Regina city council discusses City Centre Core plan, cyclist safety, sidewalk updates
REGINA -- Regina city council addressed a variety of topics during Wednesday afternoon’s meeting.
Bike safety, the City’s economic recovery, sidewalk updates and a review process for heritage assessments have all been discussed. Regina city council approved the City Centre Core Partnership Framework and Action Plan.
CITY CENTRE CORE FRAMEWORK
The goal of the City Centre Core Partnership Framework and Action Plan is to connect Evraz Place, the Regina Railyard Project Lands, the Taylor Field Lands with the Regina downtown and Warehouse neighbourhoods.
Delegations from the Regina Exhibition Association, Warehouse Business Improvement District and Downtown Business Improvement District said environmental features will be included in the plan.
The name of the plan was shortened to the City Centre Core Framework.
Mayor Sandra Masters said the framework is crucial to help the city recover from the pandemic.
“How do we get more people into the city? How do we get more people into downtown? And how do we create better connection between all of us? That’s exactly what we’re looking for,” Masters said.
Council also approved the development of a heritage policy to introduce a third-party review process for heritage evaluations and heritage impact assessments. Qualified heritage consultants or architects will conduct these assessments.
Jackie Schmidt from Heritage Regina said she supported most of the changes.
REGINA ECONOMIC RECOVERY GRANT
Council reviewed the Regina Economic Recovery Grant program, offered to help businesses through the pandemic.
Administration says 280 businesses have used just under $1.4 million of the $2 million available in the grant program.
The Regina Recovery and Efficiency Task Force is expected to consider a one-year, 25 per cent partial tax exception for the Regina Hotel Association.
CITY SIDEWALKS UPDATE
Changes to sidewalk repairs could come, as council considers using a cold mix asphalt material during winter instead of concrete in the 2022 budget.
Andrew Stevens said the purpose is to have sidewalks treated the same as roads.
CYCLING, TRAFFIC SAFETY & PASSING
A few hours was dedicated to changes to the traffic bylaw, in order to help keep cyclists safe.
Going forward drivers can be fined for following a cyclist at a distance closer than reasonable, passing a cyclist in the same lane that the cyclist is occupying or passing a cyclist at a speed greater than 50 kilometres per hour.
Fines also apply to drivers that do not drive in a reasonable and prudent way when approaching any special hazard that exists with respect to cyclists.
Cyclists can use a one-way street in the opposite direction where a contraflow bicycle only lane exists as marked by signs or pavement markings.
No person is allowed to open their vehicle door if it interferes with the movement of traffic.
INCLUSIVE RECREATION AND ACTIVITIES
Council approved a plan put forward by councillors Terina Shaw and Lori Bresciani to increase recreation and leisure activities for people with disabilities.
The City will consult with the public on what types of inclusive recreation and activities are needed. It was also identify barriers and enablers to providing additional recreation and leisure programs.
Several delegations spoke in support of the plan.
The City will research options for expanding the availability of accessibility grants to encourage inclusive and specialized recreation and activities.
PERMANENT SUPPORTIVE HOUSING OPERATING GRANT
City council also approved the creation of a Permanent Supportive Housing Operating Grant program, which is aligned with the Plan to End Homelessness.
A maximum of $1 million annually starting in 2022 from the city’s Social Development Reserve will fund ongoing permanent supportive housing operations. The money will be used to fund 20 units.
“Targeting 20 individuals to find them housing, who have complex needs and difficulty finding housing,” Mayor of Regina Sandra Masters said.
Masters said she hopes to find federal funding that would help support the program when the federal budget is announced. The city will also coordinate with the province about the individuals the city hopes to support.
Masters said the hope would be to eventually expand the program to support 60 people.
CARWASH ON PARLIAMENT AVE.
Council also approved the discretionary use of a Service Trade, WashLight carwash at 4700 Parliament Ave. It will feature a 114 square metre car wash and a 168 square metre convenience store with a gas bar.
AIRPORT MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING
A memorandum of understanding with the Regina Airport Authority was approved on Wednesday. The agreement will ensure that any development on the authority lands will be done in harmony with the City's planning.
Council also approved a runway expansion for the airport. There is no anticipated timeline for the runway expansion project at YQR, but the approval was made to ensure the airport's future growth is protected and addressed as development proposals come forward.
LAKEVIEW AVE. JOINT-USE SCHOOL
Council approved a zoning amendment to allow the Regina Public and Regina Catholic School Boards to build a joint-use school on the current Argyle School and L'Arche Park site at 2941 and 3215 Lakeview Ave. An offsite parking lot on the southeast corner of Kinsmen Park South will also be created.
CATHEDRAL AND LAKEVIEW HERITAGE CONSULTANT
A consultant will be hired to work with Cathedral and Lakeview residents to identify priority areas where conservation and preservation of character are required. The work will support developing recommendations and guidelines to regulate heritage and architectural design in these areas.
Up to $155,000 from the General Fund Reserve would be used.
City administration said other communities like the Heritage Community will be looked at in the future.
DEWDNEY PARK RENAMING
The name of Dewdney Park is being changed. Council approved the renaming to Buffalo Meadows.
Lisa Odle presented to council and argued the park should not be named after Edgar Dewdney, due to his role in helping establish the residential school system in Saskatchewan.
The decision follows council’s recent name change of Dewdney Pool to Buffalo Meadows Pool.
Dewdney Ave. is being reviewed, but requires more work due to the amount of properties located on Dewdney Ave. that would need to change their street address name.
2022 SASKATCHEWAN WINTER GAMES
Council also approved financial support for the 2022 Saskatchewan Winter Games.
The city will provide an in-kind donation of facility rental fees, valued up to $50,000, for city-owned facilities used by 2022 Saskatchewan Winter Games Regina Inc.