This Week At City Hall: Widening Vic East, Corp Gets Tax Cut, Many Fees Changing, Some Not

A bit late getting this out this week. Sorry about that.

Tuesday, December 15
PUBLIC WORKS COMMITTEE (4 pm): Considering a recommendation to give to Stantec Consulting Ltd a contract to widen Victoria East from Fleet Street to Quance Gate. The project will cost $655,000 but the city’s portion is only $125,000, the rest will be carried by the federal and provincial governments. So don’t say the feds and province never do anything for you. They’re about to take your city’s most obnoxious stretch of road and make it wider. Actually, I shouldn’t say that. I don’t know if Vic East is Regina’s most obnoxious stretch of road. I only suspect it because it’s so clearly a travesty. Anyone like to nominate somewhere worse?

After the jump, wondering where to dump our snow, guess who’s getting a tax exemption, see what’s going to happen to the cost of your leisure pass….

Also up is a recommendation for the city to start looking into either finding a new snow dump site or redeveloping our current site so it’s up to current the standards of current best practices. Apparently, the spot where city crews dump snow now doesn’t have a liner to prevent water and salt from soaking into the ground. That’s a problem. The current site sits in the city’s north east, in a moderate sensitivity zone of Regina’s Aquifer System. Hey, want to guess how much snow gets dumped there every year (2008/2009 numbers)? Bonus points if you can tell me what per cent of that comes from private and commercial snow haulers.

Also on the agenda are the 2010 Concrete Maintenance Operations Summary, meeting dates for 2011 and Councillor Clipsham will present a report on best practices for sustainability decision-making and planning for cities.

Wednesday, December 15
EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE (11:45 am): Guess which major new player to Regina’s corporate scene — they made headlines when they announced they were moving here — will be getting a five-year, $639,715 tax exemption. That’s right! Mosaic! It will come in the form of a property tax exemption for Hill Tower III and is all part of the Economic Development Incentive plan of 2006.

Next up, is a review of the Planning and Sustainability department’s building permit and development application fee structures and their approval and inspection processes. The department is looking for 12 new people (five building staff, five planning staff and two administrative support staff). They also want to boost the fees they charge so they’ll be operating on a cost-recovery basis. Presently, our planning dept fees — fees for building permits or subdivision development applications — are way below the median rate nationally. Apparently, the development community has been consulted on this and they’re willing to pay higher fees but only if they get faster, better service as a result.

And finally, there is a recommendation to appoint Councillor Fougere to the Regina Downtown Board of Directors.

COMMUNITY AND PROTECTIVE SERVICES COMMITTEE (4 pm): Will be  considering new fees for community services such as leisure passes and facility rentals. Good news! Staff are recommending single admissions, leisure passes and rush ice fees should remain the same in 2011! Facility rental rates, however, will be going up slightly — by about three per cent.

The committee will also consider allocating $26,250 to the transit fare assistance program and it will be naming the city’s weed inspectors and pest control officers. It will also review a reports on paratransit operations and on the condition of the Davin Fountain. Lastly, it will consider meeting dates for 2011.

Thursday, December 16
BOARD OF POLICE COMMISSIONERS (9 am): Will be looking at crime stats for November 2010 versus November 2009. According to the report, crimes against the person are down 3.4 per cent since Nov 2009 and crimes against property are down by 7.4 per cent. Yay! Less crime!

ARTS ADVISORY COMMITTEE (5:30 pm):
Will look at report on the visit by some members to Calgary on November 17 to review that city’s best practices for arts development. Also looking at meeting dates for 2011 and the committee’s work plan.

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.

15 thoughts on “This Week At City Hall: Widening Vic East, Corp Gets Tax Cut, Many Fees Changing, Some Not”

  1. I nominate Pells Drive(connecting Parker Ave to Castle Road) on the Whitmore Park/Hillsdale border for “shortest” most obnoxious stretch of road in Regina. Is very small, but the uni condo kids use it as do residents and people cutting through from Grant to Hillsdale St and beyond. It SUCKS. Widen that mofo.

  2. Widening Vic East is not healthy, sustainable, or smart quite frankly. As Andres Duany puts it, traffic congestion will always exist and will fill to meet capacity. The question, as he states, is whether or not we want our traffic congestion at 4 lanes, 8 lanes, 10 lanes, etc. Traffic issues are never solved with widening – Vic East won’t be either.

    You know what else won’t be solved with widening? The dangerous speeding, and risky merging that already takes place there. Not to mention the pedestrian realm…. which, I know, is already non-existent out there. But considering the new condo developments approved to abut the Walmarts and Superstores, this is just extra backwards.

    So, Regina – please start acting like a city worth giving a damn about. I promise you that developers, consultants, and people will follow suit if you just set higher standards. You are better than this.

  3. Sammy: I’ve never been down Pells so I just checked it out on Google maps. Surprising choice. On street view it just looks like a quiet, residential strip. It gets crazy busy at times, you’re saying?

    Laura: I’ve heard Duany’s name a lot recently. If I was going to read something by him, what would you suggest?

    Walter: Interchanges? Mightn’t they be even more expensive than widening the road? Not that I’m defending widening the road, mind.

    One thing I didn’t get to mentioning in this week’s TWACH is that part of the road widening on Vic East is also going into upgrading the bridges over the creek there. That work probably has to be done regardless. And I’d hope that there’ll be some effort to improve the situation for pededstrians because, like Laura mentioned, more and more residential is getting relegated to that area. A lot of it rental, actually.

  4. Two suggestions for Duany books: The Smart Growth Manual, and Rise of the Suburban Nation. Both on my “to read” list.

    But here are a few links to sample pages dealing with “induced traffic”:

    http://books.google.com/books?id=JKwebAbN5zEC&lpg=SA3-PA10&ots=tr5DHiajnr&dq=duany%20induced%20traffic&pg=SA3-PA10#v=onepage&q&f=false

    http://books.google.com/books?id=UZ0-0X4aiwQC&lpg=PA91&ots=r5pZOtahUg&dq=duany%20induced%20traffic&pg=PA90#v=onepage&q&f=false

    Here too is a great lecture by Duany which covers this topic and many more (this topic is in part 2, at 2:25): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rwd4Lq0Xvgc

  5. Yep they’re expensive but it’s the freaking Number One Highway, there shouldn’t be lights on it. Vic East has been so mis-planned it’s time to just give up and close the thing. :)

    One of the most infuriating things about Victoria Avenue, to me, is the intersection with Ring Road. The service road, which sees no traffic, goes under the bridge unimpeded. Vic itself, however, has two sets of lights there. The exit from the Southbound lane of Ring sometimes gets backed up to the point of clogging Ring itself. I can’t understand why that “interchange” was built that way in the first place instead of as a proper cloverleaf.

    Sidewalks? What are those?
    I’d like to see pedestrian bridges going across Vic East. No one should ever have to risk their lives crossing that ridiculous stretch of road.

  6. I would argue that the highway should not extend that far into the city to begin with though, since there are residential areas on either side. Really we have a highway that extends east of Prince of Wales to Arcola/Sask Drive and then it actually starts to slow down a bit… I think that transition should happen sooner.

    I have my doubts that putting up pedestrian bridges would increase walkability. The development itself is not built for pedestrians. Separating pedestrians and vehicles does not increase each other’s awareness of safety issues either – people don’t drive safely when they are not forced to and when spaces are not designed for this.

  7. Once the Global Transportation Hub is up and running out by the airport a lot more work is planned for the east end related to bypasses to cope with the hundreds of semi-trailers a week that will be trucking goods to and from the Loblaws warehouse and whatever other warehouses end up being built there.

  8. From over on the Face Book, Mackenzie Kulcsar nominates 20th Ave in Lakeview for most obnoxious road on account of those quasi-roundabouts.

    And Jennifer Lynn Hatton nominates Cowan Crescent because it’s great for whiplash and bottoming out your vehicle.

  9. @Paul,

    Not to whine too much about community, but in the spring and summer there’s soccer non-stop, which creates classic Regina-obstructed views at the corners every which way, due to minivans, family Escalades, etc. Then, like I said, the 1000s of crazy uni kids, commuters from Whitmore Park accessing Hillsdale to downtown, residents.

    There’s rarely a moment morning noon or night when I don’t pass 3-4 cars on the tiny stretch and need to yield to 2-3 more on either Parker or Castle turning from every each way. You’re usually dealing with two 3-ways back-to-back. It’s all very premature. Plus the quick turn-drive-turn is always brutal. You’d have to be a sucker to buy a house on that street. We call it Hells-on-Pells everytime. Cuz we’re funny like that.

  10. The thing that really bothers me about Regina construction projects is how often they’re referred to as “gorgeous,” or as “real knock-outs,” when really they’re nothing more than a bland perpetuation of the confining, gray, concrete and steel braindead scenarios that were there before. I’m such a wider Vic East will be called a pristine, drop-dead, state of the art attraction that will renew commerce and culture in the “district” for the next 25 years.

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