I joined the Domestic Violence Unit and was promoted which brought me back to the patrol division as a team Sergeant.  In January of 2017 I became the Sergeant of the Downtown Policing Unit and I am currently in that role working with the community and specifically the Downtown core of the city.

How do you like Lethbridge?

I enjoy Lethbridge for its size, closeness to my family and also proximity to the mountains.  I love spending time outdoors with my son and husband using our summer holidays for paddle boarding and camping with friends and family.

Who were some of your role models?

When asked about my role models, I would have to say my brother fits in that category.  Although he is my older brother and I wouldn’t admit this to him, I would have to say that he is someone I looked up to while growing up and still hold a great respect for.  Before he became an active member I watched him go through the application process, complete his training in Regina and eventually reach his goal of joining the RCMP.  My family attended his graduation and the pride that I felt definitely influenced my decision to apply for the Police Service.  I admire the dedication he has to his career, his community and his family.  Seventeen years ago at my graduation, he presented me with my Lethbridge Police Service Badge, definitely a proud moment for all of us.

You have been informing the public about the new Supervised Consumption Site. What are some of the major misconceptions?

Here is an information sheet from ARCHES that addresses some of those concerns:

Myths & Facts About Supervised Consumption Services:

Myth: Offering Supervised Consumption Services will encourage people to experiment with and use other drugs.

Fact: The people who use Supervised Consumption Services are already dealing with addictions. They are often homeless people who use drugs in public places because they do not have the option of a safe environment.

The first time a person accesses Supervised Consumption Services, they meet with a nurse to discuss their drug use and their circumstances. The key to providing the services is to build relationships with people and connect them with appropriate supports to be healthier and to stay alive.

Myth: Supervised Consumption Services are “shooting galleries” where people with addictions can congregate to use drugs.

Fact: The space for Supervised Consumption Services is a safe, clean environment with stations equipped for individual substance use under observation by a nurse. The nurse can educate the individual on safer consumption practices and provide primary care as needed. After consumption people have a safe space to rest and talk with a nurse, social worker or peer support worker to discuss the resources they are accessing as well as additional supports they need such as health care, social services and addiction counselling.

Myth: Adding medically Supervised Consumption Services presents problems that don’t currently exist in the community.

Fact: In Alberta 559 people died as a result of opioid overdoses in 2016. Of these deaths, 363 were attributed to fentanyl or carfentanil, which are often laced into other drugs.

Everyone in the community benefits from adding services that encourage people already engaged in high-risk activity to come into a controlled facility where they can reduce harm to themselves and access support services.

In the ARCHES 2017 Outreach and Harm Reduction Evaluation, 75 per cent of drug users reported that they had injected in public during the previous six months. Without a safer alternative, people are injecting drugs in public places such as under the Highway 3 overpass along Stafford Drive, in the bushes by the homeless shelter, in back alleys, behind dumpsters and in public washrooms. Discarded needles are just one of the consequences of this public drug use.

Myth: Instead of spending taxpayers’ money on Supervised Consumption Services, we should put all our resources into prevention, treatment and enforcement.

Fact: The most effective approach is multi-faceted and includes education, prevention, harm reduction, treatment and enforcement. No single approach on its own will solve the whole problem. The reality for people who use drugs is that their health and survival are at risk. The goal of Supervised Consumption Services is to provide people with a safe place while also helping them start to break their addictions.

The lifetime cost is high to treat infectious diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis C, which are contracted from sharing used needles, and to treat infections from unsafe needle practices. For every dollar spent on Supervised Consumption Services, five dollars are saved in health care and emergency services costs.

How real is the Opioid Crisis in Lethbridge?

The entire province is facing a substance abuse-related health crisis. To put things into perspective, more Albertans are dying each year from drug overdoses than at the height of the AIDS/HIV epidemic. In 2016, 559 Albertans died from drug overdoses – 363 were attributed to either fentanyl or carfentanil and 196 were attributed to other opioids. The south zone (which includes Lethbridge) also saw the highest rate of emergency department visits – 24 per cent higher than the provincial average.

From a policing perspective what’s the biggest challenge you’re going to face with the site opens?

At this point it’s really too early to say.

What has been the response when you inform people about what is coming?

Right now reactions are mixed. Some people are extremely supportive, some are not and there’s a lot of people somewhere in the middle who just aren’t sure. But what I’ve found is people who maybe don’t have a lot of information about it or don’t necessarily understand what it’s intended to do and what it isn’t intended to do, generally lean more to the supportive side once they learn more about it.

Is there anything unique to Lethbridge that might be different from other parts of the world?

Yes. From what I have learned from ARCHES, the Lethbridge site will be the first in North America to offer all four modes of consumption – ingestion/oral, injection, intra-nasal/snorting and inhalation.  ARCHES is the expert when it comes to the site and questions around it specifically.

How safe is Lethbridge right now?

Overall, Lethbridge is a safe community and the majority of people feel safe. Every year we do a community survey  – which we’re actually in the process of doing right now for 2018 – and one of the questions we ask is how safe people feel. In the 2017 survey the majority of respondents reported that they felt safe in their neighbourhood. I think what’s important for people to understand is the risk of being the victim of a serious crime is very low for the average, law-abiding citizen. That’s not to say it can’t happen, but it’s far less likely compared to someone engaged in a high risk lifestyle which includes people involved in the drug subculture, substance abusers, the homeless and other marginalized individuals. The majority of violent crime in the city is targeted, in that the parties involved are known to one another and much of it is associated to the drug trade. Where the average person might be impacted, is property crime, which is a spin off effect of substance abuse – addicts stealing to feed their habit. It’s also largely opportunistic and people can greatly reduce their risk of victimization through prevention. For example, if you leave your purse or wallet in your car, you increase your risk of being victimized. Remove valuables so there’s nothing to steal and you reduce it.

How optimistic are you about minimizing drug use and homelessness in our city?

Both are social problems and not something the police alone can address. A holistic approach involving social services, health, mental health and other community support services, that address root causes and provide treatment options to help get people back on track is the only way to change the situation. Arrest and temporary detention won’t break the cycle.

And just for fun, what are your 5 favorite albums of all time?

I am a country girl to the core – doesn’t matter the decade or if it’s hit the charts….you will find me listening to it all.

Enough With The Snow and Other Stuff

Correct me if I’m wrong but I feel that it’s been a number of years since I’ve done this much shoveling in the winter. We get 10cm of snow, then it chinooks, then another 10cm…then it chinooks….I’m getting tired of that cycle. Mind you my biceps haven’t been this big since I went to McMurren’s Gym regularly. (Who remembers McMurrens?) It reminds me of why my parents used to always take off for 2 weeks in February for Hawaii, Mexico or the Caribbean. When I was still living at home that would also be the time for my annual keg party. And yes I always cleaned up as good as I could.

This past week was very busy for me on council with a Transit Master Plan presentation on Monday, an EDL committee meeting on Wednesday morning followed by a Heart of the City meeting and a Library board meeting. Then Thursday there was an Open and Effective Government meeting followed by an Animal Welfare meeting.

I was thrilled to see that southern Alberta will be part of the Protein Industries Supercluster. Funding was announced by the Federal Government on Thursday. This initiative hopes to make Canada a leading source for plant proteins. Mayor Chris Spearman and EDL CEO Trevor Lewington were in Calgary for the announcement.

I was emcee for the Lethbridge School District ICE Awards breakfast honoring some incredible student initiatives. Local country singer Mark Maxwell sang for us. I really think he’s got some potential to make it big in the industry.

Guest speaker was Michael Kerr who brought his humor in the workforce presentation. He was funny and inspiring which is why I think I may wear a bone in my head at the next council meeting.

I was also part of Flag Day at the Legion on Thursday. We got our own flag on Feburary 15, 1965. Our own Joyce Fairbairn who was a reporter in Ottawa at the time broke the story. When I went traveling in Australia and New Zealand in 1978 I always had my Canadian flag on my back pack. It’s rare that you would ever get into any trouble when people know you’re from Canada.

I watched the Canada-Czech Olympic game last night that ended in a familiar fashion-losing in a shoot-out. It was deja vous all over again. I watched from the same chair 20 years ago when we lost in a shoot-out to Dominik Hasek. Fortunately this was in the qualifying round so we’re not out of it. Cool to see the Lethbridge connection with Rob Klinkhammer and Willie Desjardins but I hope we never have to play the Czechs in the Olympics again. Or at least I’ll never sit in that chair if we do.

Are you like me when driving Whoop-Up Drive these days? Just when you’re half way you think…was it 60 or 90kms?

Here’s to a moratorium on snow in the city for awhile….(Like that’ll happen..)

Watch for some upcoming blog interviews with the new CEO of the Lethbridge Destination Management Organization William Slenders, actor/director Andrew Legg and Staff Sergeant Robin Klassen will talk about the new safe injection site.