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CNIB responds to Wascana Park development controversy
The Canadian National Institute for the Blind has released a statement in response to ongoing controversy over construction of a new four-story office building in Wascana Park.
“Wascana Park has provided an ideal place for CNIB to serve our Regina clients,” stated Christall Beaudry, executive director of CNIB Saskatchewan. “With our original building at the end of its life, we've been working for the past decade to find a solution that would allow us to continue delivering services in the area. At every stage of the process, we have followed the requirements and procedures set out by the relevant authorities.”
The statement goes on to say the efforts for the CNIB to find a new home began in 2013 with an outreach campaign to redevelop the site of the old building in Wascana Park for the organization’s use, but that ultimately failed to secure needed support from the community.
It was through the initial campaign that the CNIB first connected with Brandt Developments as a potential donor, who expressed interest in partnering on a solution for the site.
“We agreed in 2014 to pause our process and enter into a time-limited agreement with Brandt. This agreement saw them develop a design concept for the site as a multi-tenant facility in which the CNIB would occupy rent free space,” Beaudry said.
According to the CNIB, the concept was presented to the Wascana Centre Authority in October 2014 to determine if a multi-tenant facility was a viable way forward.
“The feedback we received was comprehensive, but indicated a path forward.”
The organization says it formally requested expressions of interest in May 2015, and that seven parties inquired. Of those, the CNIB says only Brandt met all the necessary criteria.
“We are confident in the diligence of our selection process, and we believe this project can be delivered in such a way as to uphold the values of the park and benefit the community,” Beaudry said. “Critically, this new facility will ensure blind and partially sighted Reginans can count on CNIB for years to come. It will allow us to redirect our limited resources to deliver even more life-changing programs and services for those who need them."
The response comes following concerns over the project raised earlier this week regarding how the controversial development gained government approval.