Hey Regina, Looks Like You’ll Get That Waste Water Referendum After All

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.]

83B_9659Mayor 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.

Author: Paul Dechene

Paul Dechene is 5’10” tall and he was born in a place. He’s not there now. He’s sitting in front of his computer writing his bio for this blog. He has a song stuck in his head. It’s “Girl From Ipanema”, thanks for asking.

You can follow Paul on Twitter at @pauldechene and get live updates during city council meetings and other city events at @PDcityhall.

13 thoughts on “Hey Regina, Looks Like You’ll Get That Waste Water Referendum After All”

  1. Here’s hoping City Council votes for the Mayor’s motion. Although there’s ground yet to plow, holding a referendum would be the best possible outcome to the recent schemozzle.

  2. Well, good on him. Hopefully this doesn’t force you guys to throw out your plans for half of next issue.

  3. I have a whole new respect for our Mayor. A referendum is the route to go, just hope Council supports him. I sent an email to our Council member, requested a replay, of course have heard nothing back from her. It was a major rant, but respectful. Sigh.

  4. Yeah. I’m not sure if this is going to make it easier or harder to write the article.

  5. Be careful! Approving a referendum is not the same as accepting the petition. I think you want to make sure the petition is accepted.

  6. My reading of this may be from a cynical point of view, however this seems to me to be a case where the mayor has allowed or even orchestrated a situation where he can be seen to be the hero. He will just swoop in and in the face of seeming injustice re-frame the situation to his advantage and in a way that seems to be in accord with the will of the people. Very much like the near closing of the Maple Leaf and other inner city pools. Some other part of the city management is allowed to go ahead with a politically unpopular position and then the shiny hero comes to the rescue of the little people. I believe the desired result is only a public relations ploy.

  7. Paintsmear has it. Fougere’s CBC radio meltdown was his “burying Caesar” moment, designed to get people really fired up. He then changes course and walks away the saviour of democracy. The city clerk then exits stage left, pursued by a bear.

    It’s all grade nine Shakespeare, yo.

  8. Can you provide a better explanation for Fougere’s strong statements on CBC radio yesterday morning? It’s not a conspiracy, it’s politicking 101.

  9. Is anyone else irked that not one city councillor chose to vote on principle? If Fougere had put forward a motion against a referendum, the vote would likely have been 10 in favour, 1 opposed. But suddenly we have 11 brave defenders of democracy.

    I’m in favour of a referendum in this instance, but democracy isn’t served by a “collegial” city council, taking hot showers together. #heartbreakridge

  10. Cynical assumptions about motive are being made, above. Energy is better spent on the upcoming referendum and the discussion leading to it.

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