This Week At City Hall: Renters Can’t Win For Losing, New Mayoral Candidate

It’s another quiet week at city hall but there is one encouraging item before Regina Planning Commission. The committee will be considering an application to build a low-rise apartment building at 2112 and 2126 Osler St. It’s near the General Hospital. There’s a screen cap of the vacant lot it’s to occupy at left. And a drawing of what it’ll roughly look like when done below.

Nice thing about this is the units in it will be rental and not condos. There’s only 12 units in there so it won’t go far towards fixing our catastrophically low 0.6 per cent vacancy rate.

But still, it’s a start.

Let’s see… what else is on the RPC agenda this week… hmmm…. I wonder wonder wonder….

Oh, lookit this! A recommendation from the Municipal Heritage Advisory Committee to remove the Crescent Apartments at 1550 14th Ave from the Heritage Holding Bylaw so that there will be no impediment to tearing this building down and putting up a three-storey commercial building in its place, with offices and retail on the ground floor and medical offices on the second and third.

And we’ll only be losing 12 units of affordable rental with the demolition of the Crescent. And that’s not so many. Right?

Of course, it’s exactly the same number of units as we’ll be gaining with the Osler building. And that puts us right back at a 0.6 per cent vacancy rate.*

So much for that start on solving the housing crisis.

Go Team RPC!

Wednesday, February 29
REGINA PLANNING COMMISSION (4:00pm): Also up for consideration this week is a request to put a restaurant on the ground floor of 1916 Dewdney Ave. That’d be where the Supreme Basics Office Supply shop once was. I’m always up for trying a new place to eat so it sounds like a good plan to me.

Lastly, one of the RPC members, Philip Selenski, is requesting staff prepare a report listing any new residential housing developments that are in the review/approval process. This is a great idea.

And that’s it for committee work this week. Once again, there just doesn’t seem to be a lot going on in Henry Baker Hall. I can’t help but feel like things were more action packed a year or two ago. Wonder what’s going on?

ON THE ELECTION FRONT, another mayoral candidate has come forward: Chad Novak, an accountant who is originally from Moose Jaw. His facebook page is here. We’ll learn more about what he wants to accomplish if elected at a March 5 press conference.

That brings the total number of people vying for that top-floor office in city hall up to five: Chad Novak, Charles Wiebe, Jim Elliott, David Loblaw and Michael Fougere.

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NOTE:
* That’s 0.6 per cent according to CMHC. But as we pointed out in a sidebar entitled, Math Is Scary, with the evictions from the Crescent Apartments and the Black Building at 1755 Hamilton, the city’s vacancy rate is now functionally zero.

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.

2 thoughts on “This Week At City Hall: Renters Can’t Win For Losing, New Mayoral Candidate”

  1. Novak sounded okay until he fell into the whole “I won’t raise taxes one iota” thing. Dude, what if you need to raise taxes to pay for schools and infrastructure? Taxes are a public revenue used to pay for public programs and services, duh, get over the whole hate-radio bogeyman over taxes.

  2. Thank You Paul for your fantastic and dedicated coverage of municipal issues in Regina – keep up the good work, you are one of the few that offers good coverage. I’d like to comment on the demolition of perfectly good heritage apartment buildings in Regina – and in particular the Black Building (but take your pick – there’s no shortage to choose from these days).

    This “I guess we can’t do anything” attitude at the City is infuriating.
    I guess Council and City Admin don’t know how to use google. How can they be ignorant of all the policies/regulatory frameworks/incentives/whatever that are in place ALL OVER THE WORLD to keep things like this from happening?! What a cop out.

    If Council had an approved Downtown plan By-law and policies to prevent demolition in place, like um, i dunno, what our heritage policies ALREADY DO, then the legality of action isn’t in question.

    The City can enforce building maintenance to prevent building deterioration. They can also penalize property owners for not complying with bylaws and permits. They also have the powers to expropriate property, pay for the property at market value, and resell it or develop it themselves and take it out of the hands of the property owner. Other Downtowns, like Centre Venture in Winnipeg, have Busines Improvement Districts or CDCs that actively excercise thier powers as DEVELOPMENT CORPORATIONS. Yeah, they build cool stuff that supports community and make $$ for the City doing it. BTW, Westland Ventures is the same company that is demolishing the 14th and Halifax buildings, and the Crescent Apts on 14th Ave in Market Square, another perfectly good character apt building.

    We’re in the middle of a housing crisis and these guys just shrug as all these good units are torn down? How is this any different than condo conversions (except the fact that its worse because we’re destroying buildings of heritage value). WHERE IS THE PUBLIC DEBATE ABOUT THE RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE MUNICIPALITY AND ITS POWERS??????

    For that matter, WHERE IS THE PUBLIC DISCOURSE ABOUT THE RESPONSIBILITIES of PROPERTY OWNERS – I’m tired of hearing about thier rights, which they defend vehemently. I am a rental property and business owner. As citzens, business owners and taxpayers, we all have responsibilities to our fellow citizens, business owners and taxpayers. That includes taking pride and care of buildings we own and what they contribute to the community and public realm – as homes, as part of heritage, as part of community identity. Why does it always come down to the lowest common denominator in our City?

    Not every building can be saved, but this asinine argument that business, investment and property rights somehow supercede community interests is laughable. More often than not they are synonymous. Try looking to cities that have actively invested in attracting housing,preserving properties of heritage value and enhancing the public realm. We don’t have to look far. In other cities, citizens ask for more – and we should too.

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