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.
Why is Regina a laggard city?
“A new report shows Regina lags behind several other Canadian cities and regional municipalities when it comes to waste management.”
“Municipal Benchmarking Network (MBN) Canada’s 2015 performance measurement report examined the efficiency and effectiveness of services provided by 16 municipalities, 11 of them in Ontario.
The report found Regina diverted the lowest percentage of residential waste at 17.8 per cent. Only 0.25 tonnes of residential garbage was diverted per household in Regina – the lowest amount among the municipalities.”
Regina is charging people for recycling on a utility bill. Maybe it’s time to charge for garbage and make recycling “free” part of other taxes. This was advised against by Darren Hill of Saskatoon, who points out this could contaminate the recycling stream as people try to avoid putting actual trash into their brown bins. Yet Regina is sucking with the current system, so something else must be tried.
Here are the key quotes, as I see them, which also directly apply to Regina and its thinking.
It can be awkward, going from a small city to a big city. And by the time we get done with the 30-year plans, we’re going to be a big city. We’re going to be half a million people. So all of the things we’ve done for the last 100 years has all been manageable in a small city way, like our transit system, like the way we plan neighbourhoods, like how we design our road system. And how we relate to the region had all been pretty much stable for the last 60 years or so.
Those things are all changing and we can’t ignore it. They’re just coming at us. We will have to deal with it. …
Transit — that’s another one. It’s a big one. We have a small city transit system. It has to evolve or it’s just going to fail. It’s starting to fail already. When you have buses congested in traffic, there’s no way anyone can keep a schedule. If you can’t keep a schedule, nobody’s going to use it. Four per cent of the population. It might go down from there. Who knows? But why would you use transit?
Under the radar for a while, but everything eventually percolates to the top: Homelessness. Homeless counts are going up. They’re not going down. How that’s being addressed is kind of behind the scenes here.
…Although roads will continue to be built, we can’t rely on the automobile as much as we are — 1.1 drivers per car is our average. So that’s one person in a car driving all over the place.
…You see a lot of cars driving in and out, so we’re using our cars an awful lot. Maybe we’ve made it too convenient to do that and I think that’s true because we’ve been able to, but you can’t continue that.
I think environmentally, we need to pull up our socks a little bit. We’re lagging behind in some respects. We just brought in recycling in the last five years. So we’re not exactly leading in any great way.
…We have an awful lot of sunshine here and I don’t know why solar hasn’t taken off. While not being too unkind to our Saskatoon Light & Power folks — they do a wonderful job — but that should be an energy company. Maybe it’s time to cut the tie with SaskPower and maybe generate, create energy and sell it.
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.
Consider that Regina and area is prone to droughts that can last more than a decade. The last century has been mercifully wet.
Jim Elliott’s living off the Regina water grid in Broder’s Annex. He’s buying drinking water (brought by cargo bike), but his other water needs are met through efficient rainwater use.
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.
There are times when I get very disappointed with our City Council about their lack of leadership and failure to do the right things. Instead of passing Councillor Fraser’s motion to recognize a healthy environment and please the citizens involved with Blue Dot, the Council deferred the question to the City’s lawyers and financial planners. It’s obvious who really runs this city, isn’t it?
Councillor Hawkins dares to make this unfounded claim:
The gall to claim that, while delaying unequivocal support of the Blue Dot message, is staggering, frankly.
Apparently the legal and financial ramifications of Blue Dot are paramount, while the environmental considerations take a back seat for the majority of Regina’s Council. This isn’t the case in at least some other Canadian municipalities.
In October 2014, Richmond was the first city to adopt the Blue Dot Declaration, and since then, more than 100 other municipalities have done so.
Surrey has now joined that list and according to the group, there are more than 1,000 supporters of the Blue Dot petition in the city.
Meanwhile, south of the border…
Flint, Michigan had its water supply poisoned by decisions of municipal and state politicians to ignore and then cover up unsafe water being used in their pipes. It’s clearly a crime to poison a city with lead in their water. Society has agreed it’s a crime because it makes people sick, and suffer to deprive them of potable water. It was a crime justified by “financial considerations”.