City council roundup: A controversial McDonald’s, weed control and transit plan
REGINA -- Regina city councillors debated a number of issues Wednesday, hearing concerns from residents about transit and a new McDonald’s.
Other items discussed were a weed control plan, relief fund for businesses, convention centre funding and cannabis regulation.
Here is what happened:
City council approved a new McDonald’s for the Evraz Place grounds.
It drew criticism from residents, who said the North Central area needs healthier and more affordable food options.
There were also concerns about signage and traffic backlogs.
After hearing concerns, council decided to approve the restaurant. Many said it will bring employment to the area and help bring in revenue for the exhibition grounds.
TRANSIT MASTER PLAN
Council approved a new $440,000 transit master plan for the city.
The plan will help the city figure out how to improve ridership. It will outline a roadmap for what bus services may look like in 25 years.
Despite the approval, many advocates said the money could have been better spent to improve transit.
Advocates proposed removing parking metres off 11 Avenue to improve transit flow downtown.
They also want parking fees to increase because it can sometimes be cheaper to park downtown than take a two-way bus trip.
Council approved a proposal that will see the city get tougher on out-of-control weeds.
Details of the proposal are slim, but it could mean higher fines and more bylaw enforcement officers issuing tickets.
Administration will return to council with a detailed plan in August.
$2M RELIEF FUND
Council approved new funding of $2 million for businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many businesses have said the pandemic has taken a toll on their operations.
The dollars will come from the city’s general reserve. It will be administered by the city.
Grants will run from $1,000 to $25,000, and businesses must match the dollars.
CONVENTION CENTRE PLAN
Council approved a plan that could see the city spend $325,000 annually to attract events, conventions and trade shows to Regina.
The dollars would ultimately have to be approved by council during budget deliberations.
City council voted to put a moratorium on new cannabis stores looking to open in Regina.
This means no new stores will be allowed to open until at least early 2021.
Council members said they needed more time to study how the cannabis industry will affect the city before they can approve more stores.
The owner of cannabis retailer Tweed said the city should take a careful approach in approving new stores.
PLASTIC BAG BAN
City council finalized a plan to ban plastic bags from Regina stores.
The ban takes effect in August 2021. If the city is still affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the ban would be pushed to a further date.
Despite the ban, plastic bags for produce, bulk food items, fresh bakery items and flowers will be allowed.
As well, they will be allowed for clothes after dry cleaning, newspapers or other printed material and for the transportation of live fish.
City council approved mail-in ballots for the upcoming municipal election.
This means people won’t need to go to polling stations in person to cast their votes.
The mail-in system will require people to provide a signature and a copy of their photo ID. The signature will be matched against the ID to ensure the ballot is legitimate.
PAT FIACCO PLAZA
Council wasn’t able to debate the possibility of renaming City Square Plaza to Pat Fiacco Plaza.
They will discuss the potential name change when they meet again in August.