Council Switches Meeting Time

Jim Elliott helps to put things into context:

Thanks Andrew (Stevens for the response). I realize that you may be coming to this point in time through a very shortened and perhaps limited view, but I have been involved in this for over 20 years now. What I have seen in the last few years is an inevitability. There is fundamentally no rigorous method of engaging and having a dialogue on the various features and issues that have impacted Regina residents. And more recently, the method of engagement has been very much truncated by the limits put on engagement either at committee or Council or even through city administration. We have been dealing with some of these issues and the delays in truly getting down to solving problems for decades. They are known. They are institutional. They are skewering any chance to get down to solving them through an unwillingness to change the current power dynamics.

If you are only looking at the ability to interject into the dialogue between Council and the administration, you only have to look at the continued diminishing of time allowed for discussion or dialogue to see why people are staying away in droves. First, the time for presentations went from 10 minutes to 5 minutes. Now we are taking the dialogue away from any communication with the public by changing the times for the discussion. Also, many of the meetings now held are away from the camera and are not visually and audibly recorded. We don’t see any manner of dialogue if you aren’t there in person. And the media if they are there only capture the 5-10 second sound bites or a simple phrase from whomever is given the spotlight.

If you end up at an open house, the opportunity to present your concerns are pushed into a simple set of orchestrated boxes. Do you like it or not. Is it good or bad. Most of these are taken at the end of the dialogue rather than at the beginning. Examples of this are the intensification of inner city question and the Wascana Pool replacement. There is no discussion of what the intentions are prior to being given the proposed solutions.

As well, in recent years, the ability of the public to be there for advice and engagement has been cut off. In the past, we had citizen advisory committees. They had an ability to review policies, programs and respond. Even in the past, the Parks & Recreation Board had a majority of citizens on the committee who could make concrete binding decisions within the framework of the city and could see budgets prior to their being tabled less than a month before the decision is made. There was a time when almost half of the Regina Planning Commission was made up of resident elected representatives. We had an Environmental Advisory Council made up of scientists, academics and a variety of knowledgeable citizens to look at some of the bigger topics of waste, water protection, pesticides and would be a very good mechanism to tackle the newer issue of climate change and being 100% renewable.

You have also seen recently the need to address some other systemic problems that don’t readily fit into the silos that we currently have, homelessness, food security, safety and sustainability of this city. These are further problematic because they also include an intransigent provincial government and a recent minority federal government. Money could be saved. People could be housed. Crime could be reduced. But the current silos only allow us to either put more cops on the street or punt it to either another government or to a future council. And we are very good at that rationalization.

Compounding much of this is the various existential threats we face every day. So you wonder why people are shutting down or getting frustrated in not being able to be heard? Why would you spend a few hours writing a 5 minute presentation, take time off of work and have your thoughts thanked politely and ignored again and again? As a matter of survival, we attempt to protect ourselves from the onslaught of problems, one day at a time.

To deal with this lack of engagement and frustration, we have to begin to imagine a different future, a future where more of our community is given some decentralized authority. We have some of those mechanisms in our community associations and zone boards. Much of this now is around culture and recreation but could be more involved as citizen boards for zone level planning. If, for instance, there is a need to densify the inner city, then give the inner city the role and resources of figuring out how that will be done. If you want a plan for 100% renewable city involve the citizens working in active transportation, renewable energy and waste management. If you want to reduce crime, work with the people that are dealing with the results of crime every day, the schools, those working with building social capital and development community. And if you want people to give you direction on how to spend the city’s funds, set up a participatory budgeting process and give the citizens the ability to develop their own budget.

Free Election Day Transit in Regina/Saskatoon

How did it come about? Twitter played a role. Regina Transit initially wasn’t going to offer free transit on election day, despite doing so for a previous municipal election.

Ridden Out On A Rail

I’d like @YoungBe_young to reject spending over $109,000,000 on moving rail lines that people will soon need to use again for transportation in and out of Regina. How many properties are paying tax in #yqrcc? Let’s assume a high 50,000. That’s $2200 each, to wait less in traffic on some streets, at uncommon times you encounter a long train. Can you think of a better way to spend more than two thousand of your tax dollars?

Additionally it would be a gift to private industry, since CP and CN are not publicly owned any longer. We already gave hundreds of millions of dollars to the Roughriders so they’d have a shiny new stadium, and that raised the city’s debt noticeably. Property taxes have gone up for that as a result of  stadium spending.

For less than half the cost of  a gift to CP/CN, we could have more than 50 new, electric buses. Yes, quiet, efficient, non-polluting public transportation that everyone can depend more on. That’s how you wait less in traffic, the smart way. The stupid way is to give twice as much money to ripping out infrastructure that should be publicly owned still.

We should be able to take low-polluting trains to other points in Canada from our capital city. That opportunity was robbed from my generation, back in 1990. To ensure our kid’s generation has an opportunity to raise kids, we need to restore this mode of transportation to supremacy in the next decade. Wasting $109Mil moving Regina in the wrong direction is irresponsible, financially reckless, and contradicts the 100% Renewable by 2050 motion passed by Council last year.grain car

City Stalls On Urgent Climate Action

Considered sending this to City Council for their meeting today, but didn’t bother:
Last week I asked City Hall what actions have taken place to reduce air pollution in our city to help move us toward meeting the 100% renewable by 2050 motion passed last October.
To my dismay, no concrete actions were able to be provided to me as examples.
Instead, there’s a plan to hold a conference, next year, to make a framework to hold a plan at some point after then. That’s a roundabout way of saying nothing has been done. I’m a parent of a couple kids who talk that way when they’re trying to get out of doing homework. The City is certainly doing its best impression of an irresponsible kid trying to avoid the important work that needs to be done to prepare for the future.
Despite hundreds of thousands of dollars budgeted this year to improve cycling in Regina to match our Transportation Master Plan, all the work this year being done is administrative. That means the total construction planned to take place, and already “constructed” in the 2010s in Regina to improve cycling in the downtown area consists of 1 block of malformed bike lane. Currently it’s covered in road debris, puddles if it’s rained, and deadly opening doors from parked cars. Someone is squished to death in Canada every year from that particular hazard, and Regina painted that lane, to objections from Bike Regina and citizens, anyway.
I’ve tried throughout this decade to get many of you to care more about our environment, and the extreme pollution our city’s government, its businesses, and residents are all responsible for. Some of you clearly do care a lot, and show it. Some of you think you care, but everything you’ve done here suggests a serious lack of urgency around the climate crisis our Parliament has declared is underway.
https://regina.ctvnews.ca/solar-panels-could-be-coming-soon-to-city-of-regina-facilities-1.3909939  That was over a year ago. Also, nothing has been done by the City that we can see anyway. Solar panels are easy to spot, they’re lit up by the sunlight and fairly obvious, so I don’t think the City is hiding any.

“The City of Regina proposes hosting an Energy and Sustainability Conference (Conference) in early May 2020. The Conference will focus on best practices in energy management and environmental sustainability to interested parties in the community as well as other municipalities and partners across Canada. It will focus on exploring innovative and best in class opportunities to move delegates towards their goals of becoming more renewable and sustainable.
The Conference content will provide input into the development of an Energy and Sustainability Framework for the City of Regina, which among other initiatives, would include a roadmap for moving to more renewable energy sources, autonomous vehicles and solar panels. The scope of the Energy and Sustainability Framework would be focused on the City of Regina as an organization. This means that efforts are focused on the City’s fleet and transportation, facility heating and cooling, and electricity.”

And here’s more nonsense from the report:

“An example of energy that is sustainable, but not renewable is nuclear.”

Horse pucks. We can’t sustain the sort of nuclear power that is in use today.

UPDATE:

Looks like the Mayor is misrepresenting Council’s position:

“That’s an incorrect reading of the motion. I clarified that point during debate. Sorry, but the Mayor is off the mark on this one.” – Cllr. Stevens

What You Don’t See

Jun 19
Leader-Post:
Hey John. I’m thinking of doing something about the tough position Ryan Meili is in over TransMountain. I saw he’s taking a tonne of flak on social media over his post. Care to share your thoughts in a bit more depth?

Maybe.

A few minutes later, I responded:
Meili is in the unenviable position of having to create critically important change in a population saturated by Petrostate propaganda. It’s not easy to speak with people who can’t listen because their brains are baked into an idea that pipelines are our only route to prosperity. Of course that’s not true. Evraz workers could be building wind turbines, and solar array racking, and rails for trains to carry people on zero emission futuristic cross-Canada trips. How’s he going to fit that into a soundbite that will go into a story in the newspaper that’s working with an “Energy War” propaganda room in Alberta with the Petrostate government there?

Any other questions about this?

Leader-Post:
Do you think he’s likely to shed support from people whose number one issue is climate change?

Some individuals may choose to stay home or vote differently, but they’ll be hurting themselves if they care about the climate crisis as a central issue. What could be more important than the expected end of our livable world before the Maple Leafs have a predicted shot at winning the Stanley Cup again?
Meili may not be right about the pipeline, but I do think he’s serious about some real pollution reduction, and that’s more than can be said about Moe’s Sask Party.

(If the Leafs win in 26 years according to the previous Leafs and Jays then Raptors wins, that’s 2045)

har har.

Leader-Post:
Thanks for this. Might have a follow-up later.

(there wasn’t)
You’re welcome. Sure.

My comments didn’t appear in the newspaper online later that day.

Website and Streets Not Up To Date

Sent to Service Regina:
https://www.regina.ca/parks-recreation-culture/parks/pathways/#outline-on-street-bicycle-routes isn’t current. It doesn’t have the on street bike lanes in the Greens. Are there other routes missing from this list?

regina bike routes are limited

Also, I need a suggested safe route from Dominion Park to the Stadium. The last time I took Arcola Ave. I was sworn at, honked at, and I was simply using the street in a legal manner while someone shouted that I was supposed to be on the sidewalk (that doesn’t even exist on that part of the street). Years ago I was promised the City was building a bike route from Downtown to the Stadium, and a bike route along Arcola Ave., but where are they? All that construction work on Victoria Ave. is also lacking a safe bike route, why?

It’s been 3 years since this, and the City hasn’t lifted a damn finger.

==

Here’s the incomplete list:

On-street bicycle routes are located at:

  • Broad Street/Wascana Parkway between Lakeshore Drive and Research Drive
  • Assiniboine Avenue from Park Street to 100m E of University Park Drive
  • McCarthy Boulevard from Brunskill Place to Whelan Drive
  • Smith Street from Victoria Avenue to College Avenue (one-way)
  • Lorne Street from College Avenue to Victoria Avenue (one-way)

eBikes Can Save Our World

I’ve been using ebikes for years. They work through the Winter, and have cost me about $5/year to power them, in electricity costs. Yes, per YEAR.

If someone has concerns about ebikes, I hope they’d speak with people who use them to learn of the many benefits.

It’s important for everyone to be courteous, and that includes drivers (who are deadly when they fail to comply with the law), and people who walk, as well as people in wheel chairs, on One Wheels, or any other form of active transportation.

My ebike helps me not over-exert myself while biking. I’ve died previously from biking too hard, and had a cardiac arrest. I’m less likely to have that problem again if I can have electric assistance like people get from powered wheel chairs.

Will municipal, and provincial governments legislate away our future transportation technology before it gets popular here?