newsbriefsHarbour Landing Evolves

Council approved a zoning application at their May 26 meeting that will mean that a Regina charity, Hope’s Home, will be able to start construction on a new facility on James Hill Road in Harbour Landing.

Hope’s Home is an organization that, since 2005, has provided daycare and respite care for children with complex medical needs.

In their new location, Hope’s Home plans to build two buildings that will include a daycare for 90 children, a respite care facility for 10 children and a supportive home for four young adults.

“This is an incredible story of service to the public. It provides a unique service to those family members who have disabled children,” said Mayor Michael Fougere. “When this began many years ago on College Ave., council was very much behind this and remains so today. This is an even better project than the last one.”

With Hope’s Home move to Harbour Landing, it’s one more sign of how that suburb in the city’s southwest is growing into a true community.

Unfortunately, at the same meeting, Bob Hawkins, councillor for the ward that includes Harbour Landing, stalled by a month passage of a bylaw that would allow an increase in the density in a soon-to-be-built subdivision within the suburb.

Since the Harbour Landing concept plan was approved in 2007, Homes By Dream (formerly Homes By Dundee), the developer behind the project, has requested and received many changes to the plan allowing them to increase the residential density.

Hawkins worries that there’ve been so many changes now that the community has essentially been unplanned.

Fougere, however, is less concerned.

“I would say that [Harbour Landing] is adapted to market conditions,” he says. “Markets change and people’s taste changed and there’s been some adaptation happening. There is a movement for more dense development and that’s reflected in those plans.” /Paul Dechene

Sask. Labour Vs. Sask. Party: The Championship Round Begins

When the Supreme Court met May 16 to hear arguments on the constitutionality of two pieces of labour legislation (Bill 5 and 6) passed by the Saskatchewan Party government in 2008, it was a crowded courtroom. That’s because, in addition to the main combatants, the Saskatchewan government and Saskatchewan Federation of Labour, 24 interveners were present.

“We coordinated with the union side to make sure we covered all the areas we wanted to cover,” says SFL head Larry Hubich. “When you’re limited to an hour to present your oral argument, and 40 pages in your factum, you have to be pretty precise. But while your legal team may have a ‘script’, if the justices take you down a different path then that’s where you go.

“In the factums Bill 6 [Trade Union Amendment Act] got a lot of attention, but during oral arguments the majority of the time was spent on Bill 5 [Public Service Essential Services Act],” says Hubich.

Joining the government in arguing the bills were constitutional were the attorney generals of five other provinces and the federal government, along with the Canadian Employers Council and three other non-governmental organizations.

The SFL, meanwhile, was supported by several other labour groups, along with the B.C. Civil Liberties Association.

Previous Supreme Court decisions have established that under s. 2 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms (which covers freedom of association and expression) workers have a constitutional right to join a union and bargain collectively.

“What we’re arguing is that the right to strike is protected too,” says Hubich. “If government intends to fetter that right, which we’re not saying it can’t, but when it does, the scope needs to be narrow and a vehicle such as binding arbitration needs to be provided so workers can bring bargaining to an end.”

Recently, the Saskatchewan government passed revised essential service legislation as part of the Saskatchewan Employment Act.

“The proposed changes go a long way to correcting some of the flaws in Bill 5,” says Hubich. “But it uses the same broad criteria to determine what constitutes essential. If the Supreme Court was to decide Bill 5 was unconstitutional, in part because of its broad application, then the new act would be unconstitutional as well.”

After hearing arguments, the court reserved its decision. A ruling is not expected for six to 12 months. /Gregory Beatty