A round-up of recent Regina municipal news, you say? Hurrah!

City Hall | Paul Dechene | Sept. 29, 2022

Trying to keep up with the news coming out of this Mayor Masters-led city council is like drinking from a fire hose. Here are the top six gushers to emerge over the last few months.


It’s not a question of “if” for Regina’s Catalyst Committee, just “where” and “when.”

The Committee, which was formed at an executive committee meeting in July, is preparing recommendations for the location and sequencing of an array of “Catalyst Projects” such that they can best work together to revitalize Regina’s downtown and core neighbourhoods. The projects under consideration are a new hockey arena to replace the Brandt Centre; a replacement for the Lawson aquatic centre; a pro-level, artificial-turf baseball arena; a soccer facility and a new central library branch. Cricket and pickle-ball facilities have also been mentioned as possible inclusions under the Catalyst Project banner.

The committee is co-chaired by ward 2 councillor Bob Hawkins and REAL CEO Tim Reid. Membership includes councillors Andrew Stevens (ward 3) and Lori Bresciani (ward 4), and representatives from 12 local organizations.

Based off hints dropped at various council meetings, though the Catalyst Committee has yet to formally meet as of this writing, it will soon barrel ahead with its work.

In October, it will begin what committee co-chair Hawkins calls an extensive consultation process that will involve stakeholders and the general public. Feedback from this will be used to prepare a report for January that lists off where each facility should be built so as to get the most bang for the public buck.

This means the committee will be blasting through consultation and onto a full report in under four months while vying for attention with the city’s first multi-year budget process and the holiday season. Good luck with that.


When RPL board chair Sean Quinlan and RPL CEO Jeff Barber made a presentation about the library’s central branch at the Sept. 7 executive committee meeting, zero percent of people who follow library news were surprised to discover that plans were afoot to demolish the current building and replace it with something big and new.

We’d been here before. Most recently, there was 2011 when plans for a new central branch appeared online. The proposed building looked like a cruise ship run aground and was evidently envisioned as some kind of public-private hybrid as it included a hotel. The architectural drawings also anticipated expanding onto the neighbouring Masonic Temple site.

Thing is, nobody had thought to share this plan with the Masons.

And when that august society refused to play ball with the library’s plan to demolish their building, well, pffffffttttfaaarrrt went the library board’s big renewal plan.

Here we are 11 years later, and the RPL is taking a different tack. In their project update to council, they say they will get their board’s approval to go ahead with a demolition and rebuild before seeking architectural drawings through an international design competition.

That the powers-that-be at the library want to tear down the central branch and build new should shock no one. Regina tears down old things. This is very on-brand. We’re just lucky the work plan doesn’t (yet) include a transition phase as a “temporary” surface parking lot.

What was a bit surprising was how perplexed board chair Sean Quinlan seemed to be by the Catalyst Committee concept.

When Councillor Bob Hawkins asked how the RPL board feels about the Catalyst Committee making recommendations about where to locate catalyst projects like the library, Quinlan seemed confused and stressed that the RPL board wants the central branch to remain at its current location.

“It’s the iconic heart of downtown,” said Quinlan. “It’s a site where the first Regina library building was constructed in 1912 and there’s been a library building on that site ever since.”

Quinlan further noted that he knew little about what the Catalyst Committee was doing as, despite being the RPL board chair, he had heard almost nothing about it since an initial briefing in June.

This despite the fact that RPL board member Cindy Kobayashi is supposed to have a seat on the Catalyst Committee.


Did you know that you’re paying an extra municipal surcharge on every movie ticket? You are, because Regina is one of the last Canadian cities to still be charging an amusement tax! The hundred-year-old levy used to apply to all sorts of pleasant diversions outside the home but over the years has been pared back until it now only applies to tickets sold at Regina’s three remaining movie theatres.

Even though council briefly considered the possibility of ditching the tax at their Sept. 14 executive committee meeting, they could only bring themselves to cut it in half to a better-but-still-ridiculous five per cent, meaning Regina will continue to have the most heavily taxed movies in the country.

Too bad we couldn’t have scaled back this antiquated cash grab before Rainbow Cinemas went out of business.


In June, ward six councillor Dan LeBlanc passed a motion to have a fully costed plan to end homelessness included as a line item in the city’s first two-year budget, expected in December. Administration anticipates this will add upwards of $15 million a year to the city’s spending. This comes in a year when administration anticipates a 4.05% mill rate increase and a four per cent utility rate boost.

Council can, of course, vote to remove the housing item during budget deliberations. Or, I don’t know, they could maybe find the funds by raiding the police budget (the RPS budget was $92,796,700 in 2022 and expected to rise again in 2023)? Or the roads budget? (The Arcola Avenue expansion alone will cost us $76 million.)


As council talks about creating a vibrant downtown with all its mega-sized dreams of new downtown sports facilities, keep in mind another little chunk of our core was ruined this summer as administration recommended and council approved a new surface parking lot on Scarth Street just south of 13th Avenue. Council approved the bylaw at their Sept. 14 meeting, and the lot was open for business the next day.


The chaos that seems to emanate from ward seven’s Terina Shaw has been such a magnet for media attention that it has become a major distraction from all the other stuff going on. I’m not going to let that happen here! That’s why I’m squeezing the briefest of mentions in at the end.

Suffice to say, Shaw will face no official consequences for all the amply reported-upon awful things she’s said in council. She has revealed that she suffers from a brain injury and ADHD, which she says contribute to her impulsive, impatient behaviour in meetings. She has pledged to seek sensitivity training so she can learn how “just asking questions” can hurt people.


Incidentally, I didn’t coin the term “Shawbacle” — credit goes to my fellow Prairie Dog scribe Aidan Morgan. ■