Wascana Calls Back

I took a call from Wascana’s CEO who explained their position on spending $193000 to expand the parking lot[PDF] at Candy Cane Park. Their view is more cars that already park illegally on the street will use it, and as a result kids will be safer because they won’t run out between illegally street-parked cars, presumably.

Can’t say that’s how it will work, I said “mark my words, there will still be spill-over onto the street, and more cars overall”. She had to concede at busy times, that’s how it will go. It’ll take more than my voice to end this #strandedasset project. Oh, it also increases runoff by replacing soil with pavement, reducing the water quality in Wascana Creek.

It’s 2017, and if we don’t limit air pollution quickly, our kids will have a rough go of things. Putting a dollar more into auto infrastructure before cycling and pedestrian infrastructure makes kids less safe, not more.

On the upside, Wascana is putting some trails through the arboretum near Wascana Rehab and Hillsdale St.

Also they will now consider manually clearing Broad St. Bridge which wasn’t being swept clear of snow like everything else the last two Winters. I explained that the City of Regina builds nothing for cyclists, so it’s really up to Wascana Centre to provide cycling infrastructure for Reginans.

Added two more important points:

Good News From Regina Landfill

I did not expect this to ever be finished. I remember it being talked about at a green expo put on at Lakeview United Church last decade. There was some sort of issue with the supplier chosen at that time, and the project was delayed.

Congrats to the City employees who made this worthwhile project happen. It’s the first somewhat-renewable power generation project in the history of Regina.

Now, onto bigger and better things, I hope. The City still has some catching up to do.

Global Regina is claiming that it inches toward 50% renewables while burning what is essentially a fossil fuel (methane). This isn’t a good way to think. Rotting things in the landfill will not remain constant once we compost properly and methane production goes way down. Only 50 years of gas left for this engine, is the estimate. That’s assuming Wastegina ever gets that program going.

If you want the true picture of what direction SaskPower is inching, or rather galloping, toward read this:

Ode For a Sidewalk

Give us a sidewalk?

No.

Give us a sidewalk.

It’s a medium priority.

Give us a sidewalk!

Sometime in the future.

Give us a sidewalk, a cycle track, bus route, and safe streets!

Now!

#YQRcc Thinks You Need No Additional Rights

Our City Council is being awfully stingy with your rights. They don’t think you should have a right to a clean environment, so are delaying a non-binding commitment to support the Blue Dot movement calling for a Canadian constitutional change. They are literally more concerned with the supposed costs to the City, than about your health and safety.

Regina members of the Blue Dot movement, which is seeking to get the right to a healthy environment added to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, are frustrated by delays at City Hall and councillors wanting more information on what they consider a no-brainer.

Six months after the local chapter of the Blue Dot movement called for such action, and for the city to pressure the provincial and federal governments to recognize this right, too, administration has reported back that it wants to do more research on the matter.

“At this point, what further information is needed?” asked Blue Dot organizer Kelly Husack at Wednesday’s executive committee meeting, stressing that the declaration is non-binding.

She added that “one should not pretend this motion matters to Regina City Council if it does not.”

It doesn’t matter to most Councillors, obviously. And that is shameful for Regina.

Back To Blue Dot

Adding to earlier discussion about the Blue Dot movement’s appearance at City Council last month, there’s an article by Fingas in the Leader Post.

Paul Dechene also unloads on Council’s hypocritical messages sent by their focus in the meeting.

…our city council postponed signing onto a declaration saying that a healthy environment is a human right because they needed to get a report from administration about the possible implications from being party to such a declaration. You know how it is, signing on to a non-binding feel-good doc like that isn’t something you leap into recklessly.

…fleet additions he argued against.

Too late.

Wind and Solar To Grow in Saskatchewan

More details are set to be released by SaskPower on Monday, but it will take quite the investment. Currently, only a quarter of the province’s energy is drawn from renewables, mostly wind and hydro. Geothermal isn’t used at all, nor are there any large-scale solar operations.

Only about 400 homes and businesses in Saskatchewan use solar as a back-up energy source. One of those users is John Klein in Regina, who had panels installed in April. In the summer they produced “as much power as the home was using,” though that’s dwindled as the sun sinks lower and days shorten.

The panels were quite the investment — around $8,000 after a rebate — but Klein is confident they will have paid for themselves in a decade or so.

Renewable energy advocates have long pointed to Saskatchewan as the ideal place for wind and solar power — we’re sunny, we’re windy, and we have a whole lot of space. With a similar climate, North Dakota has managed to up its wind generation to 17.5 per cent of all in-state generated electricity.

We could build an industry in Saskatchewan that has a future after oil.

Alberta’s bound to be more ambitious than our Sask Party government when it comes to reducing air pollution.

Here are the stats for my solar array in Regina. As you can see, the lower angle of the Sun in November clips neighbours’ trees a fair bit, and a power pole shadow even gets in the way a little bit.

It would be useful if SaskPower and the Prov’ Gov’t put as much public consultation into this plan as they did for the UDP. There were people during the UDP calling for a Renewable Energy consultation that “could be just as biased” toward renwables, as the UDP was toward nuclear power. We’re going to need the province’s best minds working on this solution to the government’s objective of 50% in 15 years, and also the input of people who don’t understand the problem very well so they can learn more about it and come to understand the solutions.

Province Commits to 50% Renewable Energy

Sent to my Councillor today:

Dear Councillor Young:

Toronto now has a target to eliminate emissions causing climate change. Saskatchewan has just pledged to make half of our power from renewable sources by 2030. How does the City intend to help meet this aim? What policies and new budget items help the City generate electricity and reduce greenhouse gases?

Sincerely,
John Klein