Look at me, lazy-ass Dechene, still playing catch-up on what’s happening downtown. I didn’t manage to put this together last week, so here’s a rundown of what happened at the March 22 city council meeting.
There weren’t a whole lot of surprises at the meeting, actually. The condo complex slated for Rose Street (the Gardens on Rose), for instance, was approved. It did lead to a little bit of discussion from council about how happy they are to see some of the surface parking downtown being used for development. Consensus seems to be that the Downtown Neighbourhood Plan is doing its job even though it isn’t a bylaw yet.
The Waste Plan recommendations were also approved. That means council has given there stamp of approval for city-wide, curbside recycling.
The one interesting development here is that the mayor instigated a motion to overturn the recommendations of the Public Works Committee to set aspirational goals for 2020. Those would have seen the city working towards greater waste diversion and striving towards a waste management system that resembles the “Comprehensive” option. (The one that Reginans chose was the less-rigorous “Enhanced” option.) The rationale for dropping the aspirational targets was that the city hasn’t developed an implementation scheme for the waste plan it’s just now chosen so setting even more aggressive waste reduction targets however far off in the future is a little too ambitious at this time. (Staff were instructed to look into suitable aspirational targets and timelines, though.)
Councillors Browne and Bryce — members of the Public Works Committee — spoke in favour of the mayor’s motion and it was eventually passed. Based on Martin G of Regina Urban Ecology’s writeup of the Public Works meeting at which those targets were set, they were set at the urging of the third councillor on that committee, Fred Clipsham. I guess you can chalk this up as a… how to euphemize? … non-victory for the Ward 3 councillor.
The 2010 city budget was received and tabled until a special April 27 council meeting. As was the Regina Public Library budget. It will, by the way, be calling for a 2.9 per cent mill rate increase over 2009.
Gee, everybody got by with so little last year. And now (not an election year) everybody needs some extra cash. I guess when it rains it pours.
Also passed was a zoning change to allow another section of Harbour Landing to proceed. Once again, Fred Clipsham rose to object to the way the Harbour Landing developers have been flaunting the city’s environmental guidelines, such as the call for better solar orientation in the way new streets are laid out. Object away, Fred. It didn’t lead to any debate and the application passed anyway.
Also made official at this meeting was the city’s (unaudited) $2.9 million surplus from the General Operating Fund. Earlier in the week, the mayor had suggested this money could be used to bring down the proposed mill rate increase for this year. Come April 27, we’ll find out if that’s going to happen.