5 QUESTIONS FOR CANDIDATES
1. Do you think there should be a referendum on the stadium?
The total cost of the proposed new stadium, including loan interest and maintenance over a 30-year period, will be $675 million. This amount does not include cost overruns.
The main burden of paying for the stadium will fall on Regina taxpayers who will be dinged for at least $300 million. According to the City’s funding plan, this amount will come from an annual 0.45% increase in property taxes over a 10-year period.
Without consultation, the current City Council is substantially increasing property taxes, as well as taking on a sizable debt, to fund the stadium.
In 1977, the last time Regina taxpayers were asked to put a considerable amount of money into the stadium, there was a referendum.
2. What would you do to solve Regina’s affordable housing crisis?
- Regina’s rental vacancy rate is the lowest in Canada: 0.6%.
- In 2010, over 3,400 people used one or more of the city’s shelter services. Many others double-bunked, couch-surfed, or lived in overcrowded unhealthy conditions.
- The average monthly rent for a one bedroom apartment in Regina is $817. A full-time minimum wage earner, making $1,649 a month, cannot afford a one-bedroom apartment in Regina. Nor can a security guard earning $2,031.43 a month. Affordable housing, as defined by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, is 30% or less of a household’s before-tax income.
Ask the current City Council to do something about Regina’s affordable housing crisis, and the response is always “Housing is not a municipal responsibility.” While City Council cannot solve all of Regina’s housing problems, there are, in fact, many things it can do. For example:
If City Council can spend $300 million worth of Regina taxpayers’ money on a new stadium, it can spend $300 million on affordable housing. How many affordable housing units can we get for one stadium? At a cost of $150,000 per unit, $300 million will get us 2,000 affordable housing units.
- City Council can require developers to include a certain number of affordable housing units in their plans or to pay a fee into an affordable housing account.
- To protect rental housing, City Council can pass a demolition bylaw prohibiting demolitions of low-rent apartment buildings until the supply and availability of rental housing returns to a healthy state.
NO AFFORDABLE HOUSING IN STADIUM PLAN
The new stadium is part of the Regina Revitalization Initiative. Both city and provincial officials will tell you this plan includes affordable housing. But it does not.
What the plan calls for is “up to 700 new affordable, market-rate housing units.” As everyone knows, the market-rate for housing in Regina is anything but affordable.
3. If elected, what will you do to ensure the Regina Public Library Board operates in an open and democratic manner?
The Library Board has big plans for Central Library. But it is refusing to be open about them. Indeed, there have been no public consultations since August 2009.
In the meantime, the Board has submitted an application to the P3 Canada fund. The intention seems to be to have Harvard Developments construct a large multi-use facility on the land where Central Library now stands and then lease back some of the space to the Library. The rest of the space would be allocated to private businesses, such as retailers, restaurants, and hotels.
Regina Public Libraries are public property, paid for and owned by the citizens of Regina. We must be involved in any changes that are to be made to our libraries.
4. What is your position on public-private partnerships (P3s)?
Earlier this year, City Council approved a change to its purchasing policy, allowing for public-private partnerships (P3s) to be used for city projects.
- P3s are a form of privatization. They involve a transfer of public property and services into private hands.
- P3s cost more. In P3 schemes, the public pays for the service and the profits that must be paid to stockholders.
- Under P3s, quality of service is often compromised because the profit motive takes priority.
5. Should the cosmetic use of pesticides be banned in Regina?
According to the Canadian Cancer Society, “Research linking pesticides to serious health issues is significant and growing. Leukemia and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, breast, brain, prostate, lung, pancreatic, stomach, kidney and other forms of cancer have all been linked to pesticides.”
Over 150 Canadian municipalities have heeded this warning and banned pesticides. But not Regina. Here the pesticide lobby has more authority and influence than the Canadian Cancer Society.
ALL CANDIDATES FORUM
Tuesday, September 25, 7-9 pm: Regina Christian School Gym, Albert Street at 23rd Avenue
The event will have two parts: ●Start at 7pm with questions for the mayoral candidates from the audience. ●At 8pm, each candidate for Mayor or Council will be allocated a table, so that voters can speak to the candidates informally.
Hosted by: Clean Green Regina, Friends of Regina Public Library, Making Peace Vigil, Queen City Tenants Association, Real Food Regina, Regina and District Labour Council, Regina Citizens Public Transit Coalition
The information above is taken from the website of David Loblaw. To see the complete list of candidate debates and forums, go to http://reginaelection.com/7.html