Council Agenda for September 26th, 2016

A busy agenda for the September’s meeting of Regina’s City Council.

Here are some of my notes:

Heritage Designation for Regina Indian Industrial School Cemetery: A report from Regina’s Planning Commission recommends that Regina’s Indian Industrial School Cemetery be assigned Municipal Heritage Status. 

The RIIS cemetery was operated for the Government of Canada by the Presbyterian Church in Canada from 1891 to 1910. Over five hundred Indigenous children ranging in age from three to early twenties were recruited or sent to the school from forty-five First Nations across Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Alberta. The cemetery contains approximately thirty-five unmarked graves of Indigenous students who died at the school along with three graves of the children of the school’s first Principal.

New Funding For Transit: At a special City Council Meeting on September 19th, Regina City Council approved more than $17 million dollars of Municipal, and Federal funding for transit in Regina. This is great news for the future of transit in our City. The new funds will result in the creation of a new route (Arcola Express), expanding and renewing our transit fleet, and long over due improvements to para-transit service. 

At the September 26th meeting, Council will also be voting on the approval of another $30.1 million dollars of Federal, Provincial, and Municipal funding for a new Transit Fleet Maintenance Facility.

For the past couple of decades, Regina City Transit has been fighting an uphill battle when it comes to resources and ridership. The tides have now officially changed. Regina Transit has seen about a 20% increase in Ridership since 2011. With the introduction of the U of R’s U Pass program, along with these significant public investments, the future looks bright for transit in Regina. 

New Funding for Regina’s Storm and Waste Water Collection System: At a special City Council Meeting on September 19th, Regina City Council approved more than $27 million dollars of Municipal, Provincial, and Federal funding to improve Regina’s storm and waste water collection system. This is a huge and important step to ensuring the health of the Qu’Appelle Water System.

Laneway Suite Pilot Program: A report from Regina’s Planning Commission recommends the approval of 6 Laneway Suites across the City as a pilot project.  The conversation around laneway Housing in Regina dates back several years. After two pilot programs in new neighbourhoods (Harbour landing and Greens on Gardiner), the City contracted a consultant to develop guidelines for infill laneway suites in 2015. In January of this year City Council directed administration to proceed with a pilot project of these suites in Regina’s existing neighbourhoods. After a public invitation to receive development proposals, City Administration selected six laneway suite proposals that are consistent with the guidelines.

Heritage Building Rehabilitation Program for the Frontenac Apartments: A report from the Finance and Administration Committee recommends approving the Frontenac Apartments (near Victoria avenue) for the HBRP for an amount equal to the lesser of: 1) 50 percent of eligible costs for work related to preserving the heritage elements of the building, or 2) 10 years of property tax exemption (an estimated $395,000). It’s great to see so many properties now accessing this program and I’m hopeful that the Frontenac will stand for generations to come.  

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Council Agenda for August 29th, 2016

Here are some of my notes on the agenda for the Regina City Council meeting of August 29TH, 2016.

Proposed Development in Wascana Park: A report from the Finance and Administration Committee recommends the donation of a 2.6-acre parcel of land located immediately South of College Avenue, and West of Darke Hall to the U of R.

The University intends to develop the park space into an 80,000 ft2 building, 55,000 ft2 of which would be used for Conexus Credit Union’s head office.

Here are some of the arguments for and against.

For: Renewing College Avenue Campus is expensive and this project would leverage a lot of other funding, including an $8,000,000 from Conexus.

Against: If Conexus wants to donate to the U of R, go for it, but that doesn’t their head office should go on public parkland in return.

For: This mixed-use proposal will add to Wascana Park.

Against: This development is primarily commercial office space (68%) and in no way fit’s Wascana Centre Authority’s mandate which is:

            To be devoted to:

                        -Development of the seat of government

                        -Enlargement of educational opportunities

                        -Advancement of cultural arts

                        -Improvement of recreational facilities

                        -Conservation of environment

For: This development will offer financial assistance to both the U of R and Wascana Centre Authority.

Against: Both the U of R and Saskatchewan’s Urban Parks have faced significant financial challenges both during and after The Boom and there is no guarantee that this private partnership won’t just further excuse insufficient government funding.

For: This is a unique opportunity for the U of R and doesn’t set precedence for future development in Wascana Park.

Against: There are already plans from other commercial developments in Wascana Park (apparently Brandt has been in talks with the Canadian Institute for the Blind to build a commercial tower on their land). This absolutely sets precedence.

For: By consolidating Conexus’s operations, this will bring more employees closer to Regina’s Downtown.

Against: This proposal is at odds with Regina’s office policy which doesn’t allow for new office space to be built outside of downtown-proper while vacancy rates are above 6%. The Leader Post reported that Regina’s office vacancy was more than 15%. There are currently 17 developable parcels of land in Regina’s downtown with a whole whack more about to come available with the development of RRI lands.

Corridor and Community Plan: I’ve put forward a motion asking for the City to prioritize the completion and updating of corridor and neighbouhood plans to make sure that they align with the goals and objectives of Regina’s Official Community Plan.  You can read the motion here:

http://www.shawnfraser.ca/notice_of_motion_updating_community_plans

Sakimay First Nations Development: A report from Executive Committee recommends authorizing administration to sign a Water Access and Fire Services agreement with Sakimay First Nations and Four Horse Development Ltd, which would provide service to land located at the East end of Dewdney Avenue (South side of Dewdney between the edge of the City and the GTH).  The location is part of a 120-hectare parcel of Sakimay’s reserve land and would support the start of a business park.

Development in Heritage: A report from Planning Commission recommends the approval of a proposed mixed-use building at 1440 11th Ave The proposed development would contain space for 3 restaurants, a convenience store, a grocery store and 5 residential units.

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Notice of Motion - Updating Community Plans

NOTICE OF MOTION

Chief Legislative Officer & City Clerk

City Hall

Regina, Saskatchewan 

Dear Sir:

Please be advised that I will submit the following MOTION at the meeting of City Council on Monday, August 29, 2016.

Re:  Neighbourhood Plans

WHEREAS Design Regina: The Official Community Plan (OCP) was adopted by City Council in 2013; and

WHEREAS intensification is a key priority of the OCP; and                                                                                       

WHEREAS a many of Regina’s neighbourhood-level plans were created before the OCP; and

WHEREAS many of these plans may be divergent from some of the goals and objectives of the OCP.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED the City of Regina prioritize the completion of new corridor plans, updating existing neighbourhood plans and creating and implementing new neighbourhood plans to help achieve the vision of the OCP.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Administration provide a report back to City Council, through Executive Committee, on a plan which will contain the timelines on implementing these changes in October of 2017.

Respectfully submitted,

Shawn Fraser

Councillor Ward 3

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Council Agenda for July 25th, 2016

There are a total of 65 agenda items for July’s meeting of Regina City Council.

Here are some of the highlights.

Proposed development at 13th Ave and Elphinstone St. – A report from Regina’s Planning Commission recommends the denial of an application to develop a mixed-use 4-story building at the corner of 13th and Elphinstone (immediately North of Connaught School). The proposed building would have 3 commercial spaces, 6 two-bedroom/23 one-bedroom rental units, and 29 parking stalls. While the bulk of the land in question is already zoned for 4-story mixed use, the proposed plan would also involve knocking down an adjacent house (2064 Elphinstone) to make room for the parking lot.

Here are some of the arguments I’ve heard about the proposal:

     Against: Proposed development runs contrary to the Cathedral Neighbourhood Plan as it requires the rezoning of a R1 (residential lot) to LC3 (Mixed Commercial/Residential lot) to make room for the parking lot.

     For: Proposed building is a good fit for the goals of Regina’s Official Community Plan (OCP) because it is mixed use, infill, and increases density along an arterial road/Transit route.

     Against: 4-stories seems out of place given the height of the neighbouring buildings.

     For: There are already many other 4-story buildings scattered throughout the neighbourhood. 

     Against: More rental properties will decrease surrounding property values

     For:  More development will increase surrounding property values.

     Against: Putting mid-density projects near a school is a traffic concern for children.

     For: Putting mid-density projects far away from schools and other community amenities so people have to drive everywhere is a bigger traffic concern for children. (Adjacent streets already see a combined average of more than 20,000 vehicle trips/day, many of those by people passing through Cathedral from new suburban neighbourhoods).

     Against: The OCP’s goal of having 10,000 in Regina’s broader downtown is the mentality of a sardine cannery.

     For: The OCP’s goal of having 10,000 more people in Regina’s broader downtown is a good thing: it will help revitalize our original neighbourhoods, and is actually playing catch up after several decades of an suburban exodus (Cathedral’s population has dropped from 10,897 people in 1971 to 7,070 in 2011, a decrease of 35%).

Halifax St. Rental Project Amendment – A report from Planning Commission recommends allowing a proposed 4-story development on the 1900 block of Halifax to have 45 units instead of the 39 it has already been approved to have.

Transit Service to Rider Games – A report from Community and Protective Service recommends a new transit service agreement between the City and the Roughriders. The agreement would nearly double the current game-day Transit service and offer it at no fee to game-ticket holders. The Riders would cover the actual cost of the service. I think this is a good arrangement, and ultimately our goal should be to make alternative transit the best value to everyone headed to a game.

Civic Museum of Regina – A report from Community and Protective Services recommends the City provide one-time funding of $85,000 to the Civic Museum of Regina to help the organization transition to a virtual museum. Instead of having an address, the Museum’s collection would be curated around the City (at the airport, rec facilities, libraries, business, etc.)

Curling Tax Take Out – A report from Finance and Administration recommends a two year tax break for Regina’s curling clubs as they transition to a new business model that would combine some of their administrative structures.

New restaurant in Heritage – A report from Planning Commission recommends the approval of an application for a new 26-seat restaurant on 11th Ave and St. John’s St.

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Council Agenda for June 27th, 2016

Here are some of my notes for the Regina City Council meeting of June 27th, 2016.

Changes to Regina’s Fire Bylaw: A report from Community and Protective Services Committee recommends the approval of changes to Regina’s Fire Bylaw which include:

            -The requirement for private technicians who perform maintenance and testing on portable fire extinguishers, commercial cooking equipment, sprinkler and standpipe systems and fire alarm systems to be trained and qualified to the industrial standards as per the National Fire Code.

            -That landlords test and keep record of smoke alarms in rental properties on a monthly basis.

            -That the City implement a fee schedule for repeat false alarms.     

            -That the City ban the release of Flying Lanterns within City limits as they have been linked to a number of fires in the          City.

Seasonal Taxi Licenses: I’ve submitted the following motion to Monday night’s Council meeting:

            WHEREAS the City of Regina issues seasonal taxi licenses to meet seasonal demand for taxis; and

            WHEREAS seasonal taxi licenses remain the property of the City of Regina; and

            WHEREAS the City of Regina currently issues seasonal plates to Regina’s three main taxi brokerages at a price that is       intended to cover the cost of the associated administration; and                       

            WHEREAS the City of Regina commissioned TTLF Consulting to create the Regina Taxi Study Report in 2010 which recommended that ‘All future decals, winter and annual, should be awarded by lottery to current drivers or brokers with two or more years of taxi driving experience in Regina.’ (Page 8); and

            WHEREAS City administration has stated its intention to review this policy in 2017.

            THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that any seasonal taxi licenses be issued to brokers on the condition that these licenses are not leased to end users for more than the initial price when issued by the City of Regina.

As mentioned, the City’s 2010 Taxi Study recommended Regina distribute seasonal licenses by lottery as opposed to issuing them through brokers who then lease them to drivers for many times more than the City’s cost-recovery-based charge.

The City has a unique role in regulating this vs. other industries but I don’t see that our role as regulator is to create rent for taxi brokerages.

Administration hopes to again review this policy in 2017. In the mean time my motion asks that licenses continue to be distributed for use through brokerages but that they put them to use without jacking the price to drivers. They would, of course, still be able to charge drivers a fee for their brokerage services.

Brown Field Redevelopment Plan: A report from the Finance and Administration Committee recommends that the City apply for funding from the Canadian Federation of Municipality’s Green Municipal Fund to create an Underutilized Land Improvement Strategy for Regina. This study would help to develop Brown Field sites such as the many abandoned gas stations across the City. The report would cost an estimated $115,000 about half of which could be covered by the FCM grant. 

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Council Agenda for May 30th, 2016

Living Wage Employer: I’ve submitted a motion to Monday’s meeting for the City of Regina to explore the cost and logistics of becoming a Living Wage Employer. You can view the motion here.     

Last month I did a walk-a-long with one of Regina’s Parking enforcement officers. It’s a challenging job with a lot of turnover and these front-line workers do not earn a living wage. You can read more about that experience here. I also had the opportunity to attend Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson’s ‘Cities Reducing Poverty when Mayor’s Lead’ conference in Edmonton.

Both experiences were inspiring and got me thinking about the City of Regina becoming a Living Wage Employer.

The principle of a Living Wage is this:

‘A living wage is not the same as the minimum wage, which is the legal minimum all employers must pay. The living wage sets a higher test - a living wage reflects what earners in a family need to bring home based on the actual costs of living in a specific community. The living wage is a call to private and public sector employers to pay wages to both direct and contract employees that are sufficient to provide the basics to families with children.’ (from www.livingwagecanada.ca)

In Regina, a living wage is currently calculated at $16.46 an hour.

Most, if not all, of the City of Regina’s direct staff already make a living wage. The actual change this would mean is ensuring our sub-contractors pay their employees a living wage when they bid on/renew service contracts. For most of these contracts this would mean no change, but for some it would. The intent of my motion is to find out what the actual cost and logistics of implementing such a phased-in policy would be, and to have that information forwarded for next year’s budget deliberations.    

Heritage Property Designations: In 2015 Regina City Council increased the tax exemption for Heritage Properties from 5 years to 10 years. Since that time we have seen an influx of application and this month 4 significant properties are up for designation. They are:

-Frontenac Apartments, 2202 Lorne St (Just south of the Balfour on Victoria Ave)

-Old #1 Fire Hall, 1654 11th Ave. (Across the street from the Artful Dodge)

-The Somerset Block, 1806 Smith St. (Just West of Norwood in 11th Ave)

-Weston’s Bakery, 1377 Hamilton St. (in the Warehouse District, East of the Exchange).

This is great.

Regina’s Cultural Plan: A report from Community and Protective Services recommends approval of Regina’s Cultural Plan. The plan is the result of an extensive research and community engagement process and has been developed to clarify the City’s role in supporting the development of the arts, cultural heritage, cultural industries, and inter-culturalism. The focus of the plan is to achieve three goals: To Embrace Cultural Diversity, Strengthen the Artistic and Cultural Community, and to Commemorate and Celebrate Regina’s Cultural Heritage.    

In my opinion the plan is great. The challenge, as with any plan, will be in implementing it. 

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Notice of Motion: Living Wage

NOTICE OF MOTION

Chief Legislative Officer & City Clerk

City Hall

Regina, Saskatchewan

Dear Sir:

Please be advised that I will submit the following MOTION at the meeting of City Council on Monday, May 30, 2016.

Re:  Living Wage Employer

WHEREAS the City of Regina’s Vision is to be Canada’s most vibrant, inclusive, attractive, sustainable community, where people live in harmony and thrive in opportunity; and

WHEREAS part of the City of Regina’s means to follow this vision is as one of Regina’s largest employers; and

WHEREAS a living wage is not the same as the minimum wage, which is the legal minimum all employers must pay, and a living wage reflects what earners in a family need to bring home based on the actual costs of living in a specific community; and

WHEREAS the living wage is calculated as the hourly rate at which a household can meet its basic needs, once government transfers have been added to the family's income and deductions have been subtracted; and 

WHEREAS a living wage policy ensures that wages to both direct and contract employees are sufficient to provide the basics to families with children; and

WHEREAS being a Living Wage Employer creates a more level playing field for sub-contractors of City-services that wish to, or already pay their employees a living wage; and

WHEREAS the cities of Edmonton, Toronto and Vancouver are taking steps towards becoming a living wage employer; and

WHEREAS the city of New Westminster has a Living Wage Policy that requires all firms that are contracted directly or subcontracted by the City to provide services on City Premises to pay their employees who perform the services the areas calculated living wage;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that Regina City Council direct City Administration to research the cost, logistics, and impact of adopting a Living Wage Policy for the City of Regina as an employer or contractor and how this policy would relate to other community programs and support systems.

Be it further resolved that the results of this research be forwarded for consideration in the City Regina’s 2017 budgeting process.

Respectfully submitted,

Shawn Fraser

Councillor Ward 3

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A Day In The Life Of A Regina Parking Enforcement Officer

While it takes literally thousands of hard-working people to make the City of Regina run, there is one civic job that has always struck me as particularly hard and thankless:

Parking Enforcement.

With that in mind, I got in touch with Linda Brailean, the head of Regina’s Parking Services, to arrange a walk along and try to learn more about what being a Parking Enforcement Officer is like.

Parking Services is on the 13th floor of City Hall.

I arrived on a Monday morning and the boardroom table was covered in Tim Horton’s cups and radios.

“Welcome!” said Linda, shaking my hand.

“Do any of you know who this is?” she asked, turning to crew in florescent vests sitting around the table.

13 legitimately stumped faces stared back at me. No one raised a hand. 

“Well, this is Councillor Fraser. He’s here today to do a walk along and learn more about Parking Services.”

Awkward silence.

“Like Undercover Boss?” asked one of the Enforcers, whose name I eventually learned was Mark.

They were in the middle of a daily meeting. It was part motivational speech, part parking bylaw lesson. Some Enforcers had questions. Others had experiences to share.

All and all the mood was upbeat and the meeting ended with Linda saying, ‘Alright, you guys go out and make some friends.’

I was partnered with Ric Monohan. Ric has been with Parking Enforcement for 17 years.

We went to the main floor, did up our coats, and headed South from City Hall.

The second car we came across had parked pretty far from the meter. We walked right by.

‘Aren’t you going to ticket that?’ I ask Ric.

“It’s allowed to be 2 m from the parking meter. That one’s maybe only 4 ft.’

Parking too far from a meter has always seemed to me like a petty thing for the City to ticket for, but I realized 6 ft is actually a long ways. You’d have to pretty distracted to park farther than the height of Kevin Bacon from a meter.

We move along.

It’s about 15 minutes into our walk before we come across the first infraction. We are on 14th Avenue, just behind First Presbyterian Church. A blue Hyundai is parked too close to the alley. The bylaw states that you have to leave 2 m, enough room for cars coming out of the alley to see what is about to hit them. The rear fender of the Hyundai in question is -1.5 ft into the alley. This car would definitely make it hard for someone to safely turn.

Ric writes the ticket and I wait for the car’s owner, presumably some fuming-mad, muscle-man to come charging out of one of the neighbouring apartments.

But no one comes and we move on.

‘So what happens when someone comes up just as you are writing a ticket?’ I ask.

‘If we can get cooperation, get them to move, then we have accomplished our job. But once a ticket is written, it’s in the system and there is nothing the Enforcement Officer can do.’

We come up to the corner of Rae and 12th Ave. A van is about to park right on the corner, completely blocking the well-marked wheel chair ramp. A man opens the door, steps out, sees us, and in one motion steps back in the van and starts it up.

‘Hi men. Can’t park there I guess hey?’

No, I guess you can’t park there.

He’s off down the street and everybody stays cool.

‘We try to talk to as many as possible,’ Ric says. ‘Most cooperate.’

Ric tells me that Parking Enforcement has pretty high turn over. No surprise considering the job pays significantly less than the $16.46/hr that is considered a living wage in Regina (www.Livingwagecanada.ca). The job has benefits but no pension plan.

I asked Ric if he ever has to deal with grouchy people.

He says absolutely but that the attitude is improving.

‘When I started people threw stuff at us.” But things have changed over the years. He figures only about 1% of people are disrespectful. Most people realize that Parking Enforcers are just doing their job.

We wonder down 11th Ave. Past the new heated bus shelters, past the new parking meters that accept credit cards.

We walk into Heritage, past the LB, up Halifax Street, barely make it around a Huuuge mud puddle covering the sidewalk across from the Marian Centre, then head back down 11th.

We are just in front of Flip on Hamilton when we run into Mark, the enforcer who thinks I’m playing Undercover Boss. Today Mark’s a Parking Ambassador. Instead of ticketing, he walks around downtown and hands out pamphlets to people on Regina’s parking rules.

Parking Ambassadors is a program that Regina started last summer. On days he is a Parking Ambassador Mark interacts with dozens of people. He says that many of them first presume the ‘Understanding Parking’ pamphlet he is handing them is actually a ticket, but are grateful once they understand what he is doing.

While ticketing itself can curb behavior, Mark points out that it can be hard for people to learn when they are angry or defensive because they’ve just gotten a ticket. 

And the approach seems to be working. Regina has seen a marked decrease in repeat offenders since the launch of the program.

Ric and I head back to City Hall. It’s been a nice morning.  The weather was beautiful, no one was rude to us, and we were able to help more people than we ticketed.

It turns out that, despite the pay, being a Parking Enforcer isn’t as bad as I thought it would be.

If you’d like to know Regina’s Parking rules there is an easy to follow pamphlet. It is available at the Heritage Community Centre, the Cathedral Community Centre, main floor of City Hall, or by visiting clicking here.

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Council Agenda for April 25th, 2016

54 items on the agenda for Regina’s City Council meeting of Monday, April 25h, 2016. 

Here are some of the highlights.

P3 School Default– Prior to 2013, the Province purchased school sites directly from developers at fair market value. In 2013, as part of the Provincial Government’s plan to build 9 P3 schools across Saskatchewan, the City was informed that the Province can ‘no longer afford’ to continue this practice and that, if the City wanted 3 new schools, we would have to dedicate Municipal Reserve space for school sites, land that would otherwise be mandated for municipal amenities such as parks.

In November 2014 City Council approved 3 school sites. The Province agreed to pay the City $3.045 million dollars for the land, a fraction of what they would have had to pay had they bought the land from a developer, and an additional $3 million to go towards servicing these sites. 

While two of the sites have been serviced, the developer for the school site in Rosewood has been served a notice of default as the City has lost confidence that they can fulfill the terms of the contract. Supposing the work isn’t completed by the end of October, the Province or their P3 contractors could sue the City.

The gap in funding to actually service three new school sites needs to come from somewhere.

Possible options include:

1)   The developer has until Friday to come up with a new plan to make this work, though ultimately this scenario would have those who will eventually live in the Rosewood subsidizing the school servicing costs. Keep in mind that this is a neighbourhood that was approved by Council against the advice of administration. Part of the reason it was approved was because it was pitched as an affordable place to live for people.

2)   You, as a City taxpayer covers the tab if option #1 doesn’t work out. This is what the report recommends, with the hope of recovering the money from later phases of the development. 

3)   The Province just coughs up the money to cover the real cost of servicing these new schools. Saskatchewan needs new schools. Education is very clearly the Province’s mandate, and these are real costs. This is the option I would prefer.

13 Leopold Crescent – In February City Council denied the owners’ of 13 Leopold Crescent request to have the house removed from the Heritage Holding Bylaw and then passed a motion for this property to be considered for Heritage designation.

The owners have appealed that decision, and now Council with two options: the matter can be referred to the Saskatchewan Heritage Property Review Board for a hearing and report, or the proposed bylaw can be withdrawn so that the owners can obtain a demolition permit.

About 230 of Regina's 60,000 + addresses are on the Heritage Holdings list. If Regina is to have a more rich stock of heritage buildings, it is important to make sure that all options to restore prospective heritage properties are explored before they are potentially demolished.

Alley Clean Up Contract - The Atoskata Youth Restitution Program works with young offenders to remove large items from the Regina’s alleyways. Payments for the service go towards restitution of victims of the young offender’s crime. A report from Community and Protective Services recommends that the City renew its contract with the Atoskata Youth Restitution Program for the next two years.

To report oversized garbage in a back alley contact 777-7000.

Residential Rental Licensing – A report from Executive Committee recommends against the creation of a rental-licensing program for Regina. The report’s main arguments against creating a license are cost (an average of $317 per unit annually) and the fact that many other jurisdictions that have a license experience a lack of uptake from those properties that need it the most. 

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Council Agenda for March 29th, 2016

A busy agenda for Regina’s City Council meeting of March 29th 2016.

Here are some of the highlights.

Bus Stop Change and Pedestrian Safety: Community and Protective Services recently moved a bus stop from the parking lot of Walmart on Rochdale to the adjacent street. While the stop was well used, buses were sometime delayed from leaving the parking lot by up to half an hour due to heavy traffic.

The problem is that there is currently no pedestrian crossing for bus riders to make it safely from Walmart to the new location of one of the bus stops. I’ve put a motion forward to make sure that there is a safe way for pedestrians to cross the street before the shelter is moved.

One challenge most Regina pedestrians can attest to is that traffic lights in our city are programmed to maximize vehicle traffic flow. In some instances (like this one) there isn’t any convenient and safe way for pedestrians to cross a street at all. Ultimately if we want Regina to be more walkable city, we have to start taking a multi-model approach to how we plan, design, and time intersections, even in Big Box store areas.

Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action – A motion from the Mayor recommends that City Administration report to Executive Committee later this year on how Regina can support the work and findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Call to Action. Here is a link to the Call to Action: http://www.trc.ca/websites/trcinstitution/File/2015/Findings/Calls_to_Action_English2.pdf

Planning Ahead for Transit Expansion – Last week the Federal Government announced funding for a new transit maintenance barn in Regina. This is excellent news as our current transit maintenance facility is at capacity and represents a major bottleneck to Regina expanding it’s transit fleet in any significant way. A report from Finance and Administration recommends that City Council authorize funding to commence the architectural design of the new building.

Off Leash Dog Parks –A report from Community and Protective Services Committee recommends the creation of three additional fenced off-leash dog parks in new neighbourhoods (South, East and North West areas of the City). The report also recommends the administration develop a plan in conjunction with the Regina Humane Society and local dog owners to pilot two or three unfenced off-leashed areas in existing neighbourhoods for 2017.

Tax Exemption for Saskatchewan Multicultural Centre Association: A report from Finance and Administration Committee recommends a 3 year tax exemption for the SMCA. The request was triggered, in part, by a loss of funding from the Province.

RBID Expansion-The Regina Downtown Business Improvement District (RDBID) is an organization that provides a range of business and community services to promote and enhance Downtown’s unique assets, to improve conditions for businesses operating in the district, and to improve the quality of life for those who shop, work, live and play Downtown.’ (www.reginadowntown.ca)

Currently RBID represents and collects a tax levy from businesses in the immediate downtown (From Albert St. to Board St., and Sask Drive to Victoria Ave.)   

RBID is requesting to expand their boundaries to include:

            -Businesses along 13th Ave between Albert St. and Broad St.

            -Either side of Broad St. from 13th Ave to College Ave.

            -Osler St. from Sask Drive to 13th Ave.

Changes to the Municipal Election Bylaw: A report from Executive Committee recommends a few changes to the Regina’s Municipal Election Bylaw including that spending limits for Mayoral and Council candidates increase with CPI (Mayoral campaign spending limits would increase from $62,635 to $67,050, and Council campaign limits would increase from $10,439 to $11,175).

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