“In the heart of southern Alberta, Lethbridge County features a prairie landscape with vast stretches of golden fields, along with inspiring and historic coulees and the impressive river valleys of the Old Man and Little Bow. Anyone growing up in the prairies of western Canada will feel at home in the fields and grasslands. The County is also served by two irrigation districts, providing a stable water supply for agricultural producers, as well as creating many recreational opportunities on the man-made lakes created by the water reservoirs.”
(Excerpted from "Serving Martha & Henry: Rural Municipal Government in Alberta 1983-1998", published by the AAMD&C in 1998)
Lethbridge County was incorporated on January 1st, 1954 as the Municipal District of Lethbridge No. 25, and covered a much smaller area than it does currently. In 1964, it joined with Lethbridge School Division No. 7 to become the County of Lethbridge No. 26. and then in 2000 became the County of Lethbridge. Lethbridge County was given its current name in 2013, and remains the “Pride of the Region”.
Located in the heart of Southern Alberta, Lethbridge County includes over 2,800km2 of land. It is 214km south of Calgary and only 100km from several Montana border crossings, and is also linked to Vancouver and the Eastern Provinces via the Trans-Canada Highway through Medicine Hat- a distance of 169km.
Lethbridge County is the epitome of natural beauty, featuring vast stretches of golden prairie fields, the river valleys of the Old Man and Little Bow, and historic coulees. There are several lakes in the region that serve as irrigation systems and offer visitors and residents a large array of recreational activities.
The climate of Lethbridge County is semi-arid, providing little precipitation, which has led to the construction of the County’s many irrigation systems. This region receives the most sunshine in all of Canada. The Chinook winds generated from the eastern slopes of the Rockies provide warmer temperatures than other areas on the prairies in winter.
Lethbridge County has a population of 10,353 (2016 Census), and includes several small communities:
• Diamond City
• Iron Springs
Municipalities within the area independent of Lethbridge County include:
• Village of Barons
• Village of Nobleford
• Town of Coaldale
• Town of Coalhurst
• Town of Picture Butte
• City of Lethbridge
Lethbridge County Council
Lethbridge County encompasses seven electoral divisions in its jurisdiction. Every four years, municipal elections bring together a diverse group of people to serve as council members and provide leadership and direction for the municipality. Drawing from their experiences and perspectives, these individuals come together to work as a unit in the interest of the municipality as a whole. The ability to compromise and reach a consensus about difficult issues is important, particularly when there are conflicting interests that must be reconciled. Since the County’s establishment in 1964, the men and women who have served on Council have persevered in trying to identify the best course of action to serve the interests of the County.
Lethbridge County Council pictured with Senior Management
County Council 2013-2017
Reeve Lorne Hickey (Division 1)
Deputy Reeve Henry Doeve (Division 3)
Councillor John Willms (Division 2)
Councillor Ken Benson (Division 4)
Councillor Steve Campbell (Division 5)
Councillor Tom White (Division 6)
Councillor Morris Zeinstra (Division 7)
The Agricultural Service Board (A.S.B.) is comprised of all County Councillors, the Chief Administrative Officer and the Agricultural Fieldman. The Board’s mission is to enhance the quality of life and promote environmentally sustainable agriculture in Lethbridge County. A.S.B. programs such as roadside seeding, backsloping, pest control, roadside spraying, weed control, shelterbelts, soil conservation and hamlet and subdivision mowing are among the key services provided through the Board. A range of programs and projects have been added throughout the years and include: absorbing the Parks Department which oversees 7 hamlet parks and playgrounds, as well as carrying out custom vegetation control on 13 school grounds for the Palliser Regional School Division.
The Municipal Services department’s vision is to provide a safe municipal infrastructure for all County residents, businesses, and visitors. A commitment to enhancing quality of life for all is paramount, and can be achieved through managing infrastructure in a cost-effective manner. Maintaining and improving the transportation and utility infrastructure, and providing for waste management are among the many activities that fall under the authority of Municipal Services. Municipal Services includes Public Works, Utilities, Agricultural Services, Technical Services, Fleet Services, and Environmental Health.
Lethbridge County is proud to supply the highest quality service possible to our citizens through cost-effective and efficient delivery of Corporate Services. Included within the Corporate Services department is the Lethbridge Airport, which has been under County authority since 1997. Other programs include Assessment and Taxation Services, Finance and Accounting, and Information Technology.
The Community Services department includes several departments, including Planning and Development, Emergency Services, Economic Development, and Communications. Planning for future development and land use is a main focus of Community Services, by ensuring that such development occurs in compliance with the Land Use Bylaw, Municipal Development Plan, Municipal Government Act, and other legislation.
Keeping County residents safe is another key responsibility of Community Services. Community Peace Officers have recently been introduced as another method of providing effective and efficient management and coordination of emergency service systems and resources within Lethbridge County. The Economic Development department works to strengthen our local economy and present the County’s high-quality products and services to the world. Lethbridge County is in the fortunate position of being able to build on its strengths to support existing industry, while at the same time moving forward embracing new developments in agriculture, alternative/renewable energy, and transportation. The Communications department aims to keep residents informed of County activities through local media, publications, and digital media.
Meeting Future Challenges
Lethbridge County faces many challenges ahead as our infrastructure ages and sources of funding (such as grants) become unpredictable. Repairing and replacing roads and bridges within our Market Access Network will undoubtedly be our biggest challenge, but through initiatives such as Funding Our Future, these essential pieces of infrastructure will be a top priority going forward.
Coping with the pressure of doing more with less and the need to balance a range of differing interests will require innovative new approaches to local government. Council and Administration bring many diverse views to the table and through their collective effort they believe they will be able to work through these challenges for the benefit of the municipality as a whole.