RPIRG News & Events


Apathy into Action: Details Online!

Our annual social justice conference, Apathy into Action, will take place January 17th-19th 2013. The 17th and 18th will feature sessions on various social and environmental issues facing our community, and the 19th will feature full-day training sessions to help prepare you to take on these issues.

All details are now confirmed and online! Take a look at the event page for more information!

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Resources Updated!

Our Resources section has now been updated with materials from past events and current campaigns! If you’re looking for audio or visual materials, background info about an issue, and more, check out our Resources page here.

More updates will be happening periodically, so make sure to check back in the future too!

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Mapping Corporate Power in Saskatchewan: New Report

Have you ever wondered who donates the most money to Saskatchewan’s political parties? And how that might influence decisions?

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, along with RPIRG and the Community Research Unit at the U of R,  have released a new report today.

“Mapping Corporate Power in Saskatchewan” traces the ties between the major corporate contributors to both the Saskatchewan Party and the New Democratic Party, and their links to other corporate interest and advocacy groups. The research demonstrates that Saskatchewan corporations have the networks, the committed leadership, the organization, and the access to government to play a large role in shaping public policy. As record amounts of corporate money flood our political system, Saskatchewan urgently needs a publicly accessible lobbyist registry to let citizens track corporate lobbying. As one of the few provinces that do not currently have a lobbyist registry, Saskatchewan is vulnerable to the perception that corporations have undue influence over both major political parties.

Test your knowledge of corporate influence in Saskatchewan with the interactive quiz.

Read the full report here.

 

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New Community Pastures Website

An environmental issue bigger than Keystone? The PFRA pastures, more than one and a half million acres of public land, are some of the largest remnants of native prairie and sustainably grazed pasture in Canada. They’re valued for environmental, agricultural, recreational, and spiritual reasons. Now the provincial government has indicated it will sell them.

RPIRG helped put on a public forum that discussed the future of the 62 PFRA community pastures in Saskatchewan. This website follows up on the issue.

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Toolkit Workshop Registration now Open for 2013!

The Toolkit Workshop Series has organized more workshops for Winter 2013, and registration is now open!

Topics are:

  • Taking Care of Ourselves and Each Other (a.k.a. Burnout Prevention 101) – January 15
  • Engaging Youth in All You Do – February 12
  •  Research and Evaluation Techniques for Community Organizations – March 28
  • And a workshop on Graphic Design, TBA!

Toolkit Workshops provide exceptional, inexpensive training for people working with community and non-profit organizations, or just the general public. Facilitation is provided by skilled professionals working in the field.

 

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16 Days of Activism- Event Details Posted!

This year, RPIRG is again participating in the international 16 Days of Activism campaign!

This campaign runs from November 25th, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, to December 10th, which is International Human Rights Day. These dates were chosen to symbolically link violence against women with human rights violations, and also include other significant days of action around substantial issues.

RPIRG has partnered with the UR Pride Centre, the U of R Women’s Centre, WUSC, and the University of Regina Students’ Union to encourage students to get involved in the University and community events happening in this 16-day span.

Events include bake sales, training workshops, dance parties, and much more! For a full list of events, head to the event page!

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Public Pastures, Public Interest

Everyone is invited to a public forum on the privatization of community pasture lands in Saskatchewan.

Over one million acres  are up for grabs! Have you been consulted?

This forum brings together key stakeholders and the public to discuss the future of community pastures in Saskatchewan.

The morning information session topics include the history and context of the pastures, ecological values and species at risk in the pastures, and First Nations interests in the land. An open mic session will follow.

The noon panel discussion features key stakeholders – pasture employees and patrons, First Nations, and environmental and recreational interests. It will be moderated by Trevor Herriot. Panelists are:

  • Roland Crowe (Piapot First Nation)
  • Mert Taylor (pasture manager)
  • Joanne Brochu (rancher and pasture patron)
  • Lorne Scott (Environmental NGOs representative)

The afternoon session will be moderated by Dennis Arbuthnott. It will begin with an explanation of the First Nations Joint Venture Proposal. A facilitated discussion on the role of the pastures within public policy, working towards resolutions, will follow.
The day’s proceedings are open to all!

Friday, November 23, 8:30-4:30 pm
The Orr Centre, 4400 4th Avenue

Sponsored by Campion College, RPIRG, the University of Regina Departments of Geography and Sociology, APAS, and SM Solutions.

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Grasslands in Peril – a public talk by Candace Savage

Candace Savage, best-selling author of Prairie: A Natural History and A Geography of Blood: Unearthing Memory in a Prairie Landscape is giving a public talk that highlights the heritage of the PFRA pastures.

These pastures, more than one million acres of public land, are some of the largest remnants of native prairie and sustainably grazed pasture that we have. They’re valued for environmental, agricultural, recreational, and spiritual reasons. Now, the provincial government is putting them up for sale or lease.

Join Candace as she explains why these grasslands are important – and should matter – to everyone in Saskatchewan. The talk will be beautifully illustrated by a slide presentation of photographs from these vital grasslands.

Thursday, November 22, at 7:00 pm
Education Auditorium, University of Regina
Free parking in lots 13M and 14M
Candace’s talk is a precursor to Friday’s event: Public Pastures, Public Interest, a public forum and discussion on the future of Saskatchewan’s public grasslands.Sponsored by the University of Regina Departments of Biology, Sociology and Geography, Campion College, RPIRG, APAS, and SM Solutions.

 

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Join Us! RPIRG Board Seeks New Member

RPIRG has a vacancy on the Board of Directors, and is looking for a new Board member! If you are passionate about social justice and environmental issues, eager to contribute to the U of R community, and want to gain valuable experience, please consider applying.

The RPIRG Board of Directors is composed of 8 Student Members of RPIRG. It is the decision-making body of RPIRG, which makes all major decisions regarding finances, long-term goals, long-term viability of the organization, staffing, and funding applications.

For more information about RPIRG, and our Board of Directors, please visit our About Us pages.

Applications can be downloaded here or picked up in our office (222 Riddell Centre). They are due Friday, October 26, at 3:00 p.m.

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Regina Municipal Election: Mayoral Candidate Report Cards

On October 24th, Regina will head to the polls to elect a new Mayor and City Councillors.

RPIRG asked each candidate for their platform regarding five pressing social and environmental issues:

1. Bike lanes and support for cycling
2. Public transit
3. Community gardens and food sovereignty
4. Affordable housing
5. Waste management strategy

To view the finished report card, click here (printable version).

More information on our information gathering:

Each candidate was contacted a maximum of three times: twice by email, and once by phone. Candidates were given a deadline to respond by.

Each candidate was asked the same five questions:

1. Bike lanes- if elected, what will you do to promote more bike lanes in the city? Will you support removing parking and/or driving lanes for cars in order to do have more bike lanes? Will you support bike safety education for bikers, drivers, and/or pedestrians?

2. Public transit- if elected, what will you do to promote sustainable transportation in the form of public transit? Will you work for more bus routes, lanes, and education promoting the benefits of the bus system?

3. Community gardens- if elected, what will you do to support more public spaces for gardening? Food sovereignty is an extremely important issue, so what will you do to enable more residents in our city to grow their own food?

4. Affordable housing- if elected, what will you do to ensure that all residents of Regina have an affordable and adequate place to live?

5. Composting, Recycling, and Waste Management- if elected, what will you do to decrease the waste of our city? Will you support the improvement of the proposed recycling program now, perhaps to make recycling free and garbage carry a fee? Will you ensure that the composting program is instated? What will you do about the current location of the city landfill and the problems it poses for our aquifers?

More information on our scoring system:

Each candidate’s answers were assessed based on three questions:

1. Does the candidate demonstrate understanding of and insight into the issue?
1-candidate does not demonstrate an understanding of the issue
5- candidate demonstrates a basic understanding of the issue
10- candidate demonstrates a complete understanding of the issue

2. How well did the candidate answer the question? (ie. Did s/he answer all parts of the question?)
1-candidate did not answer the question
5-candidate partially answered the question
10-candidate addressed the question thoroughly and fully

3. Does the candidate present tangible and realistic solutions to the issue?
1-candidate presents no tangible solutions to the issue
5-candidate presents one or two minimal solution(s) to the issue
10-candidate presents many thorough solutions to the issue that affect both long- and short-term progress

Candidates received a mark between 1 and 10 for each of these questions; each mark corresponds to a letter grade:

10 A+
9 A-
8 B+
7 B-
6 C+
5 C
4 C-
3 D+
2 D-
1 F

We then took the average of all three marks on each issue to create the candidate’s overall grade for each issue.

We also took the average of each candidate’s overall mark from each of the five issues in order to find each candidate’s overall grade for all issues. Marks with a decimal of .5 or higher were rounded up to the next whole number.

The Raw Scores:

Liz Brass
Question 1: 8, 8, 7.5 = 7.83 average
Question 2: 9.5, 9.5, 9.5 = 9.5 average
Question 3: 3, 1.5, 1 = 1.83 average
Question 4: 9, 9.5, 9.5 = 9.33 average
Question 5: 6.5, 8, 7 = 7.16 average
Liz Brass overall average: 7.13

Tom Brown:
Question 1: 4, 4, 3 = 3.66 average
Question 2: 1, 1, 1 = 1 average
Question 3: 5, 5.5, 2 = 4.16 average
Question 4: 4.5, 6, 6 = 5.5 average
Question 5: 3, 2, 1 = 2 average
Tom Brown overall average: 3.26

Marian Donnelly:
Question 1: 9.5, 8.5, 8 = 8.66 average
Question 2: 9, 8, 9 = 8.66 average
Question 3: 10, 10, 9 = 9.66 average
Question 4: 9, 8, 8 = 8.33 average
Question 5: 8, 9, 8 = 8.33 average
Marian Donnelly overall average: 8.72

Jim Elliott:
Question 1: 7, 6, 6 = 6.33 average
Question 2: 7, 5, 5 = 5.66 average
Question 3: 5.5, 7, 4.5 = 5.66 average
Question 4: 7, 7, 5 = 6.33 average
Question 5: 6, 7, 6.5 = 6.5 average
Jim Elliott overall average: 6.09

Michael Fougere:
Question 1: 5.5, 5, 4 = 4.83 average
Question 2: 6.5, 6, 5.5 = 6 average
Question 3: 1, 1, 1 = 1 average
Question 4: 2, 4, 4 = 3.53 average
Question 5: 1, 2, 1 = 1.33 average
Michael Fougere overall average: 3.33

Chad Novak:
Question 1: 6, 5, 5 = 5.33 average
Question 2: 8, 7.5, 6.5 = 7.33 average
Question 3: 7, 8, 6.5 = 7.16 average
Question 4: 3, 6.5, 4 = 4.5 average
Question 5: 7, 8, 7 = 7.33 average
Chad Novak overall average: 6.33

Tim Siekawitch:
Question 1: 7, 6, 4 = 5.66 average
Question 2: 3, 3, 1 = 2.33 average
Question 3: 1, 1, 1 = 1 average
Question 4: 4, 4.5, 5 = 4.5 average
Question 5: 1, 1, 1 = 1 average
Tim Siekawitch overall average: 2.89

Charles Wiebe:
Question 1: 8, 8, 7 = 7.66 average
Question 2: 7, 4.5, 3 = 4.83 average
Question 3: 6, 6, 4 = 5.33 average
Question 4: 7.5, 5, 3.5 = 5.33 average
Question 5: 5.5, 6, 3 = 4.83 average
Charles Wiebe overall average: 5.59

Using the above system, these scores were then translated into letter grades for the report card.

Each candidate’s answers:

Liz Brass:

1. The few lanes that were added in the streets in Centre Square have been successful and the City administration reported that the lanes have not interfered significantly with traffic. This is encouraging as bike lanes are important to reduce vehicle traffic congestion as well as for sustainability (e.g., reduce carbon emissions). I will work with the Council and administration to expand the bike lanes and improve connections of bike lanes. I would also investigate the “no bikes” policy regarding the Plaza. I will also support bike safety education and promote cycling both for leisure and as a means of transportation.

2. The policies and strategies for the Transportation Master Plan are currently being developed. I will work with the City administration to actively improve our transit system. Transit consultants provided a comparison analysis of cities with higher transit ridership and identified factors that we may improve upon. For example, Halifax has the highest riders per capita, but they also have the highest service hours and have many more buses “on the ground” and generating ridership. We are improving, as 70 % of the fleet is now accessible, but we need to work to get more buses on the street. Regina residents were surveyed and 26 % said that “faster and more direct routes” would most likely encourage them to take transit to work or school.

I will support administration to improve efficiency in transit: more direct, faster routes connecting hubs, such as express buses on Victoria Avenue.  To accommodate the large number of residents living in the South East area of Regina, we will explore the feasibility of an express bus on Arcola Avenue. The administration also recognized a need for additional express routes to the university.  As part of the Regina Transit Improvement Plan (2009), an express route was established form Northwest Regina to the university and we must expand that service efficiency. For the less frequently used areas, smaller buses may be used to pick up passengers. I will also explore the feasibility of Park and Ride at outer stations.

I will work with Council and the administration to support the University of Regina researchers, Raman Paranjape, Luigi Benedicenti, and Craig Gelowitz who initiated a transit project to provide riders with actual rather than scheduled transit arrival time at bus stops. GPS computer technology tracks 20% of the buses and updates every 1.5 seconds to make transit more user- friendly so riders may click on a bus stop on a map from their mobile phone or computer to get exact time of arrival. The initiative is accessible by citizens of all demographics as the information is also available by phone or text message.

I will work with the administration to explore the feasibility of a fare discount program where riders earn a higher discount with more frequent use as well as other incentives to increase ridership.

3. Many Canadian cities are participating in the Sharing Backyards program that encourages urban gardening by connecting citizens who have space in their yard with others who want to grow food, but don’t have the space. The idea is to grow healthy food locally and reduce importing of food.

Many people have lots that are larger than they are able to maintain. An exchange of land and labour works particularly well for seniors who have yard space, love to garden, but are unable to do the work. Others may have moved into condos and no longer have access to land. Sharing backyards provides neighbours with an opportunity to foster community by working together and possibly garden within walking distance from home rather than drive to a community garden. Partners share cost and crops as well as knowledge and ideas.

Sharingbackyards.com displays a map that lists citizens either looking for yard space or offering yard space or gardening skills.

As Mayor, I will consult with our community associations to explore the possibilities of joining the Sharing backyards program. Community associations in Calgary arrange meetings between potential partners through events, workshops, and seminars, as well as host the website with a message board and provide information about gardening. People of diverse cultural backgrounds can share knowledge with each other. I will support community gardens and educate developers, businesses, as well as condominium residents and owners about rooftop gardens on new and existing buildings that can double the longevity of a traditional roof.

4. The housing crisis didn’t happen overnight and it has been building for years. We are told that housing is a provincial issue. Obviously we have not been forceful enough and have limited our own growth—and now we are nearing 0 % vacancy rate! Housing corporations are waiting to build affordable living complexes for other populations, but administration doesn’t even have the process in place to provide the funding. If we keep waiting for bureaucratic wheels to turn, we could be sitting for a long time.  And we don’t have time.

We will build. As Mayor I will establish a Housing Task Force and bring community, business, and government together to develop attainable, innovative housing options. And then we will act on those options. I will expedite the administrative process to build affordable housing. We need incentives for developers: a tax abatement policy to build affordable, multi-unit rental property.  I will work with builders and developers to find creative ways to help first time homebuyers—give them a helping hand, for example, spread that down payment over time so they can get into a home sooner. So there are more rentals available for others. Also the city must ensure that housing meets standard living conditions.

I will work to achieve the Downtown Neighbourhood Plan to provide affordable housing for 2,000 to 5,000 citizens in the downtown. I will support the University’s endeavour to retrofit the College Avenue campus so that students can live downtown and attend university within walking distance.

As Mayor, I will ensure that there is fairness and equal opportunity for building housing. If land is sold, there will be fair and equitable distribution among housing organizations and builders/developers to ensure that affordable housing is built.

I will advocate for and support community-based programs, such as the Homelessness Partnering Strategy, aimed to prevent and reduce homelessness. In my clinical experience, I know that youth at risk are vulnerable and innovative strategies such as mentors and employers as positive role models and extracurricular activities can go a long way. The bottom line is that everyone deserves to have a place to live and quality of life.

5. At the Council meeting in August, Councillor Mike O’Donnell suggested that Council revisit the possibility of charging for garbage and making recycling free. I think the proposal is worth exploring and further research needs to be done. Composting is also important and I will research strategies to encourage citizens to compost (e.g., community composting). The city landfill will be expanded at a cost of approximately $1 million per year for 8 years in order to provide space for the next 80 years. Consultants engineered a liner system that will protect the groundwater system. The liner system will collect and treat any leeching that may develop and intercept the contaminants so they do not migrate downward and reach the aquifer system. After about 100 years, the landfill stabilizes through decomposition and the leeching stops.

Tom Brown

1. The biggest problem is that our roads are too narrow for bike lanes. I am interested in them where the road are wide enough, especially around parks; more bike lanes downtown

2. I’ve never used public transit. I support having transit on your cell phone to know where buses are. I would do more research to look into this. I would support having smart cars instead of buses in the future.

3. I’ve always had a garden. I support more community gardens within city limits; this way we can have fresh vegetables at least part-time during the year. I used to work in a greenhouse. I see issues like with XL meats which are created when one large producer replaces many small producers. This shows that each city should have its own supply for some foods (meat) to make sure we have a more stable food supply. I support everyone having backyard gardens, rooftop gardens, community gardens, etc.

4. I’m very concerned about this; affordable taxes, focusing on affordable housing for students, low-income, etc. I don’t support the stadium proposal because housing is a greater priority (and because there are too many issues/unresolved questions about the current stadium proposal); this is a huge issue affecting Reginians. City Hall’s current plan to get rid of the stadium and build affordable housing would mean that building the housing would happen too late, we need it now not after the stadium. I also support programs to help people ease into home ownership (model like Habitat for Humanity)- people have a stake in the house, have the skills to have a job to pay for the house, can afford to live in this house as well as just providing a house. Who’s going to be able to afford to go to the football games? Not everyone will be able to afford this; we’re falling behind in a number of areas (as a city) so we need to focus on these priorities first before focusing on a stadium. Federal government build large complexes to house families.

5. Composting- I personally haven’t been successful with it. There is a problem with dumpsters in North Central. Recycling: taxpayers pay some money for recycling, and now they want to charge us again for recycling; in the new plan, company gets 75% of revenues and city gets 25%. We need to look again at this recycling strategy.

Marian Donnelly

1. Regina has certainly experienced an increase in cycling, and that is something that I think we need to work at to promote, not just as a healthy life choice, but also to promote the decreased use of cars and environmental stewardship. I know that during the Design Regina and Transportation Master Plan consultations, citizens contributed much thoughtful input on this issue. I look forward to seeing the final recommendations put forward in the new Official Community Plan, and the new Transportation Master Plan. There has been considerable investment of time and money into a number of consultant studies – the abovementioned Design Regina OCP and the Transportation Master Plan, the Regina Downtown Plan (called “Walk To Work”), the Recycling Plan, and others. As Mayor, I am committed to putting words into action.

I believe that it is important and realistic to expect that the residents of our city want a mix of different transportation and transit options. As progressive and forward-thinking Mayor, I will ensure there are options available for all preferences, and information and education around cycling, public transit use, car-shares, carpooling, and other non-traditional options that are often overlooked.

There would be so many benefits to our city and to residents if cycling was encouraged more. But at the same time, streets need to be safe for cyclists – not just in terms of traffic, but also road condition. Obviously, bike paths should be a feature of any new development.

There is a considerable amount of road repair needed throughout the city, in addition to replacing hundreds of kilometres of pipes underground. At the same time as a plan for replacement is in the works, would it not make sense to give some thought to the redesigning of parking and/or driving lanes to accommodate cyclists? Imagine how much money would be saved by undertaking all the work at once.

There’s a level of respect missing in so many aspects of society today. Indeed, education about cycling would be beneficial, but overall better enforcement of some of the “rules of the road” would help, too. As Regina continues to grow, traffic congestion is bound to increase. People need to get used to the fact that there are more people on the streets – in cars, on bikes, and at crosswalks. With that comes the need to pay attention and pay some respect.

2. As for public transit, and further to the thoughts expressed above, the Transportation Master Plan included numerous public consultations, and I know that there were valuable suggestions made on how to improve routes and service. Ideas like express bus routes on our two major north/south arteries and on east/west streets like Dewdney and Victoria were key to providing improved, more efficient service. Feeder buses, using smaller vehicles like mini-vans, would service neighborhoods and connect to those express lines. Express routes to the University, service on Sundays and on holidays, all of these things are basic services that we should expect from our transit system. As Mayor, I want to see key recommendations from the report acted upon sooner rather than later.

3. I would definitely support more public spaces for gardening and explore how the city could encourage residents and even businesses to turn yard space into gardens. Education is one place to start. The most popular workshops offered at the Creative City Centre since it opened were those on sustainable gardening. The City could play a role in organizing and offering workshops, and exploring incentives to people to start growing their own food. My plan for complete, livable neighbourhoods would have a community garden element, as well as more tree planting on public green spaces.

We can also learn from other cities that are leaders in sustainability initiatives. Saskatoon passed a Food Charter in 2002 and I know Saskatoon’s Famers Market is operating year-round. I’d like serious attention to be given to composting, as well. Not everyone has the set- up or is inclined to do yard composting, but it would help if there was more emphasis on education and broader understanding about the importance of putting less strain on the landfill. And if the city had a plan for composting its own organic matter and returning it to the soil, as part of the community gardens program or even a program that assists citizens with their gardening efforts, the benefits would be far reaching.

Food security can also mean not having to worry if there will be food on the table for your family. We have a responsibility to work toward ensuring that everyone in our city has opportunities for employment, for training, for self-sufficiency, as well as access to the social safety nets that are necessary to ensure no-one goes hungry or remains homeless.

Again, there are progressive models to consider. Detroit, for example, assists its most vulnerable citizens with transportation to its food/farmers markets and invests in education – food preparation classes, nutrition classes, etc. There are many examples that could be adopted to address some of the challenges that some of Regina’s residents face.

Providing seeds to inner city school children can be a low-cost way to start educating and encouraging an interest in gardening…something that isn’t always handed down from generation to generation anymore.

4. Addressing Regina’s shortage of affordable housing is critical. As Mayor, I will immediately assemble a Housing Task Force that would oversee the implementation of the housing strategy that was commissioned and paid for by the city, but has yet to receive serious attention. As I mentioned in my first answer, I want there to be a return on the investment that has been made into several plans for the city . . . I want action taken on recommendations that will make Regina an even better place to call home.

One basic obstacle to building multiple housing units is the parking stall requirement that currently applies to new developments. Several developers have shared with me their intention to build, if this ratio of stalls per unit is lowered or removed altogether for infill housing. The reality is that many apartment dwellers do not drive or own a car. They do, however, require a better transit system and more amenities within walking distance of their home. In other words, we need to be striving for a city made up of complete, liveable, walkable neighbourhoods. As Mayor, I plan to ensure that housing is always considered a responsibility of the municipality. While the funding for housing does come from provincial and federal government, we have a responsibility to ensure our citizens have a bed to sleep in every night. We can and will take the lead on developing a housing strategy, and implementing it with new programs or facilities, as quickly as possible.

5. I offered suggestions regarding composting in question 3. Curbside recycling is long overdue. However, I think the program that the current city council has approved falls short of the mark. The purpose is to reduce waste, but the proposed program doesn’t really encourage people to downsize the amount of garbage they take out to the curb every week.

I think anyone who has been recycling for years and sorting their recyclables is sorely disappointed. School children learn from a very young age to separate the paper, plastics, and cans. What does the program chosen for Regina teach? Again, I believe there are models elsewhere that are worth examining. In the meantime, we can still encourage people to think about the amount of trash that is going to the landfill and make the blue bins more accessible. Also, penalties should be enforced on violators using a community like North Central or areas/housing units which have large disposal bins as dumping grounds for construction materials or household furniture. Lack of respect for others and for the environment is a big part of the problem. When I see garbage strewn anywhere, which seems to be a chronic problem in this city, it makes me think that we’re not doing everything that needs to be done to instill civic pride and discourage littering.

Water quality is certainly a topic on the discussion table during this election. However, I have not yet encountered questions about the aquifer. Even with the relocation of the landfill, there is still a mountain of garbage north of the city that is not going to disappear. As Mayor, a priority will be to meet with the scientists, the water experts, and the environmental engineers – the people who have the knowledge and ideas necessary to set us on a greener, more sustainable course. Again, using Saskatoon as an example, they are converting the gas generated from their landfill into energy. We need to learn as much as we can from communities who are ahead of us in environmental measures and the use of green technologies.

Jim Elliott

1. Yes and yes. Bike lanes are the most cost effective way to reduce congestion, increase safety for cyclists and build an active transportation strategy for the City of Regina. Education and enforcement will have to be a component of encouraging more cycling in Regina.

2. I have been advocating a doubling of paratransit service and an expanded transit service in this city. Whether that means more bus routes, increased frequency or changing the system from fixed loop to a hub and spoke route will need to be decided. I am personally committed to use the bus regularly while in the Mayor’s position and eliminate personal vehicle use.

3. We currently have a policy to put more gardens into public space. I would also be encouraging more home gardens as well as cooperative gardening, market gardens and local production. I would hope that we could also expand the street market downtown to more days per week, more types of products and all year long. I would work with our local restaurants and grocery stores and encourage them to buy more locally to bolster the local economy. Beyond current community garden policy by start bring back back yard gardening and even cooperative gardening to give back to neighbourhood to utilize the food. Expand our city agricultural policy by introducing other production around eggs and small animals.

4. Homes for all and homes first is my approach to housing our citizens. We need to prioritize building more rental units in this city as well as on campus. I would set up a Housing Commission to implement this strategy to eliminate homelessness. This would hope to reduce rent fees but would be advocating for some measure of rent regulation. Implement strategy given to city council 12 years ago.

5. I would put recycling as a part of municipal taxes and would introduce a pay for service fee on garbage production, a reverse of what is now being proposed. This would provide an incentive to reduce garbage production and encourage recycling. Composting would be done separately either as a regular service like the others or seasonally, perhaps spring and fall. People should also have an opportunity to drop off their compostables off season. The best we can do for the current landfill is eliminate its need by diverting 100% of our waste away from it and closing it down. The current landfill will still have to be monitored on an ongoing basis to protect the aquifer.

Michael Fougere

1. I fully support the Transportation Master Plan that promotes the expanded use of bike lanes in the city as part of a much wider plan.  Promoting alternative modes of transportation, beyond vehicles, is a key element to a liveable and sustainable city.  Public education for drivers, bikes, and pedestrians is an important element of expanding use of bikes as a mode of transportation.

2. I just released my vision for a new, cost effective and more productive transit system in Regina.  Key elements of the proposal will be to encourage greater ridership. If we have a transit system that can get residents to their destination by transit in about the same time it takes to drive, then residents are more likely to take transit.  Thus, I propose developing non-stop express routes from the suburbs to downtown.  Using smaller buses in the suburbs and transferring to non-stop express routes will speed residents to their destination.  I would also remove buses along 11th and 12th Avenue to reduce congestion downtown and would investigate the feasibility of having a free shuttle service in the downtown. Enhancing transit to and from the University of Regina and SIAST is another key element of my transit announcement.

3. I support the community gardens. I look forward to working with community to groups to review and grow this initiative.

4. Affordable housing is the most important issue we face in Regina.

If elected, I will make a housing summit my first priority.  I will lead this initiative and engage all levels of government, key City officials, community groups, housing industry leaders and the general public to find solutions to the housing crisis we face in Regina

My top concerns that must be addressed immediately are; affordable housing, below market housing and land availability.

I also fully support the Regina Revitalization Initiative (aka stadium plan) as this investment in our future will result in 700 new market and affordable housing units in Regina.

5. We have set aside 55million for a waste treatment plan.

I support the recently approved recycling program approved by the City of Regina.  This service will start July 1, 2013.

Chad Novak

1. Bike Lanes: What I would prefer to see, instead of bike lanes on existing roads, is a measure to develop dedicated bike paths, different than our current walking paths. I would want these paths to be built in such a manner that they go to the most common destinations, with downtown being the centre point to come from. The reason I would rather see these is that it provides much more assurance and safety for both bicyclists and motorists, than the current bike lanes we have used. Motorists sometimes do not see bicyclists through no fault of their own, and vice versa. This could be due to several reasons, distractions, sun blindness, what have you. With a dedicated path, this would provide a 100% safe ride for everyone.

2. I feel strongly that our current Transit System and Routes are deplorable. I have heard this concern from many, many residents on the campaign trail. As such, I want to explore much more viable options, including adding express routes during peak hours of the day, and providing 365 day service. With our culture today, people work many varied shifts, and in order to promote the use of public transit as a viable alternative, we need to accomodate all types of workers and schedules, and locations. I have heard that getting to the industrial area of Regina is an absolute nightmare, and has taken some people a couple hours just to get to work. One final plan that I have, in order to promote the increased use of public transit, is to provide a “free ride” day, once per month, where people can use the transit, free of charge, all day long. I feel this is important because it would give people a great idea of where our transit system can take them, and how convenient it can be, once the system has been fixed. The transit is based on a small city atmosphere, we need to learn from larger cities like Calgary and Edmonton and be prepared for our own growth.

3. I love the idea of community gardens, and I am fortunate enough to have a very large one just blocks away from me. I see how it brings community together, not just for the food and growing, but also for getting to know your neighbours. This is an amazing opportunity in our society now where we are always rushed to do things, and never get the opportunity to get to know our neighbours well. This has many social and economic benefits, and I feel being self-reliant on those kind of food sources is also good as a city. I would like to work to get gardens like this all over the City, and work with community associations to possibly fund a portion of it, so that there is less burden on the taxpayers. In news recently I saw someone with a chicken farm in their back yard. I don’t know if it healthy or safe but perhaps we need to just our bylaws.

4. I have a three-fold approach to affordable housing. The first being to focus on getting current renters into home ownership. This will be done through a variety of incentive plans, including down payment assistance. I recognize, being a renter, that often the down payment is the only real hindrance to home ownership for first time home buyers. If the City can work with financial instituations and other levels of government in order to get renters into owned residences, with a plan for them to also budget for maintenance, then it will ease the demand on the rental market, forcing landlords to reduce rent in order to attract more renters. Then, we can work to get some of the individuals who are currently in social housing programs into those rentals. Finally, we can work with shelters and other volunteer groups to get the homeless and home challenged into the social housing that currently has a long waiting list. This will only be effective, though, if we offer a well-rounded approach to include teaching them to budget properly, how to eat healthy, and look for gainful employment.

5. This is something that I have addressed council on, on a number of occasions, and I strongly feel that the current recycling program proposal is completely backwards. I feel that, in order to encourage residents to participate heavily in curbside recycling programs, we need to offer it free of charge, to be included in their property taxes. Then, provide maybe 1 or 2 free bags of garbage per week, and charge thereafter. This will encourage people to really think about what they are throwing away that can be recycled, and ultimately reduce the needless trash that gets thrown into our landfill. In terms of composting, I would like to see this possibly worked into the community garden areas, because the composted soil could then be used for the garden areas once it is ready. This would kill two birds with one stone, so to speak. As far as our current landfill, I would need to research more about the issues surrounding it, but it is obvious we have a limited time left with the current location, and we need to determine a long term strategy in order to provide a sustainable environment.

 Tim Siekawitch

1. I agree more bike lanes are needed but as in Europe not every street can exist with a dedicated bike lane for each. Regarding seasonal bike lanes vs permanent, 12 months per year bike lanes: either way especially for winter months the snow removal for streets would contradict the purpose of such lanes. People bike 12 months a year these days, parking in Regina has been in a mess since the ’30’s it was debated in council. The short answer is there is no short answer. I will support bike safety education for bikers/drivers, and/or pedestrians, but as in the past this does not reduce liability issues as once hoped.

2. Agrees with a doubling of paratransit service and an expanded transit service in this city, as long as it doesn’t include selling our system to private companies. We must be careful not to let our city be taken over by private interest including sponsorship.

First off it is only sustainable if I am the mayor because the supporters of P3’s (public private partnership) who are all of the other mayoral candidates would rather sell off the transit system to avoid having to deal with the issue.

3. Apparently council approved buying up a large section of new land which can be used in it’s entirety for community gardens, and free to be used by residents. (when asked about food sovereignty, he said ‘see above’…)

4. Would 700 units be enough? Probably not? What is affordable housing versus rent? As far as partnerships we know what needs to be done. We don’t need to waste on summits but determine

As I have said no one running for mayor has answered my question “what is the definition of affordable housing?” Until the residents agree to an future answer to this, I say implement the rent control bylaws of Montreal in fact tweaking them to be improved for the needs of Regina residents.

5. A mayor can make suggestions, but I do not agree with making ridgid laws ordering residents to do or not to do what they are free to express under the Charter. The group consciousness of the residents are who set the traditions of habit in progressive cities, we should copy that.

When asked about recycling, composting, and the current landfill/aquifer danger: an audit will straighten that all out and most everything else too.

Charles Wiebe

1. I will continue cycling in the city and discussing issues with other cyclists and representative groups as well as raising awareness among city council, motorists and all residents. I would definitely support removing parking lanes to make room for bikes. This method makes things safer and easier in many ways. I do believe that bike lanes can cause further confusion with rights of way etc and that shared lanes can cause additional hazard and false safety. Inclusion of bikes on the street using standard lanes while vigorously educating everyone and penalizing when necessary is how I believe the best solutions will be found. I have given these things much thought over the last 20 years and still enjoy every opportunity to discuss them with anyone at all. You can count on me being a strong voice for safety on our streets. My personal experience includes 20 years of rarely having access to a car. I do drive and have done it professionally however I am always very happy to cycle or walk to my destination, sometimes quite far and in rough weather conditions. I have noticed countless trouble spots and opportunities for improvements as an experienced cyclist and pedestrian. Expect an explosion of action on these things from me, should you hire me as your mayor. Cooperation among council is needed but common sense will surely prevail. I have high hopes for improvements we can make in this area!

2. I am acquainted with many transit personnel and have 4 years of driving bus and more years of transit use. I consider the right to get around a very important basic one which should be extended to EVERYONE. Initiating new investment and increased dialogue between transit and its riders and city council is very important to me. I commit to improving the bus system for its riders and for those who will surely begin using it in years to come. I hope to freeze bus fares and make it increasingly user friendly and affordable beginning with seniors, students and other groups who depend heavily on the bus.

3. I have grown food in this city for a few seasons. This year I had the pleasure of making the list to be a community gardener out on west 13th ave. I have thought a lot about how important it is to know the source of your food and how we fit into nature this way, especially for our children. Rules prohibiting growing food should be abolished. Making food growing space in every neighborhood should be imposed. This issue is very broad and food availability and safety are supremely important. The way food is grown and handled and distributed is something we all have a stake in and leaving it to large foreign companies to handle is a foolish mistake. Loving our local producers and teaching our kids how to grow food is an essential part of a great future.

4. I will strive to find the best information first-hand from those people most affected by our housing crisis. My fiancée and I rent a home and have extended family staying with us while income and rent costs make their situation too difficult to have their own place. Finding ways to prevent rental homes being destroyed or neglected is very important. Declaring that housing developers provide some simple low cost units with each new project is a great idea. Housing-first initiatives have done wonders to give people a sense of worth and safety and belonging. So much can be done about housing problems and the whole city ends up a winner! Put restrictions on what builders can build. Less large houses, more low income housing.

5. I dislike how much garbage I produce in my home. There are endless methods to reduce waste. Many people and businesses have great practices that reduce waste. We should reward these. Many people and businesses have quite despicable practices regarding waste. These should be lovingly educated and at some point asked to help out to make up for excessive waste. This has crossed my mind already and I strongly agree! (talking of a move to make city recycling free and waste disposal carry a cost instead). I will learn more about the composting program and definitely spread my feelings about how important composting is. Ask my family if I am annoying about what is garbage and what is compost at our house(yes I am) This problem [city landfill] seems very big to me and I just have to take a lot of baby steps toward finding out what can be done. I will depend on others at times to keep me properly informed. Our water resource is what lets us live so clearly much work must be done to protect it. I already have my sleeves rolled up to get started on these things!

 Do you agree with our grades? Let us know what you think! And make sure to vote on October 24th!



 

 

 

 

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