Answers to Leader Post Questions
These questions were given to me by Vanessa Brown of the Leader Post. These will be showing up in the Leader Post at some time before the election.
1. The Stadium: Do you support the proposed stadium plan for Regina? Why or why not?
I don’t support public funds going into the proposed stadium. If there are sufficient private funds to pay fully the cost of the current proposal, I am not opposed to doing that. I don’t think a new stadium is necessarily required. Upgrading of Mosaic stadium is the most financially prudent and best option for Regina. We haven’t been given sufficient information to know what the upgrade would cost. Any large financial ticket needs the consent of Regina residents through significant debate and a referendum.
2. Pension Plan: How should the city’s $293 million pension deficit be addressed?
The roots of this deficit go deep and to fully understand how we dig ourselves out of this will require some education and discussion by all parties including taxpayers. Everyone will need to participate in the solution, whether that’s increased pension contributions for current employees, reduced pensions for pensioners and an increased contribution from employers. We have to assess where pension funds were invested and perhaps select other investments for the future. We also have to review our legal commitments to our pension recipients.
3. Infrastructure: What is the best way to ensure a healthy infrastructure into the future?
We have to stop expanding the physical size of the infrastructure, reduce demands on it and begin to reduce the deficit in repairs and replacement of individual infrastructure pieces. We need to stop physically growing the city. We should put a boundary bylaw in place to stop growth and build a more compact city. We need to reduce single-occupancy vehicle use by supporting active transportation, transit, cycling and walking. We need to conserve our water and subsequent requirements for expansion of service and treatment.
4. Housing: What is your plan to address Regina’s housing shortage and rising costs?
We need to focus on increasing the number of rental units. These should be on current vacant land or parking lots downtown. We need to encourage a denser city through more multi-family units and appropriate laneway housing everywhere. We need to expand the housing on the University of Regina and SIAST. We need to maintain our current housing stock to the highest standard as well as encourage the reuse of current buildings for more housing. More units should put negative pressure on rising costs.
5. Property Tax: Should we raise taxes to pay for services or cut services to keep taxes lower?
Tax levels will be set to cover the costs and services that the citizens of Regina expect and request. More public debate and engagement on priorities needs to happen. We collectively decide what is necessary and what we want our taxes to cover collectively. Public services tend to be less expensive, provide good service and a good job environment. There is still room for continuous improvement and efficiencies. We should strive to do better and to encourage other levels of government to share the costs.
6. Accountability: How can accountability and transparency be improved at City Hall?
More parts of the decision making process need to be visible to the public, either through internet or more public meetings. Budgets and plans need to be made public sooner and allow time to engage the citizen. Mayor and council should submit work plans and be held accountable. Who meets with the Mayor should be publicly known. There needs to be more one-on-one discussion opportunities with citizens and the ability of the resident to ask questions and discuss problems and find solutions.