#StadiumII Lackluster Design Produces No Energy

It’s hard to look at another new stadium, and not feel some shame about the new Mosaic Stadium with its 4 drinking fountains. Let me guess, the urinals in Regina’s use water too?

How could our elected officials permit construction of a stadium in this decade and not have it generate a single kilowatt of electricity, or use a drop of grey water? It was an opportunity squandered by people who don’t care that we’re a people living well beyond our world’s means.

The good news? We have a municipal recycling service, and it appears to be used to some degree at the new stadium.


A Few Steps Forward, Regina Moves Back

The progress of a city is not assured by the passage of time. Regina has unquestionably progressed in some areas of life, and unquestionably regressed in others. The following is an incomplete list.

100 years ago, chickens were allowed to roam free.
Now, the City prohibits them even in a backyard.

60 years ago, Electric Vehicles were common on some Regina streets, in the form of streetcars. Now, only a few dozen or so EVs are in the city, as electric bikes, cars, and SUVs. We also had a bus route to the airport, but no bus is available to the airport today.

Also 60 years ago, we allowed toxic waste dumping into our soil and groundwater, all over the city. Now that’s only permitted at the landfill.

28 years ago, you could leave Regina by STC bus, or by Via Rail train. Now, in 2017, neither of those modes of transportation are an option due to government cuts without environmental reviews being undertaken to guide those bad decisions.

27 years ago, Parking enforcement used sensibly sized vehicles. Now they use GMC gas burning SUVs.

January 1990 Parking enforcement vehicle

Food Security In Regina Needs Work

Quebec is getting way ahead of the rest of Canada in an important improvement to its food bank network.

It’s an idea I want many people from Regina to share with their City Councillors.

Quebec grocery stores in province-wide program to send unused produce to food banks

It’s so big, an English newspaper noticed the news and reported on it.

And Saskatoon looks poised to leap ahead of Regina on the backyard food security front also.


The City of Wastegina

Wastegina, SK – The City of Wastegina would like to remind you during this special time of year, the True Meaning of Recycling is its profitability.

Not all citizens agree.

Laura Mack said, “It’s extremely disappointing and disillusioning that they are refusing to recycle wrapping paper because it “would not bring in as much money for the company or the city,” and not because it cannot be recycled.”

With Wastegina’s Waste [mis]Management, it’s always the same crap, different pile.

Aug. 13, 2014: “Waste services manager with the City of Regina, Roberta Engel, said Wednesday they are at an 18 per cent diversion rate which is well on the way to the 2015 goal of diverting 40 per cent of household waste to the dump site.

“We’re easily keeping up with the demand on the collection and processing side, but the city would really like to encourage residents to recycle more.”

Engel added 12 per cent of what residents put into the blue pins is contaminated, meaning 15,000 tonnes of recyclables are still entering the landfill.”

Feb 13, 2015: “40 Per cent of residential waste that was hoped to be diverted from the landfill by the end of 2015. The diversion rate currently sits at 18.4 per cent.”

Continue reading

Brick By Brick

When I was a young boy, maybe 8, I visited a friend at his farm. While our parents visited inside, my friend and I worked from the late afternoon until the sunlight failed us, moving a neatly stacked pile of bricks behind the garage, around to the lawn where I’d envisioned us arranging them into an awesome fort. When my parents decided it was time to leave, our building project was incomplete. My friend’s parents were not too pleased about all of our industrious brick moving, and the new pile in the wrong spot.

Filmmaker: Connaught

This past Sunday, I got to help atone for my brick moving sins a little, by helping society remove some misplaced bricks at the Regina landfill. They are what remains of the Connaught School. They’ll go into making some nice community infrastructure, instead of providing a base for an ever climbing pile of waste.


Mayor Fougere Robocalls Regina #YQRcc #P3 #WWTP #VoteNo

Regina’s Mayor sent out a robocall on Tuesday evening to landline phones in Regina. Here’s a recording of that call:

It includes the Mayor’s phone number at City Hall 777-7339, and street address of City Hall, to comply with CRTC rules. He is also touting the apparent “financial” beneift of a P3. Here’s how the Globe and Mail, a newspaper that supports the Conservative government in Ottawa pushing this P3 plan, reports on the financial aspect:

Governments like them because they push spending down the road, pointed out business professor Aidan Vining of Simon Fraser University, who argued in a recent study with University of British Columbia business professor Anthony Boardman that taxpayers are too often getting a raw deal.

“They get a service now and they get someone to pay for it later,” Prof. Vining said. “From a political perspective, there’s always an advantage to that.”

Governments are essentially “renting money” they could borrow more cheaply on their own because it’s politically expedient to defer expenses and avoid debt, Prof. Boardman added. P3 has become a “slogan” with often dubious benefits, he said.

So, the “financial” benefit from the Mayor and Council’s perspective is apparent: They deliver service now, and they get “someone” [you and your kids] to pay for it later [when they are long gone out of office].

The Mayor wants you to bind you and your children for 30 years to a contract, while making the dubious claim that the City “will always own and operate the plant”. P3s don’t work that way, that’s not their intention. If the City was to operate the plant, there’d be no profits for the private partner to deliver to their shareholders, because publicly owned utilities are not intended to generate profit, they are intended to save taxpayers money. Public ownership also gives the City ownership over the plant, and the P3 does not, because it quite plainly is not the purpose of a P3 to have the public partner retain real ownership as a citizen would recognize “owning”.

For infomation on the #VoteYes campaign being organized by citizens and Regina Water Watch, check out their Twitter feed.

Advanced Resource Management

“Regina moving forward on mandatory recycling program” – CBC headline

What an unfortunate framing of curb-side recycling as “mandatory”. CBC’s headline manages to make recycling sound like a possible negative, when it’s the first bright development in city services Regina has had in years. We’ve had “mandatory” garbage pick-up for years, but no one refers to it negatively as “mandatory” as some sort of imposition instead of a vital city service. It’s offered by every modern municipality from North Battleford to Richmond Hill, ON.

I currently pay a private company $90/year for curb side recycling, plus whatever it costs for mandatory garbage removal. We should be making recycling at the curb the base service provided by the city (possibly by contracting out to the private recyclers who already provide cost effective service), and charge an optional waste fee for people who throw resources away without reusing or recycling them.

Now is a good time to mention that Edmonton is making millions of dollars in profit a year for their city by reclaiming citizens’ “waste” as salvageable resources. Nothing is going to stop Regina from attaining the same sort of profit and job creation if I’m elected to City Council.