Hooboy, I’ve been falling down on the city hall blogging job. So here’s a preview of the goings on downtown just in the nick of time….

Wednesday, March 31
BOARD OF POLICE COMMISSIONERS (9:00 am): Looking at the year over year crime stats for February. Crimes against the person have dropped 0.4 per cent from Feb of 2009 while crimes against property show a 19 per cent increase. Looks like the property crime increase is the result of more theft of stuff worth under $5,000 (that went up 42 per cent). Car theft meanwhile dropped a hefty 17 per cent.

The Board will also look at year-end crime stats that include a 10-year review of crime trends. Good news is that crime is still dropping in Regina. Overall reported crimes have dropped 26.3 per cent since 2000 and 4.8 per cent since 2008. In 2009, there were only four homicides and five attempted murders which are the lowest numbers for both crimes over the past decade. Car theft, break and enter, drinking and driving, and general crimes against property are all down. Robbery stats, however, are not good — we had 33.2 per cent more of those in 2009 than in 2000 and 3.7 per cent more than in 2008. Drug offenses have also gone up steeply as there was a 105.2 per cent increase since 2000.

REGINA PLANNING COMMISSION (4:00 pm): Considering a staff recommendation to allow a commercial space at 1621 11th ave be converted into a daycare. (That’s right across the street from the Old No. 1 Fire House.)

Also up for consideration is a 316 unit apartment building in the Harbour Landing suburb that will provide rental accommodation. This is great news from the standpoint of fixing our 0.6 per cent vacancy rate. And it’s good to see some of plans for high density housing in Harbour Landing going through now.

But, there are some points of concern. For a while now, city hall has been offering assurances that the rising rents in Regina are a good thing — they’re making it desirable for developers to build rental buildings. Once again, though, this is a situation where the rental units that are being built are on the edge of the city. (Don’t forget that the bulk of the rental units approved last year were out on the city’s eastern edge.)

Also, this building will be located almost a kilometre from the Grasslands shopping splotch which is the only place in Harbour Landing linked into the transit system. According to the report, the Transit Department has no immediate plans to extend transit service to other areas in Harbour Landing.

There are, however, some good amenities included in this development such as a pool and tennis court and communal areas for residents to gather in. The report also makes note of how the building will be adjacent to an Environmental Reserve which will provide “‘adventure’ type recreation for school aged children” which I will mock thusly: “Adventure-type recreation” is an official category now? Seriously? Kids living in tenements on the edge of the city and you expect benign “adventure-type recreations”? More like actual, wanton adventures in the naked prairie wilderlands beyond the reaches of civilization. Am I the only person who’s read Lord of the Flies??

Thursday, April 1
ENVIRONMENT ADVISORY COMMITTEE (5:00 pm): The administration will be making a presentation on the Official Community Plan. Not sure if this will just be about the Plan as it stands or if it will be specifically devoted to the upcoming OCP review and revision. Will also be looking at a report on how things went with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities Sustainable Cities conference and also reviewing some articles about building sustainable communities.

As always, full agendas and reports are available on the city’s website.