UPDATE LIVE FROM COUNCIL: Mayor Fougere has just moveD his motion to call a referendum on the waste water plant P3. And he has also moved that the question used on the referendum should be the same as the one used on the Regina Water Watch petition. So far, Murray and Hawkins and Fraser and Young and Burnett have stood to say they will support the mayor’s motion — both parts of it. But I think at this point this can be called a big win for the people who came out to speak tonight and who collected the 24,000 names. And it also strikes me as a pretty daring move by Mayor Fougere. More after the meeting breaks up. Also, follow me at @pauldechene for live updates from the meeting. [If you’re wondering why this sounds familiar it’s because I just repurposed this update to be the foundation for the next blog post.]
Mayor Michael Fougere just announced that he will be bringing a motion before council tonight to call a referendum on the waste water treatment plant public-private partnership. He says that he has shared his intention with his council colleagues and if they vote with the mayor, we’ll be going to the polls as early as this fall.
It’s too early to say exactly when the petition will be held nor how much it will cost the city.
Also yet to be decided is the specific question that will be asked on the referendum. Mayor Fougere said that council will discuss this at the meeting and couldn’t say if it would be identical to the one that Regina Water Watch used on their ill-fated petition.
Fougere reiterated his support for the P3 model that council already passed unanimously, saying it is the best way to contain costs for the city and also has the advantage of being eligible for $58 million in funding from the federal government.
Fougere conceded that this referendum could delay the project but did not think the federal funding would be jeopardized by this.
The federal funding would evaporate if the city voted against going with a P3 model for the waste water plant, however.
Doubtless this will be seen as good news to the 20+ delegations who are planning to speak before council tonight, the overwhelming majority of whom are speaking in favour of holding a referendum. Seeing as each delegation is allowed 10 minutes to speak, members of the press corps who are from Prairie Dog magazine are hoping that at least 20 or more of those delegations will shorten what they were planning to say so that everybody can get to bed at a decent hour tonight.
Here’s the complete audio from Mayor Fougere’s special press briefing.