Regina Wins Award For Mediocrity

City completes planned project in under a decade. Wins award from local board that was less inspired by literally everything else (not) happening.

In a province where the SaskParty leads, this is what can happen:

It’s not a bad project, just not award-worthy. And I’m concerned RCE will give Councillor Hawkins another chance to justify calling Regina enviro-friendly. To give an example of how not friendly Regina is toward our environment, some of our latest bike parking infrastructure was installed in the 1990s (and is removed each Winter to inconvenience Winter cyclists). More recently a small rack showed up in front of Vic’s Tavern.

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GMC Factory Fire in Regina

The old location of General Motors’ factory along Winnipeg St. experienced a serious fire last night.

GRID VR is one business at the far north end of the old plant.

 

Support Our Crown Corporations

For City Council on Monday:

Your Worship,

I’m here to speak in support of Saskatchewan’s Crown Corporations. I’m originally from a small town that would not have had electrical grid service, nor widespread telephone service when it did if not for the creation of Crown corporations. SaskPower, SGI, STC, and SaskTel are among the very best service providers in Canada to this day, often offering rates far below their national competitors’ rates.

While I was on the advisory board for SaskTel’s Community Net high speed Internet service to schools and libraries, we led the world in broadband access across our vast province. Crowns are capable of delivering world-leading services, and ultimately that’s what City government is here for, not to make a profit, but to deliver needed services that individuals are not well suited to provide in a competitive economy.

It’s still possible for Regina, Saskatoon, and other municipalities to save STC by taking it over, since we run Transportation services with larger budgets than the “loss” STC incurs each year to offer transportation service to Regina and the rest of the province. If we focus on routes admittedly “profitable” by the Provincial government, we can maintain service levels to some destinations, and add a revenue stream for the City of Regina. Try to find another delegation that offers a revenue stream that fits with one of the City’s core-services already in existence.

Other parts of Canada have inter-regional transportation services, like Go Transit, and Via Rail. The Provincial Government has failed in its duty to provide multi-modal transportation options to its citizens and visitors, so the City should make its best effort to fill in that gap as it does with ParaTransit service. I must bring up the Province is paying for shuttle buses to the city’s hospitals to reduce parking problems, rather than fund Regina Transit sufficiently to operate shuttles that are available for patients and regular Transit users as well. There are smarter ways of delivering Transit services, but standing by and letting STC be scrapped is not one of those smart choices.

Speaking of smart choices regarding Transit, I’d like to see fares for children be reduced to $0. This would encourage families to use the bus over private automobile choices.

Regina Budget Re-do

Check out Jim’s presentation, he asks important questions and City Council dodged every single one of them.

And if you haven’t had enough input from the ecological perspective, check out my presentation with a long list of ideas to save money, and reduce pollution. I even include a new revenue stream for the City to start up.

Tomorrow night City Council votes on raising your taxes, and if they don’t listen to people, they’ll end our Lawn Bowling history, put fees up at the Airport, make it more difficult for people to depend upon the bus, and pave more of Wascana Park for cars.

#YQRcc Budget Then, and Now

As part of the 2017 budget, 13 transit buses will be replaced, along with six paratransit buses, costing $8.3 million this year. An additional $2.9 million will be spent on bus shelters to upgrade with new concrete pads and accessibility enhancements, as well as purchase more modern bus shelter for the city. Regina Transit will upgrade the technology, including dispatch systems, this year as well.

That was in January.

This is in April. Shifts Happen.

Last year the City promised U of R students that they’d see increased bus service. Now, service is being cut back. Should URSU withhold payment to the City for their broken promise?

Save Public Services

Good evening Your Worship,
I’ve a list of requested changes to make to the budget. It’s more important to me that we build our public services than hold taxes low. The City has been able to dig deep for the Roughriders, and now it’s time to come through for equally important Libraries, Schools, public transportation, and reducing our world-leading air pollution figures.

  • Cities should buy Saskatchewan Transportation Corporation buses, or transfer them from the provincial government, then operate them on STC’s profitable routes to better service the people of Saskatchewan. Even though the Government of Saskatchewan has fallen down on that job, it doesn’t mean we have to lose ground-based public transportation to our closest neighbouring urbans and their services. As you know, Regina has no Via train service. It’s madness to lose our only bus routes to Saskatoon, Weyburn, Estevan, Yorkton, and other cities. We must not let it happen. Regina, Saskatoon, and Moose Jaw all have transportation services that could be extended to enhance inter-city transportation options that were lost with the pending closure of STC.
  • Ensure the Regina Public Library can function the best it can, with the loss of the Inter-library Loans program due to provincial anti-education cuts.
  • If you dare think of closing a public pool for the season to save money, I want to see it being properly repaired during the closure, to make the pool last for decades more.
  • Do not end holiday bus service. That’s one of the few areas that Council has permitted Regina Transit to improve upon in recent years, so it would be taking a large step backward to deny people that important service, and cause uncertainty about the availability of Transit in Regina on any given holiday.
  • To save money, reverse the earlier decision to give $193,000 to Wascana Centre to extend a parking lot at Candy Cane Park. Paving more of the park for cars does not fit with the Official Community Plan’s Sustainability requirements. People can park at the Science Centre’s new lot, and walk, or park on Broder St. or any number of nearby residential streets within walking distance. If the apparent safety problem is due to illegally parked cars as I was told by Wascana Centre, ticket and/or tow them. Boom, revenue! People can also take Regina Transit to the location, on #15, which is another reason that holiday Transit should not be cut. Instead, add a sidewalk to Victoria Avenue east of Park St. to connect downtown to points in east Regina. Connect Regina Avenue’s sidewalk to the multi-use pathway the Regina Airport has built to the bridge at Sandra Schmirler Way. It’s really shameful there’s no safe active transportation options to our airport or to the entire north-east side of our city from this spot.
  • Spend enough on cycling infrastructure to ensure there is more than 1 project this season to improve the safety of children on bikes in our city. Enough men have died on bikes in Regina in the past year to make most people realize that it’s crucial we fix our streets’ level of safety. You can put the right sort of lanes, bollards, and paint down while crews are repaving any given street so it meets a modern safe standard. The City has promised to do this for years, so make sure it happens this year.
  • Set aside $10,000 to spend on rewewable energy equipment, so the City can finally generate more renewable power than I do for our grid with a modest investment 2 years ago. The City would also surpass the Province’s contribution to renewable energy on our electrical grid. This should especially appeal to you after the Province’s mismanagement and unkind cuts made tonight’s meeting necessary.

Sincerely,
John Klein
Regina, SK

  • And Garbage pick-up going to bi-weekly is a positive change, so glad it’s been made.
  • Household hazardous waste collection is a matter of public health and should be expanded, not discontinued.
  • Glad you’re not advertising about making road repairs. Who thought that was a good communications idea? It wasn’t. Take the thousands of dollars and fill some potholes, or sweep the bike lanes that are full of sand.

“Whichever way you look at it – financial, moral, compassionate – the city-led, mostly provincially funded 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness launched by then-Mayor Steve Mandel in 2009 has been a success.

You can look at numbers until your brain is spinning, but a few big ones stand out.

Since 2009, Homeward Trust – the umbrella organization coordinating housing and social programs in Edmonton for the homeless – says 6,000 formerly homeless individuals have been housed.

Two-thirds of those helped were considered to be chronically without shelter.

The annual 2016 Homeless Count – the best measurement available – was 1,752 people. The 2014 count was about 2,170. The count in 2008 was about 2,500. Had no action been taken, the 2009 report suggests the homeless count could have jumped to 8,500 by 2018.”

UPDATE:

Another hot topic from delegations was the considered elimination of statutory holiday bus services effective July 1. The service change will save $68,300 in on-going savings.

“Do not end holiday bus service. That’s one of the few areas that council has permitted Regina Transit to improve upon in recent years,” John Klein told council. “It would be taking a large step-backward to deny people that important service, and cause uncertainty about the availability of transit in Regina on any given holiday.”

Stop The Cuts To Libraries #saveSKlibraries

Dear Ministers Morgan and Beaudry-Mellor:

Please reverse your cuts to regional library budgets. The ending of the inter-library loans program is very sad. Saskatchewan is regressing under your leadership. I worked for years in regional libraries, and have been a user of libraries for longer, and it’s difficult to watch your government slash education and social services in this way. Many people depend upon them, and many lack the sort of privileges that permit me to speak out against your destructive actions that harm them. Saskatchewan people would rather see PST at 7% again than lose their library services.

Please, straighten out your priorities to put vulnerable people first, and fund what you promised to last year, even if that means you have to raise consumption taxes.

Sincerely,
John Klein
Regina

An example of the Premier’s about face:

And who can forget the SaskParty’s ending the Library’s courier system too: