This Week At City Hall: Pasqua Neighbourhood Centre Up For The Chop And Much More

Monday, November 8
MUNICIPAL HERITAGE ADVISORY COMMITTEE (12:15 pm): Receiving and filing reports on the status of the Davin Fountain and the Core Neighbourhood Sustainability Action Plan. They will receive a presentation from Glenn Gordon, Coordinator of Arts, Culture and Film about the municipal cultural plan the city is currently developing. They are also putting together a working group to look at various buildings on the Heritage Holding Bylaw the city is reviewing.

CITY COUNCIL (5:30 pm): Big news at this meeting — and I call it the big news item because it caught me off guard — is that at a private meeting of the Executive Committee on November 3, they decided to recommend the closure of the Pasqua Neighbourhood Recreation Centre. The main reason cited is that the building is in need of serious repair — in the $2 million range. Also noted is that it was never built to act as a neighbourhood centre and so, despite the fact that 22 groups are using the building regularly, it is clearly inadequate for the task it’s been performing. For 30 years.

During the Recreation Facility Plan consultations, it was found that “the community is willing to begin working with the City to explore new options for relocating to other facilities to better serve their needs.” It is impossible to glean from the sterile language of a city report how enthusiastic is that community willingness.

While the repair costs have been pegged at $1,915,000, the replacement value of the building is $1,700,000 (hard costs only). Replacing the building, however, is not one of the options being considered for the site. Instead the city will consider, “offering the building and site for sale as-is, or disassembling the building if required and offering the property for sale.”

So, is this a good idea? I don’t know. I think it’s a little hard to judge especially when we don’t know if the use to which that site will eventually be put will provide a comparable amount of community benefit. Hey! Maybe it’ll get turned into a gas station then you can fuel up before driving to wherever the play school and pottery classes have been moved to!

The decommissioning will take effect June 30, 2011.

Other items on the agenda….

The RCMP Heritage Centre is coming to defend a $25,000 operating grant the Executive Committee recommended. Longer term, they are also seeking $120,000 a year in operating support but that’s being considered as part of the 2011 budget. Based on the brief submitted by the CEO of the RCMP Heritage Centre, it sounds like they’re facing a bit of financial trouble. Maybe they should consider handing the marketing of their brand back to Walt Disney? Or maybe their revenues are below expectation because foreign tourists are afraid to get within tasering distance of the place. Just a thought.

There are two new neighbourhoods up for consideration. The “Hawkstone” concept plan is up for consideration. It’s in the northwest in a little undeveloped notch of the city east of Pasqua and north of Sangster Blvd. Rochdale Blvd will drive right into it. Meanwhile, in the far southeast, the Greens On Gardener Phase II is looking for zoning approval so it can go forward.

A motel and retail complex is being considered for the north edge of the city, just west of Pasqua and north of Diefenbaker Dr.

2011’s back alley maintenance levy is being set — that’s the money that goes into clearing and maintaining back alleys. It’s paid for by those of us who have back alleys. In 2010, for a 50 ft lot, we’ve been paying $136 for a paved alleyway. In 2011, we’ll be paying $144. That’s a 5.8 per cent increase.

Collective agreements with the city’s outside workers, the administrative staff and the civic management association should get passed.

Also up for approval are the sole-sourcing of the newspaper advertising agreement to the Leader Post, an apartment at 15th and Scarth and an incredibly bland landscraper at 2210 2nd Ave. (I went over those last two when they came up at planning commission.)

Wednesday, November 10
REGINA PLANNING COMMISSION (4 pm): Considering the proposed West Industrial Lands Secondary Plan. That’s an industrial area west of Courtney St and adjacent to Dewdney Ave that will accommodate the CP intermodal terminal. This plan will form the basis of a policy framework directing development and servicing of the area.

And that’s it for this week. For full agendas and reports go to the city’s website.

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.

9 thoughts on “This Week At City Hall: Pasqua Neighbourhood Centre Up For The Chop And Much More”

  1. Are they serious about selling the building “as-is”? If so, they better tell people up front that there is asbestos in the building that will have to be removed before someone tries to renovate those areas. As far as I know, it is safe behind the walls, but once renovations start then it could be released. This may help explain why reno costs are higher than a complete rebuild.

    P.S. I have seen the asbestos report.

  2. jeff: Why? Well, that’s a question, isn’t it? I don’t know. There are the decades of underfunding for public infrastructure — that always makes maintenance difficult.

    Then of course the building’s 57 years old so it’s pretty ancient. Can you honestly expect a building to last beyond 60 years? Come on. Get real. Mid century architecture is meant to be disposable.

    Oh, and of course there’s that shifty Regina soil. It’s always a good fall guy when a building just needs tearing down.

    Actually, considering the bulk of the estimated restoration cost is the foundation (coming in at $775,000) maybe the soil will be pegged as the reason it’s no longer worth keeping.

  3. anon: The report does address that concern. Not specifically, but it’s in there.

    “Due to the age of the facility, it does contain some construction materials that are considered hazardous. These hazardous materials would need to be taken into consideration with respect to the options for the building and site.” (Page 5 of the Pasqua report, page 111 of the full council agenda pdf)

    Maybe it’s just me, but whenever I read “hazardous materials” in a report about an old building I assume asbestos. And I’m sure by law they’d have to disclose the presence of asbestos in a building they were trying to sell.

    That said, I’d still like to hear more about this asbestos report you’ve seen.

  4. At the risk of opening a can of worms: Pasqua Rec Centre used to be an elementary school. It was built, like a lot of schools, very quickly and cheaply, to accommodate the postwar baby boom. The lifespan of such buildings is short: 50 years is actually pretty good. The builders also never anticipated issues such as accessibility; asbestos removal; enhanced wiring to accommodate photocopiers, computers, etc.; energy efficiency; air quality; and building security. The design of the entryway – a staircase up and a staircase down – is an accessibility and security nightmare. Just a few things to keep in mind.

  5. It sounds like they should have a plan to replace this place. What councilors ward is this in? If I was that councilor I would expect a plan to replace service in my ward.

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