PCC Favours Autocratic Use of Bylaw

Dear Mx. Ross:

I was disappointed to hear that PCC doesn’t see value in having peaceful protesters in the Park on Canada Day, a day where we celebrate Canadian values protected by our Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Freedom of Assembly is one of those rights, and a bylaw or even a provincial law does not overrule the fundamental right First Nations people and their allies have to peacefully petition the government in front of the provincial government building.

Police time can be better spent on our national holiday with assisting people in the crowd as they did for me 4 years ago, saving my life. If they’d instead been hauling off people to jail for the non-illegal act of pushing the government to meet reasonable demands for improvements to our justice system, I would not be here to point this out to you. I consider the overnight camping bylaw to be intended to prevent people from camping for fun, or necessity due to lack of social housing, not as an autocratic excuse for police to defend the government from citizen protest movements.

You could have moved the event to where the teepee was set up in front of the Legislature last year, and saved the time of an inappropriate press release to pressure Regina Police into doing the wrong thing.

Thank-you for your consideration.
Sincerely,
John Klein

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No Justice In Wascana Park

A camp, Justice For our Stolen Children, was set up 111 days ago in Wascana Park in Regina outside the Legislature to pressure the government to fix systemic problems in the justice system which have led to widely publicized cases of injustice regarding indigenous victims of violence. Today Regina Police arrested peaceful protesters who refused to leave the park, and the government refused to meet with the protesters aside from telling them to leave so the grass wouldn’t die.

“Telling them to leave so the grass won’t die. That’s horrible.”

It is, especially since on the other side of the park, they’re cutting down old-growth trees to make way for development for a bank.

Watch the video.

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:

Our Wascana Report Suppressed By Mayor of Regina, and Province

The Mayor is keeping a 2 year old report under wraps because the decision makers don’t want their decision process to be transparent to the public.

“This is a significant report that is huge for the future of Wascana Centre Authority and until we have that review done by the partners we won’t release it,” Fougere said. “But we’ll release it when we’re ready and that should be next year.”

“the $800,000 report was paid for by the government of Saskatchewan and the City of Regina.”

So, it takes 3 years for them to decide in private, while Design Regina which recently implemented the entire City of Regina Official Community Plan remained public and was implemented in less time.

“Fougere said it would not be fair to the partnership that pays for the park’s operations to release the information before decisions are made.”

It’s not fair to taxpayers, and users of the park to not have access to what other users said they want done in the Park. The public sending in ideas for the park are the ones who’ve made the decisions, it’s just up to the board, Province, and City (and UofR) to implement them.

There are shades of the Parking Study in this report disappearing.

That budget request says the independent review has noted the authority’s “infrastructure deficit is over $70 million.”

The CEO of the authority is asking for $2 million in “urgent” repair for next year, when Bernadette McIntyre appears before the city’s executive committee today.

One thing coming up is the UofR expanding on City land where some would assume the Park exists instead, which is adjacent to Darke Hall.

“A Q&A with yours truly about what made the @ourwascana project a success @IntFutures. Thanks @collabservinc http://ow.ly/2aYLLe”

Any time you propose a major design change to a civic jewel like the Wascana Centre, people are going to have very strong opinions. How did the ourWascana process ensure that every opinion was heard and considered?

ourWascana fed into the Comprehensive Review Project for Wascana Centre Authority, which will then lead to a review of the master plan for the space. Having said that, I have to give tremendous credit to the Strategic Planning Committee and Bernadette McIntyre, the Executive Director of Wascana Centre Authority. Throughout the process, they never wavered from our approach to have a completely honest, open conversation and to hold judgement and listen to what the community had to say. It was really remarkable to work with a group of people like that.

Wascana needs a lot of money to catch up on crumbling infrastructure. It doesn’t even have a bathroom available in the evening at the park beside the Legislature where tourists and gear-heads hang out in the Summer.

ourWascana from light & soul on Vimeo.

A Thank-You To the RPS and EMS

A few of you may have caught me on the news today. The Regina Police Service had a meeting and my thank-you letter came up. CBC did a news report on it.

If you’d told me a year ago that I’d be a survivor of a cardiac arrest, I’d have not believed it. I’ve always considered the increasing prevalence of AEDs to be a good thing for society, but hadn’t anticipated needing one.

Insp. Corey Zaharuk, who oversees the police bike patrol, says Klein’s case shows how valuable that form of police patrol can be.

“Our goal with them is to make sure that we are present during those crowd events to respond to whatever we need to respond to,” he said. “In this case it was a male in medical distress.”

The EMS who arrived were also on bicycles. They were carrying an AED on their bike trailer. The ambulance almost got stuck in the mud in Wascana Park, so the fire department was on hand in case they needed to be towed out. The cooling bed I was put on at the hospital, to keep my organs fresh while they healed from reduced oxygen, was donated. I’ve agreed to help the Hospitals of Regina Foundation raise awareness of the need for more and even better equipment in our hospitals.

Hillsdale Walking #YQRcc

Here’s a list of fun projects for the City to tidy up. I emailed this to a Councillor I had the email address for, and if you agree (or disagree) with these, I welcome you to contact Service Regina or your Councillor with comments.

1 – street sweep Wascana Parkway bikelane southbound, by the new construction, and remove the Cyclists Detour sign before Hillsdale St. that has been there over a year.

2 – construct a permanent or temporary Multi-Use Path (MUP) bike lane through the tree nursery south of the Broad St. bridge to connect to Hillsdale St. near Robert’s Plaza. This would give cyclists (and pedestrians) a safe(r), direct route south rather than crossing 2 lanes of high speed vehicle traffic to make it to the Wascana Parkway bike lane (southbound).

Unfun projects to stop:

3 – Sticking with Wascana Parkway, I spoke with one other resident of Hillsdale, and they are not happy about the plan to install a fence to keep pedestrians the second priority on the street they use hundreds of times a day. I suspect this fence will violate some of the findings of the upcoming Transportation Master Plan (TMP), so delaying it until after then would be a partial win, so later the project to build a fence all the way around Hillsdale can be shut down completely. Want to make the neighbourhood more unwalkable? Wall it in, like Berlin (or Gaza). I’ve never tried walking out of Gaza before, but I picture it like walking out of Hillsdale, except here it’s with fewer armed checkpoints (and a lot colder).

The north pedestrian detour over crossing between intersections takes people 5 times farther than the 100m direct route from McNiven to the RIC steps. People crossing into College West, taking the south detour post-fence go from a 150m walk to almost 500m. This is like telling people to shop at Cornwall Centre only after having parked south of Victoria Ave. It’s humanly possible, but it’s a little inhumane in Winter. 4 extra blocks of walking, each way.

Note the grooves in the ground where people want to walk, sometimes called goat trails, other times known as “desire lines”.

4 – City made the CBC news today for failing to keep a railyard fence up, and the person in the story left in the comments that City or railyard staff lied about the fence’s status and the frequency with which it was checked for erectness. Hmm, when the Wascana Parkway Fence is damaged by throngs of people ignoring it, will the City continually spend time ‘fixing’ it? I’d like the fence money to go to an intersection improvement, not be wasted keeping people from getting to where they are going by foot.

Train underpass crossing is safer, but it also floods. Signs must go up promptly to give alternate routes when Spring flooding takes place.