STC Is Transit

Dear Ministers:
Over the next 5 years, Saskatchewan’s capital city is expected to spend over $175 million to operate transit services. That you feel $85 million* is too much for the entire province to spend on an important service for which there is no alternative in most locations despite your insistence that it’s coming “in the future”, is a disgrace. You can’t even take a bus between Saskatoon and Regina today, you have to go through Winnipeg. Next week you can go through Yorkton and back at a cost of $114 for less than half of the journey’s non-direct distance.

Regina’s Mayor Fougere said this about transit services,
“I would view it as an essential program for the quality of life for those who are most vulnerable, those who do not have the ability to pay, but certainly require transportation,” the mayor said Tuesday. “This is fundamental to the quality of life in […] Saskatchewan.”

Minister Beaudry-Mellor said, “Having this transportation option available to them is really critical if we want to see employment opportunities realized, or education opportunities realized, or even access to basic medical appointments,” Beaudry-Mellor said. “Many people don’t have access to a vehicle in […] communities that are on our programs.”

If your hypocrisy isn’t apparent now, I don’t know how else to describe it to you, but I’ll try again if you insist on not rescuing STC from the scrap heap you put it on without even replacement services in place first.

Sincerely,
John Klein
Regina, SK

*Minister’s 5 year reference below:

Minister Hargrave STC

Mosaic #StadiumII Grand Opening

Confederation Park, turned 90 on Friday, and got a facelift, and fountain repair.
A time capsule with a letter I wrote, is going to be opened in 50 years.

And the stadium cheerleaders were giving themselves a pat on the back for being “on time and on budget”, despite that not being literally true since they dropped advertised promised features in order to make it on time, and on budget.

Regina’s Forgotten Mode of Transportation

Dear Editor,

Last year’s Leader-Post article “New stadium to encourage move away from cars”, on July 28, 2016 indicated the City of Regina’s plan to build a Multi-Use Pathway (MUP) from Downtown, to Confederation Park.
“Those without wheels (or only two) aren’t being forgotten.”
Turns out, people on bikes were forgotten, and the reporter was misled. The MUP was never built. I asked the City about it a couple weeks ago. The administrator didn’t know what I was talking about, and they took 2 weeks to confirm they’ve shelved the idea, without giving a reason. It remains advertised on the Regina Revitalization Initiative (RRI) website as I write this. In what appears a cruel irony, the City was just awarded a Federation of Canadian Municipalities grant for sustainable infrastructure related to the RRI.

I’ve never been very pleased with the RRI Stadium or Railyard projects. I suffered through the megaproject bluster for years to give the City a chance to deliver on its promise of revitalizing the area and improving it as they advertised. For them to shelve, rather than build, the safe bike route promised, is the last straw. It was a bait-and-switch swindle.

Imagine the City got you interested in a mega-project with the promises of a new stadium to be built Downtown, with a dome, and food and drink services for the advertised price, but then didn’t deliver on a word of those promises. You don’t even have to imagine, to know how I feel. I feel cheated.

Comparing Regina Transit to STC

This article from less than a year ago is jarring, in relation to what the SaskParty actually did to privatize STC quickly without an election held to obtain a mandate to do so.

STC Safe from Privatization

STC saw revenue — from passenger and express parcel business — rise to $18.5 million in 2015-16. That compares with $16.6 million in the 12 months of 2014.

The annual subsidy, or grant, given to STC was $13.25 million in the 2015-16 operating year. That compares with $10.3 million in the 12 months of 2014.

Still, that means STC covers about 62 per cent of its operating expenses, and “in the public transportation industry, these numbers are very favourable,” Grice wrote in STC’s annual report.

By comparison, Regina Transit’s fares bring in about $10.8 million — or 28 per cent — of the system’s $35.66-million operating cost, the city’s 2016 budget says.

STC’s “public policy role” is cited several times in its annual report, released Thursday.

“Maybe it should be labelled as a utility,” mused Campeau

Wow, these numbers and comments expose the lies and incompetence of the Wall government’s “Meeting the Challenge” austerity budget of 2017.

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.

Continue reading

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.

 

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.”