Most noteworthy city hall story for the week (as far as I’m concerned, anyway) was the Tuesday meeting of the Arts Advisory Committee when supporters of the Creative City Centre showed up to appeal the committee’s earlier decision to deny the CCC $30,000 in funding.
You can read some background here. (The always excellent Regina Urban Ecology also has a little something up on this.)
So what happened with their funding appeal? Surely the Arts Advisory Committee wouldn’t say no again once they’ve seen how much community support there is behind this project?
Well, I wasn’t at the meeting. But the indomitable Greg Beatty was. And he’s writing a story on this for the next print issue of the paper (comes out in eight days). So you can wait in suspense. Or, I don’t know, maybe Greg’ll blog about it.
Beyond that, it was a pretty busy week downtown. And instead of the usual preview, I’ll have to give a wrap-up, I’m afraid….
Monday December 5
MUNICIPAL HERITAGE ADVISORY COMMITTEE (12:15pm): Considered a recommendation to support the conservation plan for the Cornwall Row House at 2343 and 2347 Cornwall St. The plan will have to get further approval from finance committee and council, but if it goes through, the property owner will get five years of property tax relief to support some much needed work to the exterior. The committee also considered a communication from the chair recommending the MHAC devote time over the next six months investigating Regina’s aboriginal heritage and how it can be better preserved.
Tuesday December 6
FINANCE AND ADMINISTRATION COMMITTEE (4:00pm): Hey! Remember how Creative City Centre and all that crazy fashion stuff going on in there couldn’t get a $30,000 grant out of Arts Committee? Well, turns out it isn’t because city hall hates fashion. In fact, finance committee is not only the best dressed of all city committees (it’s true! it’s all spats and monocles accessorizing the green satin Rider tuxedos at finance committee!) but it also recommended Saskatchewan Fashion Week should be allocated $10,000 in Community Investment Funding.
Interestingly, if I’m reading the report right (and no guarantees on that), that leaves $25,000 of Community Investment Funding that has yet to be allocated in 2011.
$25,000 just kicking around? Gee, I wonder who could use a spare $25,000 in community money right about now?
Also at the meeting, the committee gave the go ahead to the city manager to negotiate an agreement with Sask Housing to make available $11 million to the Social Development Reserve Fund. That’s money that will go towards supporting the city’s affordable housing programs. For the record, I think this is all a formality because this is money owing the fund through agreements with the province related to the development of land in Windsor Park; but, to get the money, it has to go through finance committee and council.
The committee also looked at a report analyzing inner-city lots. These are empty chunks of land the city owns and was considering maybe using them for affordable housing. Apparently, most aren’t suitable for that — they don’t have adequate utilities, or they’ve been earmarked to be turned into parks, or they have alleyways or utilities running through them. For the remainder, the city is starting to put together an affordable housing strategy (should be done eight months from now) and it’ll know what to do with the lots then.
Wednesday, December 7
REGINA PLANNING COMMISSION (4:00 pm): Considering a request to build a gas bar onto the lot of Costco at 665 University Park Drive. Staff seem to think this will be a worthy addition to the area and fortunately, to help visualize it, the report provides some very useful scans of photocopies of faxes of the site plan. I’ve included an excerpt from one such image at right. (At the same resolution it appears in the pdf staff provided.) As you can see it is a topographical map of some sort. I believe of Mordor. It’s a little fuzzy but you can see Mount Doom at the bottom there, Barad-dur just above it and to the right. And at the top, you can make out the Black Gate which opens onto the Dagorlad.
Of course, I’d have to see the original to be certain.
Now you’re probably thinking, “Dechene, are you seriously okay with the construction of the realm of Sauron in a Costco parking lot?” To which I reply, “Hey, who am I to stand in the way of progress?”
Also on the agenda for this week, a group of dwellings planned for 1512 through 1524 Victoria Ave. Again, staff have provided some useful drawings so you can get a sense of what the developer has in mind for the site. I’ve included another sample at left. In this case, whoever put this together seems to have moved the paper while scanning it so the text of the construction notes is pretty wavy and hard to read. Fortunately, I own a really awesome computer (it’s called a “Macintosh”) and was able to run some enhancement algorithms on it.
Here’s what I’ve been able to make out….
• Prior to proceeding, the ground must be prepared for the Old Ones’ arrival by sacrificing a newly-born goat (white in hue) on the site. If no goat is available, cats may be substituted, seven in number, but this must be reported to the draftsman before construction commences.
• Any variance from these directions and specifications can lead to grave bodily harm to workers on the job site, possible madness and censure from the Nine Blind Monks of Al-Hazzira’ad.
• While chanting, “I’y kthil’shtn ctyäbr nok,” be sure to acquire a certificate from the manufacturer of the floor and roof trusses.
• Raise main beams on the fourth night of the Messel Tunk new year and incline the graul enclosures toward the constellation of Nog The Unbendy.
• Rooms intended for human occupation should be consecrated with an Eibon Sigil.
I know…. Tedious. But that’s the way construction notes typically are. Boring as heck. But, hey, the exterior looks pretty nice and it’s great to see new rental being built. Regina sure needs more affordable housing!
Also up for consideration at this week’s RPC, an amendment to the Harbour Landing concept plan to increase the density in some areas that are slated to be built soon. Also, the Turgeon Internationl Hostel at 2310 McIntyre St and the Waddell Residence at 1504 Victoria Ave are coming forward to get the next stamp of approval on their path to municipal heritage property status (next stop: city council!). And then RPC will settle on their meeting times for 2012. May is looking to be a busy month with three meetings, hop la!
And that’s it for this week at city hall. Only took me the entire week’s worth of meetings to get this thing written. Hope everyone who attended the meetings had a good time. I know I enjoyed skipping them. And by “enjoy” I mean I feel horribly guilty. Horribly, horribly. If you’re also feeling horribly guilty and want to read up on all the details you can get complete agendas and reports at the city’s website.