Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - January 10, 1975, Lethbridge, Alberta
In year of uncertainty, 'city has more going for it than most9 By ANDY OGLE Herald Staff Writer An air of dynamism has been established in Lethbridge that attracts newcomers and keeps the city's young people from moving to bigger cities, says Lethbridge's economic development officer. At the same time, says Dennis O'Connell, a stable growth rate of 2.5 to three per cent, a rate the city can cope with, has been achieved. "Our own young citizens who 10 years ago didn't have the opportunity to stay in Lethbridge are perhaps staying Mr. O'Connell said in un interview on the state of the city's economy. This year is more difficult to forecast than previous years because of international and national uncertainties, Mr. O'Connell said. But, he added, in the context of economic un- certainties, Lethbridge appears to be one of the best places to be, with the best prospects. Escalating construction costs, particularly in Athabasca oil sands developments, the latest freight rate hike, federal provincial haggling over resource ownership, the dipping price of gold, and rising unemployment in the United States all can have a spin-off effect on the local economy, Mr. O'Connell said. LARGE PROJECT "Any large development, such as the Lethbridge Centre project, requires many millions of dollars on the money he said. "But on the positive side, the spin-off effects of the new Lethbridge Centre will, if investment money is available, create further investment in the downtown phase two area. "Further development will occur in West Lethbridge because of the new bridge and what seems to be a very attractive area. "Several new industries now under construc- tion in the industrial park will create job oppor- tunities that will help counteract what seems to be a trend towards rising unemployment." The construction picture in Lethbridge also looks optimistic this year as far as jobs are con- cerned because of the Lethbridge Research Sta- tion project and the provincial government ad- ministration centre, Mr. O'Connell said. Efforts by the government to stimulate house building should bring about a renewal of earlier high levels of house construction in the city, he said. Mr. O'Connell said 1975 will be a year of plann- ing and consolidation for his department because the city won't likely have any land to sell to industry this year. City council has approved development of a new industrial park to the north of present in- dustrial development, but it's estimated it could be the spring of 197G before any of it is ready to go on the market. Mr. O'Connell pointed out that the business of attracting business to the city involves a con- tinuing investment of time and effort. "Most major developments take as long as years to establish and right through the negotiations all kinds of uncertainties in the market situation, the availability of money, government and company policies, exist." The interest, of industry in Lethbridge is strengthening if anything, he added. "It's a matter of becoming known we have to fight hard to get out of the Calgary Ed- monton shadow." On city growth, Mr. O'Connell estimates the population rise in the last year at 2.5 to three per cent, although he admits it's a subjective guess for the most part. The city's last census in November, 1973, put the city population at The next census won't be taken until this spring because of a change in provincial statistical requirements UNREALISTIC Mr. O'Connell feels growth critics who de- mand a complete halt to city growth are being unrealistic, and points out that at a 2.5 per cent growth rate Lethbridge's population will only be by 1990. At a three per cent rale it would be by 1990. The average rate of growth from 1961 to 1973 was 1.88 per cent, with the population growing at a rate of between 1.99 and 3.30 per cent in the years between 1968 and 1973. City sizing up situation caused by power rate hike A city electric utility rate hike to offset the 17.6 per cent interim increase granted Calgary Power Ltd. last November won't be forthcoming in the immediate future. "We're doing a complete rate analysis, but we won't know if we'll need to pass on any of the Calgary Power increase until all our year end cost and revenue statements are said Oli Erdos, city utility director, Thur- sday. He said his department will make a recommendation to council on electric rates later on in the year. It will be up to council to decide if it wants to maintain the utility department's profit levels. Department profits from the distribution and sale of electricity in previous years have been used to fund capital expansion of the city electrical system and for the relief of taxation. The city purchases all of its electric power requirements from Calgary Power, which will go before the Public Utilities Board in March to ask that the 17.6 per cent hike be made permanent. 3 The interim rate increase went into effect Dec. 1. City electric bills last went up in April. 1973, by about per year for the average residential consumer. The increase then was also to offset a Calgary Power rate hike. At that time, however, the city still generated a portion of its power needs. 'Premature' says president Foster backs away from limit on U of A Weather held off park visitors Poor weather and Spokane's Expo '74 were cited as the main reasons for the 12 per cent decrease in visitors to Waterton National Park in 1974, the park's superinten- dent said Thursday. Parks Canada announced Wednesday visitation in 1974 to Waterton decreased by 12 per cent from the 1973 figure. The decrease in visitors was about bringing the 1974 total to people. Superintendent Tom Smith said the 1974 season got off to a bad start. "We had snow on the May 24 weekend and lost about visitors. They just didn't come around. We usually get about visitors that he said. The superintendent said Expo '74 in Spokane caused travel patterns to change and many people that would have come to the park went to the Expo instead. "Usually, people come down here from Highway 3 or" up from the United States over the Chief Mountain Mr. Smith said. He added that monetary problems and gasoline shor- tages in the U.S. in the early part of the year also put a damper on the number of American visitors to the park. "About 15 per cent of the park total visitation comes from the U.S. This year we lost about American he said. In terms of impact of the utilization of park facilities, Mr. Smith said Waterton took a drop in motel use but the camping facilities stayed about the same. But he said the decrease of visitors wasn't as bad as it sounds and actually "the drop is really less than 12 per cent." He said the figures released by Parks Canada show only the number of visitors to the park until Sept: 30, "but we had an excellent October." Mr. Smith said Waterton is receiving more winter visitors now because the park has recently opened five new cross country ski'trails. In the past the park has been vir- tually closed during the winter months. By AL SCARTH Herald Staff Writer The province has backed away from plans to limit the size of the University of Alberta to between and students. Two months ago, Jim Foster, minister of advanced education, revealed a "tentative arrangement" hammered out between university and department of- ficials to freeze enrolments in a wide range of first year and second year programs. A decision to freeze the size of the U of A was long overdue, he said, but could now come by the New Year. However, "we are no closer now than we were Mr. Foster said Thursday in a telephone interview from his home in Red Deer. "I thought we would be further along but we are not." Wo steam-rollering' "People are now saying they wonder if we should limit the university." So the province and university will continue discussions. "I don't want to give anyone the impression I'm steam- rollering Mr. Foster said. "Some voices in the univer- sity are saying they wonder if students is what we want." The U of A now has about students. One of the voices is that of U of A President Harry Gun- ning. "I came in July after the un- iversity tentatively agreed to Dr. Gunning said Thurs- day in a telephone interview. "Nobody has provided me with any evidence the univer- sity should be limited to this size. I think the whole thing is premature. It has been inade- quately considered." Dr. Gunning said the ar- bitrary choice of a number of students as a limit would be a naive simple minded solution. The university is playing an increasing number of roles in society and should not be limited arbitrarily. It is no longer just a degree granting factory, he said. "The problem of de humanization or de per- sonalization has to do more with structure of the univer- sity. It's not just a question of numerical size which is a very poor indicator. Limit 'needs good reason' "We can't find any real basis for a limitation in size. The feeling-in society is that big organizations are to be abhorred but that is an ar- bitrary, irrationally based value judgment." Dr. Gunning said it is not his intention to keep students from attending other univer- sities such as the University of Lethbridge. "But we have a physical and academic investment here and must prove to people we have a good reason for limiting it that good reason has to be more than an arbitrary one. "If you are living in Ed- monton and you are told your children have to go to the University of Lethbridge, you are going to have difficulties. "If you start limiting people in Edmonton in faculties such as arts and tell them they have to go to Lethbridge, it would be hard to justify." Dr. Gunning said he is will- ing to listen to the government's reasoning but the political implications for the university are very serious. "It will be damned hard to explain to the public.'' "I hope we would have further discussions with the department of advanced education, and decide a limit is premature or be convinced it is he said. The Lethbridge Herald Second Section Lethbridge, Alberta, Friday, January 10, 1975 Pages 13-24 RICK ERVIN photos Arctic front in residence The Good, Bad and the Ugly could well be the theme song of the winter weather scene in Lethbridge this year. The unusually warm days in November and most of December were hastily ushered out by the bad snowstorm that has left motorists mumbling about the city snow-removal system for the past three weeks. This week, the weather is downright ugly and getting uglier by the minute. Worse, it appears the Arctic front intends to take up residence in Southern Alberta for a few days. Grade 1 student Bob Bailie, 6, 24 Park Meadow Blvd., is dressed for maximum protection from Jack Frost as he breaks the monotony of indoor play on a swing. Verna Miller, 1007 10th Ave. N., peaks from behind a scarf, and two workmen carry Out their responsibilities despite the weather conditions. Bill Jessop, 240 Cassino Street, surveys in the downtown area, while letter carrier Bob Brown, 222 18th St. N., makes his residential rounds. Hospital chief confirms centralization policy By GEORGE STEPHENSON Herald Staff Writer Provincial hospitals commissioner Larry Wilson Thursday reaffirmed the government's stand that more centralization of hospital facilities can be expected in the future. Many hospital administrators and boards have been opposed to the plan which in the South has seen rural hospitals' labs and laundry services centralized in Lethbridge. "As an objective now we (the Alberta Hospital Services Commission) may try to persuade you to integrate your services to make them more he told a meeting of hospital representatives here. Mr. Wilson was speaking to the Southern Regional Hospitals Conference at St. Michael's Hospital. The commissioner said as well as the shar- ing of services, hospitals in a certain region may be wise to combine boards or base total health services on levels of care. "Around a central core, hospitals would be expected to provide a certain level of care and the core would be expected to provide a higher level." he said. These central services will be less costly in the long run and hospitals could be better off without each having its own facilities such as dietary, lab, laundry and food services. A central food service scheme is being planned for two hospitals in Edmonton and this could be an answer for other areas of the province, he said. A hospital does not have to be the centre of health care or a leader, but should be part of a toial health care concept in each com- munity, Mr. Wilson said. Earlier in the meeting, Doug Schindeler, southern hospital representative to the Alberta Hospitals Association, said trustees must develop policies with the community in mind. If this cannot be done the province's hospitals will end up being totally operated by the government, he said. Hospital boards should become more aware of total health care and co operate with each other to promote regional health concepts. "This may seem to be relinquishing some power but government will appoint its own boards unless trustees begin responding to such a Mr. Schindeler said."