Be afraid! Be very afraid!! With Halloween upon us, we seek out the genuinely frightening things in our city.
They’re scarier than ghosts, goblins, and witches. They’re scarier than Darke Hall, the site of a number of deaths and ghost sightings. They’re even scarier than the building on Dewdney Avenue, now home to Bushwakkers, where a ghost is regularly spotted on the premises.
For a genuine fright, scroll down to see what is really scary in Regina.
5 SERIOUSLY SCARY THINGS IN REGINA
In 2010, the last year for which figures are available, over 3,400 people used Regina’s shelter services. Today, the city’s shelter system is filled to capacity.
The average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Regina is $857, hardly affordable for a full-time minimum wage worker earning $1,736 per month. The commonly accepted definition of “affordability” is spending 30% or less of income on housing.
According to Mayor Michael Fougere, “affordable rental housing” is “housing with rents at or below average market rent.” Mayor Fougere also says “Homelessness is not a municipal responsibility.” Meanwhile, City Council is giving developers $15,000 per door to build market rate rental units. In other words, our tax dollars are being used to subsidize developers. Now that’s seriously scary!
Safe secure housing is a human right. Moreover, studies show that that the cost of addressing homelessness though emergency services is significantly higher than the cost of providing permanent housing.
The gap between rich and poor is growing in Regina and across Canada. Since 1980, the wealthiest 10% of Canadians have seen their average income rise 34%, while the earnings of the bottom 10% have risen just 11%.
Studies show that more unequal societies have more health and social problems, a higher infant mortality rate, a shorter life expectancy, a higher incidence of mental illness, and a higher crime rate.
Even the rich benefit from greater equality, with, for example, a reduction in death rates and the incidence of mental illness.
Over 170 Canadian municipalities have banned the use of pesticides on lawns and gardens. But not Regina.
“Research linking pesticides to serious health issues is significant and growing. Leukemia and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, breast, brain, prostate, lung, pancreatic…and other forms of cancer have all been linked to pesticides.” – Canadian Cancer Society
Regina Transit experienced a 9% increase in ridership in 2012, resulting in $600,000 in surplus revenue from ticket sales. Still, there was no increase in the 2013 transit budget and the surplus revenue went back into general revenues.
Mayor Fougere says the city is continuing to invest in transit improvements. Is he talking about future investments?
The Mayor has also spooked transit riders by backing a plan that would force them to transfer to smaller buses to get downtown.
A spectre is haunting Regina – the spectre of demolished heritage buildings. All the powers of Regina have entered into an unholy alliance to create this spectre: Mayors, City Councillors, School and Library Boards (with apologies to Marx and Engels).
Demolished heritage buildings include: Regina’s original City Hall, 1903 – 1965; Central Collegiate 1908 – 1985; McCallum Hill Building, 1912 – 1982; and the Capital Theatre, 1921 – 1992.
Now City officials have Connaught School (1912) and Central Library (1962) in their sights for demolition. Connaught is Regina’s oldest school, while Central Library is one of our city’s finest examples of modernist architecture.
Heritage buildings are unique and irreplaceable and create a strong sense of place and local identity.
T R I C K O R T R E A T
For too long, all levels of government have played nasty tricks on us. It’s time for some treats: More justice! More equality! A healthier society!