When I was running for a seat on city council in 2001, one of the most common issues I heard brought up was the fact Lethbridgians wanted the downtown revitalised. I think that is all and good and could go a long way to improving the city.
Another thing I noticed based on focus groups and committee meetings I attended regarding the revitalising the downtown was that residents did not want high-density development.
This makes no sense to me. why would you not be in favour for the thing that would be the most helpful to revitalising the downtown?
What the downtown needs to be revitalised is people. Plain and simple. Building bigger roads to bring more cars downtown isn’t the answer; nor is building more parking spaces. The easiest way to get more people downtown on a permanent basis is to build more housing; in particular to build more housing using the same amount of existing space.
High-density housing will bring many more people downtown on a permanent basis, providing more consumers, more entertainment patrons, and more transit users. As a result, the downtown will attract higher-end retail and hospitality establishments, result in better (and more frequent) entertainment options, and create improved transit options.
In addition, such housing will reduce (or at least slow down) the spread of urban sprawlâ€”a plague in the open prairies surrounding the city. The city will spend less money on roads, sewer and the delivery of services (such as gas, water and electricity).
One would think that after 20 years, it would be time for Lethbridge to see at least one more high rise apartment building.
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