Regina Transit removes street furniture to stop loitering
REGINA – It’s no surprise that Regina has a homeless problem, which can sometimes lead to loitering.
Initiatives are already in place to stop it, but is removing street furniture the right solution?
A tactic to deter loitering has led to the removal of a transit bench at the corner of Victoria Ave. and Broad St.
“We removed that bench in August of this summer and we were just asked by Regina Police Services and property owners to remove the bench from that location,” said Brad Bell, Regina Transit’s director of transit services.
One transit user who noticed the difference was not enthused.
“It makes me a little upset… I know lots of people that medically need to be able to sit down,” explained transit user John Klein.
Klein inquired about the removal via Twitter, but upon reading Regina Transit’s real reasoning, he was not impressed.
“It doesn’t portray Regina in a positive light, that we restrict how many people can use public space based on class and income,” said Klein.
But Regina Transit says they were just doing what they were told.
“We were just requested from Regina Police Service to remove the bench to not promote that as a loitering area of the city,” said Bells.
It’s an explanation that didn’t sit well with Klein.
“Obviously there are problems with homelessness in Regina and I think giving people houses first, as it’s worked in Medicine Hat for example, would be a better way to deal with it than taking away places for them to sit properly where the only other option is to sit on the curb or the gutter,” said Klein.
While Regina Transit couldn’t identify the number of business or customer complaints, the organization that oversees the downtown community says they will look in to the matter.
“We’ll probably reach out to those businesses in that location in the near future just to find out what was going and perhaps find another solution.” said Judith Veresuk, the executive director for the Regina Downtown Improvement District.Follow @BrandonGonez