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Taxpayers Federation pans Regina City Hall upgrades
Published Wednesday, May 3, 2017 6:19PM CST
Regina is upgrading its 40-year-old City Hall building.
“The heart of what's happening here is repair of the pipelines, water lines, sewer lines under the building as well as the age vacuum and ventilation systems,” said Mayor Michael Fougere.
The city is also upgrading customer service by allowing residents to pay for permits on the main floor as well as adding a restaurant to the front of the building.
“We've had a restaurant here for the public to use before and for staff to use,” said Fougere. “It really is a question of quality of life that people have in a workplace and how important that is.”
City Hall once housed a restaurant, but it closed in 2014 to allow upgrades to the main floor of the building. The new facility will be a public space, open after hours, and the city will tender out the lease to run the restaurant.
The city recently increased the mill rate to 6.49 per cent and cut some services after the provincial government reduced some of the city’s funding.
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation wonders if now is the right time to add another restaurant to downtown Regina.
"People across the province and certainly throughout the city put off home renovations for themselves given the situation of the economy,” said the federation’s Prairie director Todd MacKay. “We certainly would want to see City Hall do the same thing."
Fougere says it wasn't possible to reallocate the funding for the restaurant.
"It has nothing to do with the budget we just went through. This money was allocated in 2014,” he said. “It is not impacting our current budget or last year's budget or the year before that.”
The city is also spending $70 million on road construction, sewer and water repairs this year.
“We’ve heard it through the citizen’s survey over the last number of years that the number one priority for the public is the infrastructure,” said Norman Kyle, the city’s director of roadways and transportation.
“On that end, we’re actually looking at ways to do more preventative work to extend the life cycle of the infrastructure because, in the long run, that’s what saves the citizens money.”
All of the construction projects are expected to be complete by the end of 2017.