The City of Regina: civilization’s last hope against climate change?
City Hell | by Paul Dechene
“Hey Paul, what’re you dressing up as for Halloween?”
“Gee, I was thinking maybe I’d go as The Imminent Death Of The Planet Leaves An Impotent And Sabotaged City Council As The Last Bulwark Against The Collapse Of Civilization.”
“What do you think? Too high concept?”
“Oooh, I don’t know. What would that look like?”
“Well-hell-hell, have a look at this week’s city hall column!”
Terrified Humans Comfort One Another By Gathering In An Abandoned Restaurant As, Outside, Their Planet Slowly Burns
Blue Dot Regina and Charged Up, an initiative of the Suzuki Foundation, put on a town hall in Cure Kitchen and Bar on Oct. 16. The meeting gathered together community activists, renewable energy entrepreneurs, concerned citizens and a few city councillors to discuss how Regina can shift to renewable energy sources.
The subtext, of course, was that we’re facing an imminent climate change catastrophe and even municipalities have to step up if human civilization is to survive. Adding extra urgency to the meeting was the recent UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report stating the planet has 12 years to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 45 per cent and only 32 years to get global emissions to zero if we’re to keep global warming at or below a dangerous 1.5 degree Celsius increase.
The meeting was extremely well attended and demonstrated the amount of community support for a motion coming forward at council’s Oct. 29 meeting that, if passed, will commit Regina to becoming a 100 per cent renewable city by 2050.
The motion, which is being brought forward by councillors Andrew Stevens, John Findura and Joel Murray, requests a report from administration by the tail end of 2019 on how to achieve this goal. It also requests administration seek external funding to cover the costs of this commitment.
With the Saskatchewan government joining Ontario, Manitoba and New Brunswick to undermine the federal carbon tax plan, the role of sane steward of climate policy is falling to municipalities across the country. Commitments to shift 100 per cent to renewables have already been made by Edmonton, Vancouver and Guelph.
People wishing to speak to this motion before council need to submit their five-minute presentations to the City Clerk’s office by 1:00 p.m., Oct. 25.
As Civilization Perishes, Small Communities Demolish Their Homes As, Nearby, Their Corporate Overlords Build Crass Structures In Which To House Their Machine Gods
Maybe you’ve heard: Regina Royal Canadian Legion Branch 001 — the very first Legion established in Canada — has set up a GoFundMe campaign to help it cover its operating costs.
According to the Legion’s management, the branch is in imminent danger of closing because they simply can’t keep paying their roughly $15,000 a year in expenses. This is sad news considering back in 2012, the Legion tried to deal with their revenue shortfall by selling off their building, opting to rent a portion of the space they once owned instead.
The new owners, Mitchell and Associates Ltd, then turned the Legion building into a revenue property by demolishing the bulk of the structure and turning the back section into a parkade — only the façade, museum and basement lounge were retained.
Much has been made about how declining membership and oppressive property taxes are damaging Regina Legion’s bottom line. Overlooked, however, is the impact of bad urban planning. Directly across Cornwall Street from the Legion is the Hill Centre Parkade. It’s a dilapidated, horror-show of a structure — exactly the kind of urban environment in which you’d expect serial killers to lurk or decapitation-fights between immortals to occur.*
The Hill Centre Parkade takes up nearly the entire block — physically and psychologically — thus creating a massive urban deadzone.
No wonder people avoid it in favour of the more-lively F. W. Hill Mall to the east.
The Legion can put out as many cheerful signs inviting people to have a burger in the Vimy Lounge as they want. It won’t help if there’s no one walking by to read them.
Regina Royal Canadian Legion Branch 001 intends to seek a property tax exemption from council at their Dec. 17 meeting.
Citizens Enfeebled By Failing Media Conglomerates Elect A Useless Sycophant To Lead Them Through The Demise Of Culture — Other Leaders Cheer The Validation Of A Kindred Spirit
On Oct. 22, CBC Ontario opted to show Murdoch Mysteries instead of providing live coverage of their province’s various municipal elections that day.
Seriously, CBC? The only reason you’re worth keeping around is so you can provide coverage of local issues that a multinational media conglomerate would ignore in favour of shilling generic garbage tele-dramas. Putting on Murdoch Mysteries instead of a municipal election is so flagrant an abdication of your duties, it skips past “cutely ironic” and lands in the “evidence of your corruption” column.
It’s one more sad example of how media is content to leave citizens ill-informed about municipal-level issues.
And no surprise, then, that the people of Toronto would vote — in their hopelessly Ford-compromised election — to return boring, conservative-leaning John Tory to the mayor’s seat. Tory earned a staggering 63 per cent of votes cast while his main rival, Toronto’s former chief planner and noted progressive urbanist, Jennifer Keesmaat, only managed to get 23 per cent.
The next morning, Regina mayor, Michael Fougere, tweeted out his congratulations, writing, “I look forward to continue working with you [John Tory] on Big City Mayors’ Caucus.”
Yeah, I guess that’s the polite thing to do. But, I like to imagine Fougere breathed a sigh of relief after the Toronto results were announced. Back when Keesmaat was an urban planning consultant, she was one of the main architects of Regina’s Downtown Neighbourhood Plan. Had she won, I bet that first Big City Mayors’ Caucus would have been super awkward.
“So, Mike, how’s my downtown plan working out for you?”
“Yeah, about that…”
* By the way, you can thank previous city councils for giving Harvard Property Management a nifty 15 years-worth of property tax exemptions on the Hill Centre Parkade. When those exemptions ended in 2013, you and I had paid over $524,000 in forgone municipal revenue for that eyesore on Cornwall Street! It’s ugly, but it’s ours!