Electric Vehicles Criss-crossing Regina

It sounds perhaps like science fiction to think of Electric Vehicles criss-crossing Regina every day, but that’s just what happened until the Regina Transit streetcar network was destroyed and shut down.
11th Ave. and Winnipeg St. Streetcar tracks in Regina. #transit
-Road work on 11th Ave. and Winnipeg St. reveals our transit history.

11th Ave.
This family stopped and talked with me about the road construction. The father noted that the bakery on Winnipeg St. used to deliver milk to the city’s residents.

Streetcar map of Regina

Others should find it disturbing, (and probably not surprising) that Council has given almost no new resources to Regina Transit to correct the shortfalls I listed for them over 2 years ago at a Council meeting.

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Regina Squirrel Smashes Truck

Electric Times

On CBC.ca/sask recently.

You can just feel the electricity at City Hall. Actually, you can’t. Neither can an electric car, because the City’s recommending that it save $26,000, hedging that the future will not consist mostly of electric vehicles. Other cities and towns differ, and instead are taking up the offer of free car chargers from Sun Country Highway.

The EV chargers report did not make a good conclusion based on the facts presented in the same report. As the world adapts to support EVs, Regina community facilities without chargers will stick out like a sore thumb. Instead of saving $26000 on installs now, the City will in a few years pay the cost of the installs, plus the cost of the chargers and signage.

It’s frankly a miracle there are 5 EVs in the city already, given the total lack of government support for them at every governance level. Instead of planning for the future, the report signals City Hall’s effort to preserve the past even after past practice has proven to be unsustainable.

The City’s acting director of planning said, “We’re just questioning whether or not there’s enough market demand.” Well, the five cars in Regina aren’t the only vehicles to consider. There are all of the tourists who won’t stop at our libraries and community rec centres. There’s everyone waiting to buy an EV once the government signals they’ll be supported. There’s a private company offering thousands of dollars of free equipment and signage to help the City reduce its carbon footprint. It’s pretty clear there’s enough market demand, and even if there wasn’t, that means the report’s estimate for how much the City would pay in electricity costs is not reasonable. The private company and market can’t just buy a parking spot at City Hall, they need the support of Council.

Here, the market is trying to solve the old problem, what comes first, the chicken or the egg. And if the City rejects free eggs, there will never be many chickens here.

For additional consideration, the 3 locations chosen in the report don’t have to be the last word. SaskPower had been planning to install EV chargers during their now cancelled headquarter upgrades. Partner with SaskPower and put a charger into their parking lot behind their tower on Victoria Ave., free for public EV use when SaskPower isn’t making use of it. Get SaskPower to pay for the electricity for that charger! Or have them install a second charger beside the Sun Country Highway charger and save on install-costs.

If meter revenue is so coveted, install the charger where there isn’t a meter – I didn’t see this idea suggested as an alternative.

If coal electricity is a concern, realize that solar power can be added soon after and the electricity provided will be as green as possible, something gasoline vehicles can’t easily be converted to make use of.

If the expense is the concern, save $26,000 to $1.3Mil each year, by not giving away so much free parking to City employees and fellow Councillors.

At $25,000 / new EV, when 21 are purchased because Regina offered support, the province will recoup all $26,000 invested, as PST.
21 vehicles represents 1.2% of all new cars sold in a year by 1 Regina dealership.

“Saskatchewan car dealers are expected to sell 54,000 new passenger cars and trucks in 2015, down slightly from 56,000 new motor vehicles in 2014, according to Scotiabank’s global auto report released Tuesday.”

Clearly, selling 21 EVs out of 54000 vehicles sold across the province, is not a challenge if even one dealership puts their mind toward the task.

The Saintly People Who Work For Us

I think we can conclude from this story that Regina has many gems working for us at City Hall. Who else would take a job at almost half of what they are worth, unless they loved serving the public here so much?

In 2008 Davies was paid $192,264. Six years later, in 2014, his pay was up 53 per cent to $294,754.

Hagen enjoyed a similar improvement, from $168,447 in 2008 to $253,275 in 2014, a hike of 50 per cent.

The public accounts show wages for the 10 best-paid employees in the city rose 42 per cent over six years.

According to the Bank of Canada, general inflation over that same time frame was 9.8 per cent.

I’m just smiling that Regina has managed to bounce back from its pension crisis after 2008 so well that it’s managed to catch up to its financial obligations to its best paid civil servants, and now suitably rewards them for their top-notch service to our city. Well done.

Of course, not everyone feels that way.

Even the Canada Geese honk at the increase.

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City Not Looking At Electric Future

I’m completely disappointed CBC didn’t contact the City or Sun Country for comment before publishing this rehash of the City’s report on free EV chargers. What about seeing if someone spoke to it at the Public Works meeting at 4pm yesterday first? This wasn’t balanced/responsible journalism.

The City’s perspective appears to be to preserve as much parking meter revenue as possible, at the expense of planning to accommodate/support presently available vehicle types their citizens own, and will own in greater numbers in the near future. The effort to save $26000 installing the chargers where the City wants isn’t commendable when they blow $1000000 on giving away parking to City employees every year, according to their own Parking Study they kept hidden for years until a journalist at another organization uncovered it.

The OCP says the City should be looking at improving sustainability, and the Transportation Master Plan makes a similar suggestion.

Out of Touch and Out of Water

I was frankly surprised that the Leader-Post actually brought up climate change in their editorial that is otherwise a little out of touch.

It would have been nice if they interviewed Dave Sauchyn. I learned from him a couple years ago at a provincial conference that the Palliser Triangle is prone to droughts (regardless of human generated climate changes) that can last decades.

Doubtless we’ll all have renewed respect for the water we too often take for granted once this episode is behind us. And the city and its water treatment experts will hopefully figure out a way to prevent a recurrence.

Nope. It’s happened before that Regina’s been on backup wells from a Buffalo Pound supply problem. Many times in the past years in fact, and nothing stopped this crisis because Regina wastes way too much water.

Some ideas, however, seem ridiculous, including bathing in a tub with “only a couple of centimetres of water” and — bizarrely — to “reduce toilet flushing”.

It’s “ridiculous” to reduce toilet flushing by switching to a model that uses less water, not flushing when not necessary, and even going to a water-free model of composting toilet? It’s bizarre to poop into drinking water, frankly.

If you can’t get clean in a bath with 2cm of water, how dirty or unimaginative are you?

poop into water

No, if the City wants to be serious about saving lots of water, they should consider my plan to require new housing construction to have a greywater system.

we believe there’s a limit to the goodwill and patience the city can expect from its citizens, who have a right to expect service after paying water and sewer utility rate increases

City politicians will tell the Rockies to melt their glaciers faster, the polluted water growing algae to stop it, and notify the sky it must rain more west of here. There’s a limit to the goodwill and patience we have with those factors you know. We’ve paid for it, after all?!
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