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Regina says ‘yes’ to downtown washroom, ‘no’ to Taylor Field parking lot

Regina city council approved to add a temporary bathroom to City Square Plaza from May to September in 2020.
Regina city council approved to add a temporary bathroom to City Square Plaza from May to September in 2020. File / Global News

The City of Regina will be adding a temporary public washroom to its downtown after city council approved a $20,000 pilot project on Monday night.

A trailer of washrooms will be parked in City Square Plaza beginning in the spring of 2020.

“Having washrooms downtown for public events is really a fundamental thing you would expect to have in a downtown area,” Regina Mayor Michael Fougere said.

The pilot project will be in place for five months until something more permeant can be figured out.

READ MORE: Downtown Regina public washroom pilot project to be considered by city council

“We have to come to grips as a city on how we are going to provide this service,” Fougere said.

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“Working with the Regina Downtown Business Improvement District (RDBID), we’re going to come up with a solution sometime next year.”

The temporary bathroom will be open between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m., from May to September and up-kept by the RDBID.

The city said installing permeant washrooms could cost upwards of $750,000.

Taylor Field will not be used as a temporary parking lot 

Council voted down the idea of turning the old Taylor Field site into a temporary parking lot.

The space is due to become a 700 housing-unit neighbourhood, part of a revitalization initiative by the city.

“The whole project is about 15 to 20 years in length and it may take that long to fill it in,” Fougere said.

“I think the issue is, do we do recreational [with the space] or parking. Council said no to parking.”
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The city has no immediate plans on how they will fill the space while they wait for housing.

Decision surrounding single-use plastic bags to be discussed next year

Regina city council decided to defer the motion of banning single-use plastic bags until next year in order to get more feedback from the public.

Bob Hawkins was one of three councillors to propose a ban on plastic bags beginning in January 2021.

The motion referenced global examples where these types of plastics are already banned, including the Maritimes, Europe and China.

READ MORE: City looking for input on ways to reduce use of single-use plastics in Regina

“First of all, you wouldn’t see plastic bags blowing around on our roads, in our trees, or in our fields. You wouldn’t see plastic bags littering waterways like Wascana,” Hawkins said.

“You wouldn’t see the landfill filling up with plastic bags. So in all of those ways, it would help our environment.”

Under a ban, grocery stores would switch to paper or reusable bags, with the exception of packing certain items like frozen food.

Council pushes back cycling safety motion, will do report

Council pressed the pause button on a motion that would create a buffer zone between cyclists and passing cars.

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The motion proposed drivers travelling under 60 kilometres per hour must have at least one metre between the car and passing bike.

That distance would jump to one-and-a-half metres when drivers are going over 60 km/h.

“If we’re going to be creating a bylaw we want to ensure that we can enforce it, and that’s another piece of the information that we need to know,” Regina Coun. Lori Bresciani said.

READ MORE: Advocates tout national cycling strategy to curb vehicle-bike collisions

“What have other municipalities done? How have they enforced it? Has it helped? Again, it’s about safety for everyone, but of course the cyclist on the road.”

Other councillors want the bylaw to address other safety concerns like helmets and speed.

“The helmet doesn’t prevent an incident, whereas a safe passing distance prevents an incident,” said Brandon Wright, with Bike Regina.

“If a car is approaching alongside a bike and it moves over, that’s going to prevent an incident from even occurring, whereas a helmet is a perception of safety.”

City administration will now consult with SGI, Regina police and other communities. They’ll bring forward a report to council sometime in 2020.

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Regina’s recreation facilities to see boost through new infrastructure program

Council approved the recreation infrastructure program, funded by a half-a-per-cent mill rate increase every year for five years starting in 2020.

According to the city, the first year will generate $1.25 million, $2.55 million in year two, $3.9 million in year three, $5.3 million in year four and $6.75 million in year five.

Hawkins said Regina’s rec facilities average about 43 years of age. The money will pay for upgrades and new builds throughout the city.

“It’s swimming pools, it’s rinks, but it’s also things like walking paths and more picnic areas,” Hawkins said.

“It’s the whole gamut of recreation facilities that are used both by young people and by senior citizens.”

The mill rate increase will be part of the upcoming budget talks.

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