This Week At City Hall: Canadian Forces Appreciation Day 2010, Solar Orientation

Monday, April 12
CITY COUNCIL (5:30 pm): Council will be confirming the appointment of Councilor Sharon Bryce to the Regina Public Library Board. It will also be considering $20,000 in Special Events Funding for RCMP’s 125th Anniversary in July, and looking at proposals for a daycare at 1621 11th Ave and an apartment building to be built in Harbour Landing. Also, Councillors Hincks and Browne will be making a motion that the city should hold another Canadian Forces Appreciation Day.

Wednesday, April 14
REGINA PLANNING COMMISSION (4:00 pm): Developers are seeking the go ahead for expansions to two suburbs: the seventh phase of Maple Ridge and the Fairways West subdivision. There doesn’t seem to be anything especially noxious about either of these developments except that, you know, they’re just adding flesh to the city’s sprawl. But no one seems to be kicking up much of a stink about them so I’m sure they’ll pass no questions asked.

Of slightly more interest, staff will be bringing forward their recommendations on what’s been dubbed, “Leadership on Climate Change: Solar Orientation.” Back in December, council directed staff to look into the costs and benefits to developers, the City, home owners and the community at large of changing the guidelines in the Official Community Plan that deal with solar orientation into requirements. Presently, the OCP recommends that 75 per cent of new houses be built oriented within 15 degrees of the north-south axis. Presently, developers are pretty much flaunting that recommendation. Of the new concept plans that they have brought forward since 2008, there is only about 49 per cent compliance with the guideline.

Staff’s recommendation, however, is to not touch solar orientation in the OCP at this time. While proper solar orientation will result in significant cost savings for homeowners and while it will lead to a significant reduction in the city’s greenhouse gas output, staff argue changing the policy to force that 75 per cent figure could be too costly thanks to the changes it would necessitate in the way utilities and services are provided to new neighbourhoods. Plus, they note, there are other practices the city could implement that could have far greater energy-conservation benefits (such as encouraging walkable neighbourhoods, improving the public transit experience, those sorts of things).

Ultimately, staff suggest any change to the OCP’s solar orientation policy should be conducted as part of an overall review of the OCP. Fortunately, such a review is to begin later this year. Unfortunately, it could be many many months before it is completed and during that time we’ll continue to see under-compliance with the solar orientation guideline.

Author: Paul Dechene

Paul Dechene is 5'10'' tall and he was born in a place. He's not there now. He's sitting in front of his computer writing his bio for this blog. He has a song stuck in his head. It's "Girl From Ipanema", thanks for asking. You can follow Paul on Twitter at @pauldechene and get live updates during city council meetings and other city events at @PDcityhall.

3 thoughts on “This Week At City Hall: Canadian Forces Appreciation Day 2010, Solar Orientation”

  1. paul, do you got the planning commission meeetings? how many commissioners attend? how many members of the public usually attend?

  2. jeff: I don’t make nearly as many planning commission meetings as I’d like. (4pm on a Wednesday is an awkward time for me.) Although, I am hoping to get to this one.

    As for the commissioners, there’s usually a full compliment in my experience. Members of the general public, however, don’t usually attend unless there’s a real hotbutton issue being discussed. When the condo conversions were going down last year, you saw a lot of people coming out to meetings. Generally, though, you have people coming out to speak in favour of or against proposals that affect themselves directly but not so many people just hanging out in the peanut gallery to see how things go.

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