Design Regina’s consultation reveals heritage building bitterness
by Vanda Schmöckel
I attended Design Regina’s Cultural Plan consultation on April 23, but I have no idea what it’ll mean.
Presented by Greg Baeker of Millier Dickinson Blais — a Toronto consulting firm that typically deals with economic development — there was a brief presentation at the beginning of the evening, which went over several points to do with Regina’s cultural activity and productivity. This included the observation that Regina’s cultural industries have apparently been lagging behind provincial and national levels in recent years.
Following this presentation, attendees were invited to gather in different areas to discuss a variety of topics. There were moderated discussions to “increase the awareness of cultural resources for residents and tourists,” “respond to the cultural aspirations of an increasingly diverse community,” “address cultural needs at the neigbourhood level,” “build a beautiful and culturally vibrant downtown,” and “strengthen and expand festivals.”
I sat in on the “build a beautiful and culturally vibrant downtown” meeting because I couldn’t be everywhere at once and it seemed to have attracted the biggest crowd. There was much discussion around preserving heritage architecture, and what a sorry job the city has made of that. There was also talk about how to incorporate new and old architecture in the developing city.
It struck me that this should be the kind of thing discussed at city planning meetings, and I wondered if it ever was.
After these individual discussions, the moderators prioritized the recommendations, brought the meetings to a close, and everyone wandered off into the latest late-spring blizzard.
The feedback from that night will be compiled and studied, and Design Regina’s recommendations should be up on its website, www.designregina.ca, by July or August.