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Regent Park trees, Wascana Pool dimensions span first night of City budget deliberations
REGINA -- Due to a high number of delegations speaking at Monday’s City Council budget meeting, Council opted to continue the meeting on Tuesday.
The 39 delegates that were heard from advocated for issues surrounding the redevelopment of the Regent Park Par 3 Golf Course, the upkeep of Regina public pools, changes to transit schedules and renewable energy, among others.
Regent Park Par-3 redevelopment
Over a dozen delegations spoke out against the redevelopment of the Regent Park Par-3 Golf Course. They said they oppose the proposed redevelopment because of the destruction of trees that would occur during construction of the proposed recreational hub.
“A sports field is only used for particular events,” said Bobbi Stadnyk, a Regina resident speaking against the development of Regent Park. “The urban forest with the right sort of amenities, like walking trails and all those kinds of things, fountains, streams would be used every day by the entire community.”
The many delegations cited flood risks, noise and climate concerns and low usage for the proposed athletic hub, making the destruction of the trees unnecessary.
“There’s significant support for the redevelopment of that site, in a respectful way,” said Regina Mayor Michael Fougere. “When you read the delegations it’s almost as if we’re going to take out all of the trees, and we’re not. We’re going to replant trees. But there’s been no design of the site yet.”
Fougere said the site plan will likely be developed in the next year.
Wascana Pool designs
Council also heard from five delegates speaking their mind about plans to reconstruct Wascana Pool. All five were in favour of a 50 metre by 25 metre lane pool being constructed, opposed to shorter distances or a water park.
“It’s better for our training and our racing scenarios,” said Rob Nelson, the president of the Regina Multi-sport Club. “The capacity that a 50 metre pool brings compared to a 25 metre pool, there are a lot of outdoor enthusiasts that swim during the summer, including many aquatic groups, and there just is not enough room in a 25 metre pool to accommodate everybody.”
The speakers said any other options would not get as much use or be used as effectively as a multi-use 50 metre lane pool.
“I would say we’re going to have a pretty robust discussion about that pool [Tuesday],” said Fougere. “The options are clearly not meeting the expectations of a number in the community.”
Fougere said he wants to hear from City Administration about the feedback they received during consultation about the plans for Wascana Pool. There are some options still on the table and a decision for the pool design has not been decided on yet.
Two delegations also discussed changes to city transit routes and schedules, including extending hours for para-transit on weekends and statutory holidays, and extending a transit services into the new Westerra neighbourhood.
“Our first priority for transit of course is a transit hub downtown, to draw people for downtown which I think is really important, but also to invest in infrastructure as well. So I think we understand that and we will make a decision as to how fast we move on those investments,” said Fougere.
“I think we are going to see some requests to increase [the transit budget].”
Climate change and renewable energy options were also discussed by two speakers on Monday night.
Brett Dolter, an Assistant Professor from the Department of Economics at the University of Regina, presented results of a survey asking Regina citizens about their thoughts on renewable energy.
“75 per cent of Regina residents support the City of Regina powering its building and vehicles with 100 per cent renewable energy by 2050, and less than 10 per cent of residents oppose this goal,” said Dolter.
Council will reconvene at 5:30 on Tuesday to continue Budget deliberations.