What do the next 10 years look like for the city of Regina?
On Monday, the city’s catalyst committee hosted the first of eight community surveys to hear how people feel about five new projects being put forward to council that aim to revitalize the downtown.
The five projects include:
- multi-purpose event centre
- Regina aquatics centre
- multi-purpose outdoor baseball event centre
- synthetic outdoor field project
- modernization of the central library
The meeting focus was on the multi-purpose event centre. It is meant to replace the Brandt Centre in hosting the WHL Regina Pats and hosting the city’s events.
A location has not yet been chosen for the arena. That was a criticism raised by some residents.
Alysia Johnson, with Carmicheal Outreach, was concerned the committee did not consider the safety and well-being of the city’s homeless population.
The lack of “hygiene and access to showers is killing people in our downtown like we are a third-world country,” Johnson said. “I’m just curious if the folks in this room are aware of that.”
Co-chair of the committee, Tim Reid, said the committee took safety reports into account, adding he felt the Arena could help with the issue.
“I don’t believe that the development of a multi-purpose event centre is a solution to end homelessness, but we do believe it’s part of it,” Reid said.
He added the committee took notes from other municipalities where a more developed and revitalized downtown sector created an overall safer space.
Location wasn’t the only subject people took issue with. The upwards of $100-million price tag also had some scratching their heads. Some believe the money could be spent elsewhere.
Florence Stratton, a local social rights and peace activist, believes the money should be spent on homelessness.
“The catalyst committee seems to think that the city of Regina has millions — if not billions — of dollars, to spend on sports facilities,” Stratton said.
“Yet when it comes to putting it towards homelessness in our city, councillors seem to think that $15.5 million — a sum that would put a small dent in Regina’s homelessness crisis — is too much.”
Other areas where residents had concerns were parking, transportation — and even upgrading the city’s pickleball facilities.
Ward 2 Coun. Bob Hawkins said he was happy with the turnout, adding that the hardest part of the job is allocating where funds need to go.
“Budgeting is one of the hardest things we do because there are many competing priorities, and you have to balance those priorities.”
Meetings will continue until Thursday, with two per day, running 11 a.m. to 1 pm and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the AGT lounge in Mosaic Stadium.