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Council defers decisions on Co-op Refinery arbitration, taxi regulations at monthly meeting
REGINA -- Regina city council has decided to delay decisions on arbitration for the Co-op Refinery workers and changes to the city's taxi bylaw.
Ward 3 Coun. Andrew Stevens began the meeting by asking council to waive a one-month waiting period to discuss motion calling on the province to "use all of the tools at its disposal, including binding arbitration, to reach a settlement in the labour dispute at the Co-op Refinery."
A large group of Unifor Local 594 supporters were in the gallery for the meeting in hopes that the motion would be discussed.
“I received so many calls from Unifor members asking me to agree to waive the time period to discuss it today, so they knew about this, they’re aware of this, this is simply a way for them to stand up and support the motion itself,” Mayor Michael Fougere said.
The motion needed unanimous approval for discussion, and it was defeated. The notice of motion was read on Wednesday, but discussion will be heard next month.
"I would think that part of the logic would be that the member of council felt it wasn't an urgent matter, it may have been presented as an urgent matter, but they're in negotiations already for mediation, so maybe they felt it wasn't an urgent requirement to have this discussion today," Fougere said.
Council also discussed changes to the city's taxi by-law. Delegations from Regina Cabs and Co-op Taxis spoke about an unbalanced playing field created after ridesharing companies like Uber drove into the Queen City. Specifically, they pointed to a large number of regulations on cab companies compared to ridesharing companies.
“If it’s good enough for that platform, why isn’t it good enough for the taxi platform?” said Sandy Archibald from Regina Cabs.
The taxi companies would like to see the requirements that the City of Regina inspect the vehicles, decals, cameras and meters to be removed and allow the companies to have the inspections done by a third-party and provide the documents to the city.
They would also like the age restriction removed from vehicles.
Archibald says the industry can self-regulate.
"If Uber's permitted to have any year of a vehicle, no decaling, no city inspections, no driver inspections, surely to goodness, we should be allowed the same privileges because we're right here, we have bricks-and-mortar buildings, we pay taxes, we employ people and we're in it for the long haul,” she said.
The by-law review was referred back to administration to have a side-by-side review of the taxi and ridesharing regulations. That report is expected before council in June.
"Council agreed that we want to have the two by-laws together to look at how we can make it easier that way and it's better to wait and get it done right than opposed it is to not do it right and have to come back and do it again,” Fougere said.
Council did approve $880,000 in funding for Maple Leaf Pool, meaning the project will now cost more than $5 million.
The Request for Proposals came back higher than expected, according to City Administration, making additional funding necessary to complete the project.
Construction is expected to begin later this year and be completed this fall.