REGINA -- The City of Regina is hoping to help out some of its residents that didn’t have insurance during the rain storm on June 11 by applying for relief through the Provincial Disaster Assistance Program.

The provincial program administers funds for assistance as a result of a substantial damage to uninsurable, essential property caused by specific natural disasters.

“After the occurrences, the city was met with service requests which identified several reported cases of basement flooding and property damage,” said city manager Chris Holden.

The city estimates the storm will cost the average individual over $5,000 and the average community over $25,000.

Council successfully applied for assistance in 2014 and 2015. If approved this time, it would also be eligible to apply for help for its own properties.

“We become the middleman to make sure that people can access the application. And of course this resolution makes applicants eligible for consideration under the program,” said Holden.

According to a report, at least 140 to 200 homes have requested assistance for damage since the storm. The damage is estimated to cost $250,000 in total. Service Regina said it received more than 300 service requests during the storm.

“When something like that happens, overwhelms the system, we're looking to assist residents wherever we can, with programs that are available to them,” said Masters.

Masters said if approved, administration will post the application process online for any residents that need it. It could take weeks to months for councils request to go through.

Administration said an engineering group is following up with municipal properties to assess any possible damage. Work is also being done to find ways to keep drivers from using flooded underpasses during a storm.

When it comes to wastewater, administration said there is also significant work planned to reduce sewer backups in the city.

Masters said the city won't have an exact number of how many homes were impacted or the cost related until a later time.

CANADA CENTRE RECREATION HUB UPGRADES APPROVED

City council unanimously approved up to $2 million from the Recreation & Culture Capital Plan for the Regina Exhibition Association Limited to develop the Canada Centre Building.

The improvement will include a multi-use recreation and sport-court facility. A request has been made to install pickle ball courts and an indoor skate park.

According to administration, the Canada Centre Building requires about $2.8 million in renovations. The city will use the capital money to cover $150,000 associated with the lease of a proposed skate park. It would also pay for washrooms, lobby space, curtains to divide the spaces and multi-court flooring.

REAL is estimating that the investments required to implement the recreation hub are $2.8 million.

AIRPORT EXEMPTION AMENDMENT

The Regina Airport Authority received an extension to the original tax exemption agreement it has with the City of Regina.

The five-year property tax exemption agreement has been amended to allow the airport more time to obtain an airline to commit to daily year-round U.S. hub service by the end December 31, 2022. The airport said due to COVID-19, it needs more time to do the work. The original deal required the airport to commit to a U..S hub service by the end of 2020.

The new agreement will also require the service starts by December 31, 2023.

The city will also apply to the Government of Saskatchewan for any exemption of the education portion of the taxes that is $25,000 or greater.

VARSITY PARK UPGRADE APPROVED

Regina city council unanimously approved upgrades for Varsity Park during its meeting on Wednesday.

Council approved a donation of $140,000 for the construction of a basketball court, winter water service, trees and site furnishings in Varsity Park.

The money would be provided by the Arcola East Community Association (AECA), in partnership with the Hawrylak School Community Council (HSCC) and East Zone Board (EZB). Administration recommends council approve the donation.

Resident of Varsity Park, Elizabeth Lockert, spoke in favour of the upgrades, but against a new basketball court. She collected a petition with signatures opposing the construction of a new basketball court.

According to Lockert, 14 of the 30 homeowners she knows of who received a letter oppose a new basketball court. Lockert fears the upgrade will add noise to the area. She lives on Philip Road and claims the nearby park already causes too much noise.

Councillor Bob Hawkins said there is a need for recreation in the area, and any noise concerns can be handled by the bylaw.

According to the city, 83 per cent of 288 respondents it polled indicated that they would use the park more often if the planned upgrades occurred.